Whether you’ve lost data after a system failure or deleted a bunch of files, it’s natural to wish your data back. The data recovery market is full of various offers from local services that can recover data from physically damaged hard drives to software packages advertising at-home recovery for many types of data. Some of these software tools are free. It is in human nature to wish something for nothing. In this article, we’ll see how these free tools fare against each other.

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Freebies in your bonnet

April 2nd, 2009

16 popular recovery tools which will cost you nothing.

Your data is trapped on a dead computer. You lost your login password or your Windows product key. The computer won’t start. It is not always necessary to spend over $500 at the repair shop to get your data back or start up your dead computer; you can get powerful recovery programs online for free. As long as the HD crash doesn’t mean that the HD stops working mechanically, these tools work flawlessly. Which one of the listed products is best for you depends on your skill level, operating system and particular problem.
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Partitions at fault

February 18th, 2009

In this post we put eight data recovery apps to the brief review.

PC Inspector File Recovery screenshot

PC Inspector File Recovery

PC Inspector File Recovery
PC Inspector has rather advanced functionality typically reserved for paid programs. Instead of being limited to scanning partitions, you can also sweep through an entire HDD. Furthermore, PC Inspector will also attempt to find lost partitions or hard drives, which can come in handy if the drive was formatted, or Windows is unable to detect it. An instant scan normally finds all of recently deleted files (deep scan, in which you can designate a beginning and end cluster, takes just a bit longer than quick scan). However, the program has trouble coming up with non-cryptic file names when searching on a non-OS partition for deleted entries. Another disadvantage of the program is the incapability to automate restoration of files to their original folder structure.
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I’ve got you recovered!

November 8th, 2008

Five best recovery tools for Mac

Even such notoriously reliable computers as Macs sometimes have problems: be it a hard drive crash, Mac OS X problem, or a more extensive hardware failure. Most Mac users rely on Disk Utility and the tools that come with Mac OS X. Disk Utility, however, doesn’t provide extensive hard drive repair, diagnostic tools, etc. Furthermore, Mac OS X’s Utilities don’t include extensive diagnostic tools.

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AltrixSoft released an update for the program designed for monitoring of hard drives. The program is built on the S.M.A.R.T. technology, which is supported by practically all HDDs. Hard Drive Inspector analyzes hard drives and warns a user about possibilities of problem occurrences. If an emergency in the system is about to occur, the program will suggest the user either to backup the files, or to replace the hard drive. There is an option to enable automatic backup procedure. Other program features but limited to creation and emailing of the reports, automatic shutdown in cases of system failure. The data about disks’ performance can also be saved as a log files and printed out.

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A new Trojan program Trojan.Encoder.21 (quite similar to the previous Encoder.19 version) has been detected by Doctor Web. Encoder.19’s principle of functioning is similar to Gpcode that was recently discovered by Kaspersky’s lab. The virus encrypts user files (.jpg, .psd, .cdr, .mov, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .rar, .zip, .mp3, .pdf, etc) stored on the hard drives, and the files become inaccessible. After encryption is performed, the virus creates the “crypted.txt” file that demands the user to pay $89 for a decoder, using a specific payment system. The previous versions of the virus used temporary links, while the new version is constantly stored on some websites (already known as Trojan-“distributing”). This can enable the virus to spread more quickly than before. Experts do not recommend paying the bleeders. Doctor Web created a free utility te19decrypt.exe that decodes the encrypted files and creates new versions without “.crypt” ending. The utility has a graphic interface module that makes the program very handy.

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NewLive Software released a new version of All Media Fixer, a utility that helps restore damaged unplayable media files. This problem usually occurs if a file was damaged, or if its download was not completed properly. All Media Fixer supports such media formats as WMA, WMV, ASF, WM, ASX, AVI ,MP3, MP2, MP1, MPA, MPGA, MPG, MPEG, MPA, DAT, and WAVE. As the developers of the program claim, the percentage of successful media recovery ranges from 82.8% to 97.6%. One of the most notable features of the program’s interface are four cartoon assistants that resemble comic book characters. They guide the user through the process of recovering. Each of them performs its own distinct function: the first regulates the process in general, the second scans the file and checks for errors in it; the third attempts to repair the file, and the fourth manages file structure and suggests data to be replaced.

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As a part of its “Quicksilver” project, IBM presents a new solid-storage device, sized at 4TB, the TechRadar website reports. The Project Quicksilver SSD hopes to replace spinning disks with faster and more powerful SSD’s. The mighty 4.1TB SSD is 250 times faster than the world’s fastest disk solution (so far, Mtron Storage Technology’s 128GB SSD was a revolutionary invention due to be produced beginning this year). The industry has already “crossed the 1TB threshold” since Seagate began to sell 1.5TB drives, however there are no harddrives with comparable capabilities. Performance improvements of this sort mean a lot for business, since two to three times as much work can be done in a given time frame. Besides the obvious speed and size advantages, the Quicksilver also is a power-saving device, since it uses about 50% of a standard set-up’s power and cooling, and its size is considerably smaller than its predecessors.

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DiskInternals announces the update of Mail Recovery, a tool to recover and repair deleted and corrupted email databases. The new release is compatible with all major mail clients; it recovers messages, attachments, contacts, tasks, calendars, and address books. The new version automatically locates, recovers and repairs e-mail databases even when the partition is damaged or inaccessible. The program combines sophisticated data recovery technologies with simple, convenient user-friendly interface and fully automatic operation. The algorithms used in Mail recovery are similar to those in DiskInternals Uneraser that is considered to be one of the best tools in the field. The combination of the recovery techniques and new algorithms allows to fix corrupted email databases after they’ve been recovered. Mail Recovery has a capability to exporting files to Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express formats, as well as eml and vcf files.

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X-Ways Software Technology has developed a new version of a unique hex editor. The program is especially helpful for data and deleted files recovery from damaged hard drives, flashcard drives, and other data storage devices. The program supports systems FAT, NTFS, Ext2/3, ReiserFS, Reiser4, UFS, CDFS, and UDF. The product uses many different recovery methods, has a RAM editor. Among the many features, the most notable are analysis and comparison of files; flexible systems of search and replace; support of such character sets as ANSI ASCII, IBM ASCII, and EBCDIC; support of large files; data backup. The new version now works with large folders stored on a FAT hard drive.

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