|Our Windows version||Windows 11|
|How long we tested||1 week|
|Number of tested tools||10|
While there are a few genuinely free data recovery programs out there and some with a decent trial version, they’re often either overly complex, ineffective, or have recovery limits. So if you’re willing to invest, you should find a program that fits your price range. Also, consider whether you’d prefer a program with subscriptions or a one-time payment.
There’s no point in investing time, effort, and maybe even money into a data recovery program with mediocre chances of success. Make sure to do your research and choose one with a proven track record, making it all the more likely for you to get your lost files back.
Data loss can occur on any operating system but not all data recovery programs support multiple platforms. Make sure the app you choose is fully compatible with the OS you run or, at least, has a version for that platform particularly. Certain programs even allow the recovery of storage media formatted for a different operating system entirely.
Download and install the app to your Windows or Mac computer
Launch the app and direct it to the disk you will use for recovery
Choose Recover to begin scanning the selected disk for recoverable files
After selecting the files you want to restore, click the Recover button again
Create an image at the first sign of storage failure. If you notice that your storage device is starting to fail, you should immediately create a backup image of the medium so that you can attempt data recovery later. That way, you can preserve whatever information is currently on the drive before it incurs further data loss.
Password protect your machine. If you live in a household with multiple people, then it’s a good idea to put a strong password on your computer or laptop. You never know when a child or another unauthorized person might try to make their way into your machine and fiddle with your files. Better safe than sorry.
Install quality antivirus/antimalware software. Viruses and malware can wreak havoc on your computer and storage media and could lead to some serious loss of data. To prevent that, it’s always a good idea to install quality antivirus and antimalware software to counteract any malicious programs trying to infiltrate your machine.
When M3U files are deleted from a computer, they are not permanently erased just yet. So long as they’re not overwritten by new data, these files remain out of sight on the storage media and can be recovered through quality data recovery programs. Backup tools like File History, System Restore, and Timeline can also be used to recover lost data.
Backups are the easiest way to recover M3U files that were saved over. Windows machines also have a built-in feature that allows you to retrieve older versions of X files, as long as you enabled the tool before the overwriting occurred. Mac has a similar feature called Time Machine. Alternatively, you can use Windows System Restore to return your PC to a previous point in time, but you’d need to have created a backup prior.
A quality data recovery program should allow for the retrieval of a wide range of different file types, whether they’re documents, images, audio clips, and others. Disk Drill is an excellent option that is capable of recovering M3U extension and you can easily filter out the results by typing the extension into the search bar at the results screen.