PhotoRec is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from Hard Disks and CDRom and lost pictures (thus, its 'Photo Recovery' name) from digital camera memory.
Mac OS X
PhotoRec is a tool designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from hard disks and other media, as well as images from digital cameras. PhotoRec ignores the file system, and is thus capable of functioning even if the file system was severely damaged or re-formatted.
This is TestDiskís ìdaughterî program and is distributed in the same package; one can download PhotoRec from the same page. Among other strengths, the program is a powerful signature search algorithm: although PhotorRec is defined as an image searcher, it allows the recovery of not only pictures, but many other document types (mp3, documents, archives, video, and executable files).
PhotoRec is capable of working with any file system; moreover, it can work with raw data ñ when there is no file system at all. PhotoRec is compatible with a variety of operational systems ñ including both the major and the lesser-known ones.
Another apparent advantage of the software is the high speed of scanning (the high speed, although, is shaded by the inability to scan directories: only a disk partition can be selected for scanning). An intermediate user may be disappointed by the fact that the interface of the program is a console, and also, perhaps, by its incapability to preview files. However, if the user is familiar with the principles of data recovery software, he/she will be pleasingly surprised.
Since the program can work with raw data, ignoring the file system, it is applicable even in the cases when the disk was corrupted or formatted. While testing, the program managed to restore the files that could not be accessed by some commercial software products. PhotoRec proved to be a very powerful and carefully designed utility, even though it is designed mostly for advanced users. The free version of PhotoRec is available for download at http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download
- Fast and powerful recovery engine and signature search algorithm to locate lost and deleted files under the most difficult curcumstances.
- Recovers digital pictures and many other types of files such as mp3, office documents, compressed archives, videos, and even executable files.
- Supports every file system imaginable (see below) and works without a file system present (supports raw data).
- There are versions for all popular operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) and many exotic ones.
- Console user interface, command-line operation.
- Requires a certain level of user expertise to operate.
- No pre-recovery preview.
- Recovery of a single directory is not possible; you can only scan the entire volume or partition.
PhotoRec is a great tool for those with more than an average experience with computers. Its powerful recovery algorithms, multi-platform compatibility, support of a variety of file systems as well as raw data make it a great performer. Sometimes PhotoRec performed better in our tests than the commercially available products. Unfortunately, its command-line console interface is not for everyone. If you are an experienced computer user feeling comfortable with the lack of user interface ñ go for it! If you prefer something more understandable, look elsewhere. Now, if there was a GUI front-end for this tool, it would be a totally different story… anyone?