4 Best Tools to Recover Data From Hard Drives and Memory Cards

4 Best Tools to Recover Data From Hard Drives and Memory Cards

Contrary to popular belief, files are recoverable after deletion. This includes files deleted from PCs, external storage devices (such as SD cards, smartphones, and digital cameras), and even files removed from the Trash or Recycle Bin. Data recovery software, which is available for both Windows and macOS, can be a lifesaver. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top data recovery software options for these operating systems.

When a file is deleted from your computer or external storage, it doesn’t disappear. The file stays on the same disk/drive it was deleted from. Upon deletion, the file becomes inaccessible until the space it occupied on the disk is overwritten by new files. Data recovery tools scan the affected disk for missing or deleted data fragments and restore files. Here are some of the best data recovery tools for Mac and Windows computers.

The software’s interface is simple and intuitive. Everything you need to recover data from your PC’s hard drive or external storage devices is available on the homepage. The EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard follows a 3-step approach: scan, preview, and recovery.

The grouping of data into Path and Type is brilliant. It makes it easy to locate and recover data from the original file path or by file type. You may not have to scan through hundreds or thousands of documents because there’s a search box and filter that makes it easier to locate files by size, date created, and more. If you can’t find a deleted file, lookout for folders labeled ‘RAW Files’ or ‘Label RAW Files.’ These are where files that lost their original names or path are stored.

4 Best Tools to Recover Data From Hard Drives and Memory Cards

Generally, the software’s storage scanning process was quick, and I appreciate the ability to preview data (pictures, audio, videos) before recovery. The EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard software is available for both Windows and Mac computers with a freemium model. The free version allows for up to 2GB of data recovery. Upgrading to a paid plan (starting at $89.95) provides advanced features such as data recovery to cloud storage and data protection.

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In addition to PCs and memory cards, the software can also recover data from audio devices (iPods, MP4 players) and camcorders.

4 Best Tools to Recover Data From Hard Drives and Memory Cards

Unlike EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, Stellar Data Recovery takes a targeted approach to data recovery. Instead of scanning your disk and drives for all deleted data, it allows you to customize your scan for specific data types. For example, if you want to recover a video from a pen drive, you can simply select the Videos option and uncheck all others before performing a recovery scan. This feature is convenient and time-saving.

You can further streamline the process by selecting the exact file format(s) you want to recover. For instance, you can choose to scan and recover only MP4 videos or PNG pictures. It’s a straightforward customization that can be done in the app’s settings menu.

We found the tool’s support for multiple languages particularly interesting. It supports English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish.

3. Disk Drill

Described as “The ultimate do-it-yourself data recovery toolset,” Disk Drill offers more than basic data recovery for hard drives and memory cards. It includes dedicated sections for recovering deleted files on iOS (iPhones & iPad) and Android devices. For Mac computers, Disk Drill allows data extraction from Time Machine backups. The tool employs multiple recovery methods for helping users retrieve deleted data. Let’s explore these methods below.

Disk Drill features three recovery methods:

1. Quick Scan: This method is ideal for restoring recently deleted files. It works on the basis of file metadata.

2. Deep Scan: Designed for recovering lost files or files deleted a long time ago, the Deep Scan method thoroughly searches the storage media for any remaining trace of lost data.

3. Lost Partition Search: This method helps recover data from deleted partitions or volumes. It scans the entire drive to locate and reconstruct lost partitions for data retrieval.

The combination of these recovery methods makes Disk Drill a powerful and versatile data recovery tool. Whether you need to recover photos, documents, videos, or any other type of files, Disk Drill can help you retrieve your lost data with ease.

  1. Quick Scan: This method is fast and ideal for recovering recently deleted files, such as files you just removed from your computer’s Trash or Recycle Bin. We used this method and it works brilliantly. However, the effectiveness of this recovery method largely depends on the deletion time. For example, there’s a higher chance of recovering a file deleted 2 hours ago using Quick Scan compared to one deleted 48 hours ago.
  2. Allocate Existing Data: Use this method if you can’t find files on your PC’s File Explorer (for Windows) or Finder (for Mac).
  3. All Recovery Methods: This method combines the two above to locate and recover deleted and missing data from your hard disk and external storage devices.
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4 Best Tools to Recover Data From Hard Drives and Memory Cards

When choosing a data recovery method, it’s best to select ‘All recovery methods’ in Disk Drill. This allows the software to efficiently scan your disk and quickly display found items, even during the scanning process. However, one limitation of Disk Drill is its search tool design.

Instead of showing recovered data with matching words or phrases, Disk Drill simply indicates the path where the search results can be found. This means that you have to manually navigate through folders and sub-folders to locate files that match your search query. Despite this drawback, Disk Drill performs well in all other aspects. Its file filter is highly advanced, allowing you to sort files by size or modification date, and even hide duplicates from search results.

4 Best Tools to Recover Data From Hard Drives and Memory Cards

Disk Drill offers additional tools such as a Data Shredder, Duplicate Finder, and Disk Cleaner. Like other tools, it allows free data recovery. However, there is a 500MB recovery limit for free users. Paid plans with unlimited recovery start at $89.

4. Wondershare Recoverit

4 Best Tools to Recover Data From Hard Drives and Memory Cards

Last is Recoverit, developed by Wondershare. This tool can recover deleted images, videos, documents, audio, and various file types from your Windows PC, Mac, external hard drives, USB storage, and SD cards. Recoverit is lightweight and easy to use.

It automatically detects and categorizes storage drives on your PC’s dashboard. The homepage’s ‘Select Folder’ feature allows you to specify the recovery scan to a particular path/folder on the storage disk. This tool is the only one on this list that supports such micro-recovery, although it lacks the ability to scan multiple drives simultaneously. Additionally, note that Recoverit does not save scan results.

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4 Best Tools to Recover Data From Hard Drives and Memory Cards

After scanning storage disks, Recoverit categorizes files by type and recovery path. It also labels file systems and raw files for easy file location. Preview support is included for file identification.

Wondershare Recoverit is available for Windows and Mac devices. The free version has a 100 MB data recovery limit, while premium plans (starting from $79.95) offer unlimited data recovery.

Find the Missing

Whether you’ve deleted files or lost them due to disk failure or a malware attack, these software can efficiently recover data from hard drives, memory cards, and other storage devices. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to recover overwritten data. Try any of these tools and let us know about your experience in the comments.

Next, read the guide below to learn more about the Windows File Recovery tool, its functionality, limitations, and how to use it.

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