I offered IT training and support for several decades and now write software reviews. I took an in-depth look at iCare Data Recovery to let you know if it will meet your needs.
I found it to be quite effective, but it’s probably not your best choice. Its free plan is unable to perform deep scans, limiting the amount of data that can be found. The Professional plan will locate more files, but there are better alternatives.
In this iCare Data Recovery review, I’ll explore the types of data the application can restore, how long this is likely to take, and weigh up your chance of success. Let’s get started.
iCare Data Recovery Overview
iCare Data Recovery recovers accidentally deleted files, and data from deleted, formatted and corrupted drives. Two versions are available:
- iCare Data Recovery Free: free
- iCare Data Recovery Pro Home License: $69.99 (normally $89.99)
The free product allows you to recover an unlimited amount of data but does not offer deep scans or the recovery of deleted drives. The Pro version does but limits you to 1 GB of recovered data. Its price is comparable to other products.
In this review, we will cover iCare Data Recovery Pro Home.
How is data recovery possible? Deleting a file doesn’t actually remove its data from the drive, but marks the space as available. In time, it will be overwritten by new files, so acting quickly will increase your chance of a successful recovery.
Methods of data recovery offered:
- Deleted file recovery: recovers accidentally deleted files even if the recycle bin has been emptied
- Deep scan recovery: recovers data after deletion, reformatting, and other data loss
- Raw drive recovery: recovers unrecognized and deleted drives and partitions
Supported storage media: Internal and external hard drives, memory cards, USB thumb drives, and more.
Supported file systems: This information is not listed, but in my tests NTFS and FAT32 were supported with a quick scan, and RAW scans should work despite the file system used.
Supported file types: Word documents, email, videos, audio files, and more.
iCare Data Recovery offers a number of additional features:
- Saving scans for recovery at a later time
- Sorting and searching the files located
- Previewing located files
However, it lacks a few features offered by some other recovery applications:
- Pause and resume
- Bootable recovery drive, but a portable version is available that can be saved to a bootable external drive
- Recovery Vault to store deleted files for guaranteed recovery
- Imaging and cloning
- File overwriting (secure delete)
- Deleting duplicates and other cleanup features
- SMART monitoring for early warning of failing hard drives
- Mail-in recovery service
Setup and installation are straightforward, and a portable version is available. This can be saved to (and run from) a different drive so that you don’t risk overwriting data on your main drive.
No technical knowledge is required to use the software, which requires five simple steps:
- Select a recovery mode
- Select the drive your lost files are on
- Scan the drive for lost data
- Select the desired partition
- Identify and save your lost files
Scanning for lost files can be time-consuming. How fast is iCare Data Recovery? A deep scan of a 4 GB USB flash drive took 11 minutes. That’s significantly faster than the official estimate of 5 minutes per 1 GB of data.
However, it’s not faster than most of the other Windows recovery apps I tested. Many of them scanned the same drive in four of five minutes, and only two competitors were slower, one taking 14 minutes and the other 47.
Large hard drives take many hours, and the developers suggest if the scan is taking more than 12 hours, you cancel it to see if your files have already been located. 
Data recovery can never be guaranteed. How successful is iCare Data Recovery? When I performed a deleted file recovery scan the application located 34 lost files, and with a deep scan, over 5,000. It seems to work!
Keep in mind that the free version is unable to perform a deep scan so is likely to locate fewer lost files than the Pro version.
One reviewer performed careful tests and found that it retrieved almost 90% of his deleted files: 
- His first test was on his internal hard drive, and a quick scan located over 140,000 lost files! This made finding his test files difficult, but he located and saved most of them.
- His second test was on a formatted flash drive. 33 files were found, which made locating the test files much easier. The scan found most of the files, but not his JPG images.
I performed similar tests on dozens of other data recovery apps and most were 100% successful at recovering recently-deleted files. I’ll recommend a few below.
The iCare Recovery Support Center  offers a user guide, video tutorial, FAQ, and refund policy. The support team can be contacted via email.
Is iCare Data Recovery safe?
Yes, scanning for lost data will not overwrite your existing files, and the lost files you recover are saved to a safe drive.
Can I recover unlimited data for free?
Yes, iCare Data Recovery Free allows you to recover unlimited data for free, but only from a quick scan that locates fewer files. To recovery unlimited files with the Pro version requires you to purchase a license.
If iCare Data Recovery isn’t right for you, here are some alternatives I recommend.
Recuva is another Windows-only recovery application with a strong free plan that can perform deep scans and allows you to recover an unlimited amount of data.
EaseUS Data Recovery offers an easy-to-use wizard that will scan your drive quickly for lost files. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
Stellar Data Recovery is an easy-to-use and effective application with a wide variety of features. Its scans can be even slower than iCare Data Recovery’s but are more likely to recover your data. It’s available on both Windows and Mac.
iCare Data Recovery has a lot to offer, but there are better choices for most users. Its free version allows you to recover unlimited data but will not perform deep scans. The professional version is likely to recover most of your files, but similarly-priced alternatives are likely to do better.
Recuva Free is a more powerful free alternative. It allows you to recover unlimited data and performs deep scans. Its Professional version includes technical support and the ability to scan virtual hard drives.
Two easy-to-use but very effective paid alternatives are EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and Stellar Data Recovery. EaseUS’s scans are faster, and Stellar’s more thorough. The free trial version of either app will let you know if your lost files can be located, then you pay to recover them.