Many situations can result in data/file loss (deletion). In such cases, well, the data files that have been deleted need to come back. I recently had an SD card full of travel pics, inserted it in my office PC – Virus detected, files deleted. Happened VERY fast. The virus actually deleted my picture files, and created .exe versions of the folders to propagate itself when clicked. over 1,000+ nice pictures lost. Thus, my hunt for software to recover my pictures. It didnt take long to discover that almost ALL the data recovery tools that said they were free on their website were actually all paid in the 35 – 100 USD range. All kinds of gimmicks were implemented . Some scanned and found my pictures and showed me thumbnails – what relief! And just before I clicked the recover button, asked for a detailed registration process and credit card info. OK. Others said I could recover just 100 and pay if I wanted the others. At some point I considered quickly writing my own data recovery tool.
As a software developer, I do perfectly understand the need for developers to get paid for their work, and do not begrudge the fact that money was required. Its just that it would be better for the software to be clearly described as paid rather than advertised as free. This post discusses briefly how data recovery works and what truly free tool(s) worked for me in recovering my picture files without hassles.
How Data Recovery Works in a few words
When files are deleted from your external storage media, they are not actually destroyed and removed from your storage media. Instead the record of its existence on removed from the list of “available” files. It is only destroyed when new data is written on its position. Thus, it is still possible to recover “deleted” files provided new data has not been written to the storage media. More about that here .
What Free Tool Worked
I was able to successfully recover them files using Wise data Recovery. Remember to run it as administrator and it definitely recovered all the lost files on my SD Card. Hopefully it stays this way.
Wise Data Recovery is a free data recovery program. It can recover files (photo, word, email, txt, etc.) that have been “permanently” deleted and marked as free space by the operating system. The program can also be used to recover files deleted from USB flash drives, memory cards, or MP3 players.
The process was fairly straightforward. On the left, you select the storage media you want to recover data from and scan it. Next you select the files you want to recover and select a destination to save them in . That simple!
I also tried KickAss Undelete , a free/open source alternative which worked well, but didn’t recover some files.
What Didnt Work / Asked for Payment at the Last Minute
Interesting these are the ones that show up in the search results , and masquerade as “free” data recovery tools. Most turned out to be time wasters , especially if you are not comfortable shelling out the 35 – 100 USD they demanded.