Top 5 Open Source Data Recovery Software

Top 5 Open-Source Data Recovery Software
Published By - Kelsey Taylor

Although most organizations have cloud backups like iCloud and Dropbox, it is essential to have multiple types of backups for your large and daily growing database.

One such type of backup is data recovery software. Data recovery software is a tool that reviews the storage database and scans, identifies, extracts, and assembles the data from deleted, corrupted, and formatted sectors or in a user-defined location within the storage device.

From time to time, businesses encounter endless and abrupt blunders. Data recovery software helps you in recovering your crucial data that has accidentally been altered, deleted, or made unreadable.

Be it because of hardware oversights, human error, malware, or networking issues; the data damage could cost you tenfold in lost deals and leave you with no solution.

Do not wait to learn the importance of data recovery through mistakes and errors.

Also Read: Snapshot vs. Backup: What’s the Difference Between the Two?

How Does Data Recovery Software Work?

Primarily operated and managed by an organization’s IT support and DR service providers, the data recovery software has access to the core hard disk architecture.

You can extract the data through your data recovery software. So, when the data is corrupted or deleted (even from the recycle bin), system failure, or hard disk formatting, you can quickly recover them.

The file’s data and information remain in fragments at different locations. So even if the original is corrupted or accidentally deleted, you could easily track and retrieve it with the allocation table.

It is deemed as a better practice not to write the recovered file to the same memory or drive that you retrieved the lost data from. It means, refrain from restoring files to the same partition where they were located before.

This way, any data lost due to viruses, ransomware, and spyware, system failure, or hard disk formatting can be revived flawlessly.

The data recovery covers multiple types of storage device, including:

  • CD/DVDs
  • Desktops and Laptops
  • External Hard disk drive
  • Flash Drive
  • Memory Cards
  • Smartphones
  • Solid-state drive
  • USB

Best Open-Source Data Recovery Software

Before wasting your dollars on expensive data recovery services, you must look into this entirely free open source software (FOSS) list first.

Listed below are the five best open source data recovery software available right now:

FreeRecover – Windows

FreeRecover is an easily installable open-source data recovery application that supports Windows OS. Licensed under GNU General Public License, you can start right away with just a quick download.

It has a simple search and preview deleted files process for the deleted data and generates previews and recovers deleted files from NTFS drives.

Its features include providing integrity estimates of files found and batch recovery to a directory but lacks proper sorting and options for the data information we want to locate.

FreeRecover was last updated in 2017.

Kickass Undelete – Windows

Kickass Undelete is a popular file recovery tool for Windows operating systems. The scanning and recovery process in Kickass Undelete is quick and stable.

This free and open-source software has an easy-to-use interface and supports both NTFS and FAT file systems.

Its features also include efficient filtering and sorting by file name and extension.

With Kickass Undelete, you have a good enough data recovery system with its source available to edit accordingly. Unfortunately, the software is no longer actively maintained.

Its last update was in 2018.

Also Read: Host-Based Replication: What is it and Top Software Vendors 

Scrounge NTFS – Windows

Scrounge NTFS is a free and open-source data recovery program that supports Windows and POSIX compliant.

The later release version was ported to Linux/FreeBSD and with additional support for very fragmented MFTs.

Scrounge is no longer being updated but is still available for download. It reads each block of a hard disk and simultaneously rebuilds the filesystem on another end.

Created by Stef Walter, the tool is not error-free and could come across as a hard to understand the program at times.

It was last updated in 2014.


PhotRec is a more text-based user interface and uses file carving techniques to deliver data recovery services.

It’s a widely used free and open-source file recovery program to retrieve and restore deleted and misplaced files from any internal or external memory device.

It ignores the database system for the underlying data. This way, you quickly recover the lost, damaged, or reformatted files through its tools.

Sure, it has an outdated graphical user interface, and the modified Command Prompt only works with keyboard, but that does not make it any difficult to navigate or understand.

PhotoRec has a comprehensive scanning process. To recover lost data safely from a hard drive, USB, or an SD card, PhotoRec implements read-only access to process data recovery.

It can be compiled on almost any Unix system and can recover lost or highly damaged files from multiple file systems, including FAT, NTFS, and HFS+.

PhotoRec works on these operating systems –

  • DOS
  • FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD
  • Haiku
  • Linux
  • macOS
  • SunOS/
  • MS-Windows

Last updated in 2019.


Distributed under GPL (GNU General Public License v2+), TestDisk is a powerful file recovery tool that makes fixing and recovery of partition table super easy.

It recognizes a huge range of file systems and various disk partitioning schemes.

It is very much similar to PhotoRec. If you follow the instructions carefully, you can easily collect information on the data and send it to a tech for further analysis.

If you are a novice and utilizing this software by yourself, you need to be careful, or you could end up wiping your data for good.

Test disk can fix and reboot the lost data partitions and tables; namely – NTFS and FAT3 boot sector, exFAT, and ext2 file system. TestDisk is a GUI enabled tool that supports these operating systems.

  • DOS
  • FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD
  • Haiku
  • Linux
  • macOS
  • SunOS/Solaris
  • MS-Windows

Last updated in 2019.

The above two (PhotoRec and TestDisk) robust FOSS data recovery from CG Security are packaged and provided together to download, due to their related services and utility.

The TestDisk concerns itself with recovering partitions and other diagnostic purposes.

While PhotoRec focuses more on the recovery of photos, videos, and other media files, that were accidentally deleted formatted or corrupted.

There is another version of Photorec called “QPhotoRec” that has been released since the PhotoRec and TestDisk bundle V7.0, and it comes with the Qt GUI.

A database is something that makes or breaks a firm’s development. Everything revolves around the acquired data and its safety and security.

Organizations are prone to accidents related to data. Businesses must know how to supervise their massive set of data and manage their data loss. And data recovery software becomes a mighty part of businesses’ disaster response plans.

You May Also Like To Read-
Things to Consider for Virtualization Disaster Recovery
List of 6 Best Open Source Data Replication Tools

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