Top 5 Best Data Recovery Software for Windows PCs in 2016
When it comes to choosing the best Windows data recovery software to recover deleted or lost files from a storage media such as PC hard drive, USB flash, memory card, etc., we're bound and determined to find out which software developer is offering the best value. Five major components make up a great file recovery software in our opinion, and those are 1) Security, 2) Quality, 3) Ease of use, 4), Windows Compatibility and 5), Technical Support.
We'll cover why these five factors matter in this article later, but here are the top data recovery tools that won the test and earned our trust.
Please note: these programs are for Windows PCs only. If you use Apple Macs, see the best Mac data recovery software we've reviewed. Also, check out our recommended tools to recover data from iPhones, iPads, or Android phones and tablets.
QUICK PICKS: 5 GREAT CHOICES
**Below, you'll find our expert reviews, but you can also click the links above to learn software specifications or contact their customer support for more information.
Why We Chose These Five Criteria?
- Whether it contains malware. This is always the number one thing we check to make sure a downloadable file (in .exe format) does not include any malicious process. We do this by uploading the software file to Valkyrie — an advanced file verdict system for such analysis purpose.
- Whether it performs safe operations. If the software is free of malware, we then install the application on our PCs and start testing. The next thing about security we check is whether the software only performs read-only procedures during the scanning process. It is important because you don't want any third-party software to write extra data to the disk drive from which you want to recover files.
- Supported file recovery types. If you accidentally formatted a media card, you want all your files (pics, video, songs, etc.) back, right? Therefore, a good data recovery software should support recovering as many types of common used files as possible, so you don't have to try other alternatives.
- Supported storage devices. We'd have to admit it, some data recovery programs don't support external devices. Therefore, they are useless if you need to get data back from a flash drive. Also, these days data loss happens more often on removable media than on PCs.
- The time required completing a scan. We understand the anxiety or panic the moment you realize you lost some data. Obviously, you don't want to spend the whole day simply waiting for a drive scanning process to complete. A high-quality data recovery software should perform high-speed scanning or offer different scanning methods for users' choices.
- File preview & recovery quality. When the scan process is over, the software should be able to support file preview ability for you to quickly check if they are the items you desire to recover. Also, once they are recovered, file quality should be identical to the original one.
Ease of Use
The principle should apply to every product we use, data recovery software no exception. The program does not have to be well-decorated with fancy icons, but it has to offer a decent UX (User Experience). Given the complex nature of data recovery, some instructions or warnings should be given before we intend to select or click any buttons.
Also, software crash is unacceptable though it's hard to develop a bug-free program. At the end of the day you get everything ready, you don't want to see the program does not work as expected due to frequent crashes. This is also an indicator that the software is poorly developed, which surely doesn't worth you wasting time on it.
This factor directly reflects if the developer keeps updating its data recovery software product. Not only an outdated program has compatibility issue running on latest Windows operating system (as of 2016, it's Windows 10), but we suspect it would have security concerns as well. Bottom line - the best Windows data recovery software should be compatible with most used Windows OS, including most recent Windows 10.
Data recovery may sound easy, but it's actually very hard as it involves lots of advanced computer expertise. A well-designed computer program usually requires developers to spend hundreds of hours coding and thinking. It's common that you have questions or issues regarding using a data recovery software. Thus, it's best to turn to its developer or customer service for help. Therefore, we value data recovery software that offers troubleshooting tutorials, email inquiries, or phone support.
Which is the Best Windows Data Recovery Software?
All the software below have been tested by our team; we guarantee that they are secure: free of malware issue, and they perform read-only scanning which means safe to use.
#1: Easy Drive Data Recovery
Easy Drive Data Recovery is a secure and easy tool aimed at recovering deleted or lost files that haven't been damaged. It supports recovery of about 100 file types from almost all types of storage devices. Best of all, it's one of the few software that incorporates multiple languages into its interface, which makes it a breeze if you are a non-English speaker. Specific languages include: English, French, Spanish, German, Turkish. MunSoft claims the program is compatible with Windows 8/7/Vista/XP; we also tested it on Windows 10, and it works without problems. They offer customer support via emails.
#2: Stellar Windows Data Recovery
Stellar Windows Data Recovery is one of the most powerful data recovery software out there. It features recovery of nearly 300 file types (Outlook emails included) from any NTFS, FAT and ExFAT based storage devices. The best part is that with Stellar, you can save and resume a scan image, which means you don't have to sit in front of your PC waiting for it to complete scanning a 1TB external drive, instead, do it whenever you want! Just remember to save the scan/drive image. The program can be run under Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista. Stellar Data Recovery also offers excellent technical support available from knowledge articles, emails, and phone calls.
#3: ParetoLogic Data Recovery Pro
Data Recovery Pro enables you to recover deleted files and emails after a quick or full scan for searching recoverable items. It supports a variety of storage media including but not limited to hard drives, removable disks, iPods. What we like most about the software is its intuitiveness — it will guide you through the whole recovery process until you find your deleted items back. The program is compatible with all current Windows operating systems. ParetoLogic has a standard help documentation within the software and offers email services for technical/customer questions.
#4: Wondershare Data Recovery
Another super powerful program. Wondershare claims it's capable of recovering files in 550+ formats (document, photos, video, audio, emails, archive) from both computer storage and external storage devices such as USB drives, external HDD. It also has the Resume Recovery feature. The best part we like about the software is that — it lays out all the complicated data recovery features in an easy-to-follow way, for example, if you want to rescue data from a problematic partition, just hit "Partition Recovery". The application is compatible with all Windows versions from Windows XP to Windows 10. Also, Wondershare offers tons of useful help tutorials, and their customer service (via emails) is prompt and professional.
#5: Remo Recover Windows
Remo Recover is a sophisticated data recovery software good at recovering data from hard disk partitions missing, reformatted or contain bad sectors. Similar to other data recovery programs we list above, Remo also supports a vast majority of devices including old-styled CD/DVDs. The three options ("Recover Files", "Recover Drives", "Recover Photos") listed on the main interface are very intuitive. The software supports all versions of Windows OS. You can find software specifications and video tutorials from Remo's official website. If you have questions or concerns, send an email or have an online chat with them.
Disclaimer: our data recovery reviews are based mostly on (1) our experience in using and testing the programs and (2) the expertise of the experts with whom we consult and (3) the information provided by the manufacturers. We strive to test each feature of recommended software, but we are unable to test them all due to the complex nature of data recovery. As such, please remember that these recommended tools are our opinions, and we encourage to contact technical support of respective software providers or computer technicians to handle your data recovery needs if you are not skilled or comfortable to deal with the situation.