The Top Rated Data Recovery Software For USB Drives

Data recovery software is primarily intended to restore data from a hard drive that is either failing or has had files accidentally deleted. Traditional hard drives are more susceptible to malfunction than flash memory-based drives, because flash drives have no moving parts and aren’t as vulnerable to physical breakdown. However, it is just as easy to mistakenly delete data from a flash drive as it is to delete it from a hard drive. Most data recovery software includes options for restoring lost data from both types of drives. This article focuses on data recovery software that is able to quickly and effectively undelete data on USB flash drives. All of our selections require a Windows operating system.

We’ve researched websites such as V3.co.uk, PC World, Recovery-Review.com, Computeractive, Download.com, About.com, CNET, and PC Magazine. Here is the top rated data recovery software for USB drives:

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition (Free)

Pros:

  • Effective USB drive data recovery
  • Ability to perform Windows hard drive data recovery

Cons:

  • 1GB limit on recovered data

Top Review Sources:

  • V3.co.uk: 4.0/5.0 “An ideal solution for those seeking to recover lost data on all forms of removable media”
  • PC World: “EaseUs Data Recovery Wizard Free actually works and it’s not a glorified undelete program like some you’ll encounter”
  • Recovery-Review.com: “The program has proven to be a reliable, stable and fast tool”

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition is a full-featured undelete program with options for USB flash drive data restoration. No matter how you lost the files—accidental deletion, software crash, damage from malware, or even reformatting—Data Recovery Wizard will almost certainly be able to help. This program has advanced capabilities such as sector scanning and file name restoration. The only catch is that the Free Edition only allows you to recover 1GB of data. You’ll be able to scan for and see all the data that EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard finds and can restore, but without spending $70 for the paid edition, you can’t recover more than a gigabyte. With USB flash drive capacities commonly well above 1GB, it is likely you will need the paid edition. However, you may not, and even if you do, there isn’t any investment required to try out this solid performer.

Visit the publisher’s site to download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free Edition, as well as EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard ($70).

BadCopy Pro

BadCopy Pro

BadCopy Pro ($40)

Pros:

  • Dedicated removable media recovery
  • Fast

Cons:

  • Only recognizes FAT file systems

Top Review Sources:

  • PC World: “If you’ve ever inserted a CD, floppy, Zip disk, or thumb drive only to have Windows cough up an error message telling you it isn’t there, isn’t formatted, or some such, you’ll appreciate BadCopy Pro”
  • Computeractive: “If you need to recover a file, it’s definitely worth giving BadCopy a try”
  • Dowload.com User Reviews: 3.0/5.0 (35+ reviews)

BadCopy Pro is a dedicated removable media recovery program. USB flash drives commonly use the FAT32 file system. FAT32 allows data to be written and read between Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, so it is useful to have removable media formatted with FAT32. However, it is possible to format a USB drive with another popular file system, such as NTFS (used by modern Windows operating systems). If you don’t work with FAT32, look elsewhere for your USB flash drive data recovery software. However, if you are using FAT32, BadCopy Pro is worth a close look. BadCopy Pro is built to restore data on USB drives and other removable media. It works in a few simple steps to scan for deleted or corrupted files, and its interface is clean and simple. If you download the free trial version of BadCopy Pro, you’ll be able to preview the files it finds but not save them. If you are happy with the results, you can purchase the paid version in order to restore your data.

Jufsoft’s Bad Copy Pro is available for download as a free evaluation version, or as the paid, full-featured edition.

Recuva

Recuva

Recuva (Free)

Pros:

  • Great performance
  • Helpful interface
  • Free

Cons:

  • Some paid programs offer more features

Top Review Sources:

  • About.com: 5.0/5.0 “Contains a simple wizard and advanced options – perfect for everyone”
  • CNET: 4.5/5.0 “An excellent choice for anyone in need of reliable file recovery”
  • PC Magazine: 4.0/5.0 “An attractive interface that you can navigate easily even when you’re distracted by the fear that you’ve lost precious data for ever”

Piriform’s Recuva is a well-known and respected name in the data recovery game. Its main draw is its ability to save data from hard drives, but it also has the capability to rescue USB drive data. Recuva’s friendly wizard guides you through the process in a step-by-step fashion. You will be able to preview your results before saving. In tests, Recuva performs very well in finding and saving lost data. Advanced options included a deep scanning mode, sector-based recovery, and secure file deletion.

Download Recuva for free on Piriform’s website.

The Best Drive Encryption Solutions For Macs

There are a growing number of options for Mac drive encryption software. Those interested in the security of drive encryption—which locks down the entire disk behind a nearly impenetrable passcode—are fortunate to have so many programs from which to choose. The best drive encryption solutions meet or exceeds industry-standard security while working transparently and with little negative performance impact.

We’ve combed through reviews on websites such as SC Magazine, SecureMac.com, Computerworld, CNET, Techworld, Lifehacker, Ars Technica, The Mac Lawyer, and AnandTech in order to come up with the top rated encryption solutions:

PGP Whole Disk Encryption

PGP Whole Disk Encryption

PGP Whole Disk Encryption ($140)

Top Review Sources:

  • SC Magazine: 5.0/5.0 “Best Buy”
  • SecureMac.com: 5.0/5.0 “After…installing the product you are a few clicks away from being fully encrypted. The decryption process is just as easy.”
  • Computerworld: “PGP Whole Disk Protection is a very good choice for protecting the data on a hard drive”

Symantec’s PGP Whole Disk Encryption is a robust full-disk encryption program targeted at business users. The initial encryption process can be lengthy—large drives with lots of files can take several hours to secure. The good news is that you’ll be able to continue your work as PGP Whole Disk Encryption performs its duties in the background. It is also nice that setting up the initial encryption takes just a few steps that are logically and simply presented. PGP Whole Disk Encryption is capable of using a handful of ciphers, including AES, CAST, TripleDES, IDEA, and TwoFish. After the initial encryption process is complete, PGP Whole Disk Encryption operates transparently, encrypting and decrypting files on the fly. Performance impact is negligible, and the only clear indication that the program is working is the authentication screen at startup. Extras include the ability to create encrypted self-extracting files and a file shredding tool for permanent deletion. PGP Whole Disk Encryption can create encrypted virtual drives on unencrypted volumes, plus it will encrypt removable media.

PGP Whole Disk Encryption can be purchased on the official website.

TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt

TrueCrypt (Free)

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 4.5/5.0 “Loaded with powerful features”
  • Techworld: “TrueCrypt…offers a plethora of configuration settings, default options and operational choices”
  • Lifehacker: “Our favorite solution for keeping your private files safe, sound, and hidden”

TrueCrypt is feature-packed and free. The program provides full disk encryption via an easy-to-use interface. You’ll be able to choose from three ciphers: AES, Serpent, and Twofish. Initial drive encryption can take many hours, but your Mac remains useable during that time. System performance will be affected during this process, but after it is done, TrueCrypt works seamlessly in the background. The only time you’ll be prompted by TrueCrypt is at the password screen at startup. Not only can you use TrueCrypt to lock down your entire hard drive, you can use it to secure removable drives and create encrypted virtual drives as well. TrueCrypt’s help files are comprehensive and well-written; patient beginners will have few problems learning how to get the most out of the program.

Download TrueCrypt for free on the publisher’s site.

FileVault 2

FileVault 2

FileVault 2 (Free)

Pros:

  • Seamless integration into OS X
  • Can store your recovery key with Apple

Cons:

  • OS X 10.7 Lion required

Top Review Sources:

  • Ars Technica: “Disk encryption that actually works”
  • The Mac Lawyer: “Essentially a complete win-win for business users”
  • AnandTech: “The new FileVault is a pretty great deal for individuals”

Starting with version 10.3 Panther, OS X has included an encryption tool called FileVault. FileVault is able to encrypt the home directory, but is unable to perform a full disk encryption. With version 10.7 Lion, FileVault 2 debuts. A big improvement of FileVault 2 is the ability to encrypt an entire disk. Like the original FileVault, FileVault 2 is tightly integrated into OS X, making it easy to use. During the setup process, FileVault 2 provides a recovery key—a string of characters essential to unlocking your drive if you forget the passcode. You have the option of sharing the recovery key with Apple; if you can’t remember your passcode or recovery key, your last line of defense is to call Apple and answer security questions that you create during the FileVault 2 setup process. After setup, FileVault 2 will restart your computer and begin the drive encryption process. System performance will be diminished, but you’ll be able to work on your computer if you need to. Once the initial encryption is complete, FileVault 2 will encrypt and decrypt files as you work and your system speed should not be significantly impacted. FileVault 2 employs XTS-AES 128-bit encryption.

The Best Data Recovery Software For PCs

Unwanted data loss can occur through accidental deletion, damage to the file system, operating system failure, or physical damage to the storage medium. Data recovery software can be used in these cases in an attempt to salvage whatever possible after the loss. Data recovery software is available to rescue information from a variety of media: hard disks, flash drives, optical discs, storage tapes, etc. This article focuses on a common need: recovering deleted files from a PC’s main storage device, the hard drive.

By reviewing sources such as Maximum PC, PC World, About.com, Recovery-Review.com, Download.com, and CNET, these are the top rated data recovery software for PCs:

Recuva (Free)

Pros:

  • Good results
  • Friendly, step-by-step recovery wizard
  • Free

Cons:

  • Not as full-featured as some paid programs

Top Review Sources:

  • Maximum PC: 7/10 “We have no trouble recommending Recuva as our favorite free file recovery app”
  • PC World: “If you just want a good un-delete program with a small disk footprint at no charge, then Recuva is what you’re looking for”
  • About.com: 5.0/5.0 “Recuva is, without a doubt, the very best free file recovery software available today”

Piriform’s Recuva guides you through the recovery process in a simple, non-intimidating fashion. It does a good job recovering files when you use the step-by-step wizard, and a great job recovering files when you explore the program’s advanced options. Nice features include a preview pane and the ability to re-establish a file’s folder structure. Recuva provides plenty of detail about the files it recovers so you can quickly find the one you are looking for. Recuva also includes a sector-based recovery tool, useful when you’ve had a serious crash and can’t boot your operating system. Recuva’s file shredding tool allows you to delete a file beyond recovery.

Recuva is available for free on Piriform’s website.

 

Quetek File Scavenger 3.2 ($50)

Pros:

  • Superior scanning
  • Preserves original file names

Cons:

  • Cost

Top Review Sources:

  • Recovery-Review.com: “Quetek…managed to create a program that is easy to navigate, even for beginners.”
  • Download.com User Reviews: 4.0/5.0 (170+ reviews)
  • Maximum PC: 9/10 “If you’re willing to pay for file recovery, this is your program”

Reviewers are impressed by File Scavenger 3.2’s huge list of file types from which you can select to narrow your search. This element is just one example of the program’s robust feature set. You can search very specifically for files in certain areas of the drive, plus you can choose from different scan types—from the instantaneous Quick to the time-consuming and very thorough Long. Its recovery performance is top-notch. You can view results in a convenient tree structure as well as sort them by common attributes like type, date, location, etc. Unlike many file recovery programs, Quetek File Scavenger 3.2 reconstructs original file names, rather than return results that still have the additional characters added by the Recycle Bin.

Quetek File Scavenger 3.2 is available for purchase on the manufacturer’s product page.

Pandora Recovery (Free)

Pros:

  • Straightforward interface
  • Great performance
  • Free

Cons:

  • Beginners may be confused by advanced options

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 4.5/5.0 “File recovery has never been easier thanks to Pandora Recovery”
  • PC World: 3.5/5.0 “For restoring files that you’ve deleted from your hard drive, Pandora Recovery is one solid option”
  • About.com: 4.0/5.0 “The wizard included with the program is the easiest to use and understand wizard that I’ve seen in an undelete program”

Pandora Recovery’s interface is exceptionally clean and straightforward, yet reviewers are even more impressed with the program’s file recovery wizard. This intuitive, step-by-step guide leads you through the recovery process, anticipating your needs along the way. As you proceed, its interface changes to accommodate your selections. You’ll be able to narrow the search down as best you can before initiating a scan. Once a scan starts, you won’t have to wait long for results. Pandora’s speed is not at the expense of its accuracy, however; the program impresses with its successful restoration of deleted files.

Download Pandora Recovery for free on the official site.

The Best Data Recovery Software For Macs

The Best Data Recovery Software For Macs

The Best Data Recovery Software For Macs

If you’ve lost pictures, music, documents, or other important files because of accidental deletion, you may be in luck. Many companies offer data recovery software for Mac OS X that is capable of examining your hard drive and recovering files you thought were gone for good. Data recovery software for Macs works in much the same way as data recovery software for other operating systems. When you click Delete, your operating system simply marks the space as free. The reference to the data is erased, but the data itself remains. As long as new information isn’t written over the old data—this is why it is important to use data recovery software as soon as possible after an accidental deletion—data recovery software is typically able to locate and restore files marked as deleted.

By surveying reviews on sites such as Macworld, Mac|Life, CNET, MacWorld UK, ExpertReviews.co.uk, MacNation.org, and MacUpdate, we’ve created this list of the top rated data recovery software for Macs:

Data Rescue 3

Data Rescue 3

Data Rescue 3 ($85)

Pros:

  • Excellent results
  • Slick interface

Cons:

  • Will not recover original file names

Top Review Sources:

  • Macworld: 4.0/5.0 “Data Rescue 3 is a program that every Mac user should at least know about, if not own outright”
  • Mac|Life: 4.0/5.0 “We easily recovered deleted files, and were even able to recover the contents of files that we deliberately made unreadable”
  • CNET: 4.5/5.0 “Friendly interface, good documentation, and impressive recovery capabilities”

Prosoft’s Data Rescue 3 offers a slick interface and effective data restoration. For an immediate idea of the type of problems you are facing, Data Rescue 3 is able to perform a quick diagnostic test. But for the real work—deeply scanning and attempting to recover files—Data Rescue 3 will probably need a few hours. This isn’t unusual in data recovery, but worth noting nonetheless. The wait typically pays off, however, because Drive Rescue 3 does a great job finding and restoring deleted files. The program recognizes a remarkable number of file types and even has the ability to learn previously unknown file types. Two things to keep in mind: you’ll need to connect a second drive (external or internal hard drive, USB flash drive, etc.) for Data Rescue 3 to use for data caching purposes, and you’ll probably be spending a while manually sorting through the results of a scan, as Data Rescue 3 will not recover original file names. Data Rescue’s user interface is modern, functional, and blends in with the Mac aesthetic.

You’ll find Data Rescue 3 for sale on Amazon.

FileSalvage 7

FileSalvage 7

FileSalvage 7 ($90)

Pros:

  • Great results
  • Can also scan external drives, memory cards, and optical discs

Cons:

  • Scans can take hours

Top Review Sources:

  • MacWorld UK: 4.0/5.0 “FileSalvage is part of a range of recovery tools and is the most comprehensive consumer offering of the lot”
  • ExpertReviews.co.uk: 4.0/5.0 “In the end…it’s the results that count, and FileSalvage did what it claimed to do”
  • MacNation.org: 4.0/5.0 “A very promising piece of software and the support department is top-notch”

SubRosaSoft’s FileSalvage 7 is the most recent version of the company’s Macintosh data recovery software. FileSalvage recognizes an impressive number of file types and provides options for narrowing your search in cases when you have good idea what you are looking for or where it may be. Like other data recovery software, FileSalvage uses a separate volume to save recovered files. After an easy installation, you’ll be presented with the main window, where you can choose to Recover Deleted Files, Salvage All Files, or Explore A Drive. Recover Deleted Files examines the free space of your drive for recently removed information. Salvage All Files is a more extensive operation to be used on faulty or corrupted disks. It attempts to copy all useable data from the disk to another volume. Explore A Drive allows you to initiate precise search and rescue operations rather than attempt to recover all the data on a disk. In Explore A Drive mode, you can teach the program to recognize file types it doesn’t currently know. In all three modes, you’ll be able to preview your results before undeleting. Be prepared for extensive scans to take hours, and know that FileSalvage won’t typically be able to recover file names along with the data.

You can purchase and download SubRosaSoft’s FileSalvage 7 on the official website.

Disk Drill Pro

Disk Drill Pro

Disk Drill Pro ($90)

Pros:

  • Recovers data on HFS/HFS+, FAT, and NTFS drives
  • S.M.A.R.T. disk monitoring
  • Recovery Vault enhances data recovery

Cons:

  • Scanning is free, but recovery requires upgrade

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 4.0/5.0 “A good option for getting [data] back, especially for less technically inclined users”
  • MacUpdate User Reviews: 4.0/5.0 (20+ reviews)
  • MacWorld UK: 4.0/5.0 “Disk Drill’s interface is bright and bold and helps you through every stage of the recovery process”

Disk Drill Pro by Cleverfiles is a powerful utility for do-it-yourself undeletion. There is a free edition of Disk Drill, but it only performs lost data scans; to recover deleted files, you’ll need to purchase the Pro edition. With the Pro edition, you get a user-friendly interface and helpful documentation, making it one of the best data recovery programs for those unsure about the process. For the tentative, it is worth downloading the free edition for a thorough test-drive, then upgrading if you are happy with what you see. In the Pro edition, you’ll find flexible scanning and recovery options, as well as a long list of known file types. Disk Drill’s innovative Recovery Vault acts a bridge between backup and recovery; turn it on and Disk Drill starts monitoring and preserving deleted files, making it quick and easy to get them back if you need to. Recovery Vault-restored files will have their file names preserved, a rare accomplishment in the world of Mac data recovery software. Recovering erased files not protected by Recovery Vault takes longer and won’t restore your file names, but the results are still excellent. S.M.A.R.T. disk monitoring is included, meaning Disk Drill Pro will be scrutinizing the health of your hard drive and alerting you to overheating and other impending calamities.

Cleverfiles’ Disk Drill Pro is for sale on the official website.

Top Rated File Encryption Software For PCs

File encryption software allows you to secure individual files and folders by associating a key with the data you wish to protect. Only by entering the key will a user have access to the encrypted files. Unlike disk encryption—where a master key is used to lock down all the data on a volume—file encryption allows you to selectively encrypt data while employing different encryption algorithms and keys for different files. We’ve taken a close look at professional and user reviews on sites such as CNET, PC Advisor, Dowload.com, Softpedia, Lifehacker, PC World, digZIP, and rbytes in order to bring you the top rated file encryption software for PCs:

Kruptos 2 Professional

Kruptos 2 Professional

Kruptos 2 Professional ($15)

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Can mask file names
  • Includes secure deletion and self-extracting file creator tools

Cons:

  • Limited functionality without payment

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 5.0/5.0 “Kruptos 2, with all its features, is what every user needing simple file encryption desires”
  • PC Advisor: “Simple and effective file and folder encryption at an excellent price point”
  • Download.com User Reviews: 4.0/5.0 (130+ reviews)

Kruptos 2 Professional provides an easy way to password protect any number of files, with the option of masking even the file names themselves. Part of what makes Kruptos 2 Professional easy to use is its tight integration with Windows; right-click a file and you are only one more click away from encrypting it. You can also drag and drop files and folders onto the Kruptos user interface in order to encrypt them. After decrypting a file for editing, Kruptos will automatically re-encrypt it upon close. The program uses the 256-bit Blowfish algorithm to encrypt files. Kruptos also includes a secure file deletion tool, self-extracting file creator, and the ability to encrypt a USB flash drive.

Kruptos 2 Professional is available for purchase on the manufacturer’s website.

MEO

MEO

MEO (Free)

Pros:

  • Free
  • Interface is as simple as it gets
  • Tiny installation footprint

Cons:

  • Advertisements
  • Email encryption isn’t as straightforward as file encryption

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 4.0/5.0 “As far as free file encryption programs go, this is one of the better ones we’ve seen”
  • Softpedia User Reviews: 3.8/5.0 (25+ reviews)
  • Download.com User Reviews: 4.5/5.0 (5+ reviews)

MEO has a bare-bones interface that puts those new to the encryption game at ease. Encryption and decryption are simple processes that take only a couple of clicks, either from the MEO interface or from a Windows context menu. MEO allows you to create self-extracting encrypted folders. The program provides the option to encrypt an email, though novices may find MEO’s method of doing this hard to follow. The product’s main demerit is its advertising; MEO will prompt you to install additional software during installation (though you can opt out). MEO employs the Triple DES 256-bit algorithm.

MEO can be downloaded directly from the publisher.

AxCrypt

AxCrypt

AxCrypt (Free)

Pros:

  • Free
  • Fully integrated into Windows
  • Includes file shredder and self-extracting file creator

Cons:

  • No support for 256-bit encryption

Top Review Sources:

  • CNET: 5.0/5.0 “AxCrypt is both powerful and easy to use, and we think that it’s a great way to keep files secure for users of all experience levels”
  • Lifehacker: One of the “Five Best File Encryption Tools”
  • PC World: “A simple, free way to encrypt individual files”

Axantum’s AxCrypt provides a free and easy way to deploy AES-128 encryption on your PC. Fully integrated with Windows, AxCrypt is operated exclusively via the context menu—there is no other user interface. The program supports the creation of self-extracting files, plus includes a file shredder for secure deletion. You can set a passcode on encrypted files, or you can create a key file. A key file is typically stored on removable media such as a USB flash drive. When you insert the drive into the computer, it will allow decryption. AxCrypt’s online help file is thorough and quite useful for both new and experienced users.

You can download AxCrypt from the publisher’s site.

SafeBit

SafeBit

SafeBit ($40)

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Strong, flexible encryption

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Only one encryption algorithm

Top Review Sources:

  • Softpedia: 4.5/5.0 “Very Good”
  • digZIP: “SafeBit Disk Encryption is uncomplicated software with an attractive interface that securely converts files unnoticed”
  • rbytes User Rating: 3.5/5.0

NeoByte Solutions’ SafeBit employs an intuitive, clean interface, helping make file encryption tasks go quickly and smoothly. Advanced users will appreciate the plethora of customization options. To encrypt your data, SafeBit requires you to create a password-protected virtual drive (called a “safe”). You may create as many safes as you’d like. Users are able to save their passwords on external memory—such as a flash drive—to create a key they can use to unlock and lock their safes. The program operates transparently, encrypting your files automatically as you work within a virtual drive. In the process, SafeBit will not drag down the speed and responsiveness of your system. SafeBit makes use of a single encryption algorithm: AES-256. AES-256 is an effective algorithm, but some reviewers express disappointment in it being the only one offered, given the cost of the program. SafeBit includes a virtual keyboard as a safeguard against keyloggers. The help files are robust, and allow a beginner to get up and running quickly.

You can purchase SafeBit on the official website.