Partitions at fault

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

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.



SoftPerfect File Recovery

SoftPerfect File Recovery

SoftPerfect File Recovery
We hate to say this, but there really aren’t any extraordinary options in this program, save for the ability to limit searches by manually inputting file names or types. If more than one search query at a time listed, File Recovery will roll over and stop responding. The program lacks an option for a deep scan, which can potentially uncover hundreds missing files. On the plus side, File Recovery doesn’t require an installation (and takes only 268KB) so it may be useful when you need a free and quick app to be carried around on a flash drive.






eDATA Unerase

eDATA Unerase

eDATA Unerase
This utility, despite the rather annoying popup window, is very easy to use. The program is intended primarily for recovering of images. OctaneSoft disables the functionality in its free version of eDATA, probably realizing the loss of digital pictures is a major reason why consumers seek data recovery programs. You can sort found files by size, folder, type, or name, but the program sometimes fails to correctly label found files. Therefore, if you’re looking for a specific file among many, it is unlikely you will recognize them because the file names will look as obscure abracadabra.




Piriform Recuva
Piriform Recuva

Piriform Recuva


From start to finish, Recuva uplifts your spirit with a user-friendly Wizard. The first prompt asks what type of files you’re looking for, followed by where you want Recuva to look. If you don’t know, select ‘I’m not sure’ and Recuva will rummage through the entire computer. Alternately, you can limit searches to any specific location. Power users will want to switch to the Advanced mode, which provides additional scanning options, a handy preview pane, and a setting to restore a file’s folder structure during recovery. If you need to permanently delete specific files, Recuva offers a secure deletion method of your choice, ranging from a simple overwrite (1 pass) to the Gutmann method (35 passes). Overall, Piriform packs a powerful scanner wrapped up in a user friendly interface with a few useful advanced features sprinkled in, Recuva can be considered as one of the best free file recovery apps.


Undelete PLUS
Undelete PLUS

Undelete PLUS


If you feel nostalgic about how Win 3.1 looked like, you will definitely adore this program’s retro interface. You don’t get very many options, and the lack of a deep scan limits the program’s usefulness. You can filter searches by name, date, or size, but that’s it.






Avira UnErase Personal
Avira UnErase Personal

Avira UnErase Personal


Avira, which makes one of the best free antivirus programs around, instead of again leading the freebie pack, offers the least expansive program of the bunch. Don’t look for any options, because there aren’t any. You select a partition to scan and that’s it. You can’t limit searches to specific files, there’s no deep scan option, and you won’t find a preview pane. Instead, UnErase Personal takes a quick peek at your drive, including removable media, and finds about the same amount of files as every other program without the aid of an extended scan. But unlike the rest, Avira doesn’t tell you where the files were located, nor does it offer a tree view or any other handy features.


Quetek File Scavenger 3.2
Quetek File Scavenger

Quetek File Scavenger


Quetek, putting a lot of work into File Scavenger’s interface, managed to create a program that is easy to navigate, even for beginners. In the ‘Search for’ menu, you can opt to have File Scavenger scour your HDD for all deleted files, or narrow the search to specific file types. The amount of different file extensions you can choose from is quite impressive. Single partitions show up in the ‘Look in’ pull-down menu, along with HDDs or removable storage. Quick search returns less results than the other apps, but unlike the others, File Scavenger had no trouble remembering the original file names. File Scavenger updates the list of files in real time, but don’t even try to organize them until it’s finished. You can then sort the files by type, name, date modified, etc. The Tree View function enables to present the files and folder structure as they existed on the HDD. What separates File Scavenger from free alternatives is the ability to reconstruct a broken RAID array or spanned volume.


Handy Recovery 4.0
Handy Recovery Free

Handy Recovery Free


SoftLogica’s Handy Recovery started off as freeware, but the newest version will cost you $50. What you get in return is another user friendly interface with a few goofy quirks. Handy Recovery quickly lists all of the available partitions and removable drives, but it doesn’t scan an entire HDD. It takes lots of time if one tries to scan, for example, a USB key. The software offers an ‘Extended Analysis’ option, which performs a deep scan faster than many similar utilities. Results are listed in an easily navigable tree view, but it is hard to detect exactly how many files were found. On the other hand, Handy Recovery includes a preview pane allowing you see the contents, be it a picture a text document, or even a media file. Handy Recovery filters search results by keyword, date created, and file size. Other useful features include search by keyword, look for lost partitions on a formatted HDD. The program also helps create an image of a drive or partition allowing you to open it later and recover files.

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5 Responses to “Partitions at fault”

  1. Justin Says:

    I used Recuva and can recommend it as a very good and powerful recovery application. Saved my butt several times!

  2. Aquila Says:

    thank you for review, i’ve just came up with a partition problem and will try some of these programs, maybe it helps

  3. Tim Says:

    why so many software for pc and so few for mac?

  4. cherie Says:

    thankyou-thankyou-thankyou!! Recuva saved the day!!

  5. AndrewBoldman Says:

    I really liked this post. Can I copy it to my site? Thank you in advance.