Gallery: 10 free data recovery programs for Windows

​The Recycle Bin isn't the end

Most every IT professional knows that file headers are the only thing deleted when the Recycle Bin is empty. The average computer user may think the file is irrevocably wiped from existence but that's hardly the case. A good file recovery program can find stuff the operating system misses, and all that needs to be done is to reassemble the data and put a new header on it.

These 10 free Windows file recovery applications are designed to do just that.

PS: As with any free software there's bound to be "extra features" that request installation along with the program (like optimization apps and other unnecessary clutter). Be sure to carefully read each screen during the install process so you don't add any bloatware.

Image: iStock/AntonioGuillem

By Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.