Best Free Programs to Restore Deleted Files in 2014

Best Free Programs to Restore Deleted Files in 2014

You just emptied your bin, only to discover you deleted files that you still needed; important business presentations, school reports and so on. What can you do now? Is there any way you can restore them? We’ll show you some free programs below that could do the job for you!

Case Study:

As an example of which software works best, we’ll test the following situation:

“I removed 86 files on  my Windows 8 machine including pictures, pdfs, docs, excel files and selected the option; delete permanently, Windows did warn me that I could never restore the files again.”

 Which programs are we going to test?

  • Recuva (https://www.piriform.com/recuva)
  • Puran File Recovery (http://www.puransoftware.com/File-Recovery.html)
  • Pandora Recovery (http://www.pandorarecovery.com/)
  • Wise Data Recovery (http://www.wisecleaner.com/wisedatarecoveryfree.html)
  • Glary Undelete

The Tests

Recuva

Recuva is an easy program to start-up and gets straight to the point, the wizard boots that helps you through all the steps.

  1. I started the program and choose All Files, and clicked Next
  2. I choose “Inaspecificlocation”  and selected the case study folder, then clicked Next
    Recuva: Choose Location Best Free Programs to Restore Deleted Files in 2014 deleted files

    Recuva: Choose Location

  3. I choose not to run the Deep Scan and click start
  4. The results came just after a couple of seconds: Files found: 76/86 files
  5. Choose to restore all files and took 4.2 seconds

In the end Recuva recovered 76 permanently deleted files of the total of 86 removed files. All of these 76 restored files were intact and still working perfectly. A very good result. Pro’s: Very easy to use and excellent recovery results Con’s: Not all files were restored and the number of warnings could be a bit frustrating but to new users this could be a good thing.

Puran File Recovery

Puran is a small program that is quickly installed on the drive, on the first boot it asks you which language you wish to use, a good thing we think.  After you choose which language you wished to use you get some explaining of the terminology used within the program. We personally think, the developers made a good call on doing that. The first thing we saw is the lack of searching a specific location, you have to scan the entire drive, in my case that’s 500GBs. However that being said, the scan was lightning fast, only 5 seconds! When the results came back the first thing i thought it WHOA! Thats a lot of information

2014-06-28_11-38-27 Best Free Programs to Restore Deleted Files in 2014 deleted files

A lot of information

But! Yet again the developers made a good call, they added a Tree List function in the program, allowing you to select folders instead of finding the files in the immense list showed above. This made finding the files a lot easier!

Found them! Best Free Programs to Restore Deleted Files in 2014 deleted files

Found them!

I selected all files and choose to recover them, the recovery process took a bit longer then expected but it did recover all 86 files, however 12 of those were corrupted. Pro’s: Very fast search engine to find deleted files and excellent recovery results Con’s: Corrupted files, and the user interface could be made more user-friendly.

Pandora Recovery

Directly when Pandora starts the program shows you a wizard to help you recover the lost file, we personally love it when programs does that, it makes it a lot easier for normal computer users to work with it. After I choose the files were no longer in the recycle bin and clicked next, the program asked me on which drives the files were deleted. I choose the C drive and continued. I choose to browse the drive and review all files myself, a scan started which took 8 seconds to complete. The results came back in a nice clean overview, I went to the location of the files we’ve deleted and saw that the program found 83 deleted files in that location I choose to restore them all. Sadly enough only 21 files were recovered that still worked, all other files were corrupted. Pro’s: Easy to use interface and clear steps Con’s: Recovery results are not as good as hoped.

Wise data Recovery

The first thing we hated was the way to download it, you get forwarded to CNET Download.com which uses a download program that installs all sorts of trash on your system, which overwritten potential recoverable files. After opening the program we choose to scan Drive C for deleted files, the search was incredibly fast and the results were displayed in a clean interface, easy to understand for most end-users

Recover Results Best Free Programs to Restore Deleted Files in 2014 deleted files

Recover Results

The program found 85 of the deleted files and we choose to recover them, the recovery process took 6 seconds. After its finished recovering your files it opens the location where the files were saved, a very good call by the developers, this increases the experience for end-users. However, 3 files were corrupted and 1 file was never in that location. But 81 files are recovered successful that’s quite a good result. Pro’s: Easy to use and user friendly interface. Con’s: A wizard would have been nice.

Glary Undelete

We’ve started the program and choose to scan the folder for deleted files, sadly enough we missed the wizard. The scan speed itself it terrible, it took several minutes for the results to come back and we think the program by default does what other programs offer “a deep scan”. After it was finished scanning it found 75 files of 86 files originally, however all 75 restored files were intact Pro’s: Good clean UI, and good recovery results. Con’s: Speed, No Wizard

Results

We think 4 things are the most important values to test on:

  • Restoration, how much % of the files could be restored.
  • How much % of the files still work,
  • Speed, we expect less than 5 seconds since its only one folder to scan.
  • Ease of Use, If we need to search to find something for longer then 3 seconds, 10% reduction.

Let us be clear about this, a verdict more than 85% can be considered excellent.

Restoration% of files still workingSpeedEase of UseOverall
Recuva88%100%95%95%95%
Puran File Recovery100%87%95%80%91%
Pandora Recovery94%24%90%90%75%
Wise Data Recovery99%95%95%90%95%
Glary Undelete87%100%25%90%76%

Conclusion

Recuva is in our opinion the best program to restore your files, since it only shows files it can really restore and not everything it found. This does not give the end-user false hope. We discovered that if Recuva tells you it can recover the files then it really can! I was personally very impressed by the power of recuva, as a test I formatted my 1TB external drive, and it was able to restore 95% of all the files! Let that result speak of itself.

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About The Author
Yuri Pustjens
Yuri Pustjens
2014, 2015 & 2016 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Windows Yuri specializes in troubleshooting (crash analysis and devices), system resource utilisation and system performance. He is also very interested in Customer Security. Yuri can be found as Windows Community Moderator and Wiki Author on Microsoft Answers and is active on different communities all across the web.
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