Freemium app to recover deleted files
Recuva is a freemium app that helps recover and restore deleted files files on your Windows machine. It can recover files of all types - pictures, music, documents, videos, emails and more, even if it’s been some time since they were lost. Recuva can also be used to help if you’ve lost something after reformatting a drive a drive, which is no mean feat.
Recover your lost photos, documents, and emails
Recuva is a handy Windows utility that allows you to recover lost and deleted files from pretty much any corner of your computer. It’s a freemium program, which means you can use this basic version without restriction. For extra recovery power, priority support, and virtual hard drive support, you’ll have to upgrade. Recuva portable is also available, which is perfect if you’re helping others with their file recovery problems. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be Recuva for Mac.
Recuva for Android
Lots of people seem to want to know if there is a version of Recuva for Android. Unfortunately, the answer seems to be no - there are alternatives and similarly-named apps, but they’re not made by Piriform, the people who make Recuva. That said, some people claim to have been able to recover deleted files on Android by simply connecting it to the computer via USB or card reader and asking Recuva to interact with it as if it was just another drive. We don’t know if this works or not, but it seems possible.
Downloading and installing this file recovery program is very easy. The download and installation are quick and don’t present any complicated options or questions. You may, however, want to hit the customize button during the installation process - this will allow you to choose if you want Recuva to open on start-up or to hang around in the app tray.
Looks-wise, Recuva is pretty basic (it’s looked the same for at least 7 years!), but since it’s such a practical program, we can’t really hold that against it - it's definitely nicer to use than apps like TestDiskc, which barely have an interface at all! It’s pretty easy to find your way around; there are very few hidden options - everything’s on the screen in front of you - and all the recovery options happen via a wizard, so there’s never any doubt about what you need to do next.
How do you use Recuva?
Using Recuva is very easy. When you decide to scan, the app will ask you where you want to scan and what you’re looking for. If you know the answer to either of these, perfect, but if not, don’t worry - you can just scan everything and see what it throws up. Once the scan has been completed (in our tests it was pretty quick but the computer is relatively new and empty), it will present you with a list of all the recoverable items. As well as the name of the file, it will show you where it is located, when it was last modified, how big it is, and how likely it is that it will be able to recover it. Where known, Recuva will also tell you what has happened to the file since you deleted it, for example, if it has been overwritten.
If you find the file you’re looking for and it seems to be recoverable, hit Recover, and Recuva will do what it can. You pick a place to save the recovered file (Recuva seems to suggest that chances for recovery are higher if you save the recovered file onto a different drive to the one Recuva is installed on) and, if successful, you’ll have your file back. This lack of certainty is a feature among apps like Reciva and Undelete 360 - you can never be sure that you'll be able to recover a file, but you may as well give it a go.
Getting more from Recuva
Recuva’s very easy to use, but there are a few ways you can tweak the process. Firstly, there is a small but useful set of help questions/FAQs on the Recuva website, as well as a forum which includes advice about how to improve the quality of your recoveries and how to fix corrupted Word documents, for example. Secondly, you can delve into Recuva’s Options to make a number of small changes that will improve your overall experience.
A practical app that does one job well
There’s nothing glamorous or cool about Recuva, but it’s a solid little app that recovers deleted files for free and, for that, we salute it. It’s really got a lot going for it - it’s easy to use (even if you’re not at all technically inclined), it walks you through all steps with a wizard, it’s pretty good (but not infallible) at recovering files, doesn’t hide the received files behind a paywall and, finally, has lots of good help and advice online. If you have a lost file to retrieve, it’s definitely worth a shot.
The latest update of Recuva added a number of fixes and improvements, among them: