I’ve got you recovered!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008 at 10:41 am

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.

Data Rescue II screenshot

Data Rescue II screenshot

Data Rescue II

Prosoft’s Data Rescue II is perfect for situations in which you need to recover critical data that has either been deleted or is stored on a damaged drive. It can work with drives that are failing because of corrupted directory structures or because of physical problems with the drive. Unlike some of repair tools Data Rescue doesn’t make any modifications to a drive. Such read-only approach provides a greater chance of recovering data than the process of trying to repair the drive. Data Rescue has both an interface for the beginners and an expert one. The program can sort available files by type, making locating and recovering specific items easier. It can be used to select and clone the contents of a damaged drive. Be aware that a second HD or partition is required.

Drive Genius screenshot

Drive Genius screenshot

Drive Genius

Prosoft’s Drive Genius can be used to verify and repair disk directory structures, as well as to rebuild directory structures from badly corrupted disks.

Beyond that, Drive Genius offers some advanced features not found in Disk Utility:

  • defragmenting and optimizing the data layout. Although the Mac OS X Extended (HFS+) and related disk formats are not too susceptible to fragmentation problems, fragmentation can still occur, especially on disks that are 90% full.
  • Drive Genius allows to securely erase all data on a drive (or just the free space of a drive, i.e. previously deleted files). This ensures that any files not deleted using Secure Empty Trash cannot be recovered without the need to erase the entire disk.
  • the ability to test the physical integrity of a drive, scan for bad sectors, and conduct performance bench marks.
  • direct editing of disk sectors (not recommended for inexperienced users!).
  • resizing of existing partitions on a HD without reformatting the drive. This feature has been added to Disk Utility in Mac OS X 10.4.6, but it is available only for hard drives using the GPT scheme.

TechTool Pro 5 screenshot

TechTool Pro 5 screenshot

TechTool Pro

MicroMat’s TechTool Pro is probably the most comprehensive hardware testing and diagnostic tool that is capable of testing virtually every component of any Mac model. This tool easily detects hardware-related problems and which piece of hardware causes the problem. TechTool Pro allows defragmentation and contents optimization of a hard drive. Along with some data-recovery capabilities, TechTool Pro enables you to configure automatic testing of directory structures as well as to regularly query SMART status of hard drives (in order to alert you to problems before they become drive failures). eDrive function is one of the coolest features of the software: it creates a small emergency partition (with files necessary to boot the machine) on your drive. TechTool is particularly helpful for support professionals because of its capability to test hardware. However, its hard drive repair and data recovery features (while being more successful than Disk Utility) tend to fall short of the capabilities in other tools.

DiskWarrior screenshot

DiskWarrior screenshot


Alsoft’s DiskWarrior doesn’t offer the broad range of hardware diagnostics; it is designed as a drive repair tool with a very clean and easy-to-use interface that includes very good explanations of each feature. DiskWarrior is among the best tools for rebuilding disk directory structures. DiskWarrior is so often successful that when someone says that the program fails to repair a disk, it sounds like a bad joke. While rebuilding a disk’s directory, DiskWarrior also optimizes the layout of directory data for improved performance. The new version enables to verify and repair Mac OS X permissions and repair files on a startup drive, as well as preference files, symlinks, etc. DiskWarrior is often the last-resort tool for problem drives. When rebuilding a disk’s directory, it also offers the option to preview the replacement directory to ensure that it resolves problems and to copy data from a drive experiencing physical failures.

AppleJack screenshot

AppleJack screenshot


AppleJack is an open source tool designed to resolve problems that can cause failures and erratic behavior, including startup issues. AppleJack, an easy-to-use menu-driven package, has a friendly interface (if you are not comfortable with command-line tools); the autopilot mode enables to automatically run through the program’s core techniques. AppleJack includes features for system/cache files cleaning out as well as the ability to verify the system and user preferences files are not corrupt. It also allows deleting the virtual memory swap file (which, if corrupted, can cause startup problems).

AppleJack’s expert features include:

  • testing of RAM using the memtest tool, (can be installed along with AppleJack)
  • disabling of auto-login and login items for specific users (can be helpful when troubleshooting login failures)
  • disabling specific system configuration files if they are suspected to be corrupted.
  • NetInfo tools (restoring a NetInfo database, disabling NetInfo automounts, and deleting the local NetInfo database).
  • The feature “enable new machine setup” causes Mac OS X to enter setup mode as though it were just installed. This can resolves some local user accounts problems without erasing the hard drive.
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4 Responses to “I’ve got you recovered!”

  1. Craig Says:

    flawless article, 10x

  2. Kyle Says:

    Thank you, Mac users often panic and call to service, if something happens to their computer. Now anyone can solve a problem.

  3. Jess Says:

    I appreciate articles about Macintosh, write more, please.

  4. KrisBelucci Says:

    Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!