Data Recovery

14 Best Free Photo Recovery Software Worth Trying in 2022

Did you accidentally delete important photos from your Windows computer and now looking for a free photo recovery software? Finding an effective free photo recovery program from the innumerable choices available online can be stressful. Also, it’s difficult to ascertain if the free software is secure or not for your Windows laptop or desktop.

Here we have identified the Top 14 Free Photo Recovery Software for Windows and Mac that are 100% reliable. You can easily retrieve pictures lost/ deleted pictures from hard drive, camera card, or other external storage devices, with the help of these free tools.

Choosing a free photo recovery software — Here's a Checklist

Freely accessible recovery tools for PC or Mac may bring with them security risk. To protect your system from bugs or virus and performance issues, its important to practice caution when downloading a free photo recovery software. Here's the useful checklist, based on which you should pick a free photo recovery software.

Parameters to choose the Best Free Photo Recovery Software

Below are the 14 Free Photo Recovery Software for Windows and Mac computers that can recover lost photos of different file types. Read on to know which free image recovery tool best meets your specific needs.

1. Stellar Photo Recovery Free Edition (Windows & Mac)

Stellar Photo Recovery Free Edition

Stellar Photo Recovery Free Edition recovers deleted photos from all types of storage devices on Windows and Mac computer. The photo recovery software can restore from formatted, corrupted, and virus-infected hard drives, memory cards, SD cards, pen drives, CF cards, and others. The software has a straightforward and user-friendly interface that is fast to recover. It shows preview of the recoverable pictures before saving them.

The free version of Stellar Photo Recovery can restore photos from all brands of DSLR, camcorders, smartphone, iPhone, drone, etc. It supports recovery of uncompressed RAW image files from Fuji, Olympus, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and other digital cameras. You can recover JPEG, PNG, GIF, RAW, CR2, SR2, REF, NEF, DNG, KDC, etc. It can scan and recover pictures from FAT16, exFAT, FAT32, NTFS, and NTFS5 Windows file systems.

Stellar Photo Recovery is different from other free tools as it offers advanced features, such as Deep Scan for comprehensive search of drives; customized file recovery options; create image of corrupt drive; save scan, resume recovery later; dual monitor support, and more. The software can also recover deleted videos and audio files.

Stellar Photo Recovery is compatible with Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7, macOS Big Sur 11, Catalina 10.15, Mojave 10.14/10.13/10.12/10.11. 

This user-friendly photo recovery program comes from Stellar, a globally-admired data care enterprise providing an array of data recovery and repair utilities such as free data recovery software for Windows, iPhone, Mac, and more.

User experience & Ratings: Stellar Photo Recovery Free version offers similar user experience as in its professional edition. It is easy and fast. The product reviewers such as G2, Capterra, Digital Photography School, and ePhotozine rated the software over 4.7 Stars on different parameters — GUI, ease-of-use, speed, and overall performance.

Pros

  • Recovers up to 10 photos for free
  • Recovers with original date and timestamp
  • Recovers RAW camera files
  • Deep scan available in free version
  • Recovers from BitLocker-encrypted drives

Cons

  • Limited number of file recovery in free version
Download for Windows Download for Mac

2. Remo Recover Free Edition (Windows)

Remo Recover Free Edition restores deleted or lost photos from Windows computer, camera memory card, USB, iPod, pen drive, etc.

The software is simple and recovers pictures of popular file formats, including JPEG, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, etc. You can use the software in cases of accidental deletion, emptied Recycle Bin, formatting, etc. Remo Recover Free Edition supports FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, NTFS5, and exFAT Windows file systems. Additionally, Remo Recover offers ‘Save Recovery Session’ option to continue recovery later anytime and ‘Create Image’ of bad sector drive. It allows you to save the recovered photos in the Windows drive or CD/DVD.

However, the free version is slow and often fails to recover high-quality RAW files from digital cameras.

The software supports Windows 10/8/8.1/7, Vista, XP, Windows server 2008, and Windows 2003.

User experience & Ratings: The software can successfully recover lost photos. However, there are reports of GUI rendering problem. Preview before recovery is also not available. Trustpilot and Techradar rate the software at 4.8 stars and 4 stars respectively on overall performance.

Pros

  • Recovers up to 1GB of photos for free
  • Recovers photos from all drives and cameras
  • Recovers documents, videos, audio, etc.

Cons

  • Preview of recoverable photos absent
  • Very slow to scan and recover
  • Deep Scan feature absent in free version
  • Customized recovery absent
Download for Windows

3. MiniTool Data Recovery Free (Windows)

MiniTool Data Recovery Free

MiniTool Free Data Recovery is an uncomplicated software for free photo recovery. It has a straightforward user-interface that helps to easily restore deleted photos from storage drives. You can pause, resume or stop the scanning process in between. The scan results are sorted on a file type basis. It can restore JPG, JPEG, TIFF, ARW, PSP, PNG, GIF, DCR, DNG, PSD, BMP, CRW, etc. Plus, the software can recover videos and audio files.

The MiniTool free recovery software is useful in situations of file deletion, virus attack, drive failure, etc. You can save only 1GB of recoverable photos in the free version.

The software is available for Windows 10/8/8.1/7.

User experience & Ratings: The user-friendly software delivers successful recovery. However, it is reported slow. Scan results often includes the previous versions of files, which may not be of use. The reviewer Capterra gives 4.4 stars to MiniTool Data Recovery in its review while Cnet closes at 4.1 stars.

Pros

  • Recovers up to 1GB of photos
  • User-friendly GUI
  • Recovers video and audio files

Cons

  • Slow scanning process
  • Doesn’t recover photos with the original file name
  • No extra features
Download for Windows

4. Disk Drill Free Photo Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Disk Drill Free Photo Recovery

Disk Drill is one of the reliable free photo recovery software. It can recover almost all popular image file types, including JPEG, HEIC, JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, PSP, PSD, DNG, and AI.

But Disk Drill lacks a wide RAW file format support. It can only restore RAW files from Canon, Nikon, and GoPro cameras. Disk Drill is compatible with NTFS, FAT, and exFAT file systems. Along with Quick Scan, it has an option of Deep Scan that helps in a thorough search of the drive for maximum recovery. The software can reinstate deleted or lost photos from Windows hard drives, SD cards, SDXC, SDHC, camera cards, USB, and iPods. It can recover photos from formatted and corrupted Windows drives as well.

The user interface is simple and easy to use. The free version of Disk Drill lets you save up to 500MB of lost photos. The software supports Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10. The macOS supports Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra and below.

User Experience & Ratings: With intuitive GUI, Disk Drill has appealing interface. However, some users reported the free version didn’t work on macOS. The Cnet users review rates the software with 3.7 stars whereas G2 gives 4 stars in users review.

Pros

  • Recover photos up to 500MB
  • Recovers popular image types
  • Allows preview photos before recovery

Cons

  • Limited RAW files support
  • Slow scanning process
Download for Windows Download for Mac

5. EaseUS Free Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

EaseUS Free Data Recovery

The free edition of EaseUS data recovery software is apt to recover deleted photos of any file type. You can recover RAF, DNG, JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, RAW, CRW, CR2, and NEF, etc., file types from any Windows hard drive and external storage media. The GUI is user-friendly. The preview option for the recoverable pictures is present. EaseUs photo recovery supports FAT, exFAT, NTFS, NTFS5, and EXT2/EXT file system.

The software algorithms allow you to restore pictures lost due to accidental deletion, corruption, emptied Recycle Bin, formatting, or improper file transfer.

The software is available for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, macOS Big Sur, 10.15/ 10.14/10.13 and below.

User Experience & Ratings: EaseUS Data Recovery Free has successfully recovered deleted photos for most users. Based on the users’ real-time experience G2 appraises it 4 stars. However, Capterra gives 3.4 overall rating to the software.

Pros

  • Recovers up to 2GB photos for free
  • Previews files before saving

Cons

  • Photos not recovered by their original name
Download for Windows Download for Mac

6. Recoverit Free Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Recoverit Free Data Recovery

The free version of Recoverit Data Recovery for Windows is a secure tool for recovery of lost photos from Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP. It has limited macOS support of macOS Sierra (Fuji), El Capitan (Gala), and Yosemite (Syrah). The software works in various photo loss situations, such as formatting, virus infection, drive corruption, or OS crash. It supports photo recovery from Windows hard drives and external storage media. Recoverit supports FAT, FAT32, NTFS, ReFS, and other file formats.

You can restore digital photos shot with any DSLR, drone, or Android phone. The file formats from Fuji, Pentax, Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, etc., can be recovered using the software.

It can retrieve deleted JPG, BMP, GIF, TIFF/TIF, PNG, CRW, CR2, NEF, PSD, ORF, RAF, SR2, MRW, DCR, WMF, etc.

User Experience & Ratings: The free Recoverit Photo Recovery has limited features. Advanced features like ‘Save Scan’ or ‘Create image’ of corrupt drive with bad sectors are missing in the recovery tool. The software scores 8.3 out of 10 in TrustRadius review while G2 gives it 4 stars based on users’ feedback.

Pros

  • Recovers up to 100 MB photos for free
  • Recovers RAW files from popular brands
  • Preview option available

Cons

  • Doesn’t allow to save scan and resume recovery later
Download for Windows Download for Mac

7. Recuva (Windows)

Recuva photo recovery Free

Recuva is one of the most liked freeware program to undelete photos from hard drives, SD cards, flash drives, pen drive, etc. More so because it provides unlimited file recovery, unlike other free software. Recuva Data Recovery can get back your photos after deletion, emptied Recycle Bin, and formatting. You can recover JPEG, PNG, GIF, and RAW image file types. The software supports Windows 10/8/7, Vista, and XP.

User Experience & Ratings: Recuva is a basic photo recovery software with no advanced features or automatic updates. On Softonic users review the software with 3.8 stars.

Pros

  • Unlimited photo file recovery
  • Recovers photos, videos, and documents

Cons

  • No software updates
  • Unable to load photos preview
  • Cannot recover photos from corrupt drives
Download for Windows

8. iCare Data Recovery Free (Windows)

iCare Data Recovery Free

Another tool that lets you recover any number of photos is iCare Data Recovery Free. It recovers photos from various kinds of hard drives, SD cards, USB thumb drive, pen drive, etc. You can restore permanently deleted photos and videos, audio files, documents, and emails from Windows PC using the software. It supports FAT, FAT32, EXFAT, NTFS, NTFS5 file system.

Unlike most other recovery tools, you don’t need to install iCare Data Recovery Free on your system. You can use it online. Also, it’s fully compatible with Windows 10/8.1/7/Vista/XP/2000.

User Experience & Ratings: The free version of iCare Data Recovery is not always effective in recovering data from formatted or corrupt drives. Based on user experience, Cnet rates the software at 3.5 stars.

Pros

  • Recovers unlimited photos
  • Recovers over 600 file types

Cons

  • Deep Scan feature absent
  • Doesn’t support Windows Server recovery
Download for Windows

9. Windows File Recovery (Windows)

Windows File Recovery

Microsoft offers its own file recovery software — Windows File Recovery. It is a free recovery tool for Windows 10 version 2004. It can recover deleted JPEG, PDF, and PNG file types from hard drive, USB drive, memory cards, SD cards, or SSD. Plus, you can use it restore Office files, ZIP, MP3, MPEG, MP4, ZIP, and files.

The software supports NTFS, FAT, exFAT, and ReFS file systems. You can download Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft Store.

User Experience & Ratings: The software uses command-lines interface to recover your photos, which many may not find easy to use. It uses 2 modes - Regular and Extensive, to recover deleted files. For photos recovery from Pictures folder on PC Extensive mode is used that uses file extension in command line. For example: Winfr C: E: /extensive /n \Users\username\Pictures\*.JPEG /n\Users\username\Pictures\*.PNG username /username.

Pros

  • Recovers unlimited photos
  • Supports recovery from digital cameras

Cons

  • Not easy to use
  • No photo preview available
  • Recovers a few file types
  • Cannot recover RAW image files
Download for Windows

10. PhotoRec Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

PhotoRec Data Recovery

PhotoRec is an open-source software to retrieve photos, videos, documents, etc., from Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003, and macOS X. It supports deleted photo recovery from hard drives, SD cards, SmartMedia, Microdrive, USB flash drives, etc. it can recover photos from Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Pentax, and other digital cameras.

The software can efficiently function in situation of deletion, formatting, drive corruption, file system corruption. The photo recovery tool can restore photos from exFAT, FAT, EXT2/EXT3/EXT4, and NTFS file system.

User Experience & Ratings: As the user-interface is not graphical but text-based, you may find PhotoRec tricky to use. Some users also complaint that the software was not always able to retrieve all photos in their case. Softonic gives 3.8 stars based on user experience with PhotoRec software.

Pros

  • Recovers unlimited photos
  • Works on formatted and corrupt drives

Cons

  • GUI is not user-friendly
  • Cannot recover RAW image file formats
Download for Windows Download for Mac

11. Gihosoft RePicvid (Windows & Mac)

Gihosoft RePicvid

The free version of Gihosoft RePicvid photo recovery software recovers deleted photos from hard disk, SSD, SD card, memory card, USB drive, pen drive, etc. With the RePicvid free tool, there’s no limit on the number of files or size recovery. The software retrieves any number of deleted JPG/JPEG, TIFF, RAW, PNG, BMP, GIF, PSD, CRW, CR2, SR2, MRW, DCR, NEF, ORF, RAF, and other formats.

With RePicvid, you can get back lost photos shot with a camcorder, DSLR, digital camera, Android, Tablet, etc., of almost all known brands, be it Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, or others. The software rarely disappoints users who have lost pictures due to formatting, partition loss, virus attack, OS crash, etc. However, unlike other free tools, RePicvid free version doesn’t support video, audio, or other file recovery.

Gihosoft RePicvid is compatible with Windows XP to Windows10, macOS X Yosemite, 10.9, 10.8, 10.7, and 10.6.

User Experience & Ratings: The user-friendly wizard of RePicvid has a 3-step photo recovery process. It is one of the best photo recovery software in the free category. G2 users rate the software at 4.5 stars.

Pros

  • Unlimited photo recovery
  • Preview photos before saving
  • Free lifetime update

Cons

  • Cannot recover videos and audio
  • Slow scanning
  • Doesn’t support the latest Windows 11 and macOS Monterey

Photo RecoveryPhoto Recovery Mac

12. Lexar Recovery Tool (Windows)

Lexar Recovery Tool free photo recovery

Lexar Recovery Tool is an uncomplicated free recovery software that replaced the company’s previous Lexar Image Rescue software. The new Lexar Recovery Tool is for USB flash drives, SD cards, and hard drives deleted photo recovery.

The software can recover deleted JPEG, JPG, TIFF, PNG, CR2, SRW, DNG, ORF, RAF, and other image file formats used in digital cameras, SLRs, DSLRs, etc. In addition, you can retrieve photos, videos, and audio captured from surveillance cameras, drones, and dashcams.  The software supports recovery from popular imaging brands, such as Sony, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Samsung, DJI, Mavic, Midrive D02, PaPaGo dashcam, Gosafe 560, MiNi, Philips, and others.

This free recovery tool by Lexar works in all situations, such as accidental deletion, formatting, partition loss, and file system header corruption. The software supports FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS file systems, and also helps you format various storage drives.

User Experience & Ratings: Lexar Recovery Tool can successfully recover deleted photos from removable media and hard drives. The software is easy to install, and the GUI is simple. On overall performance, Lexar Recovery Tool gains 3.8 stars.

Pros

  • Recoverable photos preview available
  • Recovers RAW photos from popular cameras
  • Recovers documents, videos, and audio

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Slow scanning

Photo Recovery

13. SanDisk RescuePRO- (Windows and Mac)

SanDisk RescuePRO recovery software

SanDisk RescuePRO recovery software is often bundled free with SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC, SDHC,or CFexpress cards. It can recover various file formats such as GIF, JPEG, ARW, BMP, CR2, CRW, DCR, ERF, MOV, MP4, MP3, AVI, and more. The software can restore image files from GoPro, Canon, DJI, Nikon, Sony, and other well-known cameras. It also supports RAW images recovery at full size and resolution.

Beside photos, the free data recovery software can get back deleted videos, audio, documents, and other file types from SmartMedia, CompactFlash, MMC, Memory Stick, SD Cards, PCMCIA, Microdrive, VideoCD, DVD, etc. Plus, RescuePRO has SD card wiping and backup image creation features.

User Experience & Ratings: The GUI is not direct and needs improvement. Considering drive support and user interface limitations, SanDisk RescuePro gains 3.0 stars. Users reported customer support from SanDisk is prompt and knowledgeable.

Pros

  • Unlimited photo recovery
  • Recovers RAW image formats
  • Recovers videos, audio, documents, etc.

Cons

  • Do not recover 2D/3D vector graphics
  • Hard drive recovery absent
  • GUI is not straightforward

Photo RecoveryPhoto Recovery Mac

14. Exif Untrasher (Mac)

Exif Untrasher mac free photo recovery tool

Mac users who have deleted or lost their JPEG photos can try Exif Untrasher recovery tool. The free photo recovery for macOS can restore deleted JPEG from memory cards used in DSLRs, SLRs, smartphones, etc. Exif Untrasher is a light program that is quick to install. It is compatible with macOS Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, OS X El Capitan, and OS X Yosemite.

However, JPEG recovery is not a few clicks away with Exif Untrasher. First, you must create an image of the storage disk from which the files need to be recovered. Once the disk image is created, you can restore photos from it using the software. However, creating image of the drive every time makes the photo recovery process cumbersome. Further, many users reported that Exif Untrasher is not effective on large SD cards.

Although a completely free photo recovery tool, happy users often make random donations to the developer.

User Experience & Ratings: With limited file format recovery and the additional create image step in the photo recovery process, Exif Untrasher software is not a desirable choice for all. However, on CNET, users rate the software at 4.6 stars out 5. Softonic too reported over 24000 downloads since 2011.

Pros

  • Unlimited JPEG files recovery
  • Free Mac JPEG recovery

Cons

  • Slow and not easy to use
  • RAW file recovery absent
  • Cannot recover from large storage drives

Photo Recovery Mac

FAQ – Free Photo Recovery software

1. Which is the best free photo recovery software?

Stellar Photo Recovery Free Edition is the best photo recovery software that provides quick recovery of all image file types. It works in almost all data loss situations. Plus, the free tool has several advanced features.

2. How to recovery photos from corrupt camera cards for free?

Not all free photo recovery tools are capable to restore from corrupt SD cards. Get Stellar Photo Recovery Free Edition that can retrieve photos and videos from camera memory cards that are corrupted.

3. How can I recover photos from Android SD card free?

The best free photo recovery software can restore deleted pictures from Android SD cards. You need to connect the Android SD card to computer via USB cable to recover its photos.

4. Can I recover permanently deleted photos using the free photo recovery?

Most of the free photo recovery tools can restore pictures permanently deleted or those emptied from Recycle Bin from computer hard drives and external storage media. The ‘Deep Scan’ feature ensures photo recovery in any tough data loss situation.

14 Free Photo Recovery Software —Comparison Table

  Free Recovery Limit Supported Formats Formatted/Corrupt Drive Recovery Preview
Stellar Photo Recovery Free Edition Up to 10 photos (1GB) JPEG, PNG,TIFF, HEIC, GIF, RAW, CR2, SR2, REF, NEF, DNG, KDC, etc. Yes  Yes
Remo Recover Free Edition 1GB ARW, NEF, KDC, K25, NRW, J6I, CR2, DNG, CRW, MRW, SR2, ORF, PEF, RAW, RAF etc.  Cannot recover from corrupted drive. Yes
MiniTool Data Recovery Free 1GB JPG, JPEG, TIFF, ARW, PSP, PNG, GIF, DCR, DNG, PSD, BMP, CRW, etc Yes Yes
Disk Drill Free Photo Recovery 500MB JPEG, HEIC, JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, PSP, PSD, DNG, and AI.   Yes Yes
EaseUS Free Data Recovery 2GB RAF, DNG, JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, RAW, CRW, CR2, and NEF, etc. Yes Yes
Recoverit Free Data Recovery 100 MB JPG, BMP, GIF, TIFF/TIF, PNG, CRW, CR2, NEF, PSD, ORF, RAF, SR2, WMF, etc. Yes Yes
Recuva Unlimited recovery JPEG, PNG, GIF, and RAW No Preview loading issue
iCare Data Recovery Free Unlimited recovery JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GF, etc. No Yes
Windows File Recovery Unlimited recovery JPEG, PNG RAW files recovery absent No No
PhotoRec Data Recovery Unlimited recovery JPG, BMP, GIF, TIFF/TIF, PNG, etc. No No
Gihosoft RePicvid Unlimited recovery JPG/JPEG, TIFF, RAW, PNG, BMP, GIF, PSD, CRW, CR2, SR2, etc. Yes Yes
Lexar Recovery Tool Unlimited recovery JPEG, JPG, TIFF, PNG, CR2, SRW, DNG, ORF, RAF, etc. Cannot recover from corrupted drive Yes
SanDisk RescuePRO Unlimited recovery GIF, JPEG, ARW, BMP,CR2, CRW, DCR, ERF, etc Cannot recover from corrupted internal HDD Yes
Exif Untrasher Unlimited recovery JPEG Cannot recover from corrupted drive No

Conclusion

When you don’t want to spend on a professional recovery tool, try the above free best photo recovery software for Windows and Mac computers. The free image recovery programs are capable to get back your lost or deleted pictures. You can recover your valuable photos in JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, RAW, and other formats from digital cameras and storage devices.

However, mostly free programs offer limited or no extra features. But some tools like Stellar Photo Recovery Free Edition do provide more outstanding features and perform like a pro.

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