11 Best Free External Hard Drive Recovery Software

Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips Updated by Nancy on July 1, 2024 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

Do you need a way to restore deleted, lost, or corrupted files from your external hard disk? Look no further than this comprehensive list of the 11 best free external hard drive recovery software options for 2024. These programs have been thoroughly tested, and whether you're recovering photos, documents, videos, or spreadsheets, these programs have got you covered. Let's take a look next!

Factors to Consider When Choosing A Tool for External Hard Drive Data Recovery

When choosing a free external hard drive data recovery software, several factors must be considered to ensure you pick the most effective and suitable one for your needs.

11 Best Free External Hard Drive Recovery Software for Mac/Windows PC in 2024

  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. Wise Data Recovery
  4. It is a popular free external hard drive recovery tool to help users retrieve lost or deleted files, such as photos, music, videos, documents, and emails. It allows users to recover up to 2GB of data for free.

    Before starting the scan, you can filter file types to save time.
    Before recovering files, users can preview the content to ensure they're restoring the correct files.
    It is relatively fast in scanning and recovering files.
    Sometimes, the recovered files cannot be opened, especially video files.
    Although he claims a portable version, there may be missing DLL files.
  5. Disk Drill Data Recovery
  6. 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
  7. R-Studio
  8. 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
  9. EaseUS Free Data Recovery
  10. 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
  11. PhotoRec
  12. 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
  13. Stellar Data Recovery
  14. 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
  15. Recuva
  16. 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 Windows 10 file 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
  17. MiniTool Power Data Recovery
  18. 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
  19. Data Rescue
  20. 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
  21. Undelete 360
  22. 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

After our testing, the above are 11 popular free external drive recovery software. Although they all have their own advantages and disadvantages, they are all effective for retrieving lost files. If you have trouble using them, you can also check out the following tips.



Data loss on an external disk can be a nightmare, particularly when losing precious memories or work files. Fortunately, here are the best 11 free external hard drive recovery software options in 2024. Each software has its unique feature set, and going through our list and tips, you should be able to choose one that works for you. Whether trying to recover a single file or an entire disk, you can often recover data that once seemed lost forever with a little patience.