Photo Recovery Software

Losing digital photos can feel a lot like losing precious memories, especially if the images were accumulated over such a long period of time that you don’t even remember them vividly anymore. Luckily, with the right photo recovery software, you can easily recover deleted photos in their original quality, and it won’t take you more than a few minutes.
free photo recovery software for pc

Best Photo Recovery Software

You may not have more than one chance to recover your lost photos, so you should choose the best photo recovery software available.

1. Disk Drill Photo Recovery (Windows & Mac)

disk drill photo recovery software

Disk Drill is a flexible data recovery tool that can be used to perform deleted photo recovery with just a few clicks. It features multiple powerful scanning algorithms that are automatically executed in the optimal order to deliver the best data recovery results possible. As such, Disk Drill delivers professional performance in a beginner-friendly package.


With Disk Drill, you can recover virtually all photo file formats you may come across from any storage device. You can even preview lost images to ensure that you’re recovering the right files. Included with Disk Drill are multiple free disk tools designed to help you protect important files and keep your data better organized. All this and more makes Disk Drill the best software to recover deleted photos.


Key features:

  • An intuitive user interface;
  • Can preview found files before recovery;
  • Supports over 400 file formats;
  • Data protection tools included for free;
  • The ability to pause, save, and resume scans;
  • 500 MB free data recovery (Windows version only).

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly user interface
  • RAW photo recovery
  • Supports all common image file formats
  • Extensive knowledge base with tutorials
  • Recovers images from iPhone/Android devices (Disk Drill for Mac)

Cons:

  • None

Pricing:

  • Disk Drill Basic: can recover up to 500 MB of data;
  • Disk Drill PRO: $89.00;
  • Disk Drill Enterprise: $499.

Best for: Disk Drill is the best software to recover deleted photos because it combines exceptional ease of use with the ability to deliver professional picture recovery results.

2. R-Studio (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

r-studio photo recovery tool

R-Studio is a professional-grade photo recovery solution with enough features to satisfy the needs of data recovery experts who recover lost and deleted photos and other files for living. Some of its most noteworthy features include advanced RAID reconstruction, built-in HEX editor, and the ability to recover data over a local network or the internet.


Key features:

  • Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux file systems;
  • Advanced data recovery algorithm;
  • Integration with DeepSpar Disk Imager.

Pros:

  • Powerful features
  • Support for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Can recover remote locations
  • Familiar File Explorer-style interface

Cons:

  • Not intended for casual users
  • Expensive to unlock all features

Pricing:

  • R-Studio FAT: $49.99;
  • R-Studio NTFS: $59.99;
  • R-Studio: $79.99;
  • R-Studio Network: $179.99;
  • R-Studio Technician: $899.00.

Best for: R-Studio is difficult to recommend to beginners because it lacks the intuitiveness of Disk Drill. An inexperienced user could easily get lost in the vast sea of available options and fail to recover deleted photos. However, professionals and power-users shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try.

3. Recuva (Windows)

Recuva photo recovery

Recuva provides users with basic file recovery capabilities and support for most common file types. It owes much of its popularity to the fact that the free version can recover an unlimited number of photos without any major restrictions. In addition to performing picture recovery, Recuva can securely delete sensitive photos and other data using military-standard deletion techniques to make it absolutely impossible for anyone to ever retrieve them back—not even with the most advanced photo recovery tools out there.


Key features:

  • Virtual hard drive support;
  • Deep scan mode;
  • Automatic updates;
  • Secure file deletion.

Pros:

  • Clean user interface
  • Fast scans
  • Recovers an unlimited amount of data for free

Cons:

  • Sub-par performance
  • Limited customer support
  • Stagnant development

Pricing:

  • Recuva Free: $0;
  • Recuva Pro: $19.95.

Best for: Even though it has been some time since Recuva was last updated, this photo recovery tool remains a solid option for addressing more straightforward cases of data loss.

4. Stellar Photo Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Stellar Photo Recovery

Stellar Photo Recovery, previously known as Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery, is a purpose-built software to recover deleted photos, videos, and audio files from SD cards (Mini, Micro, SDHC, and SDXC), USB flash drives, hard drives, and other storage devices. It boasts a three-step recovery process that even complete beginners can complete without reading or watching a tutorial beforehand. The premium version of this photo recovery app can repair corrupted photos and videos, a feature that’s definitely worth paying for regardless of whether you’re a professional photographer or just a hobbyist.


Key features:

  • Repairs corrupted photos and videos;
  • User-friendly interface;
  • Can create sector-by-sector storage device images;
  • Lets you add your own file types.

Pros:

  • Three-step recovery process
  • Supports many image and video file formats
  • Offers several ways to preview scan results

Cons:

  • The least expensive version is rather limited
  • Slower scan speed

Pricing:

  • Stellar Photo Recovery Standard: $39.99;
  • Stellar Photo Recovery Professional: $49.99;
  • Stellar Photo Recovery Premium: $69.99.

Best for: The most expensive version of this photo recovery software stands out with its ability to repair corrupted photos and videos. Just know that it takes some time to finish the job.

5. PhotoRec (Windows, Mac & Linux)

PhotoRec image recovery solution

PhotoRec is a versatile recovery tool that uses a menu-driven command-line interface to interact with users. As such, it’s not the right tool for casual users who are looking for an intuitive photo recovery program that doesn’t require an explanation. But if the lack of a graphical user interface doesn’t bother you, then PhotoRec can offer the ability to recover more than 480 file extensions in about 300 file families from hard drives, CD-ROMs, memory cards, and other storage devices.


Key features:

  • Runs on just about any operating system;
  • Works even with severely damaged file systems;
  • Distributed under GNU General Public License (GPLV v2+).

Pros:

  • Completely unlimited and free picture recovery
  • Great performance

Cons:

  • Lacks a graphical user interface
  • Can’t preview recoverable files
  • Not suitable for beginners

Pricing:

  • PhotoRec is completely free and open-source.

Best for: There’s a good reason why PhotoRec is one of the most popular apps to recover deleted pictures among photographers who are not afraid of the command-line: it gets the job done for free.

6. TestDisk (Windows, Mac & Linux)

TestDisk image recovery app

TestDisk is a powerful open-source data recovery software with support for all commonly used image file formats. Its primary strength is the ability to find lost partitions and make non-booting disks bootable again. Just like PhotoRec, which comes from the same developer, TestDisk lacks a graphical user interface, so recommending it to regular users who have only limited experience with deleted photo recovery is not easy.


Key features:

  • Can find and recover lost partitions;
  • Makes non-booting disks bootable again;
  • Distributed under GNU General Public License (GPLV v2+).

Pros:

  • Open-source and free
  • Supports many operating systems
  • Capable of recovering lost partitions

Cons:

  • Command-line user interface
  • Doesn’t preview photos before recovery
  • Less suitable for inexperienced users

Pricing:

  • TestDisk is completely free and open-source.

Best for: TestDisk is one of the best photo recovery apps when it comes to addressing issues with lost partitions, but inexperienced users often struggle with its command-line user interface.

7. CardRecovery (Windows)

CardRecovery

As its name suggests, CardRecovery is a deleted photo recovery application whose main purpose is to recover lost, deleted, corrupted, or formatted photos from various memory cards, including all types of SD cards, CF (Compact Flash) cards, xD-Picture cards, and others. At its heart is the so-called SmartScan technology, which can quickly locate and restore lost photos without moving, deleting, or otherwise modifying other data and potentially causing additional data loss.


Key features:

  • Unique and exclusive SmartScan technology;
  • Supports almost all memory card types.

Pros:

  • Limited to read-only operations
  • Step-by-step recovery wizard
  • Free trial available

Cons:

  • Outdated user interface
  • Limited file format support

Pricing:

  • Free trial – limited functionality;
  • Full version - $39.95.

Best for: If you intend to recover deleted photos only from memory cards, then CardRecovery is an affordable solution that delivers decent results thanks to its SmartScan technology.

Best Photo Recovery Software Compared

Disk Drill free photo recovery
Disk Drill
R-Studio
R-Studio
Recuva
Recuva
Stellar Photo Recovery
Stellar Photo Recovery
PhotoRec
PhotoRec
TestDisk
TestDisk
CardRecovery
CardRecovery
Usability Excellent Good Good Good Limited Limited Limited
Trial recovery limit 500 MB Can only recover files less than 256 KB in size Unlimited Scan only Unlimited Unlimited Scan only
Preview recoverable data
Data protection tools S.M.A.R.T. data analysis, Recovery Vault, and disk backup Disk imaging
OS support Windows & Mac Windows, Mac & Linux Windows Windows & Mac Windows, Mac & Linux Windows, Mac & Linux Windows
Price $89 lifetime license (Windows + macOS) $79 $19,95/year $49.99/year Free Free $39.95

Advantages of Paid Photo Recovery Software

Considering that our list of the best photo recovery software applications includes several free options, you might be wondering what makes paid photo recovery software worth the price.


Well, there’s no straightforward answer because all paid apps for recovering photos are different, but there are certain advantages that totally free photo recovery software solutions often lack, including:


  • Professional customer support.
  • A knowledge base filled with FAQs and user guides to assist with using the product.
  • Regular software updates and upgrades.
  • Polished user experience.
  • Extra features.

Situations Where Image Recovery Software Can Help

Everyone knows that losing files is the easy part, but getting them back can be an ordeal unless you equip yourself with the best image recovery software available. Here are some common situation where image recovery software can help:
Accidental deletion
Accidental deletion
Human error is responsible for the majority of data loss. There is really no foolproof way to guard against accidentally making a mistake and deleting the wrong files from your system. The best advice we can offer is to be careful and double-check your work before hitting that delete button.
Malicious software
Malicious software
Viruses and other malware can lead to data loss and cause your precious photos to vanish in an instant. That’s why you should always keep your antivirus software updated and be cautious when connecting your computer and other devices to public networks.
Data corruption
Data corruption
Hard drives, memory cards, USB flash drives, and other storage devices can become corrupted due to software bugs, sudden loss of power, voltage spikes, physical hardware issues, unexpected interruption in normal processes, and a myriad of other reasons. In many cases, photos can still be recovered from them using the photo recovery software solutions described in this article.
Drive formatting
Drive formatting
The number of images that have been lost after careless formatting is impossible to count, but we predict that the figure is in billions. While formatting may seem irreversible, the opposite is actually the case. With reliable image recovery software, you should be able to recover all lost images from an accidentally formatted storage device, but you need to act quickly enough and avoid writing new data to the storage device.
System crashes
System crashes
Modern operating systems are remarkably stable considering how complex and capable they are. Still, they are not perfect, and system crashes still happen from time to time, usually at the worst possible moment. If you’re unlucky, a system crash may cause you to lose important photos, but image recovery software gives you a good chance of getting them back.
Partition loss
Partition loss
If you image your hard drive to be a cabinet, then partitions are individual drawers. To successfully retrieve files from them, your computer needs to know how they are organized, which is where the so-called partition table comes in. If this table gets damaged, partition loss may occur. But just because the partition itself is no longer accessible doesn’t mean that image recovery software can’t retrieve your images from it.

What Image File Formats Can Be Recovered Using Photo Recovery Software?

If you choose one of the best photo recovery software applications listed in this article, then you can expect to recover the following image file formats:
photo recovery app for pc
Lossy Image Formats
JPEG, JPG, JP2, JPX, GIF, TIFF/TIF, DJVU, WEBP and more
photo recovery software for pc
Lossless Image Formats
PNG, BMP, PCX and more
photos recovery software
Raw Image Formats
3FR, ARW, CR2, CR3, DCR, DNG, ERF, GPR, NEF, NRW, ORF, PEF, PEF, RAF, RW2, RAW/RWL, SR2, SRW and more
photos recovery software for pc
Vector Image Formats
EPS, AI, CDR, INDD, SVG, WMF and more
photo recover software
Special Image Formats
AEP, AFPHOTO, ALBM, ANI, BLEND, BPN, C4D, DPX, DXF, EMF, ICNS, ICO, LRCAT, PSD, SKP and more
photo recovery
3D Image Formats
R3D, BLEND, MAX, MPO, LWO, LWS, SH3D and more

Which Devices are Supported by Photo Recovery Tools?

Generally, leading photo recovery tools can recover deleted photos from any device that your computer can recognize, including USB mass storage devices:
DSLR And PAS Cameras
DSLR And PAS Cameras
Canon®, Nikon®, Sony®, Fujifilm®, Olympus®, Panasonic®, Pentax®, Leica®, Kodak®, Polaroid® and more
Action Cameras
Action Cameras
GoPro®, DJI®, Yi®, Sony®, Olfi®, Olympus®, Insta360®, SJCAM®, Drift®, Garmin®, Nikon® and more
Memory Cards
Memory Cards
SanDisk®, Transcend®, Lexar®, PNY®, Samsung®, Kingston®, Integral® and more
Virtual Reality VR Cameras
Virtual Reality (VR) Cameras
GoPro Fusion 360®, Insta360®, Samsung Gear 360®, 360Penguin®, Lenovo Mirage 180® and more
Internal Storage Devices
Internal Storage Devices
Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) (Western Digital, Toshiba), Solid-State Drives (SSDs) (Kingston, Goodram)
External Storage Devices
External Storage Devices
USB flash drives, PC cards, SD cards, Android and iOS smartphones and more

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team
Yes, Disk Drill for Mac can recover deleted photos from rooted Android smartphones and tablets. You can find instructions on how to root most Android devices online. Some manufacturers even provide official tools that make the rooting process straightforward.

When choosing a digital image recovery software for PC, considering the following:

  1. The number of formats supported by the software.
  2. The price of the software and the availability of a free version.
  3. Ease of use and digital image recovery performance and speed.
  4. The quality of customer support and the number of available customer support channels.

Here are the top 5 best photo recovery software solutions for Mac:

  1. Disk Drill - Best all around photo recovery software
  2. PhotoRec - Best open source
  3. Exif Untrasher - Best simple utility
  4. R-Studio - Best for professionals
  5. Softtote Mac Data Recovery - Best underdog
No, it’s not possible to perform photo recovery online—at least not proper photo recovery. To recover deleted photos, you need to download and install a photo recovery application and grant it access to your file system, which is something you should never do with a website. You can, however, use various online tools to restore and digitally enhance corrupted pictures.
Don't take our word for it!
  • djsumpter
    djsumpter
    Thank you for your great product "Disk Drill." I have it installed on windows xp and have used it to restore data from an accidentally formatted external ntfs drive.
  • «Are you looking for a software to help you recover data or files? Disk Drill for Windows analyzes your PC in order to rescue all those files you have eliminated, or that you have just lost. This versatile program is capable of restoring up to 200 types of files.» by Daniel Cáceres
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