Ease of Use

PhotoRec is not for the average user. Once you land on the homepage, this becomes pretty obvious. And will be more apparent after you browse the website.

The download button is small and easy to miss – which is sooooo different from the other data recovery software applications out there with their flashy call-to-action buttons.

PhotoRec Small Download Button

Download button buried in the Operating Systems section


Once you land on the download page, you are faced with 2 options – Beta: TestDisk & PhotoRec 7.1-WIP, Data Recovery and TestDisk & PhotoRec 7.0 (18 April 2015), Data Recovery. It’s recommended to choose the non-Beta version since Beta means it’s in the testing and development stage.

Before you click on your operating system to download, it pays to study the PhotoRec step-by-step guide. Up until now, so far so good, right? But here’s where you may decide to go elsewhere to recover those lost photos.  The contents of this guide include 10 steps which become increasingly difficult to understand.

And if you decide to go for it, there is a link to a 73-page documentation in PDF format with much more detailed information.  So even though the website is simple, with no fancy marketing language and images, it’s pure heaven for the techno-savvy but scary for simple folk like me.


PhotoRec can recover data and files from different media sources including hard disks, CD-ROMs, memory cards (Compact Flash, Memory Stick, Secure Digital /SD, SmartMedia, Microdrive, MMC, etc.) USB memory drives, DD raw image, and more.

It ignores the file system but instead goes after underlying data – even if it was re-formatted or severely damaged. And in keeping with its name, PhotoRec has been tested successfully with iPods and the following digital cameras:

  • Canon EOS 60D, 300D, 10D
  • Casio Exilim EX-Z 750
  • Fujifilm X-T10
  • HP PhotoSmart 620, 850, 935
  • Nikon CoolPix 775, 950, 5700
  • Olympus C350N, C860L, Mju 400 Digital, Stylus 300
  • Sony Alpha DSLR, DSC-P9, NEX-6
  • Pentax K20D
  • Praktica DCZ-3.4

Another cool feature of PhotoRec is the ability to upload a sample file to test if they can recover it. If the software can’t upload it, at least you didn’t waste time downloading and installing it.

Supported Platforms

PhotoRec supports multiple platforms, operating systems and file formats – with more than 480 file extensions (300 file families) recognized, including ZIP, Offie, PDF, HTML and JPEG.

Windows NT 4Mac OS XLinux
Windows 2000FreeBSD
Windows XPNetBSD
Windows 2003OpenBSD
Windows VistaSun Solaris
 Windows 2007Can be compiled on almost every Unix system
Windows 2008
Windows 2010

Mobile Applications

Can PhotoRec recover data from smartphones? Short answer is yes.  But the process for recovery is pretty complicated. You need to confirm you are using DAS (Direct Attached Storage) with your device connected via USB in USB mass storage mode. But to recover data from a memory card in your smartphone, you need to visit the FAQ page, click on the link “How to Enable the USB mass storage mode” and follow the instructions based on the particular mobile phone you have. These are the supported devices with USB mass storage:


2.1 – 2.3.7 includes

Sony Xperia, Samsung Galaxy Note and S/S2, Motorola Droid RAZR, Droid 4, LG Optimus L3, HTC Rezound, HTC Sensation, HTC Desire, Kindle Fire

Windows 7No version specified
4.0- 4.1.2 includes

Samsung Galaxy S2/S3 or Nexus, HTC Desire X/V/C, HTC, One X/V/S, LG Optimus L5/7/9, Optimus G, Motorola Droid RAZR, Sony Xperia, Kindle Fire HD

Android 4.2 includes Nexus 4, Google Nexus 10, Samsung Galaxy S4

For iPhone recovery, go to the homepage, scroll down to Other Topics and click on the link “Recover Data from an iPhone”.

Plans and Pricing

Data recovery for free? Yes, PhotoRec is 100% free!

Customer Service

Support at PhotoRec is simple.  There is a short FAQ section with 10 questions, a Forum section where all the tech savvy can get together and speak geek to each other (not for civilians, trust me on this), and an email option to directly email the founder, Christophe Grenier.


PhotoRec Forum Support Page

Forum support section with options to communicate in different languages

PhotoRec Review 2020 — Conclusion

If your technical skills are similar to those of the author of this review, I would pass. PhotoRec provides one of the best data recovery software available on the planet – for the IT computer geek or for a professional  photographer who needs to recover lost photos. Most of us do not fall in either of these two categories.

Kudos to Mr. Grenier for keeping the open source platform alive and well for the techies and developers in the world. Keep going forward with tweaking the data recovery process but find a way to help the non-techies of the world!