5 best external hard drive recovery software [Windows & Mac]

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Data recovery software can come as extremely handy when you realize that some of your important data has been lost from both the original and the backup source.
  • With so many options on the market right now, in this article, we've taken the liberty to make some recommendations, based on the features of various such programs.
  • Bookmark our Data Recovery Hub for more reliable information on this topic.
  • And, in our Utilities&Tools Hub, you'll find even more useful articles.
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Hard drives are external storage solutions designed to serve as backup points for computer files, programs, settings , and documents. A typical hard drive often serves as the convenient backup storage medium keeping files safe in the event of computer system crash and subsequent data loss.

So, what do you do if some or all of the files are lost from this backup option as well? This post provides you with some of the best external hard drive recovery software, to facilitate the recovery of the lost files.

Data loss in computer systems is quite common. However, it is not as common on external hard drives.

Nevertheless, it happens. Usually this is the result of accidental deletion or formatting, damage or corruption. In this case, swift recovery becomes essential.

Read on to get a good grip on some of the best available tools, which can easily be employed to run such recoveries.

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What are the best external hard drive recovery tools for PCs?

Stellar Data Recovery

best external hard drive recovery softwareStellar Data Recovery is a data recovery tool, specially designed for Windows PCs, ranging from Windows 10 to Windows XP. It is arguably the most popular external hard drive recovery software in the market.

The software is a product of Stellarinfo, a renowned software repair solution provider.

It hosts advanced data recovery features, which make it suitable for recovering various types of files, ranging from videos to audio files to documents.

Furthermore, the software is a versatile recovery tool that can be employed to recover deleted or damaged files from internal storage, external hard drives, USB drives, memory cards and more.

In fact, it can also recover lost Windows partitions. Basically, Stellar supports various file modules; including NTFS, FAT, FAT16, FAT32 and ExFAT.

Stellar Data Recovery offers a form of freemium license package to users. This means there is the free version, as well as the premium (paid) version.

The free package (with 1GB storage) is essentially designed for home or personal use, while the premium package, which offers more advanced features, is designed for professional use (with unlimited recovery-storage capacity).

Stellar Data Recovery

Stellar Data Recovery

Recover lost or deleted data from all types of Windows devices and storage media with this all-in-one tool.
Try free Visit website

Kernel Data Recovery

best data recovery tools kernel

Kernel Data Recovery is yet another tool that you can use to recover all your lost files and folders, containing your valuable data.

The tool uses a three-step process: first, it scans the Windows system drives for the lost data, then it allows you to preview the recovered file and, finally, it retrieves the file.

Besides the recovery option, the program will also fix issues in FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, and NTFS5 partitions – be it corruption in hard disk/ Windows File system, and even a virus attack.

There’s no file size limitation when it comes to the search and scanning process; plus, your files are recovered in their original form, with no alternations in quality, size or data.

The tool can perform the same action on removable drives as well, including USB, IDE, EIDE, SCSI, SATA, PEN, or ZIP drives.

Kernel Data Recovery

Kernel Data Recovery

The perfect tool to recover lost, deleted, and inaccessible data from any system partition or storage media.
Try it free Visit website

Paragon Backup & Recovery 17

best external hard drive recovery softwareParagon Backup & Recovery is designed to recover lost, corrupted or deleted files from hard drives and other file storage hubs.

At present, the external hard drive recovery software is the primary data backup and recovery tool of over six million people across the globe.

Basically, the software supports 64-bit Windows versions, ranging from Windows Vista to Windows 10. This makes it an ideal backup software for Windows, as it’s 64-bit support enables it to handle a large amount of RAM.

Also, it hosts various backup and recovery features like WinPE-based recovery media, disk backup, flexible restore, and more.

Furthermore, the software is versatile and can support a variety of hard drives (SSD, HDD, AFD), USB drives, storage disks, memory cards, and other storage media.

Also, it hosts a flexible design that supports all file systems, including FAT 16, FAT 32, NTFS, ReFS and more.

This makes Paragon Backup & Recovery one of the best available recovery (and backup) tools.

Get Paragon Backup & Recovery

Recuva

best data recovery tool recuvaRecuva is a product of Piriform, a globally known software repair/solution provider. It is one of the most employed external hard drive recovery software in the market, and it is especially suitable for Windows PCs. The software is supported on Windows versions, from XP to Windows 10.

Recuva is basically a delete-recovery tool i.e. it is equipped to undelete deleted files on both internal and external storage media.

Hence, it is especially suitable for recovering accidentally deleted files from computers, external hard drives, pen drives, memory cards and so on.

Also, like most data recovery tools, Recuva works perfectly well with all FAT and NTSF (file) platforms, and it is able to recover audio files, videos, photos, documents and other file types (and formats). In fact, it is equipped to run deep scans, and retrieve or at least, identify every file you’ve ever deleted on your hard drive.

Furthermore, Recuva, despite being an undelete tool, is designed to permanently erase any file you want to delete from your hard drive or computer.

So a Recuva-deleted file is technically irrecoverable, as the software ensures every trace of such file is completely and permanently erased from your hard drive.

On a final note, Recuva offers a freemium package to users, albeit with limited features. For the full features, you’ll have to go for the premium version (Recuva Pro).

Download Recuva

Hetman Partition Recovery

best external hard drive recovery softwareHetman Partition Recovery is one of the leading external hard drive recovery software today. It hosts an advanced set of features that makes it suitable for recovering lost data and partitions from Windows PCs (and a host of other desktop brands).

It has relatively low system requirements. Hence, it is supported on virtually all Windows versions, from the old Windows NT to the latest Windows 10.

Like most external hard drive recovery software, Hetman Partition Recovery supports virtually all file system variants, specifically NTSF and FAT (including FAT 16 and FAT 32).

The tool is able to recover video files (MP4, 3gp and others), audio files (MP3), photographs (PNG & JPEG) documents (docx, PDF, Excel, PPT) and so on. In fact, it is able to recover archive files like zip files, .iso, .cab and others.

In addition, the recovery software’s applicability is not specific to hard drives. It can also be employed to recover corrupted files and formatted partitions from other external storage media like Flash drives, SD cards, disk drives and others.

Interestingly, it has the capability to run up to a 100% recovery rate on all files. Also, it hosts a set of sophisticated algorithms, which enable it to recover files that are lost to malware or virus attack(s).

Furthermore, the software is fairly easy to use, as it hosts an in-built recovery wizard that provides simple, start-to-finish, guidelines on data recovery.

Hence, anyone, irrespective of technical know-how, can employ the software to recover lost, damaged, or corrupted files from external hard drives.

It also presents files in read-only format, which makes it uneditable, thereby ensuring the original contents are intact upon recovery.

Download Hetman Partition Recovery

Data loss is practically inevitable, as there are innumerable ways a file can be lost. These could range from accidental deletion or formatting to malware or virus infection. Hence, backing up files is highly essential to file/data safety.

However, at times, due to a host of factors, backed up files (on external hard drives) could be lost or simply inaccessible.

In such events, this article has provided some of the best external hard drive recovery software available, which can easily be employed to facilitate the recovery of such files.

Feel free to tell us which one you liked best or which one has worked for you. Use the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and was updated and revamped in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.