Round up: The best free file recovery software 2016

Round up: The best free file recovery software 2016

Download the best free recovery software

The best free file recovery software

File recovery can be an expensive business, which is why it's no substitute for backing up your key documents, photos and other data on a regular basis. But that's of little comfort to anyone – even those with good backup regimens – who suddenly find themselves confronted by the stomach-churning feeling of data loss.

As soon as you've become aware of data loss, it's critical you stop using the drive affected immediately. Whether the drive itself is failing or you've simply deleted a file accidentally, this is the golden moment when you may be able to get your data back without an expensive purchase or trip to a data recovery specialist.

We've cherry-picked five of the best free data recovery tools in the business. Just pick the one closest to your requirements and with a bit of luck (and no small measure of help from the app involved), you could yet save your files.


DMDE Free Edition - the best free file recovery software

1. DMDE Free Edition

The most effective way to recover files from a dead hard drive

DMDE Free Edition top downloadOur favourite free file recovery tool is often overlooked. DMDE Free Edition scores major points because it's capable of recovering data from a wide array of drives, including 2TB+ drives rescued from a fried external drive enclosure with proprietary formatting (it's a long story).

DMDE may not be the simplest tool to use, but it's one of the most effective, and our step-by-step file recovery guide will help you with the basics.

DMDE works by letting you select a drive and then identifies all mountable partitions, with the most obvious choices highlighted. If successful, you're then shown a File Explorer-like view to browse the drive and recover what data you need from it.

Download DMDE Free EditionThere are restrictions on the way you can recover data from the free version, but there's no limit to how much you recover. If you want a simpler and faster recovery process, just upgrade to the Express or Standard edition.

Read on to discover four more of our favourite tools for recovering lost data in an emergency. Have we missed a program that's saved your skin in a near-disaster? Let us know in the comments below!



2. Recuva

Recover files accidentally deleted from your Recycle Bin, quickly and easily

Recuva is purely concerned with helping you get accidentally deleted files back, but to this end it makes things as easy and stress-free as possible. It opens by default to a file recovery wizard, which advanced users can subsequently skip: from here, choose the type of file you're trying to recover (picture, documents, compressed, emails and all files are among those on offer) and it'll focus its search accordingly.

You can target your search to a specific location or search all your drives, and you can opt to choose a quick or deep scan. The latter takes much longer, but flushes out more results. Then click 'Start' and wait for the scan to complete.

Download Recuva freeOnce done, your results are presented, with each recovered file given a rating depending on its condition. You can recover files direct from here or switch to Advanced Mode for a frankly better view, offering file preview, information and a peek at the file's header.

Recuva is also available as a portable app - essential for any emergency toolkit.



3. PhotoRec

Recover lost files from any media, with support for hundreds of file formats

Don't be fooled by the name, PhotoRec recovers far more than just photos. It works with a wide range of file systems and media, from hard drives to CD/DVD, USB flash drives and memory cards, and there are builds for Mac and Linux, giving you flexibility to recover data from a different computer if necessary.

It also has deep knowledge of over 200 file formats, which helps with reconstructing lost files, and comes packaged with TestDisk, which can be used to recover partitions.

Download PhotoRec freeThe main complication is the user interface – it's a command line affair, with no mouse support. At first glance this appears complicated, but the program steps you through the process via a series of menu screens, and because it mounts the target drive in read-only mode, there's no danger of data being lost if you take a wrong turn – you can't write data to the drive you're recovering from, for example.


MiniTool Partition Recovery Free

4. MiniTool Partition Recovery Free

Lost a whole partition? MiniTool's excellent recovery software can help

One of the most frightening data loss experiences is when an entire drive or partition goes missing. Often this can be traced to an accidentally deleted partition or one where the partition header has corrupted. If the issue is this simple, getting the partition back can be done quickly and easily without leaving Windows using MiniTool Partition Recovery Free.

Just fire it up, select the drive containing your lost partition, then choose whether to scan the entire disk or just a portion of it (say the part where your missing partition should be). Choose between full and quick scans, then sit back and let the program do its work.

Download MiniTool Partition Recovery FreeDon't panic if it appears to become non-responsive, just be patient and eventually it'll list all detected partitions on the drive. Select all of them – including your missing partition – and click 'Finish' to restore it.

You can also double-click a partition to view its file contents – perfect for verifying it's the one you're after.


Paragon Rescue Kit 14 Free Edition

5. Paragon Rescue Kit 14 Free Edition

Can't boot into Windows? All is not lost with Paragon Rescue Kit

All of the recovery tools we've covered so far assume you're able to boot into Windows to use them. But what happens if Windows won't boot at all? This is where Paragon Rescue Kit comes into play.

The best time to install it is now while your PC is running, otherwise you'll need to do so on a working Windows PC. Once done, you'll need a blank CD/DVD or flash drive (512MB or larger – if you're planning to recover data to this drive, go for the biggest drive you can) – the setup wizard does the hard work.

Download Paragon Rescue Kit 14 Free EditionNow insert the disc or flash media into your non-booting PC and restart, selecting said media from the boot menu. You'll find yourself at a menu offering a multitude of options from recovering lost partitions, fixing boot issues and – crucially – a file-transfer wizard for getting data off a target drive. If all else fails, this could be a lifesaver.

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Siri could come to OS X 10.12 Fuji soon

New evidence suggests Siri will indeed be coming to the next version of OS X.MacRumors spotted a screenshot of application dock in OS X 10.12 Fuji and interestingly there's a new icon that features the same colors Siri uses. What's more, MacRumor's sou...
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Content management systems: A business buyer’s guide

Content management systems: A business buyer's guide

Introduction and CMS questions

Note: Our CMS business buyer's guide has been fully updated. This feature was first published in November 2012.

Content is still king when it comes to developing your services and products. Content, though, can be created in many forms. From websites to eBooks, what's needed to ensure all these assets are working as hard as they can for your company is a way to manage them efficiently. That's where a comprehensive CMS (Content Management System) comes into its own.

There are a number of CMS options to choose from – each aimed at a particular type of content:

Website CMS

Digital publishing

Digital Asset Management (DAM)

All of these CMS's have easy to use interfaces that are ideal for helping your business manage the content it produces. WordPress is arguably the leader in this field, as it has been evolving for several years and remains completely free to use.

Other options can be more suited if you have specific needs, for example, Magento is ideal if you have an e-commerce enabled website, as the CMS includes specialist tools to make creating new content for your online store fast and easy to achieve. There are many systems to help you manage digital publications for in-bound marketing, and lastly if you have masses of images, text, video and graphics, a DAM can be a godsend.

When choosing a CMS ask yourself these questions:

How sophisticated is your content?

Large e-commerce websites or a simple blog can both be managed with a CMS. It's important to audit your precise needs now and what these may be in the future. The CMS you choose should offer the tools your business needs now, and allow a level of expansion.

How much can you afford?

WordPress is free, but is this the best CMS for your business? Many of the leading e-commerce CMS platforms are hosted and subscription-based. Look closely at the features on offer for the various levels of subscription the CMS boasts, and then match these to your business needs.

Do you need high levels of security?

If your content management system will handle materials that relate to personal customer details, the CMS you choose should offer high levels of security to keep this information safe from attack. And think about who in your business will have access to the CMS. Strong password authentication could be needed to ensure internal security across your business when the CMS is being used.

What level of support do you need?

Using a CMS to just update a blog your business maintains probably won't need detailed support. However, if your CMS is driving a large e-commerce site, prompt technical support may be needed when things go wrong. In this situation, look closely at the support clause on the SLA (Service Level Agreement) your business has with the CMS vendor.

Will you need to use plugins or extensions?

One of the reasons WordPress has become the world's most popular CMS is because of the thousands of plugins available that enable new features to be added with just a few clicks of the mouse. Look closely at a plugin you want to use and if your site will rely on this, consider whether it will continue to be supported and updated.

Does your team need access to the CMS?

One of the great things about all CMS offerings is the flexibility that they boast. Once the system is set up anyone can access it. Your business needs to ensure it has policies for who can use the CMS and processes to ensure content is generated within your business policy guidelines. This will avoid any content you didn't authorise becoming available to your customers.

Content creation

Content creation

Having a CMS makes the management of the content you produce efficient, but you still need to think about how to create high-quality compelling and engaging content that you use with the CMS you have chosen. The main components of great content include:

1. Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Google loves content, so the ability to have search engine optimisation included in the CMS makes sense. It will also save you money compared to the costs of employing an SEO expert.

Most SEO is achieved by linking the content with keywords and key phrases and with content tags into multiple sections of your site. For example, a page might be tagged as news, but it could also be tagged as a feature, and the keywords are likely to be things that describe what the content is about.

2. Connecting to social media

After SEO the next best way to use your CMS to communicate your content to customers and readers is by using social media. The CMS you choose should make it straightforward to link the content you have created to the leading social media networks including Twitter and Facebook.

Don't forget LinkedIn if you are a B2B company, and networks such as Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram to communicate image-based content. Making the link to social media within your CMS usually means installing plugins. The power of these features is that you create your content once, and then push details out to the social media networks often by simply ticking a box on your CMS.

Google Analytics

3. Analytics and your CMS

How do you know how well your CMS is performing? It's great that you can now create world-class content quickly, and shout about this across social media, but knowing who is reading your content is powerful information to have.

Using Google Analytics in association with your CMS is a great and free way to analyse the content you are creating. The information you gain can then feed back to your content creation teams to help them improve future content.


Having the right CMS for your business is now vital. Content is often the most precious component of your business that supports many products and services, as well as forming the foundation of your company's marketing activities.

The future of CMS is more multi-channel applications, where content is created and then used across a number of outlets from web to mobile. Your CMS should boast multi-channel features to ensure your content reaches the right people, at the right time, and in the right format.

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Gaping security hole found in Norton antivirus engine

Gaping security hole found in Norton antivirus engine

It seems there's a major hole in the core Symantec antivirus engine which is used across the company's main security products including the Norton range, although the firm has (unsurprisingly) moved quickly to address this issue.

The flaw was discovered by renowned white hat security expert Tavis Ormandy (who is part of Google's Project Zero team), with the AV engine being susceptible to a crafted and malformed portable-executable (PE) header file, capable of causing a buffer overflow.

Such a file could potentially be delivered via an email attachment or a malicious website, and successful exploitation will result in a Blue Screen of Death system crash.

As bad as it gets

On OS X and Linux machines, the attacker can gain root access via a remote heap overflow, and as for Microsoft's operating system, Ormandy notes: "On Windows, this results in kernel memory corruption, as the scan engine is loaded into the kernel (wtf!!!), making this a remote ring0 memory corruption vulnerability – this is about as bad as it can possibly get."

As mentioned, Symantec has been quick to react, with software already being patched via LiveUpdate. If LiveUpdate has run recently on your machine(s), you should have the fix.

If you're not sure whether your security product has been updated, then you can manually fire up LiveUpdate to download the patched engine. Simply navigate to LiveUpdate in the interface, and run it until all available updates are installed.

Make sure you're covered, though, as this is a nasty little glitch.

Ormandy has been responsible for finding a number of vulnerabilities across all manner of security products, including the likes of Trend Micro, Sophos and Malwarebytes.

Via: The Register

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