So, here's the situation: You're about to head home for the weekend when you get a frantic call from a user. He's accidentally deleted a critical file, and to make matters worse, he's emptied the Recycle Bin! The file appears to be lost forever, and the user is practically in tears. What do you do?
Piriform's Recuva is a very fine—and completely free—file-recovery program that even bests some of the paid solutions on the market. It's extremely easy to use and navigate, is available in both installable and portable versions, and can recover files from hard disks, USB drives, memory cards, and even MP3 players.
Through Recuva's straightforward UI, a wizard takes you through the file-recovery process. You select the drive(s) you want to target, and you select from a series of available file paths. When you click Scan, Recuva starts investigating, ultimately displaying an extensive list of deleted files. Clicking Advanced gets you detailed information about those files, and gives you more sorting options. Once you find the file you're looking for, you simply select its checkbox and click Recover. If the standard scan comes up empty, you can try the Deep Scan to scour the entire hard disk—but it takes quite a bit longer.
We're particularly impressed with Recuva's availability in both installable and portable versions—the portable version is exceptionally handy in that situation where you don't want to install anything on the system that needs a file recovered. Regardless, Recuva is a very small download, and it supports most Windows OSs. And Piriform is great about frequently updating the tool's capabilities.
Piriform is also responsible for some other excellent free tools that you might check out. CCleaner is a popular tool for cleaning your PC, protecting your privacy online, and making your computer faster and more secure. Defraggler is a compact and portable defrag utility that defrags your entire hard drive or individual files. Speccy is an advanced system information tool for your PC.