Programs to recover deleted or lost photos

Deleted photos
File and photo recovery can be easy or difficult depending on the type of recovery you need to do. For example, recovering photos from a broken PC is pretty straightforward, as long as the damaged piece isn’t the hard drive or SSD. Recovering deleted photos, as well as restoring photos from a formatted and reset disk or USB stick, can be simple, but not always possible depending on the operating system configuration and elapsed time and type of deletion or formatting. Very difficult, then, is the recovery of photos or files that have been hidden and encrypted by a virus, that type of Ransomware virus capable of taking files hostage and asking for ransom.Whether it is a virus, a hardware failure or simply our error, in the following guide we will show you the best programs that you can use to recover deleted or lost photos, so you can proceed with the recovery of the most important photos.

READ ALSO: Back up all PC and mobile photos with Google Photos

Recover photos from broken computer

If we have a broken PC in our hands that we don’t recomes out to restart we can still save everything to transfer the photos to an external drive and then take them to another PC. We have seen in our guide how to recover files from a broken PC and damaged disk that we can still access the vast majority of files saved on the disk by connecting it to another computer or using an external USB adapter. Obviously this method is only effective if the disk is not completely broken or with unrecoverable sectors.

If the disk stops spinning or some sectors are not accessible, we can try emergency recovery by reading our guide How to recover files from a damaged RAID, with a program that works well with any type of disc.

Recover deleted photos from recycle bin or backups

To recover the photos deleted by mistake, first of all you can check if they are still present in the recycle bin, so as to avoid any complex procedure. If the photos deleted by mistake are in the recycle bin, just select them and then press the right button to restore them to their original location.

If the photos are no longer in the recycle bin, we can try recovering deleted photos from a possible one automatic Windows backup. Precisely, it is possible to recover files and photos from Windows if the function is enabled File History or, on a Mac, using the function Time Machine.

Best free programs to recover photos

In the event that the photos have been permanently deleted from the disks and from the formatted USB sticks we must not give up, since we can still use some free programs to restore photos deleted by mistake.

1) Recuva

Recuva is probably the best program we can use, as it has a wizard that can recover deleted files and photos by doing a full disk scan. The options allow you to recover only photos or other types of files, to direct the search only to a drive and to do a deeper and more accurate scan. Once done, the results tell us the condition of each recovered file and the possible possibility of doing a deeper scan to improve it.

2) Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery is Microsoft’s tool for Windows 10 designed for recovering lost or deleted files. The tool works well, it is free and also simple despite having no graphical interface. The options allow you to optimize the scan of the remains of files to reconstruct and restore them, in different ways and also with filters for file types.

3) DMDE Free Edition

DMDE Free Edition, for Windows and Linux, is perhaps the best free tool mentioned in this article, because it is able to recover data from any type of drive, be it an external drive or a specially formatted drive. The free version has a limit in the recovery modes (there are only the simplest ones), but there is no limit on the amount of data that can be restored.

4) PhotoRec

Among the best programs to recover photos we could not mention PhotoRec, available for Windows, Linux and Mac. PhotoRec is a very popular tool to recover photos and files from any disk or USB drive or memory card or even CDs and DVDs. The program is also accompanied by another software called TestDisk, which allows you to recover partitions and correct disk errors. In the latest version an interface has also been introduced, so you can use the photo recovery tool without having to learn commands from the prompt: the program to start the interface is called qphotorec_win.exe and you can find it in the tool installation folder.

5) MiniTool Partition Recovery Free

MiniTool Partition Recovery Free is a very useful program in case we have immediately formatted a disk without checking the files inside. By starting this program we will be able to recover an entire missing partition, if it has been damaged or deleted by mistake; once the partition is recovered we will also have access to the file system present in it, so that we can also recover deleted photos.

6) EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a very reliable and very powerful program to recover any type of file that was deleted by mistake, including photos and images saved on disk or external drive. This program can be used for free with limitations (1 GB file limit) to recover photos and other types of files even from formatted disks.

7) RePicvid Free Photo Recovery

RePicvid Free Photo Recovery is one of the newest programs for Windows PC and Mac dedicated to recovering accidentally deleted photos on our computer. This program performs a very deep scan and is capable of recovering and bringing back deleted or lost photos visible, with an efficiency superior to that of the free programs seen so far (perhaps only PhotoRec can recover so effectively).

Commercial photo recovery programs

In addition to these free programs, we also recommend other commercial software specialized in recovering photos and images from a computer. These programs are paid but in most cases they also offer free versions, which we can use to test before purchasing. Obviously, these programs must be purchased in order to take advantage of all the power and recovery functions without limitations.

  • Easy Digital Photo Recovery (solo Windows)
  • Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery (Windows e Mac)
  • Odboso PhotoRetrieval (Windows)
  • Remo Recover media (Windows e Mac)
  • Recoverit Data Recovery (Windows e Mac)

Obviously, it is better to leave these programs with us only if we have not recovered anything with the free programs and we want to avoid the assistance of the technician at all costs, thus spending a precise amount for the license to use the recovery program.


By trying one or more of the programs seen above we will need to be able to recover deleted or lost photos, but timing is everything in these cases: it is advisable to act immediately after realizing the error and avoid letting too much time pass, as deleted file locations tend to be rewritten by new files. If the free programs have not had the desired effect, we can also try the trial versions of commercial programs, so as to increase the chances of total recovery of the photos.

In another article we saw the app to recover photos from iPhone and Android smartphone. In the case of malware or virus that has encrypted and hidden photos, we have seen how to recover files blocked by ransomware without paying the ransom.


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