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Five Free Ways to Recover Lost Data

Whether it's a Word file that goes missing, a corrupted memory card, or a hard drive that's suddenly starting to generate read errors, data loss can be a nightmare. (That's why we strongly advocate making regular backups.)

Fortunately, like the Oceanic 6, lost data doesn't have to stay lost forever. All you need is a good recovery tool (or perhaps two or three, depending on the kind of data). Lifehacker rounds up what it considers the five best data-recovery utilities. My favorite: Recuva.

Of course, we've tackled this topic before. For business users, monkeying around with unsupported recovery software isn't always the best option. Sometimes the smarter move is to pony up for a professional data-recovery service like DriveSavers, which promises to rescue files from even the most heavily damaged drives.

What do you think? Can you get by with freebie recovery tools, or is your data too important to trust to freeware? Share your thoughts in Talkback.

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