There’s literally nothing worse than losing your photos or files (maybe travelers diarrhea, but to be totally honest, given the choice I would probably prefer the diarrhea!).
Imagine this: you’ve spent 2 weeks in Finland taking incredible photos, kept an excel document of everyone’s phone numbers and email addresses that you met along the way, but 2 weeks later it’s all been completely wiped from your computer.
And that’s not a fake scenario, it actually happened to me. I literally have zero photo proof that I’ve ever been to Finland or eaten reindeer.
Or you’re in the middle of an epic round the world adventure, and suddenly you can’t find the folder with all your flight confirmations, hotel and tour bookings, and itinerary.
Also happened to me.
And even though I consider myself to be reasonably tech savvy, trust me when I say it’s a struggle to recover those important files. And before I heard of Disk Drill, I never succeeded at file recovery. Now though, it’s a totally different story.
How to Recover Lost Photos and Files (For Free) Using Disk Drill
How to Back Up Your Files
I’ve lost files, folders, and even whole computer directories far too often, so I’ve since begun obsessively backing up my files.
Our photography is all on an external harddrive, though we also keep photos on their original SD cards, and I have a memory card wallet to keep the cards in order once they’re full.
My computer files are backed up every night onto the same external harddrive, and there’s a copy of that whole harddrive on one used as a backup … mainly because I’ve been known to pick up my computer forgetting the harddrive was attached, and lose everything on it in one swift smash!
But even then; even with the obsessive amount of backups; I still sometimes manage to accidentally delete files. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Fortunately, free tools like CleverFiles’ Disk Drill Pro comes to the rescue, operating solely to recover lost files, deleted directories, and even entire lost partitions.
A lost partition is typically when your hard drive or memory card suddenly goes blank or is not recognized. The data might still be there, but the “map” the computer needs to find the data might be lost. Disk Drill enables you to restore the lost partition and get back your data, if it’s still there.
And, best of all, you don’t have to be an IT nerd to perform the data recovery. It’s super easy to use even if you’re a complete novice.
About Disk Drill
As far as data recovery goes, obviously you should first check your recycle bin. But by the same token, it’s a good idea to regularly empty your recycle bin to save space on your computer.
After it’s been deleted from your recycle bin, when the feeling of “I’m screwed” would normally set in, that’s where Disk Drill comes in. And it’s so effective that when I ran it for the first time, it found files I had deleted back in 2014!
So what is it?
Disk Drill is a free computer program that recovers lost/deleted data and helps you undelete files and folders using powerful forensic recovery methods. It’s quick, skimming through deleted files in seconds, and is incredibly effective.
It’s available for both Mac and Windows, and can be used to recover deleted files from almost any device. Yes your computer, but also an external harddrive, memory card recovery, iPods, iPads, or your phone.
It has recovery modules to recover everything from lost photos, videos, phone contacts, and notes. As long as the file hasn’t been overwritten, they’ll find it. And they find it fast.
How To Actually Use Disk Drill
Go to cleverfiles.com and you’ll have the option of a free download for Windows or Mac.
It’s a very quick download, and when the app opens it gives you the option to enable data protection on your main drive, monitor disks for hardware issues, and review and manage disk scanning results.
And like any decent app there’s an option to take a product tour where they explain how to use their features.
To start recovering files, select the disk (my choices were my C drive, and the external harddrive I had connected to my laptop), and hit the blue recover button to run a scan and search for lost files.
Disk Drill will immediately start scanning for lost files, and it’s good! My scan found 57 GB of permanently deleted files, which it displays in a list allowing you to click around the folders and files as you would in a normal computer directory, and view individual files before choosing to hit ‘restore’.
It’s ridiculously easy, ridiculously quick, and I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before. You can also filter the search results by searching for a specific file name, or filter by pictures, video, documents, or audio.
When it’s recovered you’ll find the file in the same location it was before.
Choose a Device to Scan for Lost Files
Recovery Screen Displaying All Lost Files
Putting Disk Drill to the Test
I ran several different tests intentionally deleting common file types and Disk Drill consistently recovered the files after they were deleted.
As I mentioned above, it found / reconstructed files I had permanently deleted back in 2014 (yes, my computer has had a long run!!).
Most of the time it keeps the original properties in tact, like the file name and location, but I did notice that reconstructed photos often had a new folder and file names. In these cases there’s an icon to preview individual photos so you can see what’s what before choosing to restore.
The scans took around 10 minutes to do a complete scan of a 124 GB drive. This truly is an amazing tool for data recovery, and while I’m grateful for it as a traveler, I would go further to say it’s an essential app for every human being.
Because let’s be honest, I’ve yet to meet a fellow human who’s not accidentally lost at least one file before.
Free vs Pro
Disk Drill is totally free, though they make their money on the bet that you’ll love their program so much that you’ll upgrade to pro (which I’ve done).
With the free version you get free recovery up to 500 MB, recovery protection, can backup failing disks, preview all recovery methods, and undelete protected data. It works really well, and if you only need to recover one or two files, the free version is good enough.
There are extra free disk tools too like being able to scan for disk health, run a Mac cleanup, duplicate file finder, and a data protection vault.
Upgrading to pro is $89 USD, and means unlimited personal recovery, the ability to do a quick and deep scan, to rebuild HFS + Catalogs, run a lost partition search, and recover all media types (reconstructs 300 + file formats) and file systems.
Giveaway update: We have given away all of our free upgrade codes and the giveaway has now closed.
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