In-Depth Disk Drill for Windows Review (Version 5.0)

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Disk drill
Disk Drill is a data recovery tool that’s very reliable for retrieving lost data. Its developers are constantly upgrading the software and have released a new version. The latest update, Disk Drill 5, introduces the ability to recover your data from RAID arrays and virtual hard disks. Furthermore, additional recoverable file entities have been added and the user interface has received a new look, making it even more intuitive.

Disk Drill is very handy when you need to recover data from your computer or external storage devices. It can handle data recovery processes for all kinds of data storage and recover a myriad of different file types (400+). Additionally, Disk Drill provides tools that help protect your data.

Brief Overview of Disk Drill

Starting price Free version available, professional licenses from $89 with a $29 add-on for a lifetime license.
Features Data recovery for a vast range of storage devices and file types
Scanning corrupted disks, partitions and raw disks
Backup and restore
File preview during scanning
Proprietary SMART technology
Data recovery from RAID arrays and virtual hard disk drives
Competitors Recuva
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
Stellar Data Recovery
Recoverit Data Recovery

What’s New in Disk Drill?

Disk Drill is always being expanded on to ensure it’s meeting the needs of its users. Disk Drill 5 introduces a lot of exciting improvements that further improve the application, both in terms of general usability and recovery performance. With these new improvements, the developers have managed to make the tool even better without compromising its exceptional recovery abilities and ease of use.

  • New modular user interface with support for Dark Mode.
  • More ways to organize scan results.
  • Search history for scan results.
  • Cross-platform scan session management.
  • Support for data recovery from RAID arrays and virtual hard disk drives.
  • More supported file formats, including 3MF, CRW, and VP6.

How to Get Started with Disk Drill

If you need a quick data recovery solution, setting up Disk Drill has two easy steps.

  1. Download Disk Drill from the official website.
  2. Open the setup and install Disk Drill. Grant Disk Drill administrator privileges, as this is necessary for the algorithms to run.

You are now ready to recover data from your desired location! Opening Disk Drill reveals the main menu, which is intuitive and easy to navigate.

Once installed, you’re all set to recover data. Once you open Disk Drill, you’ll be greeted by the main interface where you can begin recovery by selecting the drive you want to scan and clicking Search for lost data.

Main Disk Drill interface

On the left, you can also explore Disk Drill’s extra tools. The S.M.A.R.T. monitoring feature actively monitors the health of your drives and alerts you to any potential problems. Both the Data Protection and Drive Backup features work to keep your data safe going forward, addressing the root cause of data loss. Better yet, all these extra tools are completely free.

Taking Disk Drill for a Test Drive

It’s easy to boast about the recovery abilities of Disk Drill 5. Therefore, to show you what a typical recovery looks like with Disk Drill, we’re going to take you through a recovery scenario to showcase just how easy it is to use and what it’s capable of. This data loss simulation will involve recovering files (of various types, including photos, videos, and documents) from a folder that was permanently deleted from our Windows machine.

Recovering Deleted Folders from Hard Drives

We had a folder containing photos, videos, and documents that we permanently deleted. Using Disk Drill, we were able to recover the folder, along with all of the documents inside. This is how we did it:

Step 1. We launched Disk Drill and selected the disk drive that contained our recently deleted files.

Selecting the disk drive for scanning.

Step 2. Once the drive was selected, we began the scan by clicking Search for lost data. This scan incorporates multiple scan types to ensure you get the best results.

Starting Disk Drill scan.

Step 3. Once the scan was complete, we were presented with a basic overview of what files (broken down by file type) Disk Drill was able to find. From here, we clicked Review found items to explore them all.

Reviewing found items.

Step 4. We found our deleted files and marked them for recovery. Once they were all selected, we clicked Recover.

Recovering files with Disk Drill.

Step 5. We chose an appropriate recovery location and recovered all of the deleted files.

The post-recovery screen.

The Complete Disk Drill Review

Now that we have tested the newest version of Disk Drill let’s delve into its specific features.

System requirements

Disk Drill 5 is built for Windows 10 64-bit and Windows 11 64-bit. For servers, it will work on Windows Server 2016/2019/2022. Windows 7/8/8.1 users will need to download Disk Drill 4.5 instead. Any computers still running Windows XP or Vista will only be able to use Disk Drill 2.0.

Minimum hardware requirements:

  • Disk space: Over 1 GB
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Display resolution: 1280×720
  • CPU: x64 compatible CPU 1.0 GHz processor or faster

Pricing Plans

Disk Drill offers a free trial to their software which lets you test out all of the features and restore up to 500MB. However, if you want to recover more files, you should consider upgrading. The Pro version for one user and up to three activations will cost you $89, which includes priority support, smart one-click recovery, and the option to mount recoverable items as a disk.

Disk Drill pricing.

However, it might be a good idea to also pay for lifetime upgrades (29$) as the software is constantly improving. Buying licenses for a business is more expensive, but you can have up to 10 users with unlimited activations (499$ plus lifetime upgrades at 99$).

Disk Drill pricing tiers.

Features

Disk Drill is primarily a data recovery tool. Its main features are:

  • Powerful quick and deep scan algorithms
  • Compatibility with several file systems including FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, APFS, and ext2/ext3/ext4
  • Compatible with essential file types for documents, media, and other kinds of data
  • Automatic scans
  • Scanning lost partitions
  • Scanning RAW devices
  • Cross-platform scan session management
  • Byte-to-byte image creation
  • Comprehensive scan results organization
  • Scanning RAID arrays
  • Scanning virtual hard disk drives

User-interface

Disk Drill’s user interface was already optimized for a great user experience, but Disk Drill 5 takes it even further with a new modular user interface. Everything you need is just a click away so you don’t have to get lost in a series of endless menus to find what you’re looking for.

The new and improved user interface adheres to Microsoft’s design guidelines and the new Dark Mode feature ensures a comfortable user experience in any environment. The recovery results screen includes everything you need to organize the scan results without it feeling crowded.

Recovery Process

The steps involved in data recovery are made extremely simple for Disk Drill. Regardless of the storage device or the file types you want to recover, Disk Drill works in five simple steps:

Step 1. Install and launch Disk Drill:

Installing Disk Drill.

Step 2. Select the drive and begin the scanning algorithm. When you perform a scan, it automatically utilizes all available scan types to ensure it finds as much data as possible, even lost partitions. This allows the scan process to remain simple but as effective as possible.

Starting the Disk Drill scan.

Step 3. Either wait for the scan to complete or check the scan results for your file. This scan overview screen breaks down what data Disk Drill has found according to file types and displays any lost partitions. It also includes how many blocks it has scanned along with how much time has elapsed and how much time is remaining.

Reviewing found items.

Step 4. Select the files you want to restore. To make the scan results easier to navigate, you can filter the results by file type, file size, date modified and recovery chances using the new filter options at the top. Furthermore, you can preview your data to confirm you’re recovering the correct files.

Marking files for recovery.

Step 5. Click recover and your files should be ready to use!

Finishing Disk Drill recovery.

Almost sounds too good to be true, correct? But Disk Drill is genuinely that easy to work with.

Additional tools

The creators of Disk Drill noted the need for data protection. Often we run into situations where we need data recovery because we don’t back up our data regularly enough or empty Recycle Bins (like we did).

As a result, Disk Drill offers free, inbuilt data protection services. When you configure these settings, Disk Drill provides you with a Recovery Vault that facilitates quick recovery of deleted files.

The Recovery Vault intelligently “remembers” where your files were stored. As a result, since Disk Drill has this pointer information, file recovery becomes effortless. However, if the deleted file IDs get overwritten, recovery isn’t possible. Therefore, when you encounter deletion, it’s critical that you use your computer or disk less.

Data Protection feature.

This rescue feature of Disk Drill is also prevalent among users, with many using it as their new backup tool.

One user commented, “Besides all the great disk utility functions, Disk Drill has already saved me from many problems with its amazing recovery function! I have lost count of how many times I’ve had files mistakenly deleted, only to be recovered by Disk Drill. It has become my backup utility.”

In the event that you do encounter data loss, Disk Drill also allows you to create byte-to-byte backups using its Drive Backup feature. These backups take a complete snapshot of your drive and store it in an image format. This image can be attached to Disk Drill and scanned. Scanning an image instead of your actual drive allows you to recover your data without the worry of something affecting the original data.

Drive Backup feature.

In addition to the Recovery Vault and Drive Backup features, Disk Drill has a S.M.A.R.T. monitoring tool. Every drive contains S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) data that gives you an indication of its health. Disk Drill’s Disk Monitoring tool is able to alert you to any issues that arise with your disk drive, giving you the opportunity to take action before something happens to cause data loss.

Disk Drill for Business

As a large enterprise, your data recovery needs will differ from those of an individual user. A business cannot afford to spend its time troubleshooting issues by itself, not when there is so much on the line. This is why an enterprise license is a great idea.
disk drill enterprise edition

As a licensed enterprise user, you can expect:

  • Unlimited recovery
  • Commercial data recovery
  • Inbuilt data protection tools
  • Ten users and unlimited activations
  • Priority customer service

These features cover all your data recovery needs as an enterprise and make sure that you are not left stranded when you run into problems.

Pros and Cons of Disk Drill

While we love Disk Drill and are always amazed at the incredible work the creators put into it, we notice the good and the bad about all software we test.

Pros

  • User-friendly UI
  • Powerful scanning algorithms offering greater accuracy and versatility
  • Compatibility across major versions of Windows
  • Recovery for a wide range of file systems and file types
  • Free inbuilt data protection and backup tools
  • RAW photo recovery
  • RAID data recovery
  • Support for virtual disk drives
  • Dark Mode available
Cons
  • Limited customer support for the free version
  • Disk Drill does not work on phones
  • Deep scanning algorithms might take too long

Although there are apparent problems with Disk Drill that we would love to see fixed, they aren’t pressing. What we like most about Disk Drill is the constant evolution to resolving issues that users face. And that’s why we are sure that they will iron out these problems eventually.

Disk Drill VS other Data Recovery Tools

There are many data recovery tools on the market, and they look incredibly similar to each other. Like you, we wondered if the fluff about Disk Drill was well-deserved or whether it was just like its competitors, just packaged differently.

Perhaps most importantly, unlike EaseUS and Stellar, the creators of Disk Drill are constantly fixing bugs. So even if you encounter problems, if you flag them to the developers, they will help find a fix.

Disk Drill’s pricing plans are also an excellent value for money. Instead of subscribing to the service, you pay a one-time fee to license the software, and you can use it as long as you like. Like we mentioned previously, Disk Drill is constantly evolving through updates, so it makes sense to also pay a one-time fee for lifetime upgrades. That way, you always use the very best version of the tool.

Here’s a list of commendable alternatives to Disk Drill.

disk drill premium features

Disk Drill also has the inbuilt capacity to deal with a very long list of file types, and you need not add them manually as Stellar does. Disk Drill takes away the stress of additional steps, allowing you to focus only on what’s important: your data.

The two major problems with Disk Drill are:

  • Lack of phone support
  • Full scans take longer to complete than other recovery tools

We compared Disk Drill against two significant players on the market which are incredibly popular with users – EaseUS and Stellar. Here’s a quick review of each of those:

EaseUS

Ease US home screen

EaseUS is packed with features that allow you to recover your corrupted, deleted, or lost files quickly.

Here are some of the highlights:

Pros

  • Intuitive interface, allowing even new users to get started very quickly
  • EaseUS scans average drives in about 15 minutes, which is an impressively short amount of time
  • Recognizes RAW partitions
Cons
  • Large files take too long to retrieve
  • Subscription based pricing plans are unsuitable for most users

Stellar

Stellar is for advanced users who know their way around intricate software. Its basic functionality provides recovery support for up to 200 file types, including databases, documents, and media. This is good enough for a regular user, but users working with specific file formats will find this frustrating.

stellar scan page

Pros

Allows users to expand its file compatibility manually. Advanced users can make the best of this feature when they need to recover custom file types.

Cons
  • Data recovery results are inconsistent
  • Like EaseUS, the pricing model is subscription-based, locking you into a plan you did not need or want

Verdict

While we think that Disk Drill is an excellent service, there are situations where you could make better use of the other software.

Software When to use
EaseUS For all kinds of data recovery, but especially when dealing with RAW partitions
Stellar Data recovery for specific file formats, mainly when you work with uncommon file types that need to be added manually
Disk Drill All kinds of data recovery, but in particular when you need to get started right away and when you want additional protection for your data

Conclusion

Disk Drill remains one of the best options for recovering data from practically any data loss scenario. It uses advanced algorithms to scan your drive and pull as much recoverable data as possible. Furthermore, its intuitive and modern user interface makes it easy to use for anyone, whether you’re a new user just recovering a few files or a professional needing to recover thousands of files from a RAID array.

Of course, every data loss situation is unique. In some cases, you may need to recover an obscure file type that Disk Drill doesn’t support. Or, it may just be outside of your price range. However, outside of these special cases, Disk Drill has proven itself to be a top-performing data recovery tool that’s able to recover your files and prevent them from becoming lost again in the future.

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