harddisk-openedAll of us have faced problems related to the deletion of important data. This situation usually arises when you accidentally delete a file that you might need later on, or when your camera’s SD card gets wiped out, etc.

When you delete a file from your hard-disk, it goes straight to the Recycle Bin. If you clear your Recycle Bin, then Windows tells you that the file is permanently deleted. What Windows actually does is give you the illusion that it has deleted the file completely, when in fact, it has only deleted the address path of the file.

The file will still be there in the hard-drive, as long as the user doesn’t make any significant changes to the computer (installing programs, transferring to the hard-drive, etc.), which might overwrite one of the blocks where the file is stored in. So keep in mind, if you accidentally delete a file, stop doing anything on your computer and try out these applications, so that you can recover your file back quickly.

All freeware get better and better with time, and there are plenty of programs out there that are as good as their paid brothers. So let’s start this off:


This program has no GUI, so it runs in a Command Line Window. It may seem a little hard for first time users, but with a little patience it is actually pretty easy to figure out. PHOTOREC has been around for many years now, and I can confidently say that it has helped me recover countless files from hard-disks and memory cards that have been accidentally erased in the past.

The only issue with it is that it doesn’t only search for one file, it tries to undelete all the files that get deleted. So the final output folder might be a little messy, with the names of the files being different.

Use for recovering media and documents
Shouldn’t be first choice, keep as backup because it doesn’t need installation
Supports all Windows Operating Systems from Windows 95 to Windows 8(Tested by me)

B) Pandora Recovery

I would recommend Pandora Recovery for its incredible ease-of-use. This program has to be installed on the computers hard-drive, unlike PHOTOREC. The undeletion wizard is incredibly simple, and its robustness is evident too. You can undelete files from nearly any kind of storage device, and lots of files are usually recovered.

Use for recovering major file types
Supported on most Windows Operating Systems (Works on Windows 7 & 8)
Easy to use and really good

C) ADRC Data Recovery Tools

Another super-simple Recovery program, ADRC Data Recovery Tools can recover files from hard-disks, memory cards and flash drives (Non-Disc stuff). At less than 140kb, this nifty little software can easily fit in your flash drive.

Portable File recovery tool
Can easily be understood by an average user (Documentation not really necessary)
Supported on most Windows Operating Systems
Can only recover files from non-CD sources

D) CD Recovery Toolbox

This particular program is very unique from the others, as it recovers data only from damaged Discs, ie; optical drive discs like CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, etc. It was designed for this very specific purpose.

Quite easy to use
Cannot recover files from hard-disks or flash drives
Supported on most Windows Operating Systems (Tested on Windows 7 & 8)
Recover files from discs that are chipped, scratched, or have spots on the surface.

E) Recuva

Recuva is a favourite of mine, and I would strongly recommend this choice. It easily bests the competition with its ease of use and advanced options. Aside from recovering files from optical discs and hard-disks, flash drives, etc., this program can also recover deleted files from Apple iPods! Piriform offers both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Recuva, and also provides an installable version or a portable version of the same.

Recommended! First choice for file undeletion
Recover files from pretty much anything that plugs in
Portable and Installable versions
Supported on most Windows Operating Systems (Tested on Windows 7 & 8)
Piriform have a catalogue of fantastic products that I personally endorse, you should check it out

Other worthy mentions:

SoftPerfect File Recovery: You can run this standalone software off a USB drive. Makes it very easy to search for files that can be recovered.

Orion File Recovery Software: Besides the usual, it has a nifty data-destruction feature that allows it to make files unrecoverable for future scans.

Glary Undelete: The Glarysoft team have quite a few decent products in their roster, and this one is no exception. Works pretty well.

Puran File Recovery: If Recuva didn’t find something, then run it by Puran File Recovery, which also has the ability to recover partitions that haven’t been overwritten yet.

By Techwacky

Editor-in-Chef of TechWacky.com