Recuva is an application designed to recover or restore deleted files from hard drives and other storage devices. It is intended for personal use and is particularly helpful when a file has been accidentally deleted, or when a storage device cannot be read by Windows, but the files on the device itself remain in tact.
Recuva is a 'freemium' software package, which means the program and its core functions are free to use, but a premium 'Pro' version is also available, at a cost, which adds a number of additional features. In this case, the free version includes the same recovery technology as the 'Pro' version, so it is suitable for most users. The 'Pro' product adds extra features, like virtual hard drive support and priority customer support.
The software is completely safe to own and use, and has been independently verified to include no spyware, no adware and no other malicious threats.
The program will scan a drive or storage device and identify as many deleted files as it can, while also giving an indication of whether the file can be recovered or repaired. With that being said, there are some limitations to this and the sooner the software is used after deleting the file, the greater the chances of success.
In addition to retrieving files from a computer hard drive, the software is also able to recover files from USB sticks, digital camera memory cards and many MP3 players, including iPods.
In many instances, Recuva is able to retrieve files from a damaged drive, or storage device. Often, operating systems like Windows are unable to find a file if the index of the drive is damaged, even if the file itself remains in tact. Recuva works by scanning all parts of the drive, rather than just the index, and will display a list of files found, along with an estimate of the chances of successful recovery.
Unlike some similar programs, Recuva is able to retrieve most files from recently reformatted drives, especially if the drive has not been used since. Usually, when a drive is reformatted, the index is deleted but the files are not overwritten until more files are saved to it. Recuva examines the full contents of the drive, rather than just the index, and will show all of the files and data that can be recovered.
The software includes a secure deletion function, allowing users to remove files for good. This makes use of military-standard deletion techniques to securely overwrite a file multiple times, so that the file remains erased.
In many cases, the software is able to use the temporary files to rebuild Word documents, even if they were not saved or if the Word software package crashes. Again, as with other file recovery types, the chances of this being successfully achieved decrease the longer the user waits before attempting the recovery process.
The latest version of the software added a new content search function, allowing users to search for specific text strings within deleted documents. It also added support for newer versions of Windows, improved recovery success rates when dealing with compressed files and saw minor improvements to the user interface.