10 Best Software for External Hard Drive File Recovery

Avatar for Mia
external hard drive file recovery

The popularity of external hard drives cannot be denied due to their convenience. They allow us to easily transfer a lot of data, and share files between devices, and they are easy to install. However, we often forget the fact that external drives are actually quite weak.

Not many people know how to recover files from external hard drives, which can lead to fear and confusion when data is lost. Knowing how to regain data from an external Hard Drive gives you a better chance of protecting against hazardous situations.

In this article, I will share my first-hand reviews from testing various recovery tools. I will take you through common problems and provide powerful solutions for external hard drive data recovery.

10 Best Tools to External Hard Drive File Recovery

Below, I have compiled a list of the top 10 tools for file recovery from external hard drives based on our experience, user reviews, and features.

1. WinfrGUI:

WinfrGUI is an accessible solution for recovering external hard drive files using the power of Windows File Recovery. Developed by Microsoft Corporation. This GUI version makes navigation, and command parameters more complex, making it easy to find handcuffs for users of all levels of expertise. It supports multiple file systems. It has an easy-to-use and completely free graphical interface.

To recover your valuable data using WinfrGUI:

  • Connect an external hard drive to your Windows computer
  • Enable WinfrGUI
  • Select internal drives beyond the user-friendly interface.
  • Start searching for missing information
  • View recoverable files easily
  • Select the file you want for recovery and start the process.

WinfrGUI not only helps with data recovery but also provides additional features for managing hard drives. It is a valuable tool for IT professionals and new users.

2. TestDisk

TestDisk is an open-source data recovery software that specializes in recovering lost partitions and fixing boot problems. While it runs through the command line and has no graphical user interface. It is a reliable option for users who are comfortable in this environment.


  • Office and freedom.
  • Works on multiple operating systems.
  • Recover missing partitions and fix boot problems


  • No graphical user interface
  • It could not recover data after formatting the external drive

3. Stellar Data Recovery

Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery is a powerful tool for recovering deleted data from internal and external hard drives. It can also retrieve lost data from inaccessible partitions. The software supports most file formats and storage devices and is trusted by more than 2 million customers.


  • Get up to 1 GB of data for free
  • Easy-to-use interface with preview capability.
  • Supports BitLocker encrypted drives


  • Except for the first file view.
  • Notify that there is a bad industry problem on the disk.

4. PhotoRec

PhotoRec is an off-source utility designed to recover multimedia file formats such as photos and videos from hard drives, memory cards, and digital cameras. Although it does not have a graphical interface, it can recognize that there are hundreds of parts of the file.


  • Office and freedom.
  • Works on multiple operating systems.
  • Recognize that there are hundreds of plug-ins.


  • Easier to use than other tools.
  • There is no disk copy function.

5. R-Studio

R-Studio is a family of data recovery tools designed for technicians and network professionals. It supports various file systems, does raw file searches and provides RAID recreation capabilities.


  • Works on all main operating systems.
  • Scan multiple file systems
  • The ability to re-create RAID.


  • Complex for beginners.
  • Show a limited file format sample

6. Wondershare Recoverit:

Wondershare Recoverit is a neatly designed hard drive recovery tool that works great. It supports more than 1,000 file formats and also has the ability to repair damaged video files.


  • Supports more than 1,000 file formats
  • Modern user interface with preview capabilities
  • Repair corrupted video files


  • Cannot scan all disks
  • Unreliable recovery time assessment.

7. Recuva

Recuva is a reliable data recovery tool for Windows that can recover lost data from internal and external hard drives. Free versions offer unlimited recovery.


  • Can recover unlimited amounts of data for free.
  • Two modes
  • Translate to multiple languages


  • Revitalization.
  • No latest updates

8. Data Rescue 6

Data Rescue 6 is a versatile HDD recovery software solution for home users and experts. The free version allows users to find lost files and recover them on a pay-what-you-return basis.


  • Two modes
  • The scan speed is pretty high.
  • More Backup & Repair Features


  • Old user interface
  • Lackluster Data Recovery Results
  • Support only in English.

9. DiskGenius

DiskGenius is an all-in-one hard drive management tool used for data recovery, backup, and partition management. The software has advanced features but has a complex user interface.


  • Advanced Features
  • Fast scanning speed
  • Good recovery performance for NTFS, exFAT, and FAT32


  • Complex user interface
  • Inconvenient file viewing feature

10. Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery is a Microsoft data recovery tool for Windows 10 2004 and later. It can be downloaded for free from the Microsoft Store but does not have a graphical user interface and supports limited file formats.


  • Completely free.
  • Available for download from the Microsoft Store.


  • No graphical user interface
  • Limited file format support
  • Incorrect update

Tips to Increase the Success Rate of External Hard Drive File Recovery

To increase the success rate of recovering your hard drive, please consider the following tips:

  • Do not delay the recovery process to prevent duplication.
  • Use the best software for your needs.
  • Reduce the risk of overwriting by unplugging the affected hard drive until you are ready to start the recovery process.

>>Read More: How to Fix A Corrupted External Hard Drive and Recover Your Data

By following these tips and using the recommended software, you can greatly improve your chances of recovering your hard drive data successfully. Remember to back up your important files regularly to avoid permanent loss in case all hard drives fail.