The 4 best free data recovery software products

The best way to recover from unexpected data loss is to be properly prepared. With one of the following tools on hand, you’ll always be ready to save your data from the Reaper.

You know where to find the most important files on your PC – like documents, pictures and music – and they’re always available when you need them. So it’s easy to assume that’s the way it will always be.

The reality can be very different, though. Maybe you’re not paying attention for a moment and delete something accidentally, perhaps there’s a software bug, or something happens to corrupt your hard drive: whatever it is, the end result is that you’ve lost files, folders, maybe even an entire partition of valuable data.

Don’t panic, though – there’s a good chance that your files are still intact, somewhere on the disc. And if you act quickly then you may be able to recover everything. All you’ll need is a reliable free undelete software to run a scan, and we’ve found Four best free data recovery soft wares

4 Best Free Data Recovery Soft wares

  • Test Disk

Test Disk is a powerful open-source tool for recovering your data. Not only can Test Disk perform basic file recovery like undeleting accidentally deleted files from FAT, NTFS, and ext2 file systems, but it comes with a host of additional functionality.

Glary Undelete

Glary Undelete is a free data recovery software. You can recover permanently deleted files or files deleted by system crashes. You can recover deleted files from hard drive as well as from external media drives like SSD cards, USB pen drives etc. It supports various file systems like FAT, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS etc.

Undelete 360

Undelete 360 is the free version of a commercial product, and so leaves out some useful features (file filtering, previews and so on). These still appear in the interface, though, and suggest you upgrade if you ever click on them, which can be annoying.

There are no restrictions on the amount or size of the files you can recover, though, and otherwise the program is very simple to use: point it at a drive, it’ll scan for deleted files, then you can view particular file types (JPGs, PDFs, videos and more) by choosing them from a tree.

Scanning speed isn’t great, but Undelete 360 can recover files that other programs miss, and so it’s definitely worth considering.

PhotoRec

PhotoRec is a companion program to Test Disk, also included in this Hive Five. Like Test Disk, this app is also devoid of a GUI, but likewise is quite powerful at file recovery. We’re including PhotoRec independently of TestDisk because many users distinctly prefer PhotoRec as a safer alternative when deep disk recovery isn’t necessary. This recovery tool won’t mess with your partitions or help you rebuild your master boot record; it will, however, dive into your disks in a safe, read-only mode and ignore partitions and file systems in an effort to seek out your missing files.

Why to use RAID storage for your data

RAID is, of course, a Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks. It is a method of storing information on multiple hard disks for greater protection and in some cases performance. Under the RAID umbrella are a number of different storage methods, called levels and numbered from 0 to 9, some of which are more useful than others. Why to use RAID storage RAID was created to combine multiple, less-expensive drives into a single, higher-capacity and/or faster volume. On top of that, it was designed to facilitate redundancy, also known as fault tolerance or failover protection, so that the array and its data remain usable when a drive fails.

You’ll often hear about 1-disk or 2-disk redundancy, which refers to the number of drives that can fail while the array remains viable. Each level is a distinct method of organizing storage, but some of them can be combined which produces a two-digit RAID level, such as RAID 10, sometimes identified (and more appropriately so) as RAID 1+0. In general, each RAID level has its own advantages and disadvantages.

 

RAIDRAID10 10, for example, is fast, its crash proof and it eats disk space. If you need more protection for your storage, or faster storage performance, RAID 10 is a simple, relatively cheap fix. To implement RAID 10 you need at least two physical hard drives; just using two partitions on the same hard drive is inadequate. You also need a disk controller that understands RAID. RAID 10 works by striping and mirroring your data across at least two disks.

 

Mirroring, or RAID 1, means writing your data to two or more disks at the same time. Even if one disk fails completely, the mirror preserves the information. Striping, or RAID 0, means breaking your data up into chunks and writing the chunks to different disks in succession. It improves performance because the computer can get data off more than one disk simultaneously. (For the purists out there: RAID 0 technically isn’t a RAID level at all because it doesn’t provide any redundancy to protect information. However, it is commonly referred to as a RAID level anyway.) Put RAID 1 and RAID 0 together and you get RAID 10. RAID 10 is secure because mirroring duplicates all your data. It’s fast because the data is striped across two or more disks, meaning chunks of data can be read and written to different disks simultaneously. The drawback to RAID 10 is that it cuts your effective disk space in half. Since everything is mirrored (duplicated), two 60 GB disks give you a total system capacity of 60 GB. And remember, always use identical disks when creating a mirrored array. The disk geometry (number of heads, cylinders, etc.) is critical, and using disks that are different is discouraged in the strongest terms. Given the cost of disks, storage space is much less of a problem than it was a few years ago. RAID-5

It’s cheap enough to add additional disks to support your RAID 10 array and if the disk controller on your motherboard doesn’t support RAID 10, you can get an add-in disk controller card for less than $50. RAID 10 is also slightly more complex to set up than conventional storage, but it isn’t particularly hard. The system or disk controller software includes install routines that will walk you through the process. It usually takes just a few minutes to install a RAID 10 array.