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EasyRecovery Lite

From Ontrack

By Terry Currier

After the review I did of the EasyRecovery Professional by Ontrack I was really impressed. A great program that when you need it, it is well worth the money. The only problem with it was the cost at $499. Even though you know its needed the cost holds you back. Now Ontrack with its well deserved reputation for recovering data from failed hard drives can still help. EasyRecovery Lite will do the same great job of recovering deleted files as the Professional, but for $89.

EasyLite opening interfaceOkay, obviously it is not going have all the capabilities as the Professional. What it does not have is Disk Diagnostics, or Email (Outlook) Repair. The other important limitation – it will only recover up to 25 files at a time. That really is not so bad, since you can just  start it up again and recover more (assuming you have more.)

Each of the modules in EasyRecovery Lite do a read only first and then display what they found to the user. Nothing is done until you look and choose which you files want to recover. So there is no worry of further loss using it. Each module has  automated wizards, which walks the user through the recovery. It will give you a rating for the chance of recovery. There are other ratings but these are the main ones: G means the file appears to be intact and in Good condition. D means the file appears to be Deleted and X the file appears to be cross-linked. Even if it states the condition is X you still have a chance of recovery. This is especially true if the file was a Word or text file. After the scan choose files you want recovered individually, or if you lost a entire folder just click to recover it and all the files within.EasyLite Data Recovery menu

In the Data Recovery section there are five modules

StandardRecovery  helps you recover from partitions, virus attacks, and other major file system corruptions. Scans done through it are very complete going from block to block on the drive. It will take time. It took about 20 minutes to scan my old 40Gb drive, which does not have many files left on it and I have defragged it more than once. In fact after I recovered some of the files I defragged the drive again and still was able to get a lot of files back. By the way my main drive is partitioned with Windows XP NTFS format while the old drive is a Windows 98 FAT partition. I had no problems with either. I was even able to recover the MSDOS.SYS hidden system file from my old drive.

DeletedRecovery opening scanDeletedRecovery will give you quick access to deleted files, and has different options for scanning a partition. It scanned my drive and presented deleted files to me in less then a minute. You can perform a quick scan, or a complete systematic scan for deleted files. You also have the option to enter a File Filter string either with or without using “wildcards”. For example you can have it look for the Word file you deleted by specifying the name of the file or *.doc. This will speed up the scan. The default scan option is a quick scan of the partition, which uses the existing directory structure to find deleted directories and files. The complete scan option will search the entire partition looking for directories and files, and takes much longer. If you deleted an entire directory with several sub directories and files, you will probably need to perform a complete scan. There is a viewer with the modules. The View File button will allow you to view the selected file in its native format. For example, a Microsoft Word document will be displayed in the native Word format as if you had the file open in the Microsoft Word executable. This really helps to make sure you un-delete the correct file if you are not sure. If you are able to bring it up and view it, you will definitely be able to recover the file.

FormatRecovery helps you recover files from a hard drive that was formatted. This type of recovery will ignore the existing file system structures and search for structures associated with the previous file system. It can look at the file data on the formatted partition and recovered them.

RawRecovery allows you to scan severely corrupted partitions for files using a file signature search algorithm. This tool will help you recover files from a partition with damaged directory structures. It will read all sectors on the disk sequentially (sector-by-sector) looking for specific file header signatures. It will typically recover small files that are stored in one cluster, or larger files stored in consecutive clusters on the disk.

EmergencyDiskette helps you to create an emergency boot diskette. This is a bootable diskette, which help you to recover data from a partition even if you cannot boot to Windows, including Windows 2000 or XP. The diskette includes a DOS-based version of the Data Recovery engine used in the Windows tools.

The File Repair section has two modules that being WordRepair and ZipRepair. After you have recovered Word or Zip files you may find that they are still corrupt. Run the files through these and you can repair them.

Click on image below for larger view

EasyLite file repair - can repair Zip or Word files

EasyLite Viewer

View of deleted digital camera pictures - checked boxes to recover

Removable diskFor a floppy disk the DeletedRecovery module works fine. To recover deleted digital pictures from a CompactFlash I had to use RawRecovery as the others could not find them. Here is where the viewer really comes in handy to make sure you undeleted the correct picture. I was also able to I was curious about the new flash drives. They work just like a hard drive for transporting files. DeletedRecovery works just fine to recover files from them.

For those not familiar with the design of the File Allocation Table (FAT) – a deleted file is not really deleted. When you delete a file the operating system merely marks the space that was taken up by the file as now open for reuse. Recovery programs look at the FAT to see where the file was and attempts to bring them back. NTFS format works in the same manner. Even if you have deleted it and emptied out your recycle bin, the space where the file was is still there, and therefore the file is also. That is until the space is reused. That is why if you find you did error in deleting a file, you need to recover it right away. The more you add more files, or especially if you defrag your computer which moves everything up, the less chance you have for a complete recovery.

Some reminders here if you keep your drive relatively well defragged it makes it easier to recover a deleted file. It is not a utility to bring a hard drive back from death. It is for the recovery, or repair of files from faulty hard drives. EasyRecovery Lite is sold directly as a download at the Ontrack web site Downloading and installing it on the same drive you need to recover files hinders your chances. Therefore it behooves you to be ready in advance if you think you may need to recover a lost file (everyone does at sometime). Get it and install it before you have the problem. You’ll be glad you already have it. For your best chance at recovering lost files, this is the best.

From our June 200 newsletter. Screen captures were done with SnagIt from

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