If you are a computer professional then you have to be prepared to protect your hard drive data well from unexpected data loss and take back ups. Hard drives corrupt more often now then before. Sometimes we delete data by accident. Sometimes we delete data but we may need that later on. Computer data is not fully deleted from hard drive. It remains in some form for sometime unless you write more data and fill up the space. You can recover that data easily if you have some powerful tool to recover it. Here are some free powerful data recovery tools which I have been using.
Emergency file recovery requires more than the correct tool, though. It requires knowing how file deletion occurs, and what you have to do to maximize the chances of a successful recovery. When a file is deleted from your computer, its contents aren’t immediately destroyed. Windows simply marks the hard drive space as being available for use by changing one character in the file table so that the file entry won’t be displayed in My Computer or a command line DIR command, etc. If you manage to start an undeletion process before Windows uses that part of the hard drive to write a new file, all you have to do is set that flag back to “on,” and you get the file.
Obviously, the sooner you try to restore a file, the more successful you’ll be. But stop a moment and think about the other things that could cause this part of the hard drive to be overwritten. If your hard drive is pretty full, the odds are much greater that Windows will grab your precious unallocated space for its next write. Or, if you defrag the hard drive, you run the risk of unused parts of the drive being overwritten! (This also means that if you are running silent background defrag services, or if you have defrag utilities scheduled to defrag automatically, you might get blindsided — lose your chance at data recovery — if you don’t halt them until you have your deleted file recovered.) Here are some cool softwares to recover deleted data.
Recuva (pronounced “recover”) is a freeware Windows utility to restore files that have been accidentally deleted from your computer. This includes files emptied from the Recycle bin as well as images and other files that have been deleted by user error from digital camera memory cards or MP3 players. It will even bring back files that have been deleted by bugs, crashes and viruses! Recuva is free for both commercial and personal use. You have to just select disk drive to search lost data. It even retrieves directory structure for lost data.
TestDisk, Data Recovery (Windows/Mac/Linux)
TestDisk is a powerful free data recovery software! It is designed to help recover lost partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally deleting a Partition Table). Partition table recovery using TestDisk is really easy.
- Fix partition table, recover deleted partition
- Recover FAT32 boot sector from its backup
- Rebuild FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 boot sector
- Fix FAT tables
- Rebuild NTFS boot sector
- Recover NTFS boot sector from its backup
- Fix MFT using MFT mirror
- Locate ext2/ext3 Backup SuperBlock
- Undelete files from FAT, NTFS and ext2 filesystem
- Copy files from deleted FAT, NTFS and ext2/ext3 partitions.
TestDisk has features for both novices and experts. For those who know little or nothing about data recovery techniques, TestDisk can be used to collect detailed information about a non-booting drive which can then be sent to a tech for further analysis. Those more familiar with such procedures should find TestDisk a handy tool in performing onsite recovery.
PhotoRec is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from Hard Disks and CDRom and lost pictures (thus, its ‘Photo Recovery’ name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the filesystem and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s filesystem has been severely damaged or re-formatted.
PhotoRec is free, this open source multi-platform application is distributed under GNU Public License. PhotoRec is a companion program to TestDisk, an app for recovering lost partitions on a wide variety of filesystems and making non-bootable disks bootable again. For more safety, PhotoRec uses read-only access to handle the drive or memory support you are about to recover lost data from.
Restoration is a tiny, no-frills, portable recovery tool. You can use it in all versions of Windows and Windows file systems. Restoration is a freeware program by Brian Kato that restores deleted files no longer in the Recycle Bin. The good news is that it works on Windows 9x versions and also on Windows NT, 2000, and XP — even in NTFS! It can fit neatly on a floppy (if any nerd out there using floppies yet!), since it is only 406 KB in size (and the Windows 2000/XP version is less than half that size), but you can also run it from your hard drive.
Undelete Plus (Windows)
Accidentally deleting a file from your computer, flash disk, camera, or the like does not mean it is lost forever. Software doesn’t destroy files when it deletes, it simply marks the space the file was using as being available for re-use. If nothing has needed that space since the deletion, the data is still there and the file can be recovered.
UndeletePlus is powerful software that can quickly scan a computer or storage medium for deleted files and restore them on command. It works with computers, flash drives, cameras, and other forms of data storage. Simply scan the device, select the files you want to recover, and click a button to restore the information or picture you thought was lost forever.
Undelete Plus is not a free software but here you can download its free portable version from below.
Download Undelete Plus
DiskDigger is a utility for recovering deleted or formatted files from any storage media connected to your computer, including all types of memory cards, USB drives and internal or external hard drives. The program thoroughly searches the file system for traces of files as well as deleted files and allows you to preview many of them as they are found. You can limit the search to certain file types and also specify the sector range of the disk to scan.
Download DiskDigger (665 KB)
EASEUS Deleted File Recovery (windows)
EASEUS Deleted File Recovery enables you to recover files that have been accidentally deleted, even after they have been emptied from the recycle bin or were deleted directly from another program. An easy to use 3-step wizard interface guides you through the process of selecting the drive to be scanned and lets you preview and select the files to be recovered. The program supports thumbnail previews for common image formats and hex or text previews for other data types. EASEUS Deleted File Recovery works with FAT 12, FAT 16, FAT 32 and NTFS file systems on your local hard drives, portable devices and memory cards.
Download EASEUS Deleted File Recovery
Download EASEUS Deleted File Recovery (5.91 MB)
ICE ECC Data Recovery (windows)
ICE ECC is a file verification and repair tool that enables you to protect your important files against digital corruption using Reed-Solomon codes. The program is not intended as a main backup solution, but rather as a backup for your backup – it can be included on CDs or DVDs before you store your data, allowing you to recover data that has become corrupt due to age of the media or scratches. You can protect selected files or entire folders by simply selecting them and having the program generate an ECC file. If you ever need to verify whether the data has been modified or corrupted, just select the appropriate .ECC file and load it into ICE ECC, which will then analyze the files and can recover any corrupted data.
Download ICE ECC
Download ICE ECC (685 KB)
Pandora Recovery (windows)
Pandora Recovery enables you to recover accidentally deleted files from NTFS formatted drives, even if they have been emptied from the recycle bin. The program offers a quick scan for recently deleted files and a more time consuming surface scan that attempts to find all deleted files. The scan results provide a detailed list of files that were found along with a preview of the file content and an estimated chance of recovery. You can also search for files based on their name, type, size and other criteria.
Download Pandora Recovery
Download Pandora Recovery (3.05 MB)
Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery (windows)
Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery is an easy to use data recovery tool for the recovery of accidentally delete image files on removable media disks (Compact Flash, SmartMedia, Memory Sticks etc.). The interface is very easy to use, just select the device that contains the images that need to be recovered and specify the folder to save the images to. Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery works with images that have been deleted or formatted by the camera. Supported formats are TIFF, Exif, JPEG and GIF. We tested it successfully with a freshly camera formatted 1GB Flash card and were able to recover all images.
Download Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery
PC Inspector Smart Recovery (windows)
PC Inspector Smart Recovery is a data recovery program for Flash Card, Smart Media, SONY Memory Stick, IBM Micro Drive, Multimedia Card, Secure Digital Card(SD) or any other data device for digital cameras. It enables you to recover accidentally deleted or formatted pictures, videos or sound files from the selected media. The program also offers a mode that enables you to check the media for errors.
Download PC Inspector Smart Recovery
Download PC Inspector Smart Recovery (5.34 MB)
If you ask me. Recuva is the best.