Recuva review: Piriform Recuva Free&Professional download


Recuva, a lightweight freeware applet by Piriform, is one of the world’s most effective solutions aimed at reviving deleted data. The usefulness of file recovery tools revolves around things like human error, hardware malfunctions, as well as incidents where a Windows computer has been compromised by malicious code.

In particular, certain fragments of data may vanish from the hard drive due to accidental manual deletion by the user, sudden system crashes, or the impact of crypto ransomware. The latter scenario has been on the rise over the past several years – when a ransom Trojan attack a PC, it encrypts one’s personal files, keeps these scrambled objects on the HDD, and deletes the original entries. No matter what exactly caused a file or multiple files to disappear, Recuva is likely to be able to handle the predicament and restore the information that seems lost for good.

This application is capable of reinstating erased items on different types of media, including local drives, external hard drives, memory cards, USB memory sticks and MP3 players. When it comes to file recovery from damaged or newly formatted disks, Recuva fares better than most of its competitors. This product is included into the feature set of CCleaner Professional Plus, another immensely popular tool by the Piriform vendor.

Recuva is very user-friendly, so it doesn’t take a tech-savvy user to fully benefit from its functionality. To its credit, it runs scans and recovers selected entities in a matter of seconds. Let’s have a detailed insight into how this tool operates and how efficient it is.

System Requirements

Operating System:

  • 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 / Vista / XP (except for RT tablet editions)


Recuva setup screen

To give Recuva a shot, download its 5.2 MB installer from the official website and launch it. Before installation proper, consider clicking the Customize link on the wizard to toggle some preferences regarding desktop and Start menu shortcuts, additional context menu options, and automatic updates. By default, the setup client is configured to also install CCleaner in the bundle, so be sure to deselect this offer if you don’t want it. Then, go ahead and click Install.

Recuva Wizard

The product will display several Recuva Wizard dialogs with radio buttons for different file types to recover, as well as file locations. You can opt out of this preset by clicking Cancel, but generally it’s quite useful for defining your scan preferences from the start.

Recuva file scan progress

Recuva then starts a scan of the drives or directories that you previously selected. In case you didn’t indicate any specific paths and file types, the tool will check all hard disk volumes for a totality of potentially recoverable data.

Scan report

The scanning routine is amazingly fast, so the program will shortly present the results in its main pane. The time span is usually on the order of 20-30 seconds for a 500 GB hard drive. The list is structured by filename, path, the date that the file was last modified, the size and state of each element. The top section of the GUI is occupied by the product version, the operating system it’s installed on, as well as hardware details of the machine.

To reinstate a file of interest, a group of files or all of the detected entries, just put a checkmark next to the item (items) and select the Recover option. The same is doable by right-clicking an element and selecting the appropriate option in the context menu.

Toggling Recuva options

In order to toggle the program’s settings, hit the Options button in the upper right-hand part of the interface. Switch between the General, Actions, Advanced, Drives, and About tabs to adjust Recuva to your preferences or upgrade to the Pro version.


Piriform Recuva has got the mere essentials of data recovery under the hood. This isn’t a shortcoming, though, because these types of applications are not supposed to deliver a bevy of features. The main objective is to identify items that are recoverable and reinstate the selected files to their original location or a new path manually defined by the user. Here is the list of features that Recuva accommodates:

  • Recuva Wizard comprises a set of dialog screens accompanying the first-time launch of the program, as well as subsequent app opening instances unless the user opted out of this service. Its purpose is to guide customers through defining which file types they are trying to recover (pictures, music, documents, video, compressed ones, or emails) and from which location.
  • The Scan feature is self-explanatory – it finds and displays a totality of erased files on all local disks or on a specified volume. When browsing the scan report, you can select an entry and hit the Preview, Info or Header tabs in the right-hand part of the GUI to get exhaustive details on the file of interest.
  • File state labeling is a graphical reflection of the condition of a specific object on the scan report list. ‘Green’ means the file’s state is excellent and it’s easily recoverable; ‘yellow’ denotes poor state of the object; and ‘red’ means the file is corrupted and thus unrecoverable.
  • If you are looking for a specific file or data within a certain directory, be sure to take advantage of Recuva’s built-in Search feature. Just select the category of interest from the list (pictures, music, documents, video, compressed, emails), or type the name or part of the name in the Filename or path field. The app will instantly return all entries that meet the criterion defined.


No forensic product is immaculate in terms of reinstating deleted files, because some or most of them may be completely corrupted or overwritten multiple times. The efficiency benchmark in this case basically boils down to recovering what’s recoverable. Piriform Recuva handles this task commendably, with the restoration success rate high enough to revive recently deleted files as well as some data obliterated weeks or even months back. However, the app was able to display very few file previews during the evaluation. To its credit, though, the application can do a great job restoring objects that underwent crypto ransomware impact.

Help & Support

As opposed to the Recuva Professional edition, Recuva Free doesn’t go with built-in tech support. The customers who use the freeware version, though, can visit the vendor’s Support page by clicking the Online Help button at the bottom of the application’s interface. The knowledgebase on the website includes general walkthroughs regarding the use of the product, a Frequently Asked Questions section, and a link to the Piriform Community Forum that contains a separate Recuva Discussion thread. Recuva Professional, in its turn, additionally features premium support through live chat with the company’s representatives.

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    +/- (Pros/Cons)

    • High recovery success rate
    • Small footprint and high recovery speed
    • User-friendly interface
    • File state labeling
    • Built-in search by filename or path
    • No dedicated support for Recuva Free users
    • Few previews of recoverable files available

    Bottom Line

    In summary, Recuva by Piriform is an easy-to-use and CPU-friendly application that restores deleted files from different sorts of media, including hard disks, digital camera cards, USB sticks, MP3 players and external drives. Its lightning fast scans for erased data and the recovery speed are commendable.

    Furthermore, the product features intuitive controls that allow users to get extensive file details and complete the recovery job within a single pane. While a lot of entries are flagged ‘red’, hence unrecoverable, there are plenty that can be restored to their original state. In the face of the continuously growing scourge of crypto ransomware, Recuva can make a great instrument for risk mitigation.


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