restore / recover deleted files

Overview of free recovery tools

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If a file is deleted, only the assignment to the file is deleted, the file still persists on the drive.
This fact is used by recovery programs, to recover deleted files. The program scans the disk structure and copies files to another place.

An important precondition for successful recovery:
it is important that there where no write attempts to the disk space that contains the file. Any access to the disk could overwrite files. So, if you want to recover deleted data an a system disk, you should stop all i/o to this drive, by mounting the disk as a 2nd disk to another system.
With the tools presented here, you can restore deleted files:

For those who want to quickly restore their data without having to read on here,
Our recommendation: PC Inspector File Recovery: is easy to use and fast in the search for files.

In our tests, the described recovery tools have consistently delivered the same results:
If parts of a file have been overwritten, none of the programs described here will be able to restore this file without error;
however, if the file is not overwritten, you have an good chance that all programs will be able to recover the file.

PC Inspector File Recovery:

You can restore the partition or hard drive by selecting it. File Recovery will search for deleted files:
Benefits of File Recovery:
- The folder structure is maintained (in contrast to other recovery programs which restore all the files in a single folder)
- Good overview of the folder structure: not deleted, deleted, lost files.
- Chances of a successful recovery are color coded: green: File is still intact.
Negative: in our tests, the program crashed several times restoring a single file; restoring other files and folder worked without a problem.

Download: PCI Filerecovery

for removable media there is an special version of PC Inspector available: PC Inspector Smart Recovery

other recovery tools:

Recuva File Recovery
Recuva is not able to restore the Filepath, so all files are restored into a single folder.
Advantage: Recuva has a so-called "deep scan"; the deep scan takes longer, but increases the chances to find deleted files.
Download and detailed description see:
Recuva - Restore Data (Recycle Bin, hard disk, ..)

Pandora Recovery
Pandora Recovery - Data Recovery with Surface Scan

FreeUndelete - rebuild deleted files

Features: DeepScan, all files will be restored into a single folder (but can be filtered in the overview) no installation required: simple .exe file
save lost files

recover lost partitions Testdisk / PhotoRec  
Testdisk is able to write a new Masterboot Record to the disk,
search and write to the Partition Table:
Testdisk - restore lost partitions

PhotoRec can recover lost Files:
Download Testdisk / PhotoRec

some more free Tools:
My Data Recovery


Open Source Unix based



very good recovery tool: GetDataBack take a look at: