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[2020] 9 Best Free Photo Recovery Software

By Vernon Roderick, Last updated: March 9, 2020

The use of smartphones nowadays is very prevalent. We use it for many things, but people mostly use them for photography. Thus, they have loads of photos stuck on their smartphones.

Unfortunately, smart devices are not invulnerable. Simply put, there are ways for these devices to encounter issues such as data loss, which can lead to the loss of the photos of users.

On the other hand, there are tools out there that were made for this issue. This article was designed to help you find the best free photo recovery software so you won’t have to worry about losing your photos again. Let’s proceed with our first recommendation.

#1. FoneDog Data Recovery#2. PhotoRec#3. TestDisk#4. TOKIWA DataRecovery#5. Recuva Data Recovery#6. WinHex#7. Undelete 360#8. Disk Drill#9. MiniTool

#1. FoneDog Data Recovery

This tool might not be specially made for recovering photos, but its performance and functionality was what made it one of the best free photo recovery software.

FoneDog Data Recovery is a software developed by the FoneDog, a group that has been making specialized tools for a long time. It is priced at $40 for a lifetime license for 1 PC or $80 for lifetime licenses for 5 PCs.

What we liked

  • The tool allows users to preview their photos before they recover files and even before users purchase a license, allowing them to see what they’re buying
  • The interface is clean so even beginners can understand what’s going on with the software
  • Both Windows and Mac users can install the software
  • The software supports recovery from the Recycle Bin
  • Scanning method includes Quick Scan and Deep Scan
  • Supports most brands of media devices

What we didn’t like

  • You won’t be able to recover photos immediately in the trial version

Data Recovery Recover deleted image, document, audio and more files. Get deleted data back from computer (including Recycle Bin) and hard drives. Recover loss data caused by disk accident, operation system crushes and other reasons. Free Download Free Download FoneDog Data Recovery

#2. PhotoRec

If you don’t consider fancy software and tools the best free photo recovery software, then perhaps PhotoRec is the most suited for you.

PhotoRec is an open-source freeware developed by CGSecurity. It is available on many platforms and is licensed under the General Public License, ensuring that it is legitimate.

This tool focuses on the use of a read-only access method to ensure that users are safe from any ill intentions of anyone who has access to the open-source server.

What we liked

  • Since it is open-source, users can add tons of extensions or plugins to PhotoRec for free, making it one of the most customizable tools out there
  • Supports all versions of Windows operating systems
  • Supports most platforms including Mac, Linux, and other operating systems
  • It does not require any purchase for you to access the full package of the said software

What we didn’t like

  • Being an open-source program, you may be at risk of exposing yourself to infringement, although it is very rare since the security is tight
  • Beginners may find it difficult to get used to the software considering how sophisticated the open-source program is

#3. TestDisk

Did you like PhotoRec? Then perhaps you will also like TestDisk, the partner of PhotoRec also from the same company which is CGSecurity.

Just like PhotoRec, TestDisk is open-source software licensed under the same authority which is General Public License. While PhotoRec specializes in recovering photos, TestDisk focuses on recovering lost partitions.

However, TestDisk can still be considered one of the best free photo recovery software since it is also capable of photo recovery under the right circumstances.

What we liked

  • Has unlimited capabilities such as copying files, locating files, and at last, recovering files including photos
  • Can configure partitions and partition tables in many ways including rebuilding and repairing
  • Includes a guide for both beginners and professionals unlike PhotoRec that only caters to the experts
  • TestDisk can be partnered up with PhotoRec to further increase your fighting chance when recovering photos

What we didn’t like

  • For better or for worse, TestDisk has a program that collects information for future analysis. This may reveal personal info, but it is only used for bettering the program

Best Free Photo Recovery Software

#4. TOKIWA DataRecovery

Now that we’ve already discussed two open-source tools, we will also be mentioning TOKIWA DataRecovery, yet another open-source freeware tool developed by TOKIWA.

DataRecovery follows the same concept as PhotoRec and TestDisk, though there are differences. Either way, the functionalities are almost the same.

It allows you to recover files from the Recycle Bin. It can change your configurations so you can improve the security of your photos. Regardless, you can think of it as an alternative for the best free photo recovery software.

What we liked

  • To use the DataRecovery tool, users are not required to install anything. The whole package is archived and you only need to unpack or extract it from the file
  • There will be no entries on the registry when using DataRecovery, making it easier to use it without any trace
  • DataRecovery offers a Full Scan feature that takes time but ensures that most of your photos are detected
  • It is also open-source, meaning you can customize the tool the way you like

What we didn’t like

  • In order to run or use the DataRecovery tool, you will have to provide administrative privileges to yourself
  • Some anti-virus programs can hinder the runtime of the DataRecovery tool

#5. Recuva Data Recovery

We’ve talked more about open-source tools since the beginning, but what if you don’t exactly find the appeal of such tools?

Fortunately, our fifth entry, Recuva Data Recovery, is a bit different this time. It’s not open-source, which might be a good thing for some but not to many. However, it is still capable of photo recovery.

It is free like the previous three, but you may opt for the pro version for $20.

What we liked

  • It specializes in recovering raster files and images in JPG format, perfect for people that likes to download images of this format.
  • There’s tight security set up on the tool which makes infringement and tracking pretty much impossible.
  • The resource consumption is low and the size is around 5 MB

What we didn’t like

  • You will be able to detect junk files and this might be a bit of an annoyance when trying to recover photos
  • There is no automatic update feature so you have to update the tool yourself

Best Free Photo Recovery Software: Recuva Data Recovery

#6. WinHex

The first five recommendations are, without a doubt, candidates for the best free photo recovery software. This is mainly because they were made for recovering files and photos. But WinHex, a product of X-Ways, is a bit different.

Instead of being a data recovery software, WinHex is more of an all-in-one hexadecimal editor. It can primarily be a computer forensics tool for some. It may also be a security tool for others. Fortunately, it can also be a data recovery tool.

What we liked

  • Specializes in recovering files from the corrupted disks on digital cameras
  • Supports disk cloning which is applicable when a whole disk has been corrupted, allowing users to recover photos contained within the disk
  • Supports most file systems including NTFS, exFAT, and more
  • Supports file analysis and configurations including splitting, dividing, RAM editing, compressing, and more

What we didn’t like

  • The interface can be a bit messy, especially when tons of the options in WinHex are enabled at the same time
  • Users that are new to using hexadecimal editors may not understand a thing about this tool

#7. Undelete 360

It’s been very overwhelming knowing that there are actually countless tools out there that we consider as the best free photo recovery software even though you can’t comprehend them. Perhaps it is because they are open-source, or perhaps because they were made for experts.

If you’re tired of this, then maybe your best option is to use a software that caters to beginners, and an example of that is Undelete 360.

You don’t have to know everything about Undelete 360 except that it is a lightweight freeware tool and is perhaps the simplest tool out there.

What we liked

  • The size of Undelete 360 is only 2 MB, the smallest size of a photo recovery
  • Scanning methods offered are Full and Quick scan
  • The partition of photos can be traced and fixed in an event where the header of the image is corruption
  • Supports even the oldest versions of the Windows operating system
  • The interface resembles that of Windows

What we didn’t like

  • The tool does not support bootable disc, so you need to install it directly
  • During installation, there will be an additional program automatically added to your operating system which is mostly useless

Best Free Photo Recovery Software: Undelete 360

#8. Disk Drill

If we’re going to arrange the tools by popularity, then Disk Drill will surely take one of the highest places. This is because Disk Drill is one of the most popular photo recovery tools out there.

It was developed by CleverFiles and it specializes in recovering files from all kinds of media devices including SD cards, USB drives, and even memory cards from a digital camera.

It has a Mac OS version as well as a Windows version. There’s a trial version, but you can upgrade to Pro if you think it is the best free photo recovery software for only $90 for 3 PCs.

What we liked

  • The interface is very user-friendly with a wide selection of color themes, allowing the users to customize the design of the tool
  • The recovery results are greater than that of the average, according to reviews of the regular users of the said tool
  • There is a Recovery Vault that can safely store your files that can serve as an alternative backup in case the unexpected occurs
  • As a forensics tool, Disk Drill has the ability to generate data image files and clone disks

What we didn’t like

  • The trial version is not very generous as it only allows recovery of up to 500 MB, which is lower than the average 1 GB limitation of most tools

#9. MiniTool

Our last entry is MiniTool Partition Recovery, another popular tool that is considered as the best free photo recovery software by many.

As the name suggests, this tool specializes in recovering files from partitions. It has the ability to repair partition and partition tables. Consequently, it can recover your photos by doing the same.

It is available to both Windows and Mac. Although there is a free version, you can purchase a license for around $70.

What we liked

  • With the trial version, you can do pretty much everything you can do with the pro version as long as the size of the photos that you’ll recover does not exceed the 1 GB limit
  • Users can preview the files before recovery and this feature not only supports image files but also documents such as PowerPoint presentations, Word docs, and more.

What we didn’t like

  • If you know of some photo recovery tools, you’ll find that there’s not much to complain about MiniTool, proving that it really is one of the best free photo recovery software

Data Recovery Recover deleted image, document, audio and more files. Get deleted data back from computer (including Recycle Bin) and hard drives. Recover loss data caused by disk accident, operation system crushes and other reasons. Free Download Free Download FoneDog Data Recovery

The photos that you’ve spent years collecting aren’t always available to you 24/7. Sometimes, you will have to find them first, but what if they really get lost and there’s no way of finding it through normal means?

Fortunately, there are tools that were made for this, but it would be hard to find the most suitable one for you. Hopefully, this article about the best free photo recovery software helped you in that area.

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Vernon Roderick

Technical Expertise for PC / YouTube Scriptwriting /Website Optimization

One of my passion is to develop software of my own

I write articles to share knowledge about IT technology and some experience in developing my own software, and developing my own software is one of my passions for work.

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