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Top 5 Best Free Photo, Video, Data Recovery Tools for Windows

Although redundant real-time backup is the best defense against data loss, sometimes it becomes necessary to retrieve data when data loss sneaks up on you. Maybe in your haste you deleted something that really mattered to you, or maybe files got corrupted due to an unexpected system crash, these things happen and the right emergency data recovery utilities help in ensuring that you get your crucial data back before it is erased forever. These utilities can even recover items that you supposedly deleted permanently, even if it was a few weeks old as long as they are not overwritten on the actual disk.

1. Recuva

A user-friendly file recovery utility, Recuva restores files that are accidentally erased from the USB drive, MP3 player, memory card or your computer. This wizard is easy to use and removes all guesswork associated with finding files. Just select the file type you are looking to recover and once Recuva is finished you can see all the recoverable files. Select the ones you wish to get back and in a matter of seconds the files are back where they ought to be. Obviously, the sooner you use the better the results.

2. TestDisk

Unlike other data recovery tools, TestDisk actually doesn’t use a graphical interface. It is designed to recover entire lost partitions or making bootable disks from non-bootable partitions. All functions are managed using command line controls but this also means it does more than recover stuff as it can fix partition tables, rebuild boot sectors and recover ext2, NTFS and FAT file systems plus perform plenty of disk-related recovery tasks. Unfortunately its massive potential also renders it too complicated for an average user unless you have a good level of computing knowledge. This is definitely one of the most power data recovery utilities in the market today.

3. Paragon Rescue Kit

With Rescue Kit you can fix boot issues and retrieve lost data during system failures. It can recover entire partitions and works off a CD or DVD. Just burn it into a disc and keep it handy. In the event of a complete crash, you can load it and recover the lost files. Be it a virus attack or file corruption, recover all kinds of valuable information and copy it to a local drive or partition. The Transfer Wizard of Rescue Kit makes this exporting an easy and convenient process.

4. PhotoRec

For those who are only interested in recovering image files from their memory card or system, PhotoRec is a free software for Mac, Windows and Linux that works with a simplified interface. It retrieves not just image files but also videos and documents. This simple platform operates even with formatted drives or corrupted files. It currently comes bundled with TestDisk as an extension for those who aren’t experienced with such activities. TestDisk is the more endowed version designed for experienced handlers of computers.

5. Wise Data Recovery

Wise Data Recovery is great with compressed files, emails, video, audio, images and any kind of document. It searches quickly and safely recovering files as long as you can remember the drive or exact location. It even shows difficultly level for the recovery attempt. This freeware also comes with regular updates and technical support with an advanced search algorithm. WDR is a multi-language platform that works with USB drives, hard drives and flash disks.