Best SSD Data Recovery Software

I tested 42 data recovery software products and found R-Studio Data Recovery to be the most effective option for SSDs.

I’ve been working in the tech industry for the last few decades and regularly help people with computer disasters, including lost data.

R-Studio Data Recovery has been proven to be able to quickly recover lost files from corrupt SSDs. But every situation is different. So I’ve also reviewed the best data recovery application in every category.

Let’s get started.

Guide to Choosing a Data Recovery Tool for SSDs

Recovering deleted files from an SSD is problematic. Before we get started I’ll explain where the difficulties lie, where data recovery software can help, and where it can’t.

How Is Data Recovery Possible on Traditional Spinning Hard Drives?

When you delete a file from a traditional spinning hard drive, its data is not actually removed from the drive. It’s simply marked as being deleted and the space it occupies becomes available for new files. In time, it will be overwritten.

If you act quickly, data recovery software will be able to locate the deleted file by locating it in the directory system using a quick scan, or on the hard drive using a deep scan. Most data recovery applications won’t have any difficulty recovering the data if it hasn’t been overwritten.

Why Are Internal SSDs Different?

That’s not true of internal SSDs (Solid State Drives). Because of the way they work, there is virtually no chance of recovering deleted files. That’s because of a technology known as “TRIM”. [1]

TRIM handles deleted files differently, in a way designed to increase the efficiency and service life of your SSD. It does this by keeping track of the sections of the drive that contain deleted files. When you try to access that data, it simply reports that the space is empty without actually reading the drive.

When your data recovery software attempts to scan that part of the drive, TRIM simply reports that it’s empty. That makes the recovery of deleted SSD files virtually impossible to recover, something that the websites of many data recovery apps fail to acknowledge.

While there’s not a lot of hope, it’s still worth attempting data recovery if you deleted the wrong file. Older SSDs don’t use TRIM, and data recovery experts are actively testing new ways to recover data. There is some hope.

And speaking of hope, other causes of data loss offer a much better chance of success. For example, if your SSD became corrupt due to physical damage, wear and tear, or malware, TRIM is not in effect. That means your recovery software may be able to locate the lost data.

Finally, Disk Drill reports that new SSD research is finding that TRIM doesn’t affect data when you delete a partition. [2] That’s another scenario when data recovery software has a better chance of success.

Data Recovery Professionals May Succeed Where You Fail

While TRIM reports that the deleted space on your drive is empty, the data may still be there. Many professional data recovery services claim to be able to recover data from SSDs and won’t charge you unless they are successful. If the data you’ve lost is crucial, they are worth trying.

What About External SSDs?

But all of that is only the case for internal SSDs, like the one that starts up your computer. TRIM is not in effect for external SSDs, so the warnings above don’t apply.

The R-Studio website explains it like this: [3]

If the device is external, like a memory card, stick, or even a real SSD device in an external USB/Thunderbird box, it should be treated as conventional flash memory, and all information below is not applicable to them.

That means that recovering data from an external SSD is more like recovering it from a hard drive or USB flash drive. In that case, you’ll find our recommendations in these roundups relevant:

4 Best Data Recovery Tools for SSDs

Here are four data recovery applications that have been found effective with SSDs.

1. R-Studio Data Recovery (Best Overall for Technical Users)

R-Studio Data Recovery is a technical tool with a proven track record of quickly recovering data from corrupt SSDs. Read my full review

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

But be aware that it’s designed for IT professionals. That means you’ll have to study the manual to get the most out of it, and it’s not suitable for casual users.

DigiLab Inc ran R-Studio and four other leading data recovery applications through a battery of data recovery tests, including a corrupt SSD. R-Studio achieved the best results. [4]

In Test 5.2.5 data recovery was attempted on a 5 GB Windows partition of a corrupt 500 GB Samsung SSD. R-Studio was able to recover every file, though the initial file names were lost. The tester verified that the content could still be opened by the appropriate applications. That was the best result achieved.

In Test 5.3.2, the scan speeds of each application were measured. R-Studio was significantly faster than any other recovery tool, completing its scan in 16m 51s. That equates to 472 MB/s, which is only slightly behind the SSD’s maximum read speed of 482 MB/s.

The R-Studio website also includes a helpful explanation of how to best recover files from SSDs.

A single license costs $79.99 for both Mac and Windows.

2. Prosoft Data Rescue (Best Overall for Casual Users)

Prosoft Data Rescue is also effective and much easier to use. However, its scans are much slower than R-Studios. Read my full review.

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac

At each step, Prosoft Data Rescue’s user interface displays clear and helpful descriptions of each feature. Two modes are available, one focused on ease-of-use for regular users, and the other designed for advanced users.

In DigiLab’s corrupt SSD test, only R-Studio recovered every file. Data Rescue wasn’t far behind. It located 260 of the original 270 files, a success rate of 96%, and like R-Studio, the file names were not recovered. Unfortunately, Microsoft Word and Excel files were incorrectly identified as ZIP files, something that can be easily remedied.

But its scan was incredibly slow—the slowest of all the apps tested. It took 1h 8m 30s compared to less than 17 minutes for R-Studio.

The software is a free download that attempts to locate your lost files for free. You only pay for the files you want to recover, and this can be as low as $19. Unfortunately, the official website is light on details, so I can’t give you a more accurate picture of how much a typical data recovery job will cost.

3. Recover My Files (Also Great for Casual Windows Users)

Recover My Files is only an option for Windows users, but it’s effective, faster than Prosoft Data Rescue, and suitable for casual users. Read my full review.

  • Supported platforms: Windows only

You’ll find the setup and installation straightforward. The user interface is easy to use, and an activation code is required before all of the features are unlocked.

This app also achieved some success in DigiLab Inc’s test. Its 32m 13s scan located 20,727 files, most of which were junk entries. However, all of the original files were included in the list, though none of the PDF files could be opened after they were restored. 

Two versions are suitable for many users. Standard costs $69.95 and includes the features most users need, including the creation of disk images. Professional costs $99.95 and adds the ability to scan disk images and raid arrays as well as additional customization options.

4. Stellar Data Recovery

Stellar Data Recovery is another easy-to-use tool but is not as promising as the tools above when recovering data from SSDs. Read my full review.

  • Platforms: Windows, Mac

Stellar Data Recovery is suitable for non-technical users. It guides you through the data recovery process in three simple steps.

Stellar makes a surprising claim that its software can recover deleted files from an SSD. [5]

Stellar Mac Data Recovery is an efficient software to recover SSD deleted data. It is capable of recovering files which have been accidentally deleted and from a plethora of devices…

However, on another page, they imply that this only works if the file is still in the Trash (on Mac) or the Recycle Bin (on Windows). [6] That’s hardly fair—you don’t need Stellar Data Recovery or any other special software to recover your files from there.

When tested by DigiLab Inc, it wasn’t a total success. It located 577 lost files on the SSD when there were originally only 270. Some of these were the original files and were successfully recovered. However, none of the Microsoft Word and Excel documents, PDFs, and MP4s were located, and any JPG images that were found could not be opened.

The Stellar Data Recovery website offers some helpful reference information about recovering data from SSDs:

Stellar Data Recovery Professional costs $79.99/year on both Windows and Mac. The free plan can recover up to 1 GB of data, which usually won’t be enough.

Final Verdict

When choosing a tool to rescue your valuable lost data, you want the one that will give you the best chance of success.

That tool is R-Studio. It successfully recovered all lost files (but not the names of the files) from a corrupt SSD when tested by DigiLabs Inc, and did so far quicker than any other application that was tested.

However, it’s designed for data recovery technicians, so isn’t suitable for most casual computer users. Prosoft Data Rescue and Recover My Files are much easier to use and were also quite successful when tested.

But these tests were for a corrupt SSD. The same success can’t be expected when files are deleted from an internal SSD. It’s still worth scanning for your lost files, and the free trial versions of these apps will show you if they can be located.

However, in many cases, you’ll have to consult a data recovery professional if you absolutely need to recover an accidentally deleted crucial file.

References