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The best data recovery software: Top file recovery solutions

Best data recovery software
(Image credit: Marius Masalar on Unsplash)

The best data recovery software can mean the difference between triumph and disaster. Whether your essential work documents or entire design project was accidentally deleted by mistake or lost due to a software failure, it can be a potentially costly experience. So file recovery is often something that's well worth paying for.

There are some excellent tools available to help you out. And, to save you time and effort, we’ve rounded up the best data recovery software in this post. Read on as we explain what each does, what it costs, and how it can help you avert catastrophe.

As well as listing the best data recovery software services below, we also have details of some cracking deals happening right now, for a limited time only:

Best data recovery software: EaseUS

(Image credit: EaseUS)

01. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

The best data recovery software overall.

Reasons to buy
+Simple to use +Works quickly
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks advanced features -Not cross-platform

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is, in our view, the best data recovery software on the market right now for most purposes. Available for Mac or Windows, this capable tool enables you to completely recover lost files, pictures, documents and videos, whether they’ve disappeared due to accidental deletion, formatting, partition loss, OS crash, virus attack, or a range of other data loss scenarios. 

It’s pretty easy to use, even for the non-technically minded. You’re given the choice of a quick scan for fast results, or an advanced scan which takes longer but provides more comprehensive results. You can preview lost files before recovery to make sure they’re the ones you’re looking for, and there’s no limit to the amount of data you can recover. 

Other than that, it’s not a particularly feature-rich tool, but for most file recovery purposes it will do everything you need. Plus, if you need to do anything particularly complicated, customer support is available. There’s a free trial, so you can try before you buy, and there’s even a limited free version.

Best data recovery software: Acronis homepage

(Image credit: Acronis)

02. Acronis Data Recovery

The best data recovery software for IT professionals.

Reasons to buy
+Very powerful+Advanced features
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive -Overkill for home use

If you’re an IT professional responsible for multiple computers and devices across a small-to-medium business, you’ll probably need something a bit more powerful than EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. In which case we’d say that Acronis Backup is the best data recovery software for your needs. 

Describing itself as “the world’s fastest backup and recovery solution for stable, secure business continuity”, Acronis offers finely finessed control over your data’s location, authenticity and integrity, with nifty features such as bare-metal restores, private encryption and 24/7 live support. 

This service is, however, almost certainly overkill for home use, especially given the high cost. Prices start at $69-$839 for a one-year licence, and note that you’ll also have to pay to use Acronis’ cloud infrastructure on top; prices for that start from $299 for 250GB for one year. If your company is paying, though, this is the Rolls Royce solution you’re going to want, and there’s a 30-day free trial so you can try it out first.

Best data recovery software: Stellar Data

(Image credit: Stellar)

03. Stellar Data Recovery Professional

The best data recovery software for uncommon file types.

Reasons to buy
+Simple interface +Impressive results
Reasons to avoid
-Not cross-platform

Another good file recovery option for both home and business use, we’ve found Stellar the best data recovery software for finding photos and uncommon file types. It comes with a large and flexible range of customisation options, so you can really drill down to the kind of files you’re looking for. The interface is clear and easy to use, scans are fast and efficient, and you can preview files before deciding whether to recover them. 

The cost is relatively affordable (£37.99-£75 at time of writing), but be aware you’ll have to pay separately if you want both the Mac and Windows versions. On the positive side, there is also a free trial option, plus a limited free version.

Best data recovery software: Recuva Pro

Recuva Pro may be cheap but it's still surprisingly capable (Image credit: Recuva)

04. Recuva Pro

The best data recovery software for those on a budget.

Reasons to buy
+Super-cheap +Free version available
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most advanced -Windows-only

From the makers of veteran file-cleaning tool CCleaner comes Recuva, which is one of the cheapest file recovery tools around at the moment, costing just £19.95 for one year’s subscription at time of writing. However, it’s by no means the most basic; for example, you’re able to recover data from virtual hard drives as well as physical ones. You also get access to premium support, and automatic software updates. 

Recuva Pro is very easy to use, and performs all the standard file recovery tasks efficiently. So it’s well worth giving it a go, although be aware that it’s only available for Windows devices, and that’s there’s no free trial (although there is a limited free version to give you a feel for things.)

Best data recovery software: Prosoft

(Image credit: Prosoft)

05. Prosoft Data Rescue 5

The best data recovery software for comprehensive scanning.

Reasons to buy
+Great results +Cross-platform 
Reasons to avoid
-Long scanning times -Expensive

Although it’s difficult to generalise, because each case is different, even the best data recovery software can’t always find everything you’re looking for. Some, however, do better than others, and in our experience, Prosoft Data Rescue 5 delivers the fullest and most comprehensive results. There is a price to be paid for that in terms of a longer wait for the scan to complete. But if it finds what you're looking for, then that’s going to be a price well worth paying. 

There’s also a more literal price to be paid; at time of writing, an annual subscription costs a not-inconsiderable £275.83. However, note that this superior file recovery tool works across platforms, so you can install it on both Windows and Mac operating systems with the same licence.

The best data recovery software: Free

Strapped for cash? If you really don’t have any money to spend on file recovery, then here are two tools that might help. While they’re of course not going to be as good as paid-for data recovery software, they may still find the files you’re looking for. So if you're completely broke they are definitely worth a try. 

Best data recovery software for free: PC Inspector

(Image credit: PC Inspector)

06. PC Inspector File Recovery 4.x

The best free data recovery software for the technically-minded.

Reasons to buy
+Totally free +Relatively sophisticated
Reasons to avoid
-Not very user-friendly -Loaded with jargon

PC Inspector File Recovery 4.x is a data recovery tool that supports the FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems. It’s 100 per cent free for all to download and use, and it’s relatively sophisticated for a free tool. For instance, it can detect partitions that have been lost, even if the boot sector or file system has been damaged or deleted. On the negative side, it’s not particularly user-friendly and its use of jargon may well baffle non-techies.

Best data recovery software for free: Wise Data Recovery homepage featuring external hard drive

(Image credit: Wise Data Recovery)

07. Wise Data Recovery

The best free data recovery software for non-techies.

Reasons to buy
+Free +Easy to use 
Reasons to avoid
-No deep scans-No customer support

Wise Data Recovery is another free tool, and one that’s less intimidating to non-techies than PC Inspector File Recovery 4.x. To find missing files, you just select the drive you want to search and click Scan; you can preview files that it finds; and there’s even a traffic light system to indicate the health of individual files. However, to perform deep scans, get the latest software updates and benefit from customer support, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version, which starts at $44.96 per month.

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Tom May
Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.