This page contains useful information on do-it-yourself data recovery software. I have years of experience in using various data recovery software, file systems and developing data recovery software myself.
Data Recovery Software ‘in vivo’ testing.
I have ran a number of DIY DataRecovery tools against a apparently empty disk in a number of blog posts. This disk combines multiple issues with file system and on-disk structures and really is a good test for data recovery software to handle more complex scenarios.
In short, the partition table is zeroed, the boot record of the volume is damaged and also part of the MFT is corrupt/missing. A more in depth analysis of the disk here.
Note: ReclaiMe is not yet included but it also passed test. It showed lost files within a matter of minutes.
- iRecover – passed test
- Recover my Files – failed test
- Easeus Data Recovery Wizard – passed test
- Wondershare Data Recovery – failed test
- HData Recovery Software – failed test
- Data Rescue PC 3 – failed test
- Ontrack Easy Recovery – passed test
- Minitool Power Data Recovery – passed test
- Tenorshare Data Recovery – failed test
- Coolmuster Data Recovery – failed test
- Asoftech Data Recovery – failed test
- Disk Drill – failed test
I will continue updating these series so check back often! Based on results so far, these are highly recommended (please use these links to purchase and to support further testing, thanks!):
Playing safe, playing SMART
You should never attempt data recovery yourself on a disk that is about to die. Since it is very hard to determine the actual physical state of a disk there is *always* a certain risk when attempting to recover your data.
Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology – or S.M.A.R.T. for short can he be a useful aid in determining the disk health. Also, SMART can help prevent data loss altogether as it may give you an in advance warning about imminent data loss.
RAW vs File System based Recovery
A frequently asked question we get and that I see often mentioned in various forums and online support communities is about file recovery with full filenames and directory structure. To answer this you need to understand the difference between RAW recovery or file carving and file system recovery.
Digital Image Recovery
Although recovery of digital images is no different from recovery of any other file types from a data recovery perspective, there are many tools available that specifically address the retrieval of lost photos. Also, these tools are meant to be used on memory cards only.
If you need to buy such a tool, consider purchasing generic data recovery software instead: Price-wise specialized image recovery software is as expensive as generic tools. DIY DataRecovery iRecover is a generic data recovery program but also offers a Digital Image Recovery mode.