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As cloud computing becomes more and more popular, computer users everywhere are relying on off-site backups and streaming for all their data-storage needs. But the hard drive still plays a crucial role in the world of computer data. After all, it’s always going to be quick and easy to save a file straight to the hard drive.

Of course, hard drives sometimes become corrupted or fail. Also, there is the very real and irksome possibility of accidental file deletion. Almost everyone has experienced this little headache at least once in their lives. But what many people don’t know is that files that have been recently emptied from the desktop recycle bin can still be found on the hard disk – even after said disk has been reformatted.


The trick to recovering these files lies with quality file-recovery software. So in the spirit of retrieving vital lost data, here are some of the top free hard-drive recovery software programs around.


Recuva not only assists users in recovering accidentally deleted files off their computers, but off their digital cameras, USB drives, MP3 players and more. Recuva gets top marks for its easy-to-use nature, as most people have no problems quickly setting up and running the program via its Quick Start feature. That said, there are some advanced features, like Deep Scan, that computer pros can use to perform advanced searches. Recuva will even recover deleted emails.

Glary Undelete

This is another popular free option that offers a user-friendly interface. The program itself has the ability to recover data from local disks or external devices. It also will scan all parts of a drive looking for any part that has been corrupted. Should the program find a corrupted part of a drive, it will then display the deleted files and provide an estimate as to whether or not the files can be retrieved.

Pandora Recovery

This option also has achieved much popularity due to its focus on user ease. Not only is the program menu easy to navigate, but it comes with a very straightforward and helpful Setup Wizard. The program can recover hidden, archived, compressed and encrypted files and will recover to a local hard drive, network hard drive or flash drive.

Softperfect File Recovery

Softperfect should take care of most data recovery jobs, no matter how big the task. That’s because this software boasts the ability to recover files that have been emptied or lost due to viruses and crashed software. It can also recover files from formatted partitions and will work in conjunction with RAID and Linux file system.


This option can be favorably compared with the rest on the list. The program can recover files from local disks as well as external devices and supports most windows systems. It also features a stripped-down main window as well as a quick install that involves merely clicking the EXE file.

The above options should take care of the data-recover needs of most computer users. And since they are all free of charge, those with data issues can sample each one to find the option that meets their specific criteria.

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Posted by Benson G

Benson is a digital content strategist for Salvage Data, a company offering data recovery services in Washington, DC, Boston, NY, and other major cities.  He enjoys keeping up with the latest trends in data recovery, smart phone apps, new gadgets, and other fun tech stuff!

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