Top 5 Free Backup and Recovery Software for Windows

Whether the cause is an error, corrupted software, or hardware failure, loss of data whether an entire hard drive’s worth of data or an individual file can be a catastrophic event in many circumstances.

Backing up may mean keeping a copy of your Windows drive or copying only your document files to another drive or disk. However, you choose to safeguard your data, finding an application – whether free backup software or a utility that will recover deleted files – is important.

Drive imaging is the most effective way of backing up your files. This process involves creating a copy of the contents and structure of the drive or partition you use which is then compressed for storage. Once this took hours and the backup would be stored on magnetic tape. Today, there are many options both in the time the backup utility takes and where to store the results – DVD, a USB drive, FTP or a network to another location, another alternative hard drive, and, of course, there’s the cloud.

Backup software is one way to safeguard your data. However, risks occur that it may not solve – power failure, virus, partition damage or even accidentally emptying the Recycle Bin after the last scheduled backup, and you need reliable software to recover deleted files. Here are some options for backup and/or recovery.


Macrium Reflect Free Edition

Accurate disk imaging in a sensible amount of time

A highly versatile application, Macrium Reflect creates a mountable archive file you can use to restore drives, partitions, or specific folders and files.

  • Backup drives, partitions, make incremental backups, differential backups, filter to include only copies of single folders or to include or exclude hidden and system files.
  • Browse the backup as a virtual drive in Windows Explorer.
  • Restore the entire backup or recover deleted files or folders.
  • Select from several compression levels.
  • Password protect your backup.
  • Schedule the type(s) of backup you require for convenient times

Macrium Reflect is convenient to use because you can use the system while it’s working – your access doesn’t impact on the procedure. There’s an option to access the program at Startup, and a rescue disk can be created on a portable drive or disk.

Macrium Reflect free backup software is compatible with all Windows operating systems.


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AOMEI Backupper Standard

Make entire data backups with a single click

Aomei Data Backupper is free backup software that performs three types of backup.

System Backup – archives boot and system files to ensure a proper operational restore.

Partition Backup – make one image of C Drive, containing your Windows drive, or the entire hard drive.

Disk Backup – backs up all the data on the disk whether the hard disk containing the operating system and installed programs or an external hard drive or disk.

Aomei Backupper allows you to backup both incrementally and differentially, add comments, split backup files, delete images no longer needed, and display your restore location on a disk map. Providing volume and partition cloning, compression and encryption, and verification, the program presents a very intuitive user interface. Its clean and straightforward layout comprehensively directs you to select target(s), choose the storage location and backup to protect your system against data loss.



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Disk Drill

Retrieve the files you deleted in error

Disk Drill is a powerful free utility that recovers and restores data from just about any kind of storage media. Hard drives, external hard drives, USB flash drives, memory cards, even music players – Disk Drill can read and recover files on NTFS systems, FAT32, EXT, HFS+ and whether music, videos, documents, images, whatever.

Upon launch, it’s easy to use interface displays all the available drives on the system. You select the hard drive you want to scan and click the ‘Recover‘ button. Disk Drill scans the drive and displays its findings. You can choose to restore the drive or deleted partition or just select individual files to recover.

In addition to enabling you to recover deleted files, the utility has other powerful features and functions. It has several advanced recovery algorithms – if Quick Scan doesn’t do the job, you search more deeply with Deep Scan. You can Pause and Resume, and even back up your results into a mountable archive for later use. Installed, Disk Drill provides you with a Recovery Vault which works as a kind of extended Recycle Bin, and has a partition recovery tool that’s highly advanced and includes healing algorithms.



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CloneApp Portable

Uninstall and re-install the programs on your computer

CloneApp is not your conventional backup utility. Instead, it’s the tool to use to eliminate losing all your program setting during a re-install. It enables you to back up your application settings from the Windows Registry and program directories.

Launch Clone App, and you’ll find your installed programs listed on the left side of the interface with checkboxes alongside them. Click on an item to display its name and author in the center and right of the interface. Select the programs for which you want to backup settings, or click Select All if you prefer, and click the Start Backup button. There’s an option to save the log information.

The program scans the Windows Registry, the program directories and the application content in your Documents and Pictures directories for the data. Once you’ve completed reinstalling the program(s), you can restore your settings. Plugins are available for your convenience, or you can create a customized one.



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Recuva Portable

Recover deleted files whether lost by accident, crash or virus

Recuva is a free Windows portable software program that will restore deleted files regardless of the reason for their loss. It can be run on computers, USB drives, MP3 players, cameras and more.

Files can be recovered from damaged drives, newly formatted drives and can even be found when all else fails. An advanced deep scan will find ‘buried‘ files and traces of files that have been accidentally deleted. It has a very easy to use Windows type interface with a directory tree view that requires you to simply click ‘Scan‘ and choose the files you want to recover. Your results can be filtered by file name and/or type.

All file types – documents, images, video, audio, email – can all be restored and all FAT, NTFS and EFS systems are supported. You can recover deleted files and restore them quickly and efficiently with lightweight, portable Recuva.



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Safeguard your data with any one of the means covered by this overview of the different free back up and recovery applications available. They all work well, are reliable and easy to use. Don’t wait for an emergency situation. Be prepared for the need to replace files that may be crucial to your business or personal records.