How We Pick Out Top Data Recovery Software
As our reliance on electronic storage grows, so does the risk of losing extremely important data. That risk increased as HDDs got old, which prompted the development of hard drive recovery software. Over time, this type of program became more powerful and gained better capabilities, including better file type/medium recovery features.
However, there are dozens of deleted file recovery options out there, making it difficult to pick one. If you’re having trouble picking out the best recovery software, here are some of the most important metrics and features to watch out for. Do note that data recovery programs can’t salvage files lost to ransomware; you’ll need specialized software for that.
File Type Support
The first thing you need to look at when assessing the capabilities of file recovery software is the scope of supported file formats, as there are many different file types you may want to recover.
The simplest ones are pictures, audio files, and documents. You can safely assume that nearly all data-saving solutions can recover those file types. However, these are only some of the types you may need to recover. More advanced solutions can recover various document types, contacts, emails, phone call/contact histories, videos, executables, as well as numerous specialized software-specific items.
Whether you’re looking for the best free or paid data recovery software, make sure to check if it can even recover the specific file type you’re after or the type of file you deal with on a regular basis.
File System Support
Next to file types, another important thing to factor in is the disk recovery software’s support for different file systems. File systems define the way in which a drive is organized. This includes the way the data is stored, organized, and retrieved from the device. You’ve surely come across some of them – FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS, for example.
The reason why they’re important is that not all data recovery programs can restore files from every file system. Hence, those looking for the best Mac data recovery software will want the program to work with APFS, while different file systems will be present with various USBs, hard drives, and so on.
Speed and Performance
Depending on when the file was deleted, it may take the recovery program some time to dig it up. Still, no one wants to spend hours in front of the scanning screen waiting for that one file to pop up. As such, one of the things we take into account in our reviews is the speed at which the software scans selected drives and how much time it needs to actually restore the files. Whether we’re comparing the best data recovery software for Mac, Windows, or phones, scanning and restoring speeds are some of the most important metrics we look at.
Interface and User-Friendliness
When you want to recover files from a hard drive or a USB stick, few things can make the process as frustrating as an overly complicated interface. Restoring lost data shouldn’t require you to be an IT expert. Data recovery programs need to be accessible and easy to use, as spending long hours deciphering how the software works defeats its purpose.
Besides general ease of use, we expect the best-rated data recovery software to come with quality of life features like easy filtering, file preview, and quick scans.
Lastly, we have pricing. The product’s price naturally plays a huge part in any purchasing decision, and data recovery tools are no different. The pricing for this type of software can vary greatly. Some companies charge between $20 and $40 for a one-year license, while others may charge between $50 and $60 for a lifetime one.
There are also significant cost differences between personal and professional solutions, as data recovery for service providers can cost several hundred dollars for a single license.
Additionally, some of the best data recovery software have free solutions. However, these are usually limited when it comes to the amount of data you can recover or how far back you can dig.