The Best Alternative to Recuva (for Mac and Windows)
Utilities • March 16, 2018
If you need an alternative to Recuva, you’re not alone. You’ve heard it’s one of the most popular data recovery software available for Windows. However, there is no Mac version of Recuva and it doesn’t mean better Windows options haven’t arrived!
Let’s review some highlights to show you why Recuva is so dang popular!
We’ll examine a few of its flaws and highlight its best alternative.
We know, we know..Recuva is great
Recuva is certainly a valuable tool. This data recovery software allows you to restore files from hard drives, USB flash drives, memory cards, MP3 players(including the discontinued iPod), and other storage devices supported by FAT and NTFS file systems.
Recuva starts with a Wizard interface, which helps choose the options you’re likely to want, and saves you the trouble of navigating the relatively complex option menus. If you don’t need the wizard you can jump right into manual mode and get to work searching where you know the file should be.
After scan, you can then get a list of all the files that Recuva was able to find.
Recuva uses a green/yellow/red light system to indicate how probable the recovery of your files will be, and when available, it can provide previews image files available for recovery.
By default, Recuva runs a quick scan also only scans for deleted files. There are options for whether to enable the scan for non-deleted files or deep scan that will find files on damaged or reformatted disks.
Recuva also includes a tool to securely wipe files you find, handy if you’re attempting a file recovery just to ensure the files are actually dead and gone.
Additionally, there is no doubt Recuva is quite the no-cost/low-cost file recovery software. It offers both a free version and a low-cost $19.95 Professional version of its software. The Professional version adds premium support, automatic updates, optical media recovery and virtual drive recovery.
However, looking for Recuva alternatives is prudent for a number of reasons.
Why look for a Recuva alternative?
We like Recuva for its low cost, but take a moment to consider if it doesn’t recover the file you want, then its low price and convenience aren’t worth much at all.
But if Recuva does the job, why look for an alternative at all?
Well, just because something works doesn’t mean it’s the best. There’s always room for improvement.
A competitive market is a major feature of what fuels innovation, and as handy as Recuva can be, the market has brought some tough competition through tools like Stellar Data Recovery, Disk Drill and Prosoft Data Rescue.
Recuva has been around for a while. The first version ver 1.0 was released in 2007– yeah, that’s ten years ago.
There’s nothing wrong with age, but adaptability is a must, and the latest version of Recuva is v1.53.1087, which released on June 8, 2016, this has been a bit sluggish on updating for users in the modern world.
Recuva offers a decent set of features for its pricetag. Not bad. But several advanced features commonly available with other data recovery platforms aren’t offered by Recuva. The biggest miss is that Recuva Pro can’t recover lost partitions.
Another issue is Recuva can’t recover as many files as high-priced data recovery service from another vendor.
Furthermore, Mac users are misinformed by thinking this popular Recuva freeware is available for their computers. However, this is not the case. Recuva for Mac does not exist. Recuva data recovery is only available for Windows.
In the end, add in the fact that installer of Recuva might try to add other programs to your computer.
With these problems at hand, many turn to Recuva’s competitors.
But then the question becomes: which one?
Recuva alternative requirements
The number of data recovery tools available numbers in the dozens. In order to find the best Recuva alternative, we used the following criteria.
Specifically, the alternative must:
- Designed with easy to understand interfaces.
- Fast and thoroughly scan.
- Can recover test files we created and deleted.
- Can provide more robust data recovery.
- Offer a free trial version.
Further, we considered what people like about Recuva, as well as what features they wish Recuva alternative had.
Special feature considerations:
- Scan by file type.
- Make it easy to sort through recovered content and thumbnail preview .
- Saving the scan results.
- Lost partition recovery.
- Optical storage recovery.
- Offer Mac versions.
After testing several popular apps, our favorite pick is Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery, due not only its lovely wizard and exceptional performance, but because its feature list easily outpaces the competition.
Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery is a solution to all your data loss problems. Starts at $99 for a lifetime license, Windows OS and Mac OS X version are available.
The software claims it thoroughly scans (formatted, deleted or damaged) volumes and finds all the lost data such as documents, emails, pictures, audio and video and all other files. After scanning, software displays all the recoverable files and folders in a tree view. It can recover data from optical discs too and supports all CD / DVD formats and common file systems such as ISO 9660, Joliet, UDF, HFS and Rock Ridge.
Well, let’s review the Mac version and find out the accuracy of this claim.
Stellar Phoenix’s design
The new Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery features a simple and elegant graphical user interface (GUI) that feels good to eyes. On the main screen, you can either select to recover everything, or customize your scan by toggling On desired file types. These option names are self-explanatory, and we think we don’t need to tell about their functions.
Stellar Phoenix’s Performance
Stellar Phoenix claims on its official website that the app is able to recover your deleted or lost data from the hard drive or external storage media connected to the system. Almost all data of the volume can be found by performing recovery on the selected volume or removable media. HFS, HFS+, NTFS, FAT, FAT16, FAT32 and exFat file systems are supported by the application.
Here we opt to “Recovery Everything” to recovery deleted files from internal Mac hard drive.
By default, Stellar Phoenix will run quick scan, which seeks files as quickly as possible, even if a drive has been initialized or formatted.
The latest version is equipped with Deep Scan option for performing a comprehensive scan. If you are not satisfied with the primary quick scan results, this is when the Deep Scan comes into the picture.
Moreover, when the drive is severe corrupt, the software facilitates the option to automatically switch to Deep Scan for better results. But remember that Deep Scan takes more time to complete.
From our test, to produce the greatest number of results, we opt for Deep Scan. Now’s the time-consuming part. After about 9 minutes, Stellar Phoenix again returned with scanning completed results below.
Since it has already found 19GB data, we decided to stop the scan to get an idea how these files look like.
All files and folders that are found in the scanned volume or removable media are shown in a tree structure. We can click on the tab in the left pane to view your data in Classic List, File List(if you want to recover the files of a specific type only) or Deleted List(if you want to recover your deleted data).
And a nice feature here is Quicklook which will allows you to quickly view a picture, document, listen to a song or playback a video (as long as it’s under 100MB which would have to be a pretty short video) before deciding if this is the file you want to recover.
We switch to “File List”, and click “Recover” button. A Recover dialog box is displayed below.
The selected files will be recovered and saved at the specified location. But please note the application refuses to save the files to the same disk and you need to plug in a USB drive. It’s understandable as it’s not recommended to perform the recovery on the source drive.
Here we suggest:
When using any piece of software to recover data, always recover to a different device. Meaning, if you are recovering data on a hard drive, then recover it to another hard drive or USB key that’s large enough to handle the recovery. If you’re recovering from a USB key or SD card, be sure to recover that data to your hard drive. If you choose to write back (undelete) to the same storage device containing the content you wish to recover, it may overwrite another file that you are trying to recover in the process. Always recover to a different storage device. Once the recovery is complete, you may copy it back to it’s original location then. This will give you the best results.
After done, the utility identified and retrieved approximately 18GB of files.
We’re very content with the results. That’s a five star option right there! The “Recovery Everything” mode is very useful and powerful, and it successfully located some pictures we deleted from a 32GB SanDisk Ultra Fit flash drive — 100% recovery rate. Thus we believe this is the default recovery mode you should need, if you have accidentally erased some files off a digital camera card, external drive, or other storage devices. The scanning process is lighting fast, and chances of recovery are high as long as you act quickly.
In addition to these…
Stellar Phoenix data recovery 8 is backed by competent algorithms that can successfully attain restoration of permanently deleted data.
The utility supports recovery from encrypted disks, Time Machine backups (including Apple’s Time Capsule), and Boot Camp partitions.
Another perk that we appreciate is “Resume Recovery”, which is designed to save scan results if you’re partway through, then resume the process when it’s convenient for you.
So if your computer has a big size partition, the scanning process tends to be long. It’s boring simply waiting for the program to finish the entire scan, especially on a large drive.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Stellar Data Recovery doesn’t support data recovery from storage media enabled by iOS or Android mobile operating system. It only supports HFS+, FAT, NTFS based storage devices. That means you can’t use it to recover data from iPhones, iPads or Android devices. Instead, you may have to use third-party apps like iPhone Data Recovery software, etc.
To sum things up
Having said that, Stellar Phoenix data recovery tool is able to deliver a great performance. You can try its demo version, find your file using preview option, and pay for the actual recovery.
We like there’s a cheaper “home” edition($59), but its inability to recover files from lost partitions and RAW storage means it won’t help you out with one of the most common data loss scenarios.
We’d particularly encourage you to consider the Professional version. They cost more, but they’re worth it.
At $99, Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery is definitely stellar!
Once you’ve recovered as many of your missing files as you can, your very next concern should almost certainly be to do your best to make sure that you never lose another file again.
While nothing is ever guaranteed, of course, for extra security, you may consider backing up your data to the cloud, so that even a disaster that destroys all your local hardware won’t wipe out your data. For this additional piece of mind, you’ll want an online cloud backup service.