We have all happened to each other. You will use a data folder on your hard drive or SD card, and it turns out that you erased it weeks ago without realizing it.
Or you empty the bin and a second later someone tells you that they had sent a file there that you needed. And where are the photos of the Christmas party that you made with the mobile?
Is there any way to recover photos and deleted files?
Luckily, computer files have an innate ability not to disappear, even if you ask for it on your knees. Sometimes it’s a curse, true, but at other times that resistance to be erased saves our lives. As you know, even if you delete a file or a photo, the data does not disappear immediately.
Storage drives keep a list of the files they store, and when you tell the operating system to delete one of them, what actually happens is that those files are removed from the list, but remain in the store. They become invisible until you write data on it.
Even if you have written new data in the same place, it is possible to partially recover them. Sometimes it is enough to get those email addresses that you had lost or those photos that have so much sentimental value.
Let’s review the best free programs to recover photos and deleted files. They all work in a similar way.
They perform a fast or deep scan (as you choose) of a disk drive or SD card to locate deleted files. It is best to do the superficial scan first and, if you do not find what you are looking for, perform the deep scan, which can take several hours.
When you finish you get the recovered files. In some cases they will be complete. In others you can only read parts of the text or see a fragment of the image. If it is a program file, it may not work. But hopefully, you will recover much more than you expected. Even files lost months ago.
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free 9.9
Deep scans carried out by photo recovery applications and deleted files can last for several hours when the computer is not very powerful, the hard drive is slow or has a very large size.
If you can not wait so long EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free 9.9 includes options to pause the scan and continue at another time, and even to save the entire process and continue where you left after shutting down the computer.
It is also very easy to use, with a very intuitive interface, in Spanish, that gives access to all the options from the main screen, without the need to use menus.
In a deep scan it is usual to locate hundreds, even thousands of deleted files, so it also offers powerful filters that allow you to find specific files, or of a certain type, quickly.
It also has a Preview function, to examine the contents of a file before retrieving it, since it is normal for its name to be lost during the process.
Note that the free version only allows you to recover 2 GB of data. There is an unlimited payment version.
PC Inspector File Recovery 4.x
If you have tried the rest of the programs in the article and you have not been able to recover the files you are looking for, it is time to use PC Inspector File Recovery 4.x, an application developed by Convar, a company dedicated to professional file recovery.
Convar ensures that PC Inspector File Recovery 4.x is able to rescue deleted files that other competing programs can not find. You can locate disk partitions even if the boot sector is damaged or deleted. It also recovers files without header, being one of the few free applications that it carries out. Finally it detects data analyzing its format, although there are no references. It supports more than a dozen different: AVI, BMP, DOC, DBF, XLS, EXE, GIF, HLP, HTML, JPG, MID, MOV, MP3, PDF, PNG, RTF, TAR, TIF, WAV, ZIP, etc. .
PC Inspector File Recovery 4.x not only recovers deleted files, but also those that have been lost (you do not know where they are stored).
Similarly, it locates orphaned disk drives that do not have an assigned logical drive (a letter). Although its interface is not very intuitive luckily in English, so you can thoroughly explore its many options until you find what you need.
Glary Undelete 5
If you are looking for a file recovery utility that is efficient, proven and easy to use, Glary Undelete 5 is what you need. Of course, keep in mind that it is in English. But as we have commented it is very simple to use. Simply launch the application, choose the disk drive and press the Search button. Glary Undelente 5 will locate all the recoverable deleted files on the drive.
Then mark the ones you want to bring back to life, and hit the Restore button. It is done! If you check the Preview box you will be able to see the contents of the files before recovering them.
Glary Undelete 5 works with both FAT and NTFS drives and supports both hard drives and SD cards or USB drives. The latest version has added support for fragmented, compressed and encrypted files.
Pandora Recovery is a veteran application to recover deleted files. It works well with Windows 10, although it is designed to work with Windows systems prior to Windows 8.
Perform different scans depending on the type of content you want to recover, and the conditions in which it is. A newly deleted file is not the same as another one that was lost months ago and then the disk has been defragmented.
Your surface scanning (cluster mode) recovers files in formatted drives or has lost the file table, or is corrupted. However, this method does not retrieve the original file names or work well on disk drives that have been defragmented or have written many data after the deletion.
Pandora Recovery is also able to track system files, compressed, hidden, or cryptographically encoded. One of its most useful functions is its Preview option, to see what is in a file before starting its recovery. Although somewhat outdated, it still complies with its work perfectly.
If you have a Mac computer, surely at some point you will have used Disk Drill, one of the most popular OS X applications to recover deleted files. Disk Drill has landed in Windows and offers some very interesting features. Recover deleted or corrupted data from hard disks, USB sticks, SD cards, and other storage systems.
It also revives deleted or damaged disk partitions, and protects your PC to avoid losing data in the future, keeping track of all the files you delete. It is compatible with all popular disk formats, including FAT, exFAT, and NTFS in Windows, HFS + on Mac, Linux EXT2 / 3/4, etc.
Wise Data Recovery
Here’s another free app that amazes by its speed and ease of use. Although it works with all types of files, Wise Data Recovery has special modules to recover deleted photos and videos on a smartphone or SD card. Just select the unit and press the Search button to start the process. In the center of the screen you will see the lost files that you have located.
If they have a green light it can be completely recovered, or at least intelligible. If it is red they are badly damaged and although you can repair them, their content may not be understood or not working properly.
The last step is to mark the files and press the Recover button. You can download a portable version that does not require installation, to place it in a USB memory and to execute the application from there, avoiding to overwrite possible fragments of files that you want to recover.
If you’ve accidentally erased, or regretted doing so, photos from your computer or mobile, the latest version of the free eSupport Undelete Plus application includes an integrated utility called Photo SmartScan, which specializes in recovering deleted photos.
ESupport UndeletePlus is able to recover emails, photos, videos, documents and other content from multiple sources, from the empty Trash to a computer where you have reinstalled Windows. Not only does it work fast but it does it exhaustively: in one of our test drives it was able to locate more than 89,000 deleted files:
Of course, the rate of recovery was very low, as most had been rewritten over several times, and there was hardly anything left of the original. Red and green lights indicate your chances of success. Its only limitation is that it is in English and the deep and intelligent scans you have to manually activate them.
By default it only uses fast scanning. To activate them, press the Settings button and check the Enable DeepScan and Enable SmartScan boxes, Without a doubt an efficient program, completely updated for Windows 10, and free.
The authors of the popular CCleaner disk cleaner, Piriform, also offer us a free deleted file recovery utility that has become a favorite of users for its simplicity and effectiveness.
Recuva recovers photos, videos, documents, music, emails, and any other type of deleted file. It is capable of working on any storage unit, from hard disks to SD cards, USB sticks, external disks, etc.
Recuva also recovers data on both faulty storage drives and on disks that have been formatted after deletion.
Its operation is simple: when starting the program will ask you what type of file you want to recover, and in which unit. Perform a quick checkup and deliver the results. If you are not what you are looking for, use the Deep Scan option.
In the list of files found, mark the ones you want, press the Recover button, and go. Recuva also offers a function to permanently erase any file you want to delete without leaving a trace.