Free Software to Recover Formatted Data

by Rod Dunne on January 29, 2011

in Data Recovery

  • Share
  • Share

Using free software to recover formatted data is a damage-free approach to start off with when attempting to retrieve lost documents. In this post I’ll detail some of the programs worth using as well as some of the setbacks you can experience.

If you are attempting to recover USB contents, internal hard drive files or any FAT32 based memory (including flash drives) then you should be able to use some of the more commonly available freeware utilities to find your files.

Three of the more popular applications you could try are

  • Undelete Plus: Straightforward data recovery application which will work on hard drives and flash devices. Has a basic user interface and simple scans.
  • Recuva: Popular utility that can find documents in number of circumstances, whether they are lost/deleted/corrupted/formatted.
  • PhotoRec: One of the older tools which is still however highly effective. The major downside to this is the lousy user interface which may prove to be too simple for many users.

The handy thing about using any of these freeware tools to recover formatted data is that they will not affect your hard drive. These applications do not adjust any of the data clusters on the hard drive partition. They will simply clone the data clusters you want and copy/paste them to any new location you specify. This is critical when picking a freeware application as some programs may cut/paste instead (which could prove dangerous if the wrong clusters are being cut).

My recommendation when using freeware applications is to try each of them individually and see how many files they can bring back. Check to see if they are finding all of documents you want. The formatting process will have cleared down the file allocation table (FAT) which makes it more difficult to identify and consolidate data clusters (the actual contents of your files as they are stored in memory). Some freeware utilities are quite capable of assembling clusters that represent individual files. However, this is really the forte of many commercial utilities (e.g. Remo Undelete) which have been specifically developed to identify clusters dispersed around disk/memory partitions.

Recommended Commercial Data Recovery Software

Remo Undelete: Works on IDE / ATA / SATA / SCSI hard disk drives, SD Cards, Memory Sticks, Zip drives and USB hard drives, All Windows OS; Free trial scan.

Remo Undelete | PC Maintenance Software | Click Here For A Free Scan

Previous post:

Next post: