Top 5 Data Recovery Apps for Windows

Data loss, also known as the elephant in the room! Lost data and files are all too common, not just on a personal level but in a professional environment too. While not seldom spoken about, data loss is a major hassle and causes lots of issues, stress and may cost lots of money.

Fortunately, even when an acceptable backup solution was not in place you may still be able to recover your lost, deleted or damaged files. We have put together a list of the top data recovery software for Windows. The list of software below works with all modern versions of Windows such as Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. Older release of Windows such as Windows XP may be supported by some tools as well.

This list of the best data recovery apps for Windows contains many top of the line suggestions both free download and paid software. We have included a brief description of the features of each app and potential use cases. We always suggest making sure to do your own research too as things change very quickly in the tech world!

#1 Disk Drill (used to be 7 Data Recovery)

Disk Drill is easy to use, reliable and doesn’t require you to be a mad scientist to understand it! It’s no surprise that Disk Drill pops up on most lists about the best hard drive data recovery software considering it allows up to 500MB of data recovery at no charge. The Free Edition also allows unlimited scanning and previewing for lost data which will help you to asses the situation and verify data recovery chances before investing any actual money. Is Disk Drill the same as 7 Data Recovery? Yes, it’s better, it’s an upgraded version of the app that used to be 7 Data Recovery. Now it has been premiumized to Disk Drill.

Recover up to 500MB for free with Disk Drill

Disk Drill is well versed in much more than just file recovery. A comprehensive feature set offers several helpful tools to prevent future data loss and ensure successful future recovery such as the “Recovery Vault” and “Guaranteed Recovery” features which help monitor and protect your drive from data loss. These features are included at no extra cost with Disk Drill and can really save the day.

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Notable file recovery features include a powerful Deep Scan feature which can dive deep into your media and recover lost files even when no partition is present or after tough data loss cases such as a formatted drive. The Deep Scan feature can reconstruct lost data from bits and pieces making it possible to recover files in conditions when file recovery would otherwise be considered impossible.

The Deep Scan feature is a nice compliment to the Quick Scan which very quickly detects recently deleted and lost files on your drive. These files are generally recovered rapidly exactly as they were before the deletion or data loss. Disk Drill is capable of scanning and detecting just about any type of file on your disk which means you can recover things like videos, music, work documents and even more advanced formats.

Download Disk Drill now, formerly known as 7 Data Recovery, it is constantly updated and the latest release of Windows 7/8/10 has added many improvements in addition to bug fixes. Disk Drill supports most major file systems and drive types even when scanning from Windows, for example: ExFAT and EXT4 systems besides the existing NTFS, FAT32, EXT, and HFS+ which have always been supported. Disk Drill works best with XP and later. Future support is planned for even more cool features such as Android recovery, stay tuned for the latest!

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#2 Undelete 360

Undelete 360 is a small file recovery program with a tiny file size of just 1.94 MB. Being small happens to be a plus when setup speed and time are of the essence. The application is built on a quick yet efficient algorithm which allows the user to undelete any file type. It can recover both files and folders lost due to an accident, a virus, or a computer failure. There are quite a few features which helped Undelete 360 land on the best file recovery software list but the simplicity and speed of use are the real advantages.

Undelete 360The simple interface of the software only adds to the ease of use. Most users will have no problem navigating the interface, just hit search, and the list of recoverable files will be displayed on your screen. The application provides a status like “very good” for files that can still be recovered and “overwritten” for those files that have little to no chance of recovery. Scanning speed in Undelete 360 is not as fast as some other software we mention such as Disk Drill however the installation process is very fast. Actual file recovery speeds could be better too.

File preview and Wipe File are two other features the Undeleted 360 offers. The former provides a quick view of the file before recovery while the latter helps with ultimately deleting any file that can’t be retrieved by Undelete 360 or any other software. This application can work on devices like digital cameras, memory cards, smartphones, computer hard drives, USB, and other data-saving tools.

You can download Undelete 360 within seconds, it has no paid version and is free to use. It functions under Windows 2000, XP, VISTA, Windows 7, 2003, or 2008 Server. The most modern Windows file systems are supported, such as: NTFS, NTFS5, FAT12, FAT16, and FAT32.

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#3 DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software

DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery is more popularly known as DMDE. It is a powerful app to recover, edit and search for data on any type of media. Built with special algorithms, it can provide support even in the most complex cases of data loss.

This application is not intended for novice users and is best suited for a more hands-on user with technical experience. The interface does not feel up to date and some features are a bit hard to find however the overall recovery performance with DM Disk Editor is satisfactory in many cases. Specialized feature sets make tough recovery cases possible if the proper settings are used, this can be considered another plus.

DMDE In addition to standard recovery it is possible to browse and edit recoverable files with a hex editor-type, you can even edit sectors which in severe data loss cases can be necessary for advanced users.

Automated search features are available which help with a slightly more user-friendly scan similar to some other software on our best data recovery software list.
The software has the ability to search and recovery drives and partitions that have become invisible to Windows. It also offers RAID reconstruction, disk imaging abilities, disk clone, and a lot more. While the heightened learning curve may be considered a problem for some users, DM Disk Editor does a great job at advanced, hard to handle cases of file recovery.

DMDE ideal for Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. File system support includes NTFS, FAT12/16, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2/3/4, HFS+/HFSX. The file is portable and runs after installing, installation from portable media is possible. Paid versions of the software offer the ability to recover groups of files or an entire directory tree, while the free version only allows file retrieval one at a time. Standard and commercial licensing options are available.

Recover deleted data with partition recovery software

#4 MiniTool Partition Recovery

Boasting its comprehensive partition recovery capabilities, MiniTool Partition Recovery can recover not only a few deleted files, but it can also salvage an entire partition. It is very easy to use for basic operation, and it is mainly focused on its partition level recovery approach, which is good for the less experienced users. There is very little learning curve with this tool which makes it a good candidate for novice users.

MiniToolIts operational flow can be done in 3 easy steps. First, you have to select the target disk and set the scanning range based on the data issue. Then, you need click “scan”. Lastly, you preview the files you want to recover and place the retrieved files on another drive for storage and later use.

Ease of use does come with a few disadvantages, mainly in the lack of support for handling bad sectors when scanning. MiniTool has the ability to continuously scan partitions one after the other, but it lacks the capability of skipping the bad sector once scanning starts. Minitool can’t be minimized, either, while the operation is taking place. Working around the window can be annoying, especially if there are important tasks to do and the scanning is taking so long. The aforementioned gripes are the only real cons to MiniTool and thus we find it a suitable candidate on the top data recovery software list.

Partition Recovery supports the latest and the most common disk technologies such as: SCSI disks, SATA disks, IDE disks, mobile hard disks and just about any other type of fixed media. It has a flexible scanning selection which ranges from a full disk scan down to a specific set of parameters. Exploring partition content in advance is also possible (preview). This function provides users the ability to identify the partition they want to recover without the need for a full scan.

Officially supporting Windows 10, 8, 8.1, and 7, MiniTool can also run on older versions of Windows such as XP and Vista. The free version can recover up to 1GB, while the paid versions have no limit on the amount of data recovered. Loading previous recovery results is also possible in the paid versions. Recovering files from a Windows server is only available in versions with a business license and multiple license options are available.

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#5 Stellar Recovery

Known since the early 90’s, Stellar Recovery has slowly evolved into a well-known name in the data recovery software world. Stellar Recovery is known for fast, clean results with a high success rate on many common file types. Advanced features are limited but Stellar Recovery does a great job at quick and easy scans for Windows while maintaining a reasonable cost and ease of use.

Stellar Recovery Stellar Recovery is packed with features and options. Notable features include Deleted File Recovery (of course!) which allows you to scan the storage device where the file was deleted and recover applicable results. There is an option to scan for a specific file or folder which is a good way to reduce the scan time in theory, in practice this feature is only ideal for reducing time sorting files. There is no option for a quick or a deep scan so once the scanning process starts the scan type is selected automatically. During scans Stellar Recovery displays information like how much data has been scanned and how long the scan needs to complete. After searching, a preview of retrievable files will be presented.

Besides Deleted File Recovery, Stellar also offers Optical Media Recovery, which can rescue data from scratched or corrupted optical media like CD or DVD disks. The Pro version also includes an Image Your Hard Disk feature to permit recovery from a hard drive with bad sectors or damaged areas. Email recovery is also advertised in the Pro version.

Stellar Recovery supports recovery from FAT, NTFS, and exFAT drives and partitions. It runs best with Windows XP and later versions. Multiple license types are required and feature distinctive features instead of size recovery limits. There does not appear to be support for advanced recovery cases such as RAID at this time.


Data loss is one of the most troublesome problems one can have. That’s why it only makes sense to choose the right tool to use when recovering your lost or deleted files.

Internet search will return hundreds of data recovery tools and it can be a real challenge to find a good tool, much less one that isn’t just adware! The list we provided above offers a great starting point and even some free options! One of the most notable contenders on the list is Disk Drill, known as 7 Data Recovery in the past, which is renowned for ease of use and powerful algorithms. It’s not always necessary to sacrifice one or the other in regard to data recovery. We always encourage additional reading to find the best resources for data recovery, happy scanning!
Disk Drill 2
    Windows XP+, 16MB disk space
    4.5 by 467 users
    Version, released on 02/13/2018
    View release notes
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