|Our Windows version||Windows 11|
|How long we tested||4 weeks|
|Number of tested tools||17|
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.
A lot of data recovery solutions out there offer a free trial that only gets you as far as previewing recoverable files. Once you attempt to retrieve them, you’ll get hit with a message asking you to purchase the full version. Check if the software has a free version that allows actual recovery.
Whether it’s pictures, documents, audio, or file types, it’s a good idea to select a recovery program that supports the retrieval of a wide range of file extensions. Once you’re done recovering your files this time around, you may need to use the program again in the future for a different file type.
Download the application to either a Mac or WIndows machine and install it
Fire up the app and select the disk where the lost files were located
Clicking the Recover button will initiate the app’s powerful scanning algorithms
Choose the data to be restored from the preview display and click Recover to perform the recovery
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.
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.
Keep food and drink away from your work computer. This one goes without saying, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who keep food and drinks dangerously close to their laptop or computer. No matter how careful you are, uncontrollable circumstances may occur that could cause a spill onto your machine, potentially compromising your data.
On Windows PCs,MDF files that weren’t permanently deleted using the Shift + Delete command can be found and restored from the Recycle Bin tool. For Macs, all deleted X files are sent to the Trash first, so you can get them back from there. Otherwise, you can use Windows File History if you enabled it before the deletion or the Mac Timeline feature.
For MDF files that were accidentally deleted using the Delete key or right-click > Delete command, they should be available for restoration from the Windows Recycle Bin tool. Other forms of data loss may be recovered using the File History feature, provided it was enabled beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll need a quality data recovery program.
Deleted MDF files that cannot be found in the Windows Recycle Bin or Mac Trash can still be recovered using an effective data recovery program. Just make sure you stop using the drive they were in right away to avoid overwriting the deleted file. Alternatively, if you had File History enabled or created a System Restore point beforehand, you can use those methods.