There’s nothing worse than spending four hours on a final assignment for school or an important project for a big client than having your data suddenly disappear. This is a common issue and it affects more people than you’d think. It’s important to ensure that you’re backing up your data and there are several ways to do that. Some options include regular backups to a cloud program or scheduled backups to an external hard drive.

There is an important thing to remember though: there are essentially two types of hard drive failure (read more here: and not all options work for both.

You’ve got your logistical failure which means a program or software is no longer working the way it’s supposed to. This can corrupt your data and make it hard to read. If this is the case, check out these programs that can help you recover what you’ve lost:

Data recovery can be an expensive business, which is why it’s no substitute for backing up your key documents, photos and other data on a regular basis. But that’s of little comfort to anyone – even those with good backup regimens – who suddenly find themselves confronted by the stomach-churning feeling of data loss.

As soon as you’ve become aware of data loss, it’s critical you stop using the drive affected immediately. Whether the drive itself is failing or you’ve simply deleted a file accidentally, this is the golden moment when you may be able to get your data back without an expensive purchase or trip to a data recovery specialist.

We’ve cherry-picked five of the best free data recovery tools in the business. Just pick the one closest to your requirements and with a bit of luck (and no small measure of help from the app involved), you could yet save your files.

  1. DMDE Free Edition

The most effective way to recover files from a dead hard drive

Our favourite free data recovery tool is often overlooked. DMDE Free Edition scores major points because it’s capable of recovering data from a wide array of drives, including 2TB+ drives rescued from a fried external drive enclosure with proprietary formatting (it’s a long story).


There are four other programs in the list aside from DMDE. Recuva, which is great for recovering those files you accidentally delete from your recycle bin, PhotoRec, which assists in the recovery of all types of file formats, MiniTool Partition Recovery Free, which can help recovery an entire drive or partition and finally Paragon Rescue Kit 14 Free Edition (say that ten times fast) which can help you if you’re having issues booting Windows.

All of these programs have an extensive list of pros, but remember we said earlier there are two types of failures?

The second type of failure is a physical failure. This means that a physical part of your hard drive is broken. These software programs aren’t going to help you recover anything if it’s a physical failure. You can identify a physical failure by the sounds your hard drive is making. Can you hear hard drive clicking noises? Maybe it’s making a whirring sound. These are signs of a physical failure and you’d be doing yourself a favor if you consider our data recovery service in the event of a physical failure before downloading a bunch of programs that won’t help you.

In the meantime, happy computing and don’t forget to back up your work!