Data Recovery Software For Lost And Deleted Files
The best time to get data recovery software is before you need it; Unfortunately, most people only think about (and start searching for) these tools after they’ve lost files due to a crash or virus, or have accidentally deleted files. Whether you are being pro-active or scrambling to fix a problem, this article should help you out with a review of some data recovery software tools.
Many of these tools work so well because of how file deletion is implemented at a system level. Many people are under (mistakenly) the impression that when you delete a file or empty the trash folder that the data is erased from your drive.
What really happens is that the file / data remains where it is, but the system is told that memory area is now free to be written with new files. To keep your devices lasting longer, especially with solid state memory, the system will typically write new files / data to a new location before coming back to overwrite your “deleted” file memory.
So the recovery tools can find this hidden data, and present it back to you for recovery.
With that in mind, let’s start with what is possible to do with these tools, and what isn’t. Then will get to some recommendations.
- Recover deleted files
- Restore formatted drives, devices
- Find and get-back inaccessible data due to virus or some types of damage
In general, these tools have some form of user interface to let you easily see the file structures (like Windows File Explorer), and select which files or directories to restore. The software looks at the bits and bytes, so the better ones will work for all types of lost files, including:
- compressed files (e.g., zip)
When you are looking for tools, also check which devices are supported. I prefer to have a single tool that can handle all my devices, such as:
- Smart Phones
- USB Flash Drives
- SD Memory Cards
- Hard Disk Drives (HDD)
- Solid State Drives (SSD)
- RAID configurations
Now lets look at one of the top providers for data recovery tools:
One of the favorites for consumer and businesses is EaseUS.
They offer a free data recovery software that works for up to 2GB of files, which is great for USB Flash Drives, SD Memory Cards and for a quick-fix file recovery. If you have more serious issues, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version (around $70).
The software is quite effective at finding everything on your drive or portable media, and the File Explorer window makes it easy to sort or search for a specific file.
One thing to keep in mind is that these tools are basically scanning everything on your drive, which can take awhile for a large device (e.g., a 1TB or 2TB drive). This is especially true for “RAW recovery mode” to retrieve lost files by scanning at a deep level. Similarly, when performing a “Lost Partition Recovery” (e.g., recover data from deleted, hidden, lost or raw partition) the software has to work harder to find and reassemble at the the bit / byte level.
There is a also a “Quick Scan” mode for the file recovery software to do a fast run through your device to find files. We recommend using this first since in over 90% of the cases, something you’ve accidentally deleted will show up very fast. You can also pause / halt the scan once you see what you need to recover.
EaseUS has put together some tutorials for the most frequently requested recovery situations:
- Free Memory Card Recovery Software to Restore Formatted Devices
- Free Memory Card Recovery Software to Recover Lost Files
- A Detailed Tutorial to Recover Lost Photos Easily
- Recover Data from Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
With their $99.00 “Pro” version, you get a Windows Bootable media for emergency failures you can recover data even when system fails to start or crashes.
The EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard supports nearly every recent version of Windows (including: 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2003) as well as recent MAC OS systems.
To use the software, first download from the EaseUS site and install on your system. It’s recommended to do this before you need to do a recovery or find lost / deleted files. But like most of us, you are probably doing this after-the-fact in an emergency situation. Please keep in mind that if you install the tools onto the same drive you are attempting to recover from there is always the chance that the installation may overwrite the file you need to recover.
Second step is to select the device, drive or partition you want to run the recovery to start the scan. We usually start with the “Quick Scan” and then move to the “Deep Scan” if we don’t initially find the files.
Final step is to check the scan results and select the file(s) you want to recover.
Hopefully you now have your files safe and sound! One other thing we recommend is to back up your data to an external device on a regular basis. You can get a 1TB external hard disk drive for about $50 and 4TB for around $100.