The 6 Best Linux File Recovery Software

Did you accidentally delete a file that's important for you and would like to recover it? Here are the best file recovery tools available for Linux that could come to your rescue.

It’s fair to say that most of us lose essential data in our computers either through accidental deletion, virus attacks, permanent removal of files, etc. at some point. Some of these files contain critical information that cannot be assumed and needs recovery. In this post, we will discuss some of the best data recovery available for Linux systems. The fantastic part is that most of them are opensource and freely available for use.

What is Data Recovery?

The process of Data recovery is the retrieving of either lost, damaged, inaccessible, or corrupted data from storage devices. They can range from storage media like Hard drives, SSD, USB drives, DVD/CD, and other electronic storage devices.

How is it possible to recover the data after deletion?

As strange it may sound, the data is not ‘actually’ deleted from the hard disk after you remove the file from your Linux system (or any OS if it matters) using the delete key. The operating system just marks the memory sector of the deleted file location as available space for the next write sequence. It means anyone can use a special tool to get access to that memory sector and recover the data before other data overwrites it. The special tool I’m talking about is the File Recovery tool.

Best File Recovery Tools For Linux

Currently, there are many Linux data recovery software in the market, giving users a large pool to choose the right one. In this article, we will focus on the six best recovery tools available for Linux, and also show you how to install them on the most common Linux distributions.

1. TestDisk

TestDIsk on Ubuntu
TestDIsk on Ubuntu

TestDisk is an opensource Data recovery tool mainly used to retrieve damaged partitions. It is also useful in recovering a non-booting disk if an error was caused by harmful software, virus, or even accidental file deletion. It is a powerful command-line utility that is easy to use and fast to understand.

Installation

Installing this highly reliable utility is fast and easy. You can download the TesDisk setup file from the link below or use the command-line to install it.

Download TestDisk

Install TestDisk on Ubuntu and Debian

sudo apt update
sudo apt install testdisk

Install TestDisk on Red Hat and CentOS 7

yum install epel-release
yum update
yum install testdisk

Install TestDisk on Fedora

sudo dnf install tesdisk

Install TestDisk on Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S testdisk

Features

  • TestDisk enables you to gather necessary information about a corrupted drive.
  • Recover deleted partitions.
  • It’s a cross-platform application that runs Linux, Windows Operating Systems, MacOS, and many more Operating System.
  • TestDisk can be used to re-build broken partition tables.
  • It is used to rewrite the corrupted MBR (Master Boot Record).
  • It can be used to backup partitions EFI GPT partitions.

2. Ddrescue

Ddrescue
Ddrescue

Ddrescue is a free and open-source command-line utility distributed under the GNU license. Ddrescue is used in retrieving data when a read error occurs. You can download the Ddrecue setup file from the link below or use the Terminal commands.

Download Ddrescue

Install Ddrescue on Ubuntu

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:hamishmb/myppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt-get install ddrescue-gui -y

Features

  • Rescues data easily and fast by reading only the specified blocks.
  • Enables users to stop/pause an ongoing activity and resuming at any time.
  • Can recover necessary data efficiently in spit of disk errors and bad sectors.
  • It highlights the bad sector on a drive.
  • Ddrescues keeps track of logs about its advancement; therefore, reducing redundant scanning.

3. SafeCopy

SafeCopy
SafeCopy

It is one of the most reliable tools when all others fail. Written in C programming language, SafeCopy performs data recovery from bad sectors on a storage drive. You can download the SafeCopy setup file from the link below or use the command-line to install it.

Download SafeCopy

Install SafeCopy on Ubuntu

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y safecopy

Features

  • Since it’s written in C language, SafeCopy can execute low-level I/O operations.
  • SafeCopy works in the background without slowing or bringing the computer to a deadlock.
  • It’s available for use in 16 different languages.
  • It can continue from the exact position of recovery in case a storage drive disconnects. (For example, a USB drive could disconnect either accidentally or due to faulty storage).
  • SafeCopy can be used to fix errors in several storage media like DVD/CDs, Floppy drives, Hard drives, USB drives, etc.

4. Redo Backup and Recovery

redo-backup-and-recovery
redo-backup-and-recovery

Redo Backup and Recovery is one of the available data recovery utilities with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and released under the GNU GPL3. It is regarded as an easy-to-use tool even for newbies getting into Linux systems and have less knowledge about the Terminal commands.

Redo Backup and Recovery is available as an ISO file which can be used to create a bootable USB/CD to boot your PC. Since this tool is platform-independent, users can retrieve a lot more data from different partitions. Download Redo Backup and Recovery tool from the link below.

Download Redo Backup and Recovery

Features

  • Redo Backup and recovery come with a few essential applications enabling you to carry out other tasks while recovering data. They include a text editor, browser, file manager, and Terminal.
  • Available for use as a bootable USB/CD.
  • It’s one of the few recovery utilities that make use of Partclone to clone disk partitions.

5. PhotoRec

PhotoRec
PhotoRec

PhotoRec is another amazing data recovery utility from CGsecurity. The other is TestDisk. PhotoRec was developed to accurately recover deleted images/photos and other graphic media files. It’s a free and open-source utility distributed under the GNU General Public Licence.

You can download the PhotoRec setup file from the link below or use the command-line install it.

Download PhotoRec

Install PhotoRec on Ubuntu

PhotoRec comes along with the TestDisk Data Recovery utility. Therefore, to work with PhotoRec, we will install TestDisk.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install testdisk

Launch Photorec with the command below.

sudo photorec

Features

  • Comes with an intuitive and interactive interface
  • PhotoRec supports a wide range of file formats
  • Can recover damaged or lost photos from CD drives, Hard drives, and even digital cameras
  • PhotoRec can discover unseen or unexplored data to recover photos even when the media storage is severely damaged.

6. Mondo Rescue

MondoRescue
MondoRescue

Mondo is a free and highly reliable command-line data recovery utility available for most Linux distributions. It comes with several unique features and has been in the market for a long time used by large and tiny companies to recover/backup/restore data extensively. Mondo works with a wide range of storage media devices.

Download Mongo Rescue

Features

  • Used to verify the reliability of your system
  • Can be used to perform several partition management features like resizing, formatting and partitioning
  • It works with both RAID and Non-Raid devices
  • Mondo is available for both Linux and Windows and can be used to recover the Master Boot Record (MBR).
  • Can be used to verify the integrity of recovered data

Conclusion

I hope this article has given you enough information on the best Linux file recovery software available to download, and you can now make a choice on which tool best fits your needs. If you are a primary user, any of the tools above will be of great help. However, for advanced users with special needs on file recovery, they will need to go for one with the required features.

It’s important to note that most of the data recovery tools available, retrieve lost data using the metadata left in the drive. That is not a hundred percent guarantee you will recover every single byte of the data. At times, some of the files might be overwritten so much until the metadata itself is no longer useful. Therefore, it’s best always to have a backup of any critical data in your system.

Which tool do you use for data recovery in your Linux System? Feel free to share with our readers in the comment section below.

Arun Kumar
Arun did his bachelor in computer engineering and loves enjoying his spare time writing for FOSS Linux. He uses Fedora as the daily driver and loves tinkering with interesting distros on VirtualBox. He works during the day and reads anything tech at night. Apart from blogging, he loves swimming and playing tennis.

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