Many free data recovery programs exist that can help recover or "undelete" your accidentally deleted files. Files you've already deleted are often still present on your hard drive (or USB drive, media card, smartphone, etc.) and can be recovered using data recovery software.
Data recovery software is just one way to go. See How to Recover Deleted Files for a complete tutorial, including how to avoid common pitfalls during the file recovery process.
Get files back that you thought were gone forever with any one of these freeware data recovery tools. Recover documents, videos, images, music/audio files, and more.
Portable option is available
Lots of advanced options
A wizard walkthrough makes it easy to use
Works on most Windows operating systems
Recuva is the very best free data recovery software tool available, hands down. It's very easy to use, but has many optional advanced features as well.
It can recover files from hard drives, external drives (USB drives, etc.), BD/DVD/CD discs, and memory cards. This program can even undelete files from your iPod!
Undeleting a file is as easy as deleting one! We highly recommend that you try Recuva first if you need to recover a file.
This program will undelete files in Windows 11, 10, 8 & 8.1, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008/2003, and older Windows versions like 2000, NT, ME and 98. 64-bit Windows versions are also supported. There is also a 64-bit version available.
Piriform provides both an installable and a portable version of the program. We tested file recovery with v1.53.2065 using their portable version on Windows 10.
You can back up the scan results to restore files later without having to rescan the whole drive
Works on Windows and macOS
Lets you sort files by file type, date it was removed, and name
File recovery is easy because you can browse the folders like you would in Explorer
Supports previewing files prior to restoration
Only 2 GB of data can be recovered
No portable version
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is another great file undelete program. Recovering files is very easy to do with just a few clicks.
Our favorite aspect of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is that the user interface is structured much like Windows Explorer. While that may not be everyone's ideal way to display files, it's a very familiar interface that most people are comfortable with.
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will undelete files from hard drives, optical drives, memory cards, iOS devices, cameras, and pretty much anything else that Windows sees as a storage device. It also does partition recovery!
Please know that Data Recovery Wizard will only recover a total of 500 MB of data before you'll need to upgrade (or up to 2 GB if you use the share button in the program to post about the software on social media).
We almost didn't include this program because of that limitation, but since most situations call for undeleting much less than that, we'll let it slide.
Data Recovery Wizard supports macOS 12 through 10.9; Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7; and Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008, and 2003.
Two ways to view the list of deleted files
Supports running as a portable version
Scans NTFS and FAT12/16/32 file systems
It's easy to see whether the file can be recovered well
Free for home use only, not commercial/business
Hasn't been updated since 2016
Puran File Recovery is one of the better options we've seen. It's very easy to use, will scan any drive that Windows sees, and has a lot of advanced options if you need them.
One particular thing to note is that Puran File Recovery identified more files on our test machine than most other tools, so be sure to give this one a shot in addition to Recuva if it didn't find what you were looking for.
This tool will even recover lost partitions if they haven't been overwritten yet.
It's said to work with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It's also available in a portable form for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, so it doesn't require installation.
Organizes deleted files by category for easier viewing
Lets you filter the results by size and/or date
Supports a quick scan and a deep scan mode
Works with several different file systems
Lets you recover only 500 MB of data
Has to be installed to the HDD (no portable version)
You can't see how recoverable a file is before restoration
Disk Drill is an excellent free data recovery program not only because of its features but also due to the very simple design, making it almost impossible to get confused.
According to their website, Disk Drill can recover data (up to 500 MB) from "virtually any storage device," such as internal and external hard drives, USB devices, memory cards, and iPods.
Disk Drill can also preview files before recovering them, pause scans and resume them later, perform partition recovery, back up an entire drive, filter files by date or size, run a quick scan versus a full scan for faster results, and save scan results so you can easily import them again to recovery deleted files at a later time.
The program works with Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7, as well as most versions of macOS. Earlier versions work with older operating systems like Windows XP.
Pandora Recovery was another file recovery program but it now exists as Disk Drill.
Viewing the list of deleted files is easy and user friendly
Recovery to any folder you want
Can't be used portably, so you have to install it
Setup attempts to install another program with this one
Doesn't show a file's recoverability odds
Glarysoft File Recovery Free is a user-friendly file undelete program. There aren't a ton of options and it doesn't compare to some of the choices ranked higher in this list, but it does work and is easy to use.
Choose a drive, scan for deleted files, and then pick out the ones you want to recover. You can undelete things even while the scan is still running, which is nice so you don't have to wait. Pausing the scan is also supported.
You can filter by file type, time deleted, size, and keywords. There's a setting you can adjust to pick which file extensions belong to which categories, such as ensuring that MP4s are listed as videos; you can add your own, too.
It works with FAT, NTFS, and EFS file systems. We tested v1 in Windows 10.
It's really easy to use
Works from any portable location like a flash drive
You can search for deleted files by file extension and file name
Lets you restore more than one file simultaneously
Supports only two file systems (however, they are the most popular)
You can't preview an image file before restoring it
Unlike most file recovery tools, this one doesn't let you see how successful the file recovery will be
SoftPerfect File Recovery is another superb file undelete program. It's very easy to search for recoverable files. Anyone should be able to use this program with very little trouble.
It will undelete files from hard drives, memory cards, etc. Any device on your PC that stores data (except for your CD/DVD drive) should be supported.
SoftPerfect File Recovery is a small, 500 KB, standalone file, making the program very portable. Feel free to run File Recovery from a USB drive or floppy disk. Scroll down a bit on the download page to find it.
Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2008 & 2003, 2000, NT, ME, 98, and 95 should all be able to run this program. According to the developer's website, 64-bit versions of Windows operating systems are also supported.
We tested v1.2 in Windows 10 without any issues.
Scans for deleted files quickly
There's a portable option
When undeleting files, the original folder structure isn't retained
Can't know a file's chance of usability before undeleting it
Wise Data Recovery is a free undelete program that's really simple to use.
The program installed very quickly and scanned our test PC in record time. It can scan various USB devices like memory cards and other removal devices.
An instant search function makes it really quick and easy to search for deleted files that the program has found, and there's both a quick and a full scan option depending on how deep of a scan you want to perform.
This app is said to run on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as macOS. There's also a portable version available.
Really easy to use
Several ways to sort the results
Can search for empty deleted files
Lets you overwrite the deleted data
Supports up to Windows XP (officially; but still works on some newer OSs)
Can't restore a whole folder at once, just single files
Doesn't say how recoverable the file is before you restore it
The Restoration program is similar to the other free undelete apps on this list.
The thing we like most about Restoration is how incredibly simple it is to recover files. There are no cryptic buttons or complicated file recovery procedures — everything you need is on one, easy to understand program window.
Restoration can recover files from hard drives, memory cards, USB drives, and other external drives.
Like some of the other popular data recovery tools on this list, Restoration is small and does not need to be installed, giving it the flexibility to be run from a floppy disk or USB drive.
Restoration is said to support Windows Vista, XP, 2000, NT, ME, 98, and 95. We successfully tested it with Windows 7, and didn't run into any problems. However, v3.2.13 didn't work for us in Windows 10 or 8.
Can undelete files from a variety of storage devices
Simple user interface that isn't hard to understand
There's a portable option
Helpful filtering and sorting options
Restores entire folders at once, as well as single or multiple files
Lets you know how successful the recovery will be before starting
Works for home users only, not business/commercial settings
FreeUndelete is self-explanatory — it's free, and it undeletes files! It's very similar to other undelete utilities around this rank on our list.
The major advantage of FreeUndelete is it's easy to use interface and "folder drill down" functionality (i.e., files available for recovery are not shown in a big, unmanageable listing).
FreeUndelete will recover files from hard drives, memory cards, and other similar storage devices in, or connected to, your PC.
The supported operating systems include Windows 7, XP, and some Windows Server versions. We tested it with Windows 10 and didn't have any issues, so it should work equally well with Windows 11, 8, and other versions.
Portable version is available
Lets you preview files
Search through the results list
Supports lots of file types
Can't pause a scan and resume it later
Runs on Windows only
iCare Data Recovery Free has two scan options, so you can pick between a quicker scan type that might not catch everything, and a deeper scan that takes longer to complete but will likely locate more deleted files.
One of this program's best features is the ability to preview text and image files. You can even browse deleted folders in thumbnail view to quickly see which files you want to undelete.
Several hundred file types are supported, so you can bet that iCare Data Recovery Free can probably recover anything you've deleted.
Windows users can download this program as a portable tool or a normal, installable program. It's said to work with Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7.
Works with internal and external drives, including SD cards.
Lots of options.
Requires Windows 11 or 10.
Works over the command line.
Must restore to a different drive.
Even Microsoft has a tool for data recovery, but it's not as easy to use as most of these other programs. This one runs over the command line, so you have to type out everything you want to do. It's still pretty easy to use, though.
To undelete files this way, download and install Windows File Recovery and then search for it in the Start menu to open in. Once you're on a screen like you see above, you could enter a command like this to recover PNG images from your C drive's Downloads folder and copy them to the Images folder on a drive called E:
winfr C: E:\Images /n \Users\jonfi\Downloads\*PNG
Since this is a bit more of a process than using a standard application where you can point and click on buttons and menus, check out Microsoft's help page for other examples and more information. It explains how to recover single files or multiple file types at once, how to use wildcards, and more.
Only Windows 10 and Windows 11 users can download this tool.
Extremely small file size
Works from any portable location (doesn't need to be installed)
Really simple user interface that's easy to grasp
Doesn't work in Windows 8 or newer
Hasn't been updated since 2008
ADRC Data Recovery Tools is another great, free file recovery program. File recovery with this program is uncomplicated and could probably be accomplished by the average computer user without any kind of documentation.
It should be able to undelete files from any non-CD/DVD storage device like memory cards and USB drives, as well as hard drives, of course.
Data Recovery Tools officially supports Windows XP, 2000, and 95, but we successfully tested data recovery with this program on Windows Vista and Windows 7. This is a standalone, 132 KB program, making it a very portable data recovery tool that will easily fit on any removable media you might have.
We also tested v1.1 in Windows 8 and 10 but were unable to get it to work.
Designed specifically to undelete files from discs
Program is simple to use
Supports several Windows operating systems
Won't recover files from hard drives (because it isn't built for that purpose)
CD Recovery Toolbox is a completely free and very unique file recovery program. CD Recovery Toolbox is designed to recover files from damaged or corrupted optical drive discs — CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, HD DVD, etc.
According to the publisher, CD Recovery Toolbox should help recover files from discs that have been scratched, chipped, or have surface spotting.
One obvious con is the inability of CD Recovery Toolbox to recover files from hard drives or portable media drives. However, the program isn't designed to do that, so we haven't held that fact against it.
CD Recovery Toolbox works in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2003, 2000, NT, ME and 98. We tested it successfully in Windows 7.
Walks you through a short wizard to undelete files
Includes a unique feature that lets you restore deleted files from a system backup
Lets you browse the deleted files in two view modes
The search tool supports searching for deleted files by attribute, size, etc.
Also lets you delete files permanently
Might not work as advertised in Windows 11/10
The recoverability state of the file isn't shown, so you don't know whether it will be usable upon recovery
UndeleteMyFiles Pro is another free file recovery program. Don't let the name fool you — it's entirely free even though it says "Pro."
Tree View and Detailed View are the two viewing perspectives you can choose from. You can also preview files, which sounds nice, but all it does is restores the data to a temporary folder and then opens it.
Emergency Disk Image is one of the included tools in UndeleteMyFiles Pro. This tool takes a snapshot of your entire computer, places all the data in one file, and then lets you work through that file to find deleted data that you want to restore. This is very handy because after the image file has been made, you don't need to worry that new data written to your hard drive will replace any important deleted files.
There's a nice search option in this program that lets you search by file location, type, size, and attributes.
Something we really didn't like is that the recovery process doesn't tell you if a file is in a good state of being recoverable, like most of the other software in this list.
We tested UndeleteMyFiles Pro in Windows 8 and XP, and it worked as advertised, so it should also work in other versions of Windows. However, we also tested v3.1 in Windows 10 and found that it didn't work as it should.
Great for novice users.
Preview files up to 100 MB.
Search by category (e.g., only archives or docs).
Free only up to 2 GB of data recovery.
Zero advanced search options.
Must install it to the hard drive (no portable version).
Doesn't restore to original folder; must pick one manually.
Similar to some of the others in this list, this app is completely free to use, but you're limited to recovering just 2 GB of data. If you need to undelete a large video file, or lots of data, you're better off picking something else from this list. That, or pay for the full edition.
iBeesoft's file recovery program is super easy to use. The program itself is free from ads and simple to understand. The start screen has you choose a hard drive or folder to recovery files from, or you can pick the Desktop or Recycle Bin.
The website says that it supports over one thousand file types, so there's a good chance it includes all the normal files you're needing to undelete. It can recover deleted files from a wide variety of devices beyond your typical hard drive, including cameras, memory cards, and music players.
A few things worth mentioning that we like: the search tool is instant, you can sort the column headings to find the largest deleted files and to group file types (like to list all MP4s next to each other), and the settings let you define what to search for if not everything (e.g., Archives, Pictures, Video, Audio).
We tested data recovery with this program in Windows 11, and it worked just as advertised. It's also said to run on Windows 10, 8, and 7.
Has a clean, modern interface
Undeletes files from several types of storage devices
Scans for deleted files quickly
You can recover multiple folders simultaneously
The scan for deleted files can be paused midway
No portable option
Recovers no more than 1 GB for free
Unlike some file recovery programs from this list, this one needs to be installed to your computer before you're able to use it. This isn't the best way to work with this type of software because the install may overwrite your deleted files and make them less likely to be recoverable.
Another downside to Power Data Recovery is that you can only recover 1 GB of data before you have to upgrade to a paid version.
However, we do like the fact that the program finds deleted files quickly and that you can recover files from both internal drives and USB devices, as well as easily undelete data from the desktop, Recycle Bin, or a specific folder.
Also, Power Data Recovery lets you search among the deleted data, recover more than one folder or file at once, export the list of deleted files to a text file, pause or stop the scan when you find what you need, and filter the files by name, extension, size, and/or date.
It's reportedly available for Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. We tested it in Windows 11.
Walks you through a short wizard to restore files
Very minimal design
Lets you recover the file to any folder of your choosing
Supports a quick scan and a deep scan mode
Results of a scan can be saved to an SR file
Limits data recovery to 1 GB
Must be installed to the drive (no portable option)
Doesn't show the health of the file before you restore it
Another free data recovery program is available from iBoysoft. This one is severely limited in that it can recover only 1 GB of data, but if you need to undelete just a few files, or even a video or collection of music, you're probably fine being limited to 1 GB.
iBoysoft Data Recovery Free starts off by having you select the hard drive to scan, and then shows all the deleted files in a regular folder structure like you see above. You can browse through them much like you can in Explorer, and easily select the files you want to restore.
Besides being able to filter the results by file extension and search by file name, the only other thing you can do before recovering a file is preview it, but only if it's smaller than 5 MB.
When you exit the results screen, you have the opportunity to save the results to an SR file that you can later reopen in iBoysoft Data Recovery Free to work out of the same list of deleted files. This is great so that you don't have to rescan the drive to continue sifting through the results.
This program works on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It's also available for Mac computers (10.9+).
Shows a file's "recovery potential" to know whether the undelete will be successful
Lets you run a scan for specific file types or all types
Scans many types of storage devices
Also deletes data permanently
Setup might try to install unrelated programs
Orion File Recovery Software is a free file recovery program from NCH Software that's basically the same as most of the other programs in this list.
A nice wizard prompts you to scan for specific file types at the launch of the program, like documents, images, videos, music, or a custom file type. You can also scan the entire drive to search for all file types.
Orion File Recovery Software can scan any attached hard drive, whether internal or external, flash drives, and memory cards for deleted data. Then you can search through the files with an instant search function, while easily identifying the recovery potential of each file.
A nice addition to Orion File Recovery Software also functions as a data destruction program, so you can scrub all the files it finds to make them unrecoverable for future scans.
This program should work fine in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
The setup tool might try to install other NCH Software programs along with the file undelete tool, but just deselect those options if you wish not to install them.
Recovers files from regular hard drives and cameras
Walks you through a wizard to recover deleted files
Outdated, unappealing interface
Not as easy to use as other data recovery tools
Might not install correctly
Supports a limited number of file formats
BPlan Data Recovery is a file recovery program like the others in this list. It may not look as nice as similar software, but it can recover many types of deleted files.
We found BPlan Data Recovery to be a bit difficult to navigate around. It was hard to know what we were doing because of the layout of the results. That said, it still managed to find and recover images, documents, videos, and other file types.
This program officially works in Windows 8, 7, and XP. We tested the latest version in Windows XP.
While testing this program, the desktop shortcut the installer created was incorrect, and therefore didn't open BPlan Data Recovery. You might need to open bplan.exe in this folder to make it work: "C:\Program Files (x86)\BPlan data recovery\."
Steps you through a wizard
Lets you choose where to restore the data
Preview documents and images before recovery
Limits recovery to just 1 GB total
Can't undelete any file over 25 MB (unless you pay)
Poorly designed search tool
No portable option
Must restore files to a separate hard drive
This free data recovery tool from Stellar is easy to use because it walks you through a simple wizard where you select what and where to search for deleted files.
A unique feature in this program is the preview option you have while the scan is taking place. You can watch, in real time, which files the program finds before the scan completes.
Something else we like about Stellar's free file recovery program is that when you exit the results screen, you're given the option to save the list of deleted files so that you can resume recovering them later.
It's available for Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7, as well as macOS 12 and older versions.
Undeletes files from all types of storage devices
Works on Windows, Linux, and macOS
Too easy to recover files you don't want to undelete
No graphical user interface
The free PhotoRec file recovery tool does the job, but it isn't nearly as easy to use as other programs in this list.
It's limited by its command-line interface and multiple step recovery process. However, our greatest problem with it is that it's very difficult to avoid recovering all deleted files at once, not just the one or two you're after.
It can recover files from hard drives, optical drives, and memory cards. PhotoRec should be able to undelete files from any storage device on your PC.
If another tool hasn't worked, give this one a try. We just don't recommend making it your first pick.
We tested it in Windows 7, but since the minimum OS requirement is Vista, it should work equally well in Windows 11, 10, and 8. It also runs on Mac and Linux.
PhotoRec is downloaded as part of the TestDisk software, but you'll want to still open the file called photorec_win (on Windows) to run it.
"Why have you only included 21 free data recovery programs?"
True, there are many more file recovery programs than those listed above, but we've only included true freeware file recovery programs that also undelete wide ranges of files. We didn't include file recovery programs that are shareware/free trials, nor ones that won't undelete reasonably sized files.