Troubleshooting: PhotoRec Not Finding Files

PhotoRec not finding files properly? Check this troubleshooting tutorial and seek help from a better PhotoRec alternative to recover deleted files easier.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Does PhotoRec recover all files? Why didn’t it find files anymore?

PhotoRec is a data rescue application that can restore deleted data from hard disks. Many people are willing to install it on their computers because it is free and open source software to recover lost files in Windows 10.

However, some users are having difficulty utilizing it owing to a variety of factors such as the command-line interface, the complex data recovery procedure, and so on.


PhotoRec not finding files anymore


I launched PhotoRec and selected the whole disk with only zip files. It rapidly stuck at only 127 files found. I tried it a second time and this time it got stuck at 130. Right now it's not finding files anymore.


- Question from


It seems that, for some reason, PhotoRec will get stuck during the scanning and cannot find files properly.

Generally, these factors lead to this.

  • Improper mode settings. If you have enabled the brute force mode to scan a hard disk, the files found will be less than they should be.
  • Encrypted hard drive. If the hard disk is encrypted, when the system crashes or other urgent issues happen, it will be extremely hard to recover data from it.
  • Improper block size. You might have chosen the wrong block size, so PhotoRec could only scan and detect a few fragments.

With many possible problems and errors, so many people don’t know how to use PhotoRec to recover files properly.


Solutions: PhotoRec not finding files

Corresponding to the possible reasons, some fixes could be helpful.

1. Disable Brute Force

Brute Force mode is used to scan fragmented jpeg files from small storage media like SD cards. If you are using PhotoRec to scan a local hard drive, but meanwhile using the Brute Force mode, only a few files would be found.

Please disable the Brute Force mode in Options.

Step 1. After choosing the disk, use the arrow key on your keyboard to choose Options.


Step 2. Use the arrow key to select the Paranoid mode > choose Brute force disabled.


If you still notice PhotoRec not finding files, please move on to the next method.

2. Check if your disk is encrypted

Some users will encrypt their disks for safety. Many of them are seeking help to clone Bitlocker encrypted disk.

If the hard drive scanned is Bitlocker/Veracrypt/Truecrypt encrypted, you will need the recovery key for your drive.

But when the system crashes, accidents might happen, like drive letter loss, unallocated partition, not-recognized drive, etc.,

It is suggested to use Repair-bde to access the encrypted data from a crashed or damaged drive.

In general, the recovery key is required to let Repair-bde restore recoverable data. But, please note that ordinary users are not recommended to perform a recovery or repair process without help from professional support.

3. Choose a smaller block size

File Systems like NTFS, FAT, ext3, ext4, etc., store data in the data blocks. Because file lengths are frequently not multiple times the block size, the last block of a file may be partially empty, which causes fragments.

If still, PhotoRec not finding files or just detects very few files, you could try to select the minimal block size that PhotoRec offers.

PhotoRec usually lets you select 512/1024/2048/4096-byte blocks, etc., just choose the smallest one and then press Enter.


If the method still does not help, you might as well choose an easier way to recover deleted files from the hard drive but not try extremely hard to fix PhotoRec.

PhotoRec alternative – recover deleted files easier

On one hand, PhotoRec does not offer a graphical user interface as other professional data recovery tools, which increases the cost of users, e.g., learning cost, time and labor cost, etc.

In addition, wrong operations may yield further damage to the disk. Like, you might accidentally format the disk and cause severe data loss. How to get back something you accidentally deleted without any risk?

Given this, users who are interested in an easier PhotoRec alternative might as well take a look at the excellent Windows data recovery tool– MyRecover.

Compared to PhotoRec, this app is preferable in many aspects.

Easier operation. With an intuitive user interface and detailed guide, everyone could operate it without any difficulties. 
More efficient. All deleted files restored from HDD/SSD/USB/memory card, etc., will keep their original formats, filenames, directories, etc. 
More convenient. Both choosing file types and recovering data from a specific folder or path are available. 
Higher speed. It scans the hard drive within only a few minutes and supports data recovery while scanning. 
More types. 200+ types of data are recoverable, including photos, videos, zip files, office files, etc.

Now, don’t hesitate to use this efficient PhotoRec alternative to recover deleted files in a breeze.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Install and run the software > hover the mouse over the drive, and click Scan.


Step 2. Search the scanned files by extensions or filenames; also, you could filter or sort the files by Size, Type, Date modified, etc.


Step 3. Go to Deleted files > find the original location > select the wanted files > Recover x files. Or go to Other missing files > choose the wanted types.


It not only works perfectly with healthy hard drives but also helps you recover data from formatted hard drives.

Wrap things up

According to potential causes, solutions to the issue of ‘PhotoRec not finding files’ have been provided with a detailed explanation.

You could either try to disable Brute Force mode, check if the disk is encrypted, or choose the smallest block size to fix this.

Moreover, if you want to recover deleted files in a much easier way, why not choose a good PhotoRec alternative to help you?

With the awesome features and shining points, things would be much smoother and easier.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.