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A Comprehensive Review of Disk Drill Data Recovery Software

Updated to Home > HowTos > Software Reviews by Robert on Apr 10, 2024 | Approved by Daryl Baxter

Data loss can be a distressing experience, as it often means losing valuable personal memories or critical business records. That's why the need for reliable data recovery software is more critical than ever. Disk Drill is one such tool designed to give you the best chance of recovering lost files. In this in-depth review, we'll examine Disk Drill's features, performance, and value to help you determine if it's the right solution for your file recovery needs.

Overview of Disk Drill Data Recovery

Before we delve into the details, knowing more about Disk Drill for Windows/Mac can help you make a better choice.

1. History and Development of Disk Drill

It was developed by CleverFiles, a USA-based company that debuted on macOS in 2010 before eventually being introduced to Windows. CleverFiles has always been committed to creating the most powerful and efficient data recovery application and has been updated multiple times, with version history showing six significant updates in the past 12 months. Currently, it has proven to be effective for users of all levels.

Despite the name, the Disk Drill should not be confused with the Van Brunt Five-disk Drill, a historical agricultural invention from 1900 that was the first successful disk drill with closed delivery. In summary, Disk Drill by CleverFiles has made significant contributions to the field of data recovery software, offering a comprehensive solution for data loss.

2. What's Disk Drill for?

The primary purpose of Disk Drill is to rescue lost, deleted, or formatted files from various storage devices. Additionally, it provides tools for drive maintenance and data protection. Its user interface design is intuitive and user-friendly, making it suitable for both advanced and beginners, regardless of their technical expertise.

In summary, Disk Drill Data Recovery serves a dual purpose: it provides robust data recovery options for various loss scenarios and offers tools for proactive data protection. Its target users are anyone who needs a practical, user-friendly solution to recover lost data and safeguard their digital information.

Features and Capabilities

When safeguarding your digital life, a reliable data recovery solution is necessary. Disk Drill stands out as a versatile tool that not only recovers lost files but also boasts a range of features that can protect essential data from loss in the first place. Here, we will look at the most valuable features of Disk Drill.

1. Key Features

  • Trial version
  • The basic version of Disk Drill can save 500M of recoverable items for free to verify its effectiveness. This is different from similar tools such as iBeesoft Free Data Recovery (2GB), EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free (1GB; you can also get 1GB after sharing), and Stellar Data Recovery (1GB).
  • Available Platforms
  • Windows: It is compatible with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, and 11 and supports both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

    macOS: Disk Drill Mac can be used on OS X 10.8.5 and later, including macOS Monterey.

  • Supports Storage Devices
  • Hard Disks (HDD or SSD), USB Drives, Fusion Drives, SD/CF Cards, Mobile Devices (iOS and Android (via the desktop app): While Disk Drill itself doesn't have a mobile version, it can recover lost data from iOS and Android devices when they're connected to a computer with Drill Disk Recovery installed.)
  • File System Supported
  • It compatibility with a wide range of file systems, including HFS+, FAT/FAT32/exFAT, and NTFS, as well as EXT3/EXT4, which are commonly found in Linux installations. This means that it can help recover data from almost any storage device, from your personal laptop to complex RAID configurations and cameras.
  • Recoverable File Types
  • It can reconstruct over 400 file formats, including photo, video, and document types. This means that regardless of the file's original type, Disk Drill can often recover a version that's as close to the original as possible, even if the file system structures are damaged.
  • File Preview
  • In our testing, it could only view images. This needs to be improved compared to mainstream data recovery software that can preview most file types.
  • Data filtering
  • It provides comprehensive options to help you locate and recover lost files, including lost status, file type, file size, modification date, recovery chances, etc.
  • Pause the Resume Scans
  • It allows you to pause any scan at any time and resume where you left off, even if you've closed the application. This is incredibly useful if you temporarily halt a scan due to time constraints or other system needs.
  • Automatically Save Last Scan Results
  • It allows you to return to the list of recoverable files without rescanning your entire device, saving you time.
  • Bootable Data Recovery
  • In the direst of situations, when your operating system won't start or you can't access your internal or external hard drives, Disk Drill's bootable data recovery allows you to create a bootable recovery USB and solve the problem at the hardware-level.
  • Extract Files from Backup
  • This option is only available in the Disk Drill Mac version, but it can be helpful when an external drive is unavailable as a Time Machine backup.

2. Additional Capabilities

  • Data Protection
  • In addition to post-disaster recovery features, Disk Drill offers preventative tools to keep your data safe. Recovery Vault is an extra layer of protection for your data that functions like an extended Recycle Bin, keeping a reference to deleted data to make recovery easier.
  • S.M.A.R.T Monitoring
  • It goes beyond file recovery and supports the early detection of potential disk errors. These alerts can be invaluable in maintaining the integrity of your system, especially if it's a machine critical to your business operations.
  • Drive Backup
  • It can create a byte-to-byte disk image of a failing drive or any other storage device. This disk image is an exact copy of the original storage medium, including its file system structure and all files and folders it contains that can protect the original data from potential harm.
  • Other Valuable Options
  • There are differences between the Windows and Mac versions of Disk Drill, with the former only having Clean and the latter having the ability to remove duplicates, wipe, etc.

The Installation and Setup Process

Installing Disk Drill is straightforward. You download it from the official website, follow the installation prompts, and are ready. To prevent lost data from being overwritten, click "Options" to select a specified location to install it. However, Drill Disk Recovery does not support installation to external drives, which is risky for users who only have one partition/hard drive and need to retrieve lost files.

Installation is quick and easy
No portable version

User Interface and Ease of Use

Disk Drill Data Recovery features a clean, straightforward interface that's relatively simple to use. The main dashboard presents you with your drives and options to perform different types of scans or manage the Recovery Vault, S.M.A.R.T. monitoring, and more.

However, it is a bit confusing for users needing to recover files from a USB drive; you need to click "Logical Volumes" to find the target drive. Additionally, although Disk Drill can identify lost or deleted volumes, you must go to the "Other" option to find it. These shortcomings make it a bit difficult for novice users to use.

Clean interface
Cannot scan specific folders/locations
The results page is a bit confusing, especially when the file names are missing, making it difficult for the user to locate them.

Performance and Recovery Capabilities

The real test for any data recovery software is how well it can perform file recovery. We subjected it to tests with different scenarios below to understand Disk Drill's capabilities.

1. Test Equipment and Projects

  • Equipment
  • Dell OptiPlex All-in-One (Windows 11 Pro, 256 GB, M.2 2230), MacBook Pro (macOS Sonoma, 512GB SSD), and SanDisk 64GB Extreme
  • Data loss scenarios
  • Deletion, formatting, emptying recycle bin, deleting volume, drive access denied
  • File Types
  • Documents, Photos, and Videos

2. Test Results

  • Quick Scan
  • In our tests, the quick scan option lived up to its name, completing the process in a short time. It successfully found and recovered a selection of recently deleted files. However, when recovering formatted data from S.S.D., there may be situations where the recovered files cannot be opened.
  • Full Scan
  • The "Scan the entire disk" option, essential for older or more complex file recoveries, took significantly longer than expected. However, it recovered most of the files we had purposefully deleted that the quick scan couldn't find. Despite this, Disk Drill cannot fully recover deleted files from the Recycle Bin.
The recovery rate of up to 96.47% is enough to deal with most data loss situations, but its scanning speed is still relatively slow compared with similar tools.
Its retrieval capabilities need to be improved for format recovery or other complex situations (e.g., partition loss, emptying the Recycle Bin/Trash, R.A.W. file system).

Disk Drill Price/Cost

It offers various pricing plans and options depending on the user's needs. Here's a breakdown:

  • Basic Version
  • This version is free and allows users to restore up to 500 MB of files. It also provides permanent access to extra data protection tools.
  • Pro Version
  • For $89.99, one user can activate up to three machines simultaneously. The Disk Drill professional version offers unlimited data recovery and additional features not found in the Basic version.
  • Enterprise Version
  • An enterprise license with unlimited activation for up to 10 users costs $499. This Disk Drill full version has priority technical support and forensic data export.

Tip: Prices for the Disk Drill price may vary by region and may include sales tax or VAT.

Provides additional valuable options.
It is expensive compared to similar software, and lifetime upgrades cost an additional $20.

Technical Support

Disk Drill Data Recovery offers several support channels to assist its users. Here's an overview:

  • Email Support
  • Users can submit a support request via email. The Disk Drill team typically responds within 24 hours.
  • Knowledge Base
  • The website has a rich knowledge base that can answer users' questions.
  • Community Forum
  • Cleverfiles Disk Drill has a community forum where users can ask questions and share their experiences.

Although CleverFiles offers various ways to help users solve problems, its official website does not have telephone support and does not clarify whether remote assistance is available. This is not very friendly to users who urgently need to find lost files.

How to Use Disk Drill Data Recovery

From accidentally deleting a critical report to seeing a cherished playlist vanish, data loss can be a harrowing experience. If you're in the file loss doghouse, follow this step-by-step guide to retrieving disappeared data.

Tip: Although Disk Drill Data Recovery has separate versions for Windows and macOS, the steps to use them are the same. Therefore, we will use the Windows version as an example to guide you through its use.

  1. Download and Install Disk Drill

    The first step toward recovering your files is downloading and installing Disk Drill Windows/Mac from CleverFiles' official website. You can choose the corresponding version according to your system.

  2. Choose Your Affected Device

    Once it runs, please click the hard drive or volume in the "Storage Devices" list in the left panel, then select which one has stored the lost data. Finally, click "Search for lost data" on the right. If it is an external device, first connect it to the computer. And then, Disk Drill SD card recovery or restore another drive.

    Tip: If you want to recover the lost partition, click "Other" in the left panel.

  3. Scan for Lost Data

    A Quick Scan is your first stop; it's faster for recent deletions. During the process, you can also browse for found files. If you find the target item, click the "Stop" button at the top to save time.

  4. Review Results

    After scanning, you can view recoverable files by clicking on file types in the left panel and going to specific folders. In addition, in the middle of the page, above the list of recoverable files, there are various filter conditions to help you quickly locate lost data. For image files, you can also click the "eye" icon to view detailed content.

  5. (Optional) Perform a Full Scan of the Entire Disk

    For a single partition you scanned, if no lost data is found, you can also click "Scan the entire disk" to find more files.

  6. Select and Recover Files

    Once you're confident you've found the lost data, please select it and click the "Recover" button at the bottom right of the page. Then, no location was chosen to save them.

    Tip: It's crucial not to overwrite or save these files to the original location to avoid any potential data corruption.

With Disk Drill in your corner, accidental file loss can be a thing of the past. Remember, the key is to act fast and not use your storage device for further operations until your files are recovered.

When to Choose Disk Drill

It's a robust tool that's well-suited for recovering deleted or lost data from any storage device, including iOS and Android devices on Windows PC and Mac. You should consider Disk Drill if you:

Final Verdict

When it comes to data recovery, having a reliable tool at your disposal can be the difference between a saved document and a permanently lost one. Disk Drill is a popular option with a significant user base due to its ease of use and robust features. However, like any software, it has its fair share of strengths and weaknesses.




  • Yes, the Disk Drill Data Recovery is safe to use. The app does not write any data to the storage device where the files were lost; it scans the media storage and then copies the recoverable files to a separate location. This ensures that no original data is lost or overwritten.

  • It allows you to recover over 400 different file formats. This includes all sorts of media files, documents, application data, archives, etc.

  • Yes, when you delete files using the standard system tools, you aren't wiping the data — you're just removing the pointer to the file. Disk Drill can help you locate these 'lost' files and bring them back.

  • When a system formats a drive, it doesn't permanently erase the data; it might leave data intact but mark the space as available for overwriting. So, it can still find this data and restore it safely.

  • It is a versatile solution for Mac OS X and Windows. This means you can use the same software across multiple platforms, including your MacBook, iMac, Windows laptop, or desktop.

  • It offers a free version that allows you to save 500MB of recoverable files.


When it comes to data recovery, there's a multifaceted array of scenarios and software options available. Disk Drill stands out as a leading recovery software for Mac and Windows, offering many features that are well worth exploring. It provides a wealth of features, an easy-to-navigate interface, and an expanding range of capabilities through regular updates and additional tools. However, its limitations, performance hiccups on specific systems, and potential for false positives warrant consideration. It's always a good idea to thoroughly research any software before using it, considering your specific recovery needs and the product's track record.