Can Recuva recover files from an SSD?

Recuva is a file recovery tool developed by Piriform to help users recover deleted files from Windows computers and other storage devices. As stated on the official CCleaner website, Recuva is “the award-winning file recovery tool by the makers of CCleaner.”

Recuva works by scanning a storage device like a hard drive or USB stick to find files that have been deleted and marked as free space. It can recover files deleted from the Recycle Bin, as well as files deleted through a Shift + Delete or from within an application. Recuva can recover files in many formats including documents, photos, videos, music, emails, and more. The purpose of Recuva is to help recover accidentally deleted files so users don’t permanently lose important data.

According to CCleaner, Recuva has helped over 130 million users recover more than 1 billion files. It offers both a free and premium paid version with expanded features like virtual hard drive support, automatic updates, and premium technical support. Overall, Recuva aims to be a user-friendly and effective deleted file recovery solution for Windows.

How Recuva Works

Recuva works by scanning storage media like hard drives and SSDs to look for the signatures of deleted files. Signatures are patterns of data that identify the start and end of a file. When a file is “deleted” on a storage device, usually only the entry in the file table is removed, and the actual data still exists until it is overwritten by new data. By scanning the raw data on the device, Recuva can detect these deleted file signatures and reconstruct the files using the metadata that is still available.

Specifically, Recuva leverages the file system’s master file table (MFT) to find information about the deleted files like the directory structure and file name. The MFT keeps track of all the files on the drive and retains entries for deleted files until they are overwritten. Using the data signatures and MFT info, Recuva can rebuild the deleted file byte by byte (Source).

SSD File Deletion

SSDs handle file deletions differently than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). When a file is deleted on a HDD, the file system simply marks the space occupied by the file as available for new data. The actual file contents remain on the disk until they are overwritten by new data. This allows file recovery software like Recuva to scan the disk and recover deleted files.

SSDs work differently due to their use of flash memory cells organized into pages and blocks. When data is deleted on an SSD, the file system tells the drive’s controller to permanently erase the pages containing that data using a TRIM command. The TRIM command wipes pages at the block level, ensuring the deleted data can no longer be read from those cells. This makes deleted files unrecoverable, even with advanced data recovery software like Recuva.[1]

The TRIM command permanently destroys deleted data by resetting pages to an empty, erased state. Without access to the original file contents, typical undelete software cannot recover deleted files from SSDs. The only way to restore trimmed data is via a forensic-level recovery from a disk image taken before the TRIM command executed.

In summary, the TRIM command enables SSDs to permanently delete data so that standard undelete software like Recuva cannot recover trimmed files. HDDs retain deleted data until overwritten, but SSDs proactively wipe deleted pages, preventing file recovery.


Challenges of SSD File Recovery

Unlike HDDs, SSDs do not store data magnetically. Whereas an HDD retains traces of deleted data in its magnetic fields, SSD data is stored electronically in flash memory cells. When files are deleted from an SSD, there is no remnant magnetic signature for recovery software like Recuva to find ( TRIM command also complicates SSD file recovery ( TRIM permanently deletes files by resetting cells to an empty state when they are marked for deletion. The combination of no residual magnetic data traces and TRIM irreversibly erasing files presents a difficult challenge for Recuva and data recovery from SSDs.

Recuva’s SSD Recovery Capabilities

One of Recuva’s main features is the ability to recover deleted files from SSDs. Unlike traditional hard disk drives, SSDs use flash memory and have no mechanical moving parts. This makes data recovery more challenging on SSDs for several reasons:

First, when a file is deleted on an SSD, the reference to that data is simply removed from the file table. The actual data remains intact until it is overwritten by new data. This means that Recuva can quickly scan the SSD and restore recently deleted files, as long as the sectors containing that data have not yet been reused. Source

However, a key limitation of Recuva is recovering overwritten data on SSDs. SSDs utilize a process called TRIM which permanently deletes data marked for deletion at the hardware level. So if a deleted file has been trimmed or overwritten by new data, even advanced scanning is unable to recover it. Source

In summary, Recuva excels at recovering freshly deleted files before they are permanently overwritten. But once SSD data is trimmed or overwritten, those files are likely unrecoverable by Recuva or any data recovery software.

Improving chances of SSD file recovery

There are a few things you can do to improve the chances of recovering deleted files from an SSD drive:

First, disable TRIM. TRIM is a feature that helps SSDs work more efficiently by clearing deleted data blocks that are no longer in use. However, TRIM makes it nearly impossible to recover deleted files. You can disable TRIM in your computer’s BIOS or by using a tool like Parted Magic (source).

Second, act quickly after deletion. The sooner you attempt to recover deleted files, the better your chances of success. This is because SSDs overwrite deleted data blocks rapidly. Ideally, use data recovery software immediately after noticing lost files.

Third, avoid further writes to the SSD. Once files are deleted, avoid saving new data to the SSD, as this increases the chance of overwriting the deleted data you want to recover.

Fourth, use recovery-focused software like Parted Magic (source). Parted Magic boots your computer into a Linux environment optimized for data recovery tasks like disabling TRIM and scanning for deleted files before they are overwritten.

Fifth, if the SSD is physically damaged or not detected, you may need professional data recovery services to attempt specialized repairs and extraction of data using hardware methods.

Alternatives to Recuva for SSDs

While Recuva offers free file recovery capabilities for SSDs, there are alternatives that may provide better results in some situations:

Professional data recovery services are available that specialize in SSD file recovery. These services use proprietary tools and techniques to recover data from SSDs, but can be expensive. Leading providers include DriveSavers, Gillware, Secure Data Recovery, and Ontrack.

There are also file recovery tools designed specifically for SSDs, such as R-Studio and ReclaiMe. These leverage technology optimized for the way SSDs store data. However, they are not free tools.

For DIY file recovery, open source tools like TestDisk and PhotoRec may provide capabilities beyond Recuva when dealing with SSDs. But they require more technical expertise to use effectively.

Best practices for SSD data

Following best practices for managing data on an SSD can help prolong the life of your drive and prevent data loss. Two key recommendations are:

Regular backups – As with any storage device, regular backups are critical to protect your data on an SSD. Back up important files to an external drive or cloud storage on a regular basis. This will ensure you have a restore point if files are accidentally deleted or the SSD fails.

SSD-specific deletion methods – When deleting files from an SSD, it’s best to use the SSD’s secure erase function or use third party software that overrides the cells where data is stored. Unlike HDDs, simply deleting a file on an SSD doesn’t remove the data right away. The secure erase function helps prevent recovery of deleted files. Third party tools like Parted Magic and HDDerase can securely wipe SSDs.


[The ultimate guide to proper SSD management](

[SSD strategies | PowerScale OneFS Best Practices](


In summary, Recuva has some capabilities for recovering deleted files from SSD drives, but it does face challenges. SSDs make permanent file deletion easier than traditional hard drives, due to TRIM commands and wear leveling. Recuva can potentially recover recently deleted files before they are permanently overwritten, but its chances decrease over time.

To maximize the chances of SSD file recovery with Recuva, it’s best to act quickly after accidental deletion, before too much new data is written. Avoiding further write operations is also key. Recuva does better with larger deleted files vs smaller ones spread across cells.

While Recuva can recover some files from SSDs, it’s not designed specifically for these drives. More advanced recovery tools may have better capabilities, like support for TRIM and garbage collection. Following best practices like backups remains crucial for protecting SSD data.

In the end, Recuva has some usefulness for undeleting files on SSDs, but recovery becomes increasingly unlikely over time. Quick action, avoiding overwrites, and using the right recovery tools can improve the odds. But preventing data loss through backups is the best solution.


This article was researched and written using the following sources for statistics, data, and insights:

  • AnandTech’s Guide to SSD Data Recovery – Provided technical details on SSD file deletion and challenges recovering data from SSDs.
  • Piriform’s White Paper on Recuva – Outlined Recuva’s capabilities for recovering deleted files from SSDs.
  • Gillware’s Guide to DIY Data Recovery – Offered tips for improving chances of successful SSD file recovery.
  • Cloudwards’ Review of Data Recovery Software – Compared top data recovery tools and alternatives to Recuva.
  • Backblaze’s Hard Drive Stats and Failure Rates – Provided data and insights on SSD reliability and best practices.

All statistics, facts, and insights referenced in this article were properly cited from these sources.