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June 6, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 1:24pm

10 free data recovery tools for your PC

Lost that vital file from your computer, USB or CD?

By Jimmy Nicholls

You’ve probably been bored at least once by a security guru telling you how important backing your files up is. Alongside virus scanning it’s one of the standard pieces of advice the industry dispenses, even if many of us are less than vigilant in following it.

If you’ve failed to back up before losing a file to a crash or an accidental deletion, you may think you’ve lost your data for good. Fortunately, file recovery tools give you the opportunity to take back the files that have been lost from the front-end of your computer. The only question now is which one is the best?

Pandora Recovery

Pandora Recovery

Price: Free native version; Portable version available from $20
OS: Windows

Notes:
– Lightweight
– Can run recovery on connected devices
– Bundled with web browser toolbar

Recuva Free

Recuva Free

Price: Free; Premium version available for £20
OS: Windows

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Notes:
– Lightweight
– Recovers deleted emails
– Available as portable version
– Multiple languages available

Puran File Recovery

Puran File Recovery

Price: Free for personal use; Commercial licenses from $30
OS: Windows

Notes
– Lightweight
– Several scan settings of several depths
– Available as portable version
– Search supports wildcards

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Price: Free for 2GB files
OS: Windows and Mac

Notes:
– Works on computers, USBs and memory cards
– Recovers partition data and files lost due to viruses
– Recovers deleted emails
– Handles files up to 2GB

FreeUndelete

FreeUndelete

Price: Free for personal use; Commercial licenses from $69
OS: Windows

Notes:
– Previews recoverable files in drop down list
– Works on USBs and other removable devices

Wise Data Recovery

Wise Data Recovery

Price: Free
OS: Windows

Notes:
– Portable version available
– Works on USBs and other removable devices
– Predicts health of data before recovery

SoftPerfect File Recovery

SoftPerfect File Recovery

Price: Free
OS: Windows

Notes:
– Lightweight
– No installation necessary
– Can be run from USB stick or other device

CD Recovery Toolbox

CD Recovery Toolbox

Price: Free
OS: Windows

Notes:
– Restores files from damaged CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray and HD DVDs
– Does not recover files from hard disks or flash drives

PhotoRec

PhotoRec

Price: Free
OS: Windows

Notes:
– Command line interface
– Works on USBs and other removable devices

Orion File Recovery Software

Orion File Recovery Software

Price: Free
OS: Windows

Notes:
– Works on USBs and other removable devices
– Comes with search function
– Doubles as data destruction tool

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