Best USB Data Recovery Software for Mac and Windows

Losing data from your USB drive due to accidental deletion or device malfunction is always a stressful affair, and your best bet at retrieving that information would be through the use of quality data recovery software. To make things easier, we’ve done all the research and tested out the tools for you, and we’ve come up with a list of the best USB stick recovery software that will give you the highest chance at rescuing your missing files.
last update icon Updated on:May 11, 2022
Emma Collins
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1. Disk Drill (Windows, Mac)

Latest update: Version 4.4.606 (November 4, 2021)
Supported files: Over 400 file formats
System requirements: Windows 7 SP1+ / Mac OS X 10.11.6+

Disk Drill is a cut above the rest when it comes to data recovery thanks to its user-friendly design, high recovery rates, nifty extra features, and consistent updates. Disk Drill Basic for Windows allows you to scan as many files as you like and retrieve up to half a gigabyte’s worth of data in just a few clicks and you’ll also have access to the additional features to boot.


Disk Drill

The program’s layout is exceedingly intuitive and is easy to navigate for both novice and experienced users, while its advanced algorithm can dive deep into storage mediums to recover files that other software would have trouble locating. It works with all kinds of USB file systems as well, including ExFAT, FAT32, NTFS, ext4, HFS+, and more.


Disk Drill Protection Screen

It doesn’t stop at file recovery either. Disk Drill also comes with a data protection feature that can store important files and folders in a secure vault, along with drive backup capabilities that allow you to make a perfect disk image that even contains deleted data which you can recover at a later time. Disk Drill remains the most comprehensive and effective recovery tool around and is sure to be your best option at rescuing your missing data.


Recover up to 500 MB for free with Disk Drill

Pros:

  • Intuitive and attractive user-interface
  • Supports a wide variety of USB file types
  • The free Windows version allows you to recover up to 500 MB
  • Includes data protection and drive backup features
  • Powerful scanning algorithm
  • Simple recovery process
  • Exceptional recovery results

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with Linux machines

Price:

Disk Drill Basic Free
Disk Drill PRO $89.00
Disk Drill Enterprise $499
Competitive Upgrade 50% OFF

Free version: Disk Drill Basic for Windows has the free version and lets you recover up to 500 MB of data.


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

Latest update: 8.17.180955 (November 26, 2021)
Supported files: Several hundred file formats
System requirements: Windows 11, 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP/2000 or Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003 / Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or newer / Any kernel 2.6+ Linux distribution capable of installing .rpm or .deb packages

R-studio offers an advanced data recovery solution that’s aimed more towards experienced users who know their way around a computer. Professionals will feel right at home with this tool, as it includes comprehensive recovery options and legitimate cross-platform functionality. This means that you can recover files from a USB storage medium that’s formatted for Windows, Mac, or Linux, no matter which operating system you’re running the tool on.


R-Studio

As a huge plus, this eliminates the need to purchase more licenses for other supported operating systems and you can recover data from storage mediums that are physically attached to your disk, as well as ones that are connected to your system online or via LAN.


R-Studio SMART monitoring

R-Studio may not be the best choice for users seeking simplicity over functionality, as it includes various features that a novice wouldn’t know what to do with. But it’s a great option for people looking for a recovery tool with some extra bells and whistles, like S.M.A.R.T. monitoring and disk creation.


Pros:

  • Has cross-platform functionality between Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Allows data recovery over LAN or the internet
  • Has a trial version
  • Varied pricing structure

Cons:

  • Features and interface might be tough to navigate for some users
  • The trial version only allows you to recover files that are smaller than 256 KB

Price:

Product Windows macOS Linux
Free version Recover files less than 256 KB in size Recover files less than 256 KB in size Recover files less than 256 KB in size
R-Studio FAT $39.99 - -
R-Studio NTFS $47.99 - -
R-Studio $63.99 $63.99 $63.99
R-Studio Network $143.99 $143.99 $143.99
R-Studio Technician $719.20 $719.20 $719.20

Free version: For Windows, the free version only recovers files that are smaller than 256 KB.

3. MiniTool Power Data Recovery (Windows)

Latest update: Version 10.2 (December 14, 2021)
Supported files: Supports over 100 file types
System requirements: Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7

Aside from recovering files across a wide range of storage mediums, like flash drives and memory cards, MiniTool Power Data Recovery is also capable of rescuing entire partitions. Its free trial offers a 1GB recovery limit, allowing you to retrieve more than 100 different file types, 70 of which can be previewed.


MiniTool Power Data Recovery Preview

Furthermore, you can load previous scan results so you don’t have to scan your machine or USB stick over and over again, though this is reserved for paid users along with the WinPE bootable media feature that comes in especially handy if you’re trying to retrieve files on a machine with a faulty operating system that prevents it from booting.


The user interface is simple enough – albeit a bit dated in design – with a layout that makes it easy to find your affected storage medium and start scanning for recoverable files with a single click.


MiniTool Power Data Recovery Start Scan

MiniTool does come with a few glaring missteps. Its lackluster preview function is finicky at best and has to be downloaded separately when using the free version. Also, you can’t use the program at all if there’s an outstanding update waiting to be installed. Clicking the cancel or close buttons simply shuts down the app.


Pros:

  • Can recover lost data from a wide range of storage mediums
  • Capable of recovering entire partitions
  • The paid version includes a WinPE bootable media feature that can help rescue files from an unbootable machine
  • Straightforward recovery process

Cons:

  • Preview function is hit-or-miss
  • The app is unusable when there’s a pending update

Pricing:


For Personal Users:

Trial version Recover up to 1 GB data
Personal Monthly Subscription $69.00
Personal Annual Subscription $89.00
Personal Ultimate $99.00

For Business Users:

Business Standard $119.00
Business Deluxe $199.00
Business Enterprise $399.00
Business Technician $499.00

Free version: The trial version of MiniTool allows up to 1GB of data recovery.

4. DMDE (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Latest update: Version 10.2 (November 05, 2020)
Supported files: Most standard document, video, audio, and graphics file formats
System requirements: Windows 2K, XP, Vista, 7 and higher / macOS 10.12+ / Latest Linux distributions with libc library

Similar to R-Studio, DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software (DMDE) is a recovery tool that foregoes fancy looks and an intuitive design in favor of functionality and advanced features. Aside from being able to recover data from a vast range of storage mediums, the program can also construct a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID), manage partitions, and view storage devices in hexadecimal mode, though these are features that geared more towards experts rather than the average user.


DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software RAID constructor

The program supports a wide range of different file formats, including NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, Ext4, HFS+/HFSX,and APFS, meaning it shouldn’t have any trouble scanning and recovering the lost files from your USB drive, no matter what kind of file type it is.


DM Disk Editor and Data Recovery Software Partition Recovery

DMDE produces above-par recovery results and is capable of retrieving specific pieces of lost data as well as entire compromised partitions. The app’s complexity may prove to be detrimental to the novices on account of how convoluted the interface feels, but an expert will find a lot to love about this recovery tool.


Pros:

  • Filled with advanced features like RAID construction and a hexadecimal/text mode
  • Relatively strong recovery speed and performance
  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Cons:

  • Features and interface are geared towards advanced users
  • Outdated design
  • The free version doesn’t allow you to actually recover files

Price:

Trial version Only preview
1-Year Express $20.00
Unlimited Standard $48.00
Unlimited Professional $95.00

Free version: The trial version of DMDE only allows the previewing of recoverable files.

5. Stellar Data Recovery (Windows, Mac)

Latest update: Version 10.0.0.0 (February, 2021)
Supported files: Supports over 200 file formats
System requirements: Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8 & 7 / macOS 10.11 - 11.0

Stellar Data Recovery is one of the older recovery tools on the market but it has managed to remain relevant due to its user-friendly interface and host of nifty features. In addition to its base functionality, it allows you to retrieve lost files from a variety of different RAID arrays and encrypted drives, but the program itself never feels overwhelming thanks to the simple design.


Stellar Data Recovery Preview

You’ll also be able to create a bootable media drive in case you want to recover files from your flash drive but your machine’s OS is compromised. Furthermore, the software is capable of repairing many kinds of different media files. Unfortunately, its free version only gets you as far as scanning for recoverable files, but you’ll need to upgrade to actually retrieve any of them.


Stellar Data Recovery Activate

The paid versions come in yearly subscriptions too, which you’ll have to keep renewing since there’s no option for a one-time payment. Furthermore, we found that the preview feature was pretty erratic and didn’t always work as we expected.


Pros:

  • The minimalist user interface is both attractive and easy to navigate
  • Extra features are useful for both experts and casual users
  • Allows you to select the file type you want to receive before scanning

Cons:

  • The preview feature doesn’t work as well as it should
  • The free model only lets you scan storage mediums
  • All paid versions require yearly subscriptions

Price:

Free version Preview only
1-year Professional Edition $89.99
1-year Premium Edition $99.99
1-year Technician Edition $199

Free version: Stellar’s free version is preview-only.

6. Prosoft Data Rescue 6 (Windows, Mac)

Latest update: Version 6.0.5 (August 2, 2021)
Supported files: Supports about 30 different formats
System requirements: Windows 7+

Prosoft Data Rescue 6 launches in Standard Mode by default and in this form, it’s one of the simplest data retrieval solutions around. Its interface is so straightforward that you’ll be scanning for lost files in just a few clicks and it features a unique pricing model that allows you to only pay for the files you want to rescue – nothing more, nothing less.


Prosoft Data Rescue 6 Standard Mode

And if Standard Mode is a bit too basic for your tastes, you can simply switch to Professional Mode where you can view your storage mediums in hexadecimal format, manually override your drive parameters, and even add a virtual RAID. In addition to all that, you can also easily clone your failing drive onto a healthy one, in case you feel like it’s started to give up on you.


Prosoft Data Rescue 6 Professional Mode

While the pricing system works in your favor if you just want to recover a file or two, it can be pretty expensive if you use the software regularly. You’ll also need to have a secondary storage medium to act as your recovery destination if you plan on rescuing files from the drive the app is installed on.


Pros:

  • Caters to both beginner and advanced users
  • Flexible pricing lets you pay just for the data you want to recover
  • Includes some handy extra features, such as a hex viewer and drive cloning

Cons:

  • Requires a secondary storage medium to recover files
  • Expensive if used frequently
  • Demo version doesn’t come with data retrieval allowance

Price:

Free version Preview only
Pay for the files you want to recover Starting at $19
1-year Professional License $399.96

Free version: Prosoft Data Rescue 6’s demo version is preview-only.

7. SysTools Pen Drive Recovery (Windows)

Latest update: Version 14.0 (December 17, 2021)
Supported files: Most standard document, video, audio, and graphics file formats
System requirements: Windows 11 (64-bit) & all below version

SysTools Pen Drive Recovery, as its name suggests, is more specialized than the other programs on this list. It only retrieves lost files from various USB-type storage mediums, such as memory cards and flash drives. You can purchase the bundled offer which includes SysTools Hard Drive Recovery, though it’ll cost you a little extra.


SysTools Pen Drive Recovery Scan Results

Using the software is simple enough. You just launch it and any connected USB storage device will automatically be ready to scan. It’s able to complete scans relatively quickly and allows you to preview files before recovering them, though the preview feature only works with certain file types. Any permanently deleted files will show up highlighted in red, making them easier to distinguish from other files.


SysTools Pen Drive Recovery Preview Function

Just like DMDE and Data Stellar Recovery, the free version of SysTools Pen Drive Recovery only lets you scan your USB storage devices and browse the recoverable files. Actual thumb drive recovery is limited to the paid versions. On the plus side, the paid variants are a lot cheaper than most of the competition, especially the personal licenses.


Pros:

  • Using the program is incredibly easy
  • A lot more affordable than most of the competition
  • Scans devices relatively quickly
  • It’s adept at recovering USB drives

Cons:

  • Limited to only USB file recovery unless you purchase the bundle
  • Lacks advanced features found in rival software
  • User-interface isn’t much to look at

Price:

Demo version Preview only
Full version $39

Free version: The demo version of SysTools Pen Drive Recovery only lets you preview recoverable files.

Quick Comparison of the Best USB Data Recovery Tools

Software Latest update Supported files System requirements Pricing
Disk Drill Version 4.4.606 (November 4, 2021) Over 400 file formats Windows 7 SP1+ / Mac OS X 10.11.6+ From $89 (free version available)
R-Studio Version 8.17.180955 (November 26, 2021) Several hundred file formats Windows, macOS, Linux (all newer versions) From $49.99 (free version available)
MiniTool Data Recovery Version 10.2 (December 14, 2021) Supports over 100 file types Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7 From $69 (free version available)
DMDE Version 10.2 (November 05, 2020) Supports most basic file formats Windows 2K+ / macOS 10.12+ / Latest Linux distributions From $20.00 (trial version available)
Stellar Data Recovery Version 10.0.0.0 (February, 2021) Supports over 200 file formats Windows 7+ / macOS 10.11+ From $89.99 (free version available)
Prosoft Data Rescue 6 Version 6.0.5 (August 2, 2021) Supports about 30 different formats Windows 7 and newer From $19 (free version available)
SysTools Pen Drive Recovery Version 14.0 (December 17, 2021) Most standard document, video, audio, and graphics file formats Windows 11 (64-bit) & all below version $39 (demo version available)

How We Selected the Best USB Recovery Tools

Figuring out the best USB recovery software can be a very daunting task, given how stiff the competition is when it comes to data retrieval software. We handpicked the apps that either work exceedingly well with USB storage mediums or were built specifically to recover files from a variety of USB devices.


It goes without saying that we gave all our top contenders a test run to see how well they really perform and we also made sure to try the more obscure programs in hopes of finding a hidden gem. We didn’t base our list over our opinions alone, of course, as we also took into account user feedback and customer ratings, as well as the professional reviews from other well-known tech sites.


From there, we continued to trim down our list until we were left with the seven best flash drive data recovery software on the market. While some of the programs on this list are better than others, they’re all quality recovery solutions that will do a great job in helping you recover the lost files from your USB device.

Common Reasons of Data Loss From Flash Drives

There are lots of scenarios that might cause you to lose important data from your USB storage device. Here are some of the more common situations that people tend to run into:

  • 😯 Accidental Formatting. Accidental formatting is a surprisingly common reason for losing data on a flash drive. You might have wanted to create an OS boot disk and weren’t aware that the process would wipe your drive completely. Or perhaps you knowingly formatted the USB device thinking that you already made a proper backup, only to find out that you actually failed to do so.
  • 🚫 Device Failure. This could be due to a variety of reasons. Disconnecting the USB device often while it’s still in use may cause significant damage and so can physical trauma, like dropping the device or bumping into it while it’s still connected to your machine. Liquid spills and extreme changes in temperature can also damage your USB drive.
  • Operating System/Program Failure. Interfering with a flash drive while it’s in the middle of writing information may cause it to lose data. This may happen if your machine’s operating system suddenly crashes while you’re copying files onto your USB stick. The same could be said when running a program that’s accessing your USB drive. For example, you could be exporting files to your flash drive using a certain app when it suddenly fails midway. In those cases, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with some lost data.
  • 😓 Unintentional Deletion. Similar to accidental formatting, mistakenly deleting information is a very common reason for data loss. You may have deleted a folder thinking that there’s nothing important in it, only to regret it later. Someone could have also accessed your USB drive without permission and deleted files without your knowledge.

How to Recover Deleted Files from Flash Drive Without Software

Previous Version

If you’re running Windows 8.1 or newer, your operating system will have a built-in tool called File History that can be set up to constantly create automatic backups at set intervals. It’s worth noting, however, that this feature must have been enabled before the file deletion took place if you want to use it for recovery. If you had it turned on, follow the steps below to recover your deleted files:


  1. Navigate to the flash drive that you’re trying to recover files from.
  2. Right-click the folder where your deleted files were last located and select Properties.
  3. Head to the Previous Versions tab and you’ll find different versions of the folder you’ve highlighted.
  4. Highlight the version you want to recover, then click the Restore button on the bottom-right and select Restore To.
  5. Choose the location where you want to recover the files to and then click the Select Folder button. Your lost/deleted files should now be copied over to the folder you selected.
Previous Version

Data Recovery Services

If you’ve had no luck recovering your deleted files using a do-it-yourself method, then your best shot at getting your files back is by seeking out the assistance of a quality data recovery service. These services employ technical professionals and specialize in the retrieval of lost, deleted, or corrupted data, particularly from data loss scenarios that are usually irretrievable through DIY means.


A lot of these services offer a free evaluation before any recovery is attempted and they often set your expectations regarding the likelihood of information retrieval. There’s no shortage of data recovery services nowadays, so it’s best you look for one nearby your place of residence to make drop-off and pick-up easier.

Data recovery services

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by 7 Data Recovery Team
The best way for you to recover files from a flash drive would be through the help of a top-tier data recovery tool, like Disk Drill or R-Studio. These kinds of software can thoroughly scan your USB storage medium for all recoverable files and then attempt to rescue said files with varying degrees of success depending on the state of the information.

Disk Drill remains the best USB flash drive recovery software thanks to its superb basic version, excellent extra features, intuitive design, and sky-high recovery rate. You’re given a decent recovery limit of 500MB which beats out a lot of the other entries on this list, and you have access to the data protection and drive backup features without having to upgrade to pro.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is another solid free flash drive recovery software, given how it offers a 1GB data recovery cap with its free model, though it’s worth noting that its preview feature is pretty erratic and the program isn’t as well-designed as Disk Drill overall.

Data recovery services specialize in getting back data from devices and drives that have thoroughly formatted or have sustained significant damage. To enlist the help of these kinds of services, you can start by searching for a data recovery service that caters to your area.

Next, you reach out to them online or via phone for a consultation and initial quote. If the service deems that your information is recoverable, they’ll generally ask you to send them the drive. Once they’re done with the recovery, they usually send back your drive along with an external device with your recovered files on it.

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