Disk Drill is a data recovery tool for Mac and Windows. If you’ve accidentally deleted or lost important files, it can potentially recover them for you. Here I’ll test out the software on my own machine, answer some FAQ’s, and write up a short review with my recommendation on whether it’s worth trying or not.
(Click here to jump straight to the verdict on how good I think Disk Drill is)
Installing Disk Drill
To install Disk Drill, go to cleverfiles.com and click either the “Data recovery for Mac” or “Data recovery for Windows” header links. There should be a big green button to download it for free:
I strongly recommend only downloading Disk Drill from cleverfiles.com (the company behind it) and no third-party source. At the time of writing, the current version of Disk Drill is about 34MB, so perfectly reasonable. I was able to install it within a couple of minutes:
And here’s roughly what it’ll look like when you open it for the first time:
Now let’s test out its features. What follows is a simple demonstration on how to use the quick scan, deep scan and allocate existing data features of Disk Drill.
On my fairly new laptop with just a few GB of storage used, Disk Drill completed a quick scan on my main hard drive in just a couple of minutes:
Disk Drill will then likely bring back a bunch of different files, many of which you’ve probably never looked at:
Deep scan in Disk Drill is vastly more comprehensive than the quick scan above, and may take you over 100 times longer. You can try the quick scan first, and if it doesn’t find whatever files you’re looking for, only then run a deep scan.
Here’s what the deep scan looked like on my machine after running it for a while:
You can see that after running for just a little while (see the bottom-left), vastly more files were found than in the entire quick scan. As with the quick scan, you may be surprised what it brings back. For example, on my laptop which I brought brand new in 2020, it was finding random images apparently dated back to 2016:
The name “deep scan” would therefore seem appropriate. 🙂
Allocate existing data
Used if you don’t think you’ve deleted the file(s) you’re trying to find, but you can’t find them in Windows Explorer. This will bring back a lot:
Disk Drill also has search for lost partitions and undelete protected data features, but I haven’t yet tested these at this time.
A simple real-life test of Deep Drill’s data recovery capabilities
I created this .txt file:
Then I deleted it and emptied the Recycle Bin, and ran a quick scan again. Here’s a sample of what came back in recovered documents:
Notice the date listed for the file I’ve highlighted here is the same as the date for the file I created, so although the file name isn’t right, the date matches exactly. I tried to recover it:
Then almost immediately, Disk Drive reported it had successfully recovered the file:
And sure enough, it was right there in the location I’d chosen to recover it (in a “$Recycle.Bin” folder). This shows Disk Drill can recover files that would be otherwise unrecoverable in Windows, since without a tool like Disk Drill, once you’ve deleted a file and emptied the Recycle Bin that’s the end of it.
What devices can Disk Drill recover from?
Disk Drill can recover from PC and Mac, HDD/SSD, USB drive, SD/CF card and digital cameras. The Disk Drill for Mac version can also recover from iPhone/Android (according to Clever Files, the Windows version of Disk Drill will be able to soon as well).
What file types can Disk Drill recover?
Practically any file type, and any type of file (video/audio/document etc.).
Is Disk Drill safe?
Disk Drill is 100% safe when scanning for files as it does it in read-only mode, and therefore can’t make any possible changes to anything.
Is there a crack, activation code or torrent for Disk Drill?
No, and as always, we don’t condone trying to steal software.
Are refunds offered for Disk Drill?
Clever Files does not offer refunds for Disk Drill, except perhaps in exceptional cases. If you purchase the pro version, it’s expected that you’ve tried the free version and it’s worked for you, and you know exactly what you’re getting with the pro version.
Is there a coupon or promo code for Disk Drill?
When buying Disk Drill you’ll see the option to enter a coupon:
Use the coupon code GC-PPNDDPR for 20% off, working as of November 2020. It’s also worth mentioning that Clever Files also has these discounts running:
- 50% off if upgrading from a past version of Disk Drill
- 20% off for education, non-profit and government users
- 50% off if you’ve tried another data recovery software (you must provide proof) – quite an interesting offer
What are the alternatives to Disk Drill?
There are some worthy competitors to Disk Drill:
- EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard (the main one)
- Recoverit Data Recovery
- Stellar Data Recovery
During my research so far, I’ve found that all of these are reasonably good products (though I have not yet extensively tested each one). The main difference between Disk Drill and all of its competitors is that Disk Drill costs $89 for a lifetime license, and for everything else you pay a yearly fee. For me, that alone would make me want to just go with Disk Drill.
Disk Drill free vs pro
The main difference between free and pro Disk Drill is the free version will only allow you to recover up to 500MB of data (though that still may be more than enough for you depending on what you’re trying to find), and the pro version also has more advanced features like searching for lost partitions and undeleting protected data.
I found Disk Drill a pleasure to use, and I can definitely recommend it. During my testing of it it performed perfectly and it’s obviously legitimate software.
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