The basic theory underlining the idea of data recovery is that, data never get deleted per se; it gets over written. Therefore, the older the file, the harder it is to recover. One has to understand the way a data recovery software works. Recovering a file would work if you recover it to ‘another’ drive. Here ‘another’ drive may denote a different path letter or a different drive altogether. Installing the recovery program in the same drive as the ‘lost’ file defeats the very purpose of recovery mechanism. Obviously, it goes without saying that these free softwares may not be able to handle ‘data recovery’ from physically damaged devices and drives. For such, there are always better and premium softwares available in the market for professional use.
1. Recuva: Developed by Piriform, this simple software does what it claims. With simple UI and options, this software, on a test run conducted by users could recover back 50% of the files deleted. Recuva can help you recover files from external hard drives, iPods, pen drives, memory cards, and other hand held devices using a memory chip.
2. Test Disk: An open software with loads of functionality. This software does have an installer file and does not hose in your service device. This software lacks GUI and uses command lines for functionality. In essentiality, this software is aimed at more advanced users. In order to use this software, you may find the step-by-step guide to using this software on google.
3. Pandora Recovery: This software gives the user the option to ‘surface scan’ (a more advanced search) to improve the search results to recover files. The UI is simple and is not too cluttered. This software can recover files from various drives including the memory cards and pen drives and most importantly, it supports all major operating systems.
4. Glary Undelete: This free recovery program does function but not all the time. The general feel of the interface is more like the windows based folder view. This may make the user less apprehensive about using the program. Coming to the statistics, user data have indicated that this program was successful in recovering 20 out of a 100 files in a test run.
5. Restoration: Like all recovery softwares, restoration works well for the new user. The software make it pretty straight forward to recover files and there aren’t any processes to be followed.
6. MiniTool Power Data Recovery (Free edition): By far, this software has scored beautifully in the arena of recovery. The free version of this software can be used to recover older files and the results have been stupendous. Tyr it, you may find it handy.
7. PC Inspector File Recovery: A free utility undelete program to suit the needs of the users. However, this software should be your last resort, as it does not live up to the others in the market. Granted it does not have a decent UI and the recovery time for files is in double digits.