Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. The simple fact is that sooner or later, you’re going to lose your important data. It could be something nefarious, like a hacking attack against you that turns your PC or handheld device into a brick, or it could be a simple act of God: fire, flood, lightning strike, or similar. Either way though, the end result is the same. If you don’t have a backup in place, or some file recovery tools at your fingertips, then you’re done, and your data is lost for good.
It doesn’t have to be like that though. Below, we’ll cover some of the best open source data recovery tools on the web today. Why open source? For the same reason that more than 85% of the world’s web servers rely on open source software, even when there are commercial products available. They just work better, because they’re designed by the people who use them. With that in mind, here are some tools you’ll want to add to your digital toolkit, starting today.
This tool is specific to Windows, but the good news here is that it will work with every version of Windows in existence, so even if you’re running an old, no-longer-supported version like Windows NT or XP, this tool has you covered. It’s got a very scaled down feature set, but handles the basics well. The best part though, is that since the program is just 406k in size, you can easily stash it on a USB drive and have a portable data recovery kit at your fingertips, any time you need it!
A word of warning. Test Disk is for experienced users, who are used to looking at command prompts. There’s no flashy interface here, this program is all bare bones business. It is extremely powerful, and compatible with Windows, Linux and MacOS.
It will allow you to perform basic file recovery work (undeleting/restoring from NTFS, FAT and ext2), and will even allow you to recover your boot sector from a backup, fix FAT tables, find lost partitions, and more. A stunning tool that can do almost anything in the right hands, although some people will be turned off by the lack of an attractive user interface. Even so, if you are comfortable working with the command prompt, this is a must have tool!
Another Windows-centric tool, this one is noteworthy because it is newbie friendly. It has a Wizard that can walk you through the file recovery process, making it a snap to use. Even better, it uses color codes (red, yellow, green) to give you an at-a-glance gauge of how likely you are to successfully recover the file in question, so there’s not much left to guesswork. It can also provide you a preview images of files it will attempt to recover, and can be used to securely wipe files.
Sure, there are plenty of commercially available data recovery tools on the market, but before you spend your hard earned money, give some of these open source options a try. You’ll be very glad you did!