Losing important data is always stressful. Whether it's cherished photos and videos, an important presentation you've been working on for days, or sensitive work documents, accidentally deleting them or losing them to file corruption, malware, and more is enough to send you into a panic attack.

Software like FreeRecover is designed to help you avoid all this stress. It's a data recovery tool that enables you to retrieve accidentally deleted files from your NTFS drives quickly and efficiently.

However, while FreeRecover for Windows can be effective, it lacks many essential features and capabilities that would place it among the top data recovery software. Therefore, an alternative solution might be needed depending on your specific needs.

In this article
    1. 🎯Wondershare Recoverit - Best Paid Alternative
    2. PhotoRec - Open Source Alternative
    3. TestDisk - Open Source Alternative
    4. Glary Undelete - Software Program Alternative

Overview: What Is FreeRecover?

FreeRecover is an open-source data recovery tool suitable for Windows PCs. It works with all the common file types, meaning you can easily retrieve any photos, videos, documents, PDFs, or other files stored on your NTFS drives. Unfortunately, though, it does specialize in the NTFS file system, so you cannot use it if your drive has FAT, HFS+, or APFS systems.

It can successfully recover deleted files, even from a formatted drive. However, if your drive was overwritten, FreeRecover won't be able to help you. It can't recover overwritten data.

It's relatively easy to use, especially considering it's still in its beta version. There's no setup required – as soon as you download the software, you can start using it for data recovery.

Some of its key features include:

  • NTFS data recovery – recover data from NTFS (New Technology File System) formatted drives;
  • Deleted file preview – preview deleted files before recovering them;
  • Found file integrity estimate – find out whether deleted files are available for recovery;
  • Instant search – search for files by name or file path;
  • Batch recovery – recover multiple files at once.

FreeRecover is as simple as can be, enabling users with limited experience to take full advantage of it.

FreeRecover Overview
Latest version FreeRecover.exe (Last update: 2017-02-06)
Supported OS Microsoft Windows
Release date 2011-03-14
Pricing Free

How to use FreeRecover in Windows

As beta software, FreeRecover has only the basic functionality, making it exceptionally easy to use. Within a few steps, you'll be able to gain insights into your deleted data:

  1. Connect your NTFS drive to your PC;
  2. Download and launch FreeRecover from SourceForge;
    download freerecover
  3. All your available drives will be available in the navigation bar;
  4. Select the drive you want to scan;
  5. Check Get File Paths and Check File Integrities boxes;
    select drive in freerecover
  6. Select Search;
  7. Wait for the software to finish.

Checking the Get File Paths box will display your files' original location on the drive, while checking the Check File Integrities box will let you know whether the original files are recoverable.

Once the scan starts, it can take a while for it to complete. If you have a larger hard drive, it could easily take well over an hour. Though your screen will be unresponsive, you'll quickly start seeing all the files available for recovery.

It's best not to interrupt FreeRecover during its scan, as it will only slow down the progress. Moreover, you'll need to start from scratch and invest more time to scan your drive again.

If you want to preview your files before recovering them, all you have to do is click them.

User Ratings & Comments

FreeRecover isn't the most popular data recovery software currently on the market. It receives infrequent updates (the last one published in 2017). It's still in its beta version. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that other solutions come with. Still, the users who have tried it are generally pleased with it:

"It's simple, and just works!!!! This project deserves greater recognition." – strewthuk on SourceForge;
"Seems a good, helpful software. Will you support it further? Maybe consider some program info, stop button, etc for the future orders?" – kakhak on SourceForge;
"Thx, You have saved my a. I would recommend you a pay-pal Image name or whatever, in order we can donate you the money we had not spent on other costly "freeware" tools. Petiatearth" – petiatearth on SourceForge.

You can find all of these reviews directly on SourceForge.

Overall, most users are satisfied with how simple and easy to use FreeRecover is, especially considering that most open-source software in their beta versions don't even come with a graphical user interface (GUI).

Still, while the general simplicity of FreeRecover is often seen as a plus, many users are left requesting additional features to no avail. It doesn't seem like the original developer is responsive, nor does it look like we should expect an updated version any time soon.

Final Verdict: Upsides & Downsides of FreeRecover

FreeRecover is neither the most advanced nor the simplest solution out there. It does what it promises to do, quickly recovering deleted files from your NTFS drives while giving you insights into their file paths and overall integrity. It even offers file previews – a feature commonly reserved for premium versions of most data recovery tools.

Still, it's a relatively weak tool that wouldn't be helpful in common data loss scenarios like file corruption or malware attacks.

  • Works with most file types
  • Easy to use with a minimalistic GUI
  • Completely free to use
  • File previews are a free feature
  • High success rates with deleted file recovery
  • Only available for the Windows OS
  • No deep scans or advanced recovery modes
  • Only works with deleted file recovery
  • Only available for NTFS drives
  • The last update was in 2017

You should consider these pros and cons carefully before downloading FreeRecover. While it can be effective, there are far better solutions that are at least affordable, if not free.

Best Alternatives to FreeRecover for Windows

Wondershare Recoverit Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
Supports thousands of file and file system types
(including NFTS, FAT, HFS+, and APFS)
Compatible with over 2,000 storage devices
PhotoRecOptional GUI
Completely free to use
Theoretically works with all file systems
TestDiskNo installation required
Fix and rebuild FAT tables
Bootable disk creation from non-bootable disks
Glary Undelete Easy to use
Fast scan
Works with encrypted files

🎯Wondershare Recoverit - Best Paid Alternative

If you're looking for a complete solution that has all the necessary data recovery features and then some, Wondershare Recoverit is your best option. A comprehensive recovery software, it's compatible with all Windows, Mac, and Linux computers and even works with Android and iOS devices.

While it's not an open-source solution like FreeRecover, it's highly effective and easy to use. Not to mention, there's a generous free version available to all.

Moreover, the capabilities of Wondershare Recoverit aren't limited to simply retrieving deleted files. It works in hundreds of different data loss scenarios and can retrieve corrupted files, malware-infested files, files lost due to power outages, drive formatting, system failures, computer crashes, and more.

Free Download
Free Download

Key Features

  • Deep scan and file preview – uncover all deleted, damaged, and missing files and preview theme before recovery;
  • Enhanced photo and video recovery – improve the quality of the photos and videos you recover;
  • Crashed system recovery – recover files from a crashed computer.

Pros and Cons

  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Supports thousands of file and file system types (including NFTS, FAT, HFS+, and APFS)
  • Compatible with over 2,000 storage devices
  • The free version has a 100MB file limit


While Wondershare Recoverit does have a free version, the 100MB file limitation can render it useless for some. Fortunately, there are no file size limitations with the paid versions. The pricing plans for Windows data recovery include:

  • Essential – $69.99 a year
  • Standard – $79.99 a year
  • Premium – $99.99 a year.

Wondershare Recoverit also comes with unique plans for Mac data recovery and professional and educational uses.

How to Use Wondershare Recoverit

Despite its numerous features, Wondershare Recoverit remains perfectly easy to use, making it a great choice for computer novices and professionals alike:

  1. Download and launch Wondershare Recoverit;
  2. Under Hard Drives and Locations, select your location;
    select your external drive in wondershare recoverit
  3. Wait a few minutes for the scan to complete;
  4. Filter the found files by file type, time, or size;
    filter files by type, time, or size
  5. Preview your files and examine them;
    preview the found notepad files
  6. Click Recover to save them.
icon note
Note: You can pause or stop the scan at any time without losing progress. Just make sure that you don't disconnect your drive.
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PhotoRec - Open Source Alternative

photorec logo

If you'd prefer to use an open-source alternative to FreeRecover, PhotoRec can be a great choice. It's completely free to use, and unlike FreeRecover, it does have wider OS compatibility. You can run it on DOS/Windows, Mac OS X, Sun Solaris, Linux, and FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD.

What's interesting about PhotoRec is that it completely ignores the file system, meaning it can theoretically work with any drive you may have, whether using NTFS, FAT, exFAT, HFS+, or anything in between. However, it's somewhat specialized for recovering files from hard disks, CD-ROMs, and digital cameras, hence the name.

PhotoRec is a companion program to TestDisk, which we'll discuss in a moment.

Key Features

  • Multiple format files supported – you can retrieve most common files, including JPEG, HTML, Office, PDF, and ZIP;
  • Recovers Raw disks – you can retrieve data from raw disks or even faulty drives;
  • Completely open-source – you can use, edit, modify, or tinker with PhotoRec without limitations.

Pros and Cons

  • Optional GUI
  • Completely free to use
  • Theoretically works with all file systems
  • Poorly designed interface
  • No advanced algorithms for data recovery


As mentioned, PhotoRec is completely free and open-source, so you won't have to spend a dime to use it.

Try it

TestDisk - Open Source Alternative

testdisk logo

TestDisk is a more comprehensive version of PhotoRec. Free and open-source, like FreeRecover, it is designed for retrieving lost partitions and creating bootable disks from non-bootable ones that were damaged due to logical (software-based) errors.

Like its companion program, TestDisk is a multiplatform solution compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, SunOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD.

However, you'll need to know that TestDisk isn't for novices. It has a command-line interface – or better said, it lacks a graphical user interface. Unless you're familiar with using the command line, you might want to avoid it.

Key Features

  • Missing partition recovery – recover partitions from your hard disk;
  • Recover and rebuild missing boot sectors – you can recover boot sectors from backup, including FAT and NTFS boot sectors;
  • Undelete files – you can undelete files from the FAT, exFAT, NTFS and ext2 file systems.

Pros and Cons

  • No installation required
  • Fix and rebuild FAT tables
  • Bootable disk creation from non-bootable disks
  • No GUI
  • Writes data as part of the recovery process


Like PhotoRec, TestDisk is completely free and open-source. There are no pricing plans you'll need to worry about.

Try it

Glary Undelete - Software Program Alternative

glarysoft logo

Last but certainly not least is Glary Undelete. Though it's a downloadable program, it's completely free to use, like FreeRecover. However, the price (or lack thereof) isn't the only similarity between these two solutions. Glary Undelete is also limited to the Windows operating system, offering support for Windows XP through to Windows 8.1.

While it's most commonly used simply for undeleting your files from the Recycle Bin, it can also be highly effective in retrieving files lost due to software glitches, system crashes, and malware attacks.

You can use it to recover files from FAT12/16/32 and NTFS/NTFS5 drives and even retrieve images from CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia, and Secure Digital cards.

Key Features

  • Deleted and damaged data recovery – you can recover deleted files, as well as compressed, fragmented, and encrypted ones;
  • Recovery possibility analysis – receive insights on whether your files are recoverable or not;
  • File filtering – filter through your recoverable files by name, file date, size, or recovery state.

Pros and Cons

  • Easy to use
  • Fast scan
  • Works with encrypted files
  • Outdated interface
  • Unresponsive support


Although Glarysoft has premium solutions for file recovery, Glary Undelete remains completely free to use.

Try it


FreeRecover is a surprisingly capable data recovery solution. Still, it can be highly limiting as it works only with the Windows operating system and NTFS drives. If you need a more powerful solution compatible with different platforms, devices, file types, and file systems, solutions like Wondershare Recoverit, Glary Undelete, PhotoRec, or TestDisk will be a much better alternative.

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Theo Lucia
Theo Lucia Apr 15, 24
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