10 Best Free External Hard Drive Recovery Software: Recover Files from External Hard Drive for Free

Updated to File Recovery Tips by Nancy on Aug 10, 2023 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

People use external hard drives to store all kinds of data for safekeeping. However, it is common for external drives to lose data and the reasons behind it are plenty. Thankfully, plenty of tools is available these days that allow you to recover lost data from external hard drives. If you are wondering how much data recovery from an external hard drive costs, then you are in the right place. We are sharing a list of the top 10 free options that you can choose from.

  1. iBeesoft Free Data Recovery
  2. There are many good free external hard drive data recovery software but very few can compare to the value that iBeesoft provides its users. Having come upon the recovery scene not so long ago, this software has made a significant mark, especially for external hard drives. With so many formatting options available to users, they tend to store files however they want. iBeesoft can find lost files on all formatting types and make them available for download.

    The best thing about iBeesoft is that it lets users recover files from external hard drive free for up to 2 GB of data before they need to make a purchase. This is more than enough for many users and can even save them from purchasing at all. Of course, if you need to find more data, the company offers a suitably priced list of options.

    2 GB free data download
    Supports all formats
    Repair corrupted data automatically
    Supports up to 20 languages
    Can recover data from a wide range of loss scenarios
    Deep scan speed is slow
    Cannot restore to original hard disk
  3. Disk Drill
  4. There is no question about the formidability that Disk Drill offers as an external hard drive recovery software free tool. It is easy to use, provides great recovery performance, and is a great option for people who want to recover data from external hard drives free. It also supports a multitude of other storage options and provides good recovery speed which is also a rare thing for recovery software.

    A limiting factor about this external hard drive data recovery freeware is that you can only get back 500 MB of data in the free version. Of course, depending on your requirement, this may not be an issue at all.

    Intuitive and easy to use design
    Supports all file systems used on external drives
    Scanning speed is quite good
    500 MB may not be a lot
    No phone-based customer support
  5. R-Studio
  6. There is some software built for individual users, and some are built for professional use. R-Studio is a sort of free external drive recovery software that clearly falls in the latter when you consider the incredible number of features it offers. The design of the software is old-school and not as visually appealing as most of the other options on this list.

    As expected of a commercial tool, the free version comes in the form of a demo download which allows you to experience all the features fully. However, while there is no limit to the amount of data you recover, the file size is limited to 256kb.

    Cross-platform support for multiple OS options
    Can be paired with several other tools offered by the company
    Allows recovery over a network
    Paid option is expensive
    Does not allow large file downloads in demo mode
  7. EaseUS Free Data Recovery
  8. The name that EaseUS has created for itself as a file recovery service is no secret. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to external drives, this is one of the best free external hard drive recovery software you can find easily. The performance is where EaseUS takes the cake in many scenarios by providing a high success rate for its users.

    For people looking to get external hard drive recovery free, this software also supports more than 1000 file formats and covers all types of file systems found in external hard drives. Its scan speed is also quite good, and you can get 500 MB of free data recovery with an additional 1.5 GB if you share the software on social networks.

    Support for 1000+ file formats
    Fast scanning speed
    Known for reliable recovery
    Paid options are expensive
    Also shows unrecoverable files after a scan
  9. PhotoRec
  10. If you are using a less common OS, this is a great option for you. PhotoRec is an external drive recovery software free download that supports practically every operating system and does its job quite well. It may have a crude design but that does not mean it is less functional.

    The best thing about this software is that it is one of the few truly free software where you can recover as much data as you want without paying anything. Of course, that does mean that effort on aesthetics and intuitiveness is kept minimal.

    Supports many operating systems
    Truly free recovery software with a donation option
    Support for a large number of file formats
    Design is crude and unintuitive
    No option for selective file restoration
  11. Stellar Data Recovery
  12. Stellar has managed to live up to its name quite well as one of the best free external hard drive recovery software. It is also a great option to consider if you are looking to retrieve files from external hard drive free of cost. The application is highly intuitive and comes with many features and "stellar" recovery performance.

    The software comes with a great interface and can recover deleted files from external hard drive on Mac or Windows PC. It also has unique features that most other recovery software does not provide.

    Easy to use and intuitive
    Reliable recovery performance
    Can clone disks
    Fewer formats are supported as compared to other options
    May occasionally list unrecoverable files as recoverable
  13. Recuva
  14. If you want to recover data from external hard drive free with no fuss, then Recuva can be a good option for you. Its simplistic design paired with a reasonable feature set makes it an easy choice for many users. The design is quite intuitive, and you can also preview files before you decide to recover them. The software’s biggest strength is that it allows free recovery for as much data as you want without paying anything.

    Easy to use interface
    Unlimited external hard drive recovery free
    Preview files before downloading
    No longer supported for development
  15. MiniTool Power Data Recovery
  16. MiniTool is a well-established name in providing different types of storage-related solutions and external hard disk recovery software free is one of them. The free USB drive recovery software offered by MiniTool supports a wide variety of devices and it is also an external hard drive data recovery freeware. You can recover data from losses caused by problems of all kinds and do it for pretty much any file system that you can imagine for an external hard disk.

    Easy to use tool
    Previewing option available
    24/7 customer support
    Can be sluggish at times
    Some options are limited to a paid subscription
  17. Data Rescue
  18. This is an external drive recovery software free tool that not many have heard of, but it is still quite a reliable free external hard disk data recovery software. The company that created it has about two decades of data recovery experience and the tool itself covers a lot of devices with an extensive collection of file formats supported.

    Large file format support
    Can clone drives and create boot drives
    Comes with a hex previewer
    The scan process is quite long
    Cannot pause/resume scan
  19. Undelete 360
  20. Undelete 360 can resume data from external hard drive free of cost, and by that we mean absolutely free. You can recover and download as many files as you need, and external drives are only one of the many devices it supports. This free data recovery software for windows 11, 10, and Mac is also well developed and despite its simple look, it works quite intuitively.

    Unlimited free recovery
    Can recover all standard file formats
    Preview option available
    Can be a bit unreliable
    Development support ended

Each free external drive recovery software listed here has its pros and cons but all of them provide a utility that you can take advantage of. Our favorite is iBeesoft Free Data Recovery for its great combination of useful features and good aesthetics. Now that you know what options are available, let us know which one you would like to try for your data recovery needs.

Frequently Asked Questions for External Hard Drive Data Recovery

  1. How can I recover data from my external hard drive for free?
  2. With free external disk recovery software for help, you can recover data from an external hard drive for free. As mentioned above, you can choose the freeware, iBeesoft Free Data Recovery, Disk Drill, Recuva, PhotoRec, R-Studio, etc. The process of using the freeware to recover files from an external hard drive is similar.

    1. Connect the external hard drive with your computer.
    2. Download and install the free external hard drive data recovery on your computer.
    3. Launch the freeware and click the "Scan" button for the external hard drive.
    4. Wait for the scanning process to finish. Some freeware offers previews, like iBeesoft Free Data Recovery. Some do not.
    5. Select files and click "Recover" or "Save" to save the recovered files.
  3. Is there a free hard drive recovery software?
  4. For sure, there are many free hard drive data recovery software tools. You can check 10 Free Hard Drive Recovery Software

  5. What is the best free data recovery app?
  6. It’s hard to tell which free data recovery app for Windows 11, 10, 7, and Mac is the best. If it can meet your requirements for data recovery, then it is the best one for you. Anyway, I still recommend you try the comprehensive free data recovery software, like iBeesoft Free Data Recovery, which comes with the features to recover all kinds of files from different devices and repair corrupted files, offering 2GB data recovery for totally free.