Disk Drill is an awesome free file recovery program, both because of its long list of features and its exceptionally simple-to-use interface. Keep reading to learn more about Disk Drill and what we liked about it.
What We Like
Easy to use.
Works with Windows and macOS.
Recovers files from many different file systems.
Lets you preview files before recovering them.
What We Don’t Like
Doesn't show a file's condition/quality before recovering it.
Limits recovery to 500 MB of data.
We have to reiterate just how easy it is to use Disk Drill. The interface is very clean and open, so finding the volume you want to recover files from couldn't be easier. Plus, all the options are just a click away, so you're not fumbling through menu buttons to find what you need.
Disk Drill Features
Some of the features included in Disk Drill are advanced but they're all easy to use thanks to the time they put into making every bit of this tool simple for everyone. In other words, this means Disk Drill can be used by virtually anyone, no matter the skill level.
- Files can be recovered from internal and external hard drives, memory cards, flash drives, iPods, and more
- Disk Drill can scan FAT, exFAT, NTFS, HFS+, and EXT2/3/4 formatted drives
- Files are organized by Pictures, Video, Documents, Audio, and Archives, or you can view them all together
- A search tool lets you easily filter the results by name, size, and when it was deleted
- You can preview found items before the scan finishes
- Different recovery options let you run a deep scan or a quick scan on a partition
- Scans can be paused and resumed at a later time
- The results of a scan for deleted files can be saved and restored later so you don’t have to sift through all the data at present time
- Recovery Vault is a feature that keeps track of deleted data from the folders you specify and organizes it into its own section in the program, which makes recovering them easier than having to search through the entire hard drive
- Volumes can be backed up to a DMG file so all the data is saved, which is useful if the drive is about to fail but you want to uncover deleted files from it
- You can install Disk Drill on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7, as well as Windows Server 2008 and newer, and macOS. You’ll need to download an older version of the software if you use a different operating system.
This review is of Disk Drill version 4.5.616 for Windows, which was released on August 4, 2022.
Disk Drill Backup and Recovery
The ability of Disk Drill to back up a hard drive to a DMG file is a welcome feature. This means if you suspect a hard drive is failing, you can back the whole thing up and then later open the DMG file in Disk Drill to check for deleted files. It also supports loading ISO, DD, IMG, VMDK, DAT, DSK, and RAW image files.
The Recovery Vault feature is pretty handy as well. You’re able to choose the folders you want to be monitored as well as exclude any file types you don’t want to monitor because you probably won’t want to restore them, such as temporary files.
It's also great that you can pause a scan in Disk Drill. If you're running a deep scan, it can take quite some time to complete. Pausing it whenever you want and then resuming it at any later date is helpful. Plus, once it's finished, you can back up the results so you can always have access to the ability to restore them without needing to re-scan the entire hard drive. The overall scanning process in Disk Drill is pretty fantastic.
Disk Drill Limitations
However, something we don’t like about Disk Drill is that it doesn’t tell you the quality of the file you’re wanting to undelete. With some competing programs, like Puran File Recovery, for example, you’re told the condition of the file so you don’t waste your time restoring a file that’s been partially overwritten with other data, and would therefore be of little or no use to you. At least you can preview files in this program, though, which is similar.
Also, being able to recover no more than 500 MB of data is a big hindrance if you're needing to restore more data than that, like videos or tons of smaller files. However, 500 MB is rather large if all you're needing to do is recover some photos or documents. In those cases, Disk Drill is suitable.
While testing out Disk Drill, we restored several files without any issues at all. At other times we tried, the files were too corrupted to be opened, but, again, we weren't told this until recovering them and then trying to use them.
Something else worth mentioning is that Disk Drill doesn’t come as a portable download, which means you must install it to the hard drive before using it. Doing this can actually overwrite the data you’re trying to restore. If you’re concerned about this, be sure to try out Recuva, which can be used in portable form.
Pandora Recovery used to be its own file recovery tool but it now exists as Disk Drill.