Recuva is a popular data-rescue utility for Microsoft Windows. It is developed by Piriform, the company behind other utility software such as CCleaner! Recuva is capable of recovering files that have been lost due to a crash or files that have been “permanently” deleted from the computer itself. In addition to files stored on the computer itself, Recuva can also scan for and attempt to recover data off of USB drives, camera SD cards, and other storage devices that have been damaged.
Essentially Recuva is one of the most effective tools for un-deleting files, as well as salvaging files that have been accidentally deleted or unintentionally damaged. It works on both the NTFS file system as well as the older, less popular FAT file system. And with these file systems, it is able to scan for lost directories and files that may still be on the storage device itself. In a recent update (version 1.5.1), Recuva has been extended to allow data recovery on EXT2 and EXT3 file systems as well.
Much like other data recovery utilities available for download, Recuva searches the storage media for data that isn’t linked to any existing files, as this is a dead giveaway of a recently deleted file. If the Operating System writes data even partially over the lost file that it is attempting to recover, however, the recovery of that file may not be possible.
- Recover Accidentally Deleted Files
It’s happened to all of us: We accidentally delete crucial files thinking that they aren’t important or won’t be needed in the future. Whether it be documents for work or personal photos for memory keepsakes, we’ve all been in a situation where we wish we still had deleted files in our possession. Thanks to Piriform’s Recuva, however, there is an opportunity to recover lost files quickly and effortlessly; that is, if you act fast. Recuva does all of the heavy lifting for you: All you need to do is allow the program to scan the storage device holding your lost data. After a bit of behind-the-scenes magic, you could have all of your files back!
Recuva is compatible with just about any portable media you might have! Whether it is family vacation photos that have been stored on your camera’s SD card or crucial tax documents that you have stored on a USB Flash Drive, Recuva can scan for lost files and make every last effort to save them before its too late.It supports all file formats too, so if you are, for instance, a professional photographer, you can rest easy that your RAW image files can be recovered with the click of a button.
Recuva even works with iPods! While Apple doesn’t let you view the iPod’s file system manually, Recuva has the ability to scan the storage media inside of your iPod as well, finding any lost songs on the iPod’s storage drive.
- Recover Files from Damaged/Formatted Media
Hard Drives don’t last forever, and neither do installations of Operating Systems. If you lost all of your data in a horrible crash or accidentally deleted everything by reformatting your hard drive, there is still hope! Likely, your files are still on the hard drive, and Recuva can not only spot the file, but also recover it completely!
When operating systems store files on the hard drive, it also stores the location of the file on a disk in an “index” like structure. This makes it easier for the system to find files instead of searching through each and every file until the right one is found. Overall, it is a really fast solution to a really slow problem.
The downside, however? If the file index gets damaged or erased, Windows doesn’t know if the file even exists! Data can be written over existing files, and havoc can be wrought. This is a messy situation to be in, but Recuva can aid with this as well.
When Recuva runs its normal routine, it scans the entire hard drive for all file parts. Then, it will rebuild the file hierarchy/index and show the likelihood of Recuva being able to completely recover the damaged file or files.
Much similarly, when a hard drive or other storage media is formatted, one of the first things that Windows does is erase the file index stored on the drive. The files are still there, but Windows doesn’t know that. Once again, Recuva can save all of those files; you just need to act fast.
- Restore Lost Emails
Do you use a desktop client such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Outlook for your email? If so, you know that these programs delete emails by sending them to your computer’s Recycle Bin or removing them from the file index.Then, if you empty the Recycle Bin, there goes all of your deleted emails, and with files as small as email files, they are easily overwritten and permanently lost.
Additionally, clients such as Outlook, Live Mail, and Thunderbird store your emails in a unique way: they database them internally on your computer. This keeps them all in one nice package. The emails stay sorted, flagged, and noted just like how they were in the program. Then, when you empty your trash folder in the client, it deletes those emails from the database as well as from the computer. Recuva can restore these emails individually, however.
If you attempt to recover lost emails with Recuva, you will notice that the recovered files come in a compressed .ZIP archive. You can use any standard archive software (such as 7-Zip) to read the archive and locate the emails that you have lost.
Each email file is individually stored as a file compatible for the client you use: the .EML format. These emails can then be individually re-inserted into the client program’s database, and viola! Your emails have been recovered.
Thanks to Recuva, you have the peace of mind of keeping your emails – and all of your other important files – safe and re-accessible at the click of a button.
- Restore Music Files on your iPod
Have you accidentally deleted music files off of your iPod or other MP3 player? Is the storage media on your device starting to go bad? Recuva can help with this too! With the ability to scan the iPod file system (even though you can’t see it), even your music files are safe and sound!
- Recover Word Documents
Nothing is worse than working on an essay for hours, the end of the paper drawing near, and all of the sudden, your computer crashes. All of your hard work is lost. Or is it? Recuva can scan the file system for Microsoft Word files and rebuild your document, saving you time and hassle – and maybe even a grade!
- Easy-to-Use Quick Start
The recovery process may seem daunting at first look, but Recuva holds your hand the entire way through! For beginner users, Recuva offers a Quick Start Wizard that lets you pick the options you need to find and recover the files you want. Simply specify how you want Recuva to work, and it will do everything it can to oblige!
- Deep Scan Technology
Recuva comes packed with a handful of presets that can be modified to achieve exactly what you need, and it’s super easy to use. However, sometimes you need a more advanced solution to achieve the data recovery you need. Recuva isn’t a simple utility for beginners; it’s also a professional toolkit.
An awesome example of this professional usability lies in Recuva’s Deep Scan mode. When Recuva is scanning the file system for a file that has been lost, corrupted, or accidentally deleted, you may have plenty of time to let the program do its thing… Or you could be faced with a critical file and a deadline, which just adds on unnecessary stress to the problem at hand. This is why users have the option for Recuva to either perform a quick scan of the file system or a deep, custom scan that is sure to get every last piece of data out of the far reaching corners of the selected storage media.
THe default scan is very quick, and it will do a quick run through of a hard drive in mere seconds. This saves loads of time, and chances are if the file was recently deleted, the default scan will be able to pick the file up with no problems whatsoever. If time is of the essence, this is the route most users should take.
Then, theres the scenario of a crucial file being deleted and not being picked up by the default scan. This is when it take a bit more finesse to recover files, but Recuva can still handle it excellently. Using Deep Scan technology, the storage media is scanned bit-by-bit to find files that have been deleted but not overwritten. This obviously takes longer, but yields greater results in the long run.
But how much longer does this deep scan take? Well, that depends entirely on the size of the storage media that is being scanned. This is a task that you should probably let run in the background while you go out on a lunch break, but the additional time is well worth it in most cases, as files can be recovered to a much fuller state.
- Permanently Delete Files
What can be recovered can also be permanently erased. So what if a hacker tries searching through your deleted data? If you can recover your lost files, so can they. This brings concern to those who store sensitive information, such as passwords, bank accounts, and confidential records on their computer.
Although Recuva is intended to recover files that have been lost either unintentionally or accidentally, Piriform recognized that, in the wrong hands, this software can cause problems. That’s why they have included functionality that allows Recuva to permanently delete your sensitive information so it cannot possibly be recovered. Here’s how it works:
Say you have financing documents on your computer. You delete the files, as they are outdated and you will never need them again. There is a good chance that the deleted files are still fully in-tact on your hard drive, and are practically begging to be taken.
With Recuva, once a scan has been completed and the files have been listed, you realize that your sensitive information is still present on the hard drive, and you want it gone forever. If you right click on the file, you are given an option to securely overwrite the file, essentially zeroing out all of the data so it is inaccessible and gone forever.
The Recuva file recovery software works on any Windows computer, whether it be a desktop, laptop, netbook, or tablet. It can be downloaded from anywhere that has access to an Internet connection.
But what happens when you’re on the road, doing paperwork during a long car ride, and all of the sudden your work is lost. You don’t have an internet connection and can’t use Recuva… or can you?
Recuva allows users to install it portably on removable storage drives such as USB Flash Drives or other mediums of storage. The program is small enough to fit on pretty much any USB drive so that you can take it with you wherever you go.
Since the program then resides on a USB drive or other removable media, it leaves no traces on the computer you use it on, nor does the installation overwrite any files that you may want to recover. That being said, Recuva is an ideal tool to keep on a USB key chain in case of emergency.
- Full Windows OS Support and Localization
Piriform understands that many users haven’t yet opted to upgrade from previous versions of Windows, and have taken the steps necessary to ensure that Recuva works universally on Windows.
In a nutshell, if your computer is running Windows XP or newer, Recuva will work perfectly fine. For those still concerned about the supported operating systems and if the software will run on their computer, however, here is a list of tested Operating Systems:
Windows 2008 Server
Windows 2003 Server
Additionally, if your Operating System is 64 bits, Recuva will automatically install a 64-bit version of the software to allow faster data recovery.
*Recuva supports exFAT on Windows 7 Machines
At the moment Recuva is a Windows-only toolkit, but data on a USB drive that was saved on a Mac is recoverable by Recuva on Windows.
Lastly, while Recuva is primarily an English program, Piriform recognizes that a great number of users don’t speak English as their first language. That is why they have added localization for over 30 different languages.