Recovering Lost Data with PhotoRec for Free

So, we all have been in the same problem, we format our PC and discovered that we didn't save our photos from last christmas. What a shame.  Of course around the web you can find a pletora of tools to do the job and most of them require a payment to be done. But not this, PhotoRec is a small and powerful program that can try to recover your lost data. So hands to the job.


Download PhotoRec from his wikipage. We are trying the 7.0 version, released on december 2014. It worked good for me. When on the Download page, you will see a green big button that say Free Download, so go ahead.


Unzip the beast, and exec the file called qphotorec_win.exe


Select the physical drive that you want to scan, select the kind of files you want to recover (photos come in *.jpg,*.bmp and *.png)


Select where do you want to recover your Photos. Of course it has to be in a diferent Disk that the one being scanned. If you create it on the same disk then you could lose your data because it will overwrite on the remaining pieces of data, son don't play with your luck


Press Start and Cash In

Do I really have to put this image? Hell yes.

Why do I choose Photorec instead of other recovery products?

Well first of all, its awesomely free, easy to use and it do the dirty job. All the payed software that I tried, first scan the disk, then ask you for money (Oh I have test the first page of google when looking for Recovery Software and most of them ask you for money) . The awesome thing with PhotoRec is that when you press start, it really start to recover your data, so let's say you have a blackout in your city, if Photorec is working, and your pc survives the blackout, then you may have some data recovered from your pc.

Second of all, it's pretty fast and stable. Other options couldn't work all the data I was trying to save. I got a 1 Terabyte disk that was formatted and also got an installation of Windows 7 on it, so some of my data could have been lost, but Photorec still managed to recover like 50 gigabytes worth of photos, and I just waited for 6 hours to do it.

Tips and Fun when using Photorec

  • Although it will slow down the recovery, always start your antivirus software just in case you may find virus. The first time I tried Photorec with all the file extension turned on , I discovered like 300 virus on my hard drive. Also never ever ever execute a *.exe file freshly recovered from Photorec, you are calling your own doom doing that.
  • Remember to select your file extension. The first time that I tried the recovery, I matched all the extension and it never ended running. I stoped it at the third day of running, and I was deleting all kind of files because my backup disk has less space than the one being recovered.
  • Please dont save your data ON the disk being recovered, I repeat it again, if you do that, you ARE GOING to loose the deleted files forever.
So how does Photorec works? Well its magic, the only thing I know is that when you format a disk, you dont delete the physical files, you just delete the index that point to your physical files, that is why when you write new files to your disk, you are really overwriting on top of all the physical files that are not in the index. There's a special case when formating your disk that is called low level formatting that really delete the files from the hard drive, in that case you are not going to recover your files with this tool.

So please, take a look at that software, it really help me a lot, so this is a tribute to the guy that made this software. Please have a nice day Mr C. Grenier!.

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