Recover Formatted Hard Drive: Best Free Data Recovery Tools

FREE SoftPerfect File Recovery

SoftPerfect File Recovery is another simple but effective file recovery tool. It can restore deleted files from hard drives, floppy disks, USB flash drives, most types of memory cards and other storage media. It supports compressed and encrypted file systems like NTFS and NTFS5 as well as the standard FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32. The program is about as easy to use as you can get, select your drive and press the button.

SoftPerfect is a standalone portable executable so no installation is required. The program is only 500KB in size and supports Windows 2000 to Windows 7.

Download SoftPerfect File Recovery

10. FreeUndelete

Download FREEUndelete

This is another simply and easy to use deleted file recovery tool. There is support for NTFS 1, NTFS 2, FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32 file systems. A couple of wildcard filters are there to narrow down the search. The scan does take a couple of minutes and seems to be quite thorough, somewhere in between the standard and thorough modes of other tools. Selecting files is done by highlighting them and using Shift or Ctrl to multi select. Make sure to change the “Undelete selected files(s) to” location if you’re recovering data from the C drive.

The setup file is just under a Megabyte in size. It can be extracted with 7zip but the extracted files must have the “fru.” prefix removed from the file names.

Download FreeUndelete

11. Glary Undelete

FREE Glary Undelete

Glary Undelete is another free and pretty easy-to-use file undeleting program for most types of FAT, EFS and NTFS file systems, including compressed and encrypted NTFS. Recycle Bin deletes, DOS window deletes, and those files deleted from Windows Explorer with the SHIFT key held down can be recovered. The program supports recovery from basic and dynamic hard drive volumes, floppies and just about any type of external media. Click the Preview tick box to view images to be recovered.

This is the same undelete tool that is found in the excellent Glary Utilities suite, and as there is a portable version of that software, it’s recommended you download that as it doesn’t need installing. The Glary Undelete setup is 1.6 MB in size or the portable Glary Utils zip file is around 8MB. Works on Windows 2000 to Windows 8.

Download Glary Undelete | Portable Version in Glary Utils

12. Pandora Recovery

FREE Panda Recovery Software

Pandora Recovery recovers files permanently removed from the Recycle Bin or files deleted directly via the DOS Prompt etc. There is a powerful search option and a preview window allowing you to view deleted images and text files. Pandora includes a Surface Scan mode which is helpful for damaged or reformatted partitions or a corrupt file allocation table. There is a useful wizard when you start the program to help with the recovery.

The setup file is 3.1 MB in size and Pandora Recovery is listed as compatible with Windows 2000 to Vista, but seems to work OK on Windows 7.

Download Pandora Recovery

13. TOKIWA DataRecovery

FREE Tokiwa DataRecovery

This little tool is a plain and simple one to undelete files from FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS partitions. It can also recover NTFS compressed files, EFS encrypted files and files using a partial filename search string. A Wipe button can permanently delete recoverable files, although you can’t wipe files on the C drive in Vista or above.

The zip file is only 200KB in size and the extracted executable is 400KB, no installation is required and it’s portable.

Download TOKIWA DataRecovery

Hopefully one of the above tools should help you get your data back. If you don’t have too much data to recover, you might want to have a look at EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition. This is a powerful tool to recover data from lost, RAW, formatted or corrupt partitions on internal and external drives and memory media. The full version is $70 but the free version can recover 1GB of data so worth a look if it’s enough. Another freeware that we can recommend is Roadkil’s Undelete which is a tiny and portable tool that can undelete files from Windows 98 to Windows 7.

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