List of data recovery software

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The following is a list of notable data recovery software.


Data recovery cannot always be done on a running system. As a result, a boot disk, live CD, live USB, or any other type of live distro contains a minimal operating system.

  • AOMEI PE Builder: A freeware to create bootable environment based on Windows PE (Windows Preinstallation Environment) without installing AIK/WAIK
  • BartPE: A lightweight variant of Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 32 bit operating systems, similar to a Windows Preinstallation Environment, which can be run from a Live CD or Live USB drive
  • Boot Repair Disk: One-click repair disk featuring 'Boot-Repair' for Linux and Microsoft Windows Systems
  • Finnix: A Debian-based LiveCD with a focus on being small and fast, useful for computer and data rescue
  • Data Rescue 3: A bootable Mac OS X recovery DVD by Prosoft Engineering company, supports HFS and HFS+ file systems
  • Data Rescue PC3: A Linux-based Live CD/Live USB with file recovery software by Prosoft Engineering company, supports FAT and NTFS file systems
  • Disk Drill Basic: capable of creating bootable Mac OS X USB drives for data recovery
  • Hiren's BootCD: A boot CD containing various diagnostic programs such as partitioning agents, system performance benchmarks, disk cloning and imaging tools, data recovery tools, MBR tools, BIOS tools, and many others for fixing various computer problems
  • Knoppix: The original Linux Live CD. It contains many useful utilities for data recovery.
  • SpinRite: A FreeDOS-based data recovery tool for hard disks and magnetic storage devices
  • SystemRescueCD: A Gentoo based Live CD, useful for repairing unbootable computer systems and retrieving data after a system crash
  • Trinity Rescue Kit: A free command-line Live CD Linux distribution created especially for rescuing Windows PCs
  • Ultimate Boot CD for Windows: A Microsoft Windows XP Live CD with diagnostic and repair utilities built in, useful for removing malware and recovering data
  • Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE): A customizable Microsoft Windows Boot DVD (made by Microsoft and distributed for free). Can be modified to boot to any of the programs listed.

Consistency checkers[edit]

  • CHKDSK: A consistency checker for DOS and Windows systems
  • Disk First Aid: A consistency checker for Mac OS 9
  • Disk Utility: A consistency checker for Mac OS X
  • fsck: A consistency checker for UNIX
  • gparted: A GUI for GNU parted, the GNU partition editor, capable of calling fsck

File recovery[edit]

See also: Data recovery


  • EnCase: A suite of forensic tools developed by Guidance Software that is used for imaging and forensic analysis for UNIX, Linux, and Windows systems
  • Foremost: An open-source CLI file recovery program, originally developed by the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and NPS Center for Information Systems Security Studies and Research
  • Forensic Toolkit: by AccessData, used by law enforcement
  • Open Computer Forensics Architecture: An open-source program running on Linux
  • The Coroner's Toolkit: A suite of utilities aimed at assisting in forensic analysis of a UNIX system after a break-in
  • The Sleuth Kit: Also known as TSK, The Sleuth Kit is a suite of forensic analysis tools developed by Brian Carrier for UNIX, Linux and Windows systems. TSK includes the Autopsy forensic browser.

Imaging tools[edit]

See also: Disk image
  • Clonezilla: a free disk cloning, disk imaging, data recovery, and deployment boot disk
  • CopyCatX: Originally a backup software, it is capable of creating images of damaged media
  • ddrescue: an open-source tool similar to dd but with the ability to skip over and subsequently retry bad blocks on failing storage devices
  • dd: common byte-to-byte cloning tool found on Unix-based systems