Recuva is a free data recovery software that stands out for the simplicity of use.
On occasion, it's sure that we have deleted a file by mistake, or some other software have deleted files and directories on the hard drive. If we are lucky, these files can be recovered from Windows Recycle Bin, but in many occasions these files are not recoverable from the recycle bin. To try to recover them, we must use a specialized data recovery software for Windows.
Recuva recovers all type of files from the hard drives and external drives on the PC. Thanks to its user-friendly and clean interface, the program can be used by those users who have few computer skills. In addition, we can use the wizard that will guide us through the process of file recovery, showing the available options to carry out the task.
Using the wizard we can recover files according to their type: pictures, music, documents, video, compressed, email (Thunderbird, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Microsoft Outlook). This speeds up the process of search of deleted files.
The wizard also have the option to choose the location in which we want to search for deleted files: in “My Documents”, in Recycle Bin, removable drives, CD/DVD, or in specific directory. Like the previous option, this allows us to perform a scan for deleted items more quickly.
Despite its simplicity, the program has settings that allow us to make an advanced use of the data recovery process.
For example, we can check “Deep Scan” option to make an intensive search for deleted files. This option increases scan duration, but also increases the chances of finding a greater number of deleted files.
“Scan not deleted files” option, is useful for recovering data from hard drives that have been formatted or have suffered any kind of damage.
We can also make use of the option “Retrieve directory structure”, which in addition to recover deleted files, it will attempt to recover the directories that contain the files. This option is useful for those cases in which the directories are used to organize the files. For example, if our movie collection is organized into directories, which represent the year of release of the film, with this option in addition to retrieve the movies, we'll recover the directories, and therefore the organization of all the movies.
The program integrates into Windows Explorer, and we can click with the right mouse button on any drive or folder to try to recover the deleted files on that drive or folder.
Once the system is analyzed for deleted data, it will display a list of found items. We can select the files we want to retrieve and press on “Recover” button. The program will display a menu where we can choose the location where the selected files will be recovered.
If we click on any item from the list of found files, we will see in the right part of a panel that it displays information about the file, such as, for example: name, location, size, creation date, and more. It will also shows a preview of the file if the file is an image file (png, gif, jpg, etc.).
In addition to retrieve deleted file, the program provides the option to permanently delete found files. That is to say, perhaps we want to delete a file and leave no trace of him, to do this, if the file is found in the list of deleted files and ready to recover, we will be able to use the option “Overwrite safely selected files”. This will overwrite the file in such a way that it is unrecoverable. You we configure the overwrite algorithm, so the file will be erased more effectively. We can choose between: simple overwrite (1 overwrite), DOD 5220.22-M (3 overwrites), NSA (7 overwrites), Gutmann (35 overwrites).
Recuva is updated frequently, so it is advisable to check the option “update automatically” to allow the software to be updated as soon as a new version is launched.