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File Recovery Programs

By Terry Currier


The way I set up the testing was to move all the files off a 500Gb hard drive (NTSF) which was about half full. After that I copied about 1Gb of files over to it.

Along with that I had a 8Gb SD card (fat 32) with 19 recent pictures on it, which I deleted (through the camera menu), and a 4Gb flash drive (fat 32) with 70 songs on it which I deleted. When I mention about some of the pictures could not be used I’m talking about some parts of the picture which were not viewable.

I then tested the programs to see what they could find and all of them came through fine. I then defragged the drives, with the exception of the SD card to see what effect that would have. Interestingly the defrag did not seem to effect them, but this would be because there was nothing else put on to overwrite the deleted files. After that I challenged them with formatting the drives to see what they could recover.

If you do delete a file in error you want to try to recover it right away so there is less chance of something overwriting it. Again remember the programs were tested on drives which are external. If you deleted something on your C: drive you want to have something to recover that file already on the computer. Anything you do which adds files after that lessens your chance of recovery. That includes installing a program to try to recover the file.

Overall I did not worry about the time it took to scan and find files. I figured a though scan will pick up best.Data Recovery Screen

Data Recovery 2.3.1   

Besides being free this program has a plus in that it does not need to be installed. It starts up just by clicking on the file. After that just click on the drive and tell it to scan for deleted files. You can speed up the search by typing in part are all of the file name you are looking for.

Flash drive it recovered all the MP3 files, but many were cross linked.

With SD card recovered all 19 pictures, but 2 could not be used.

No problems with the external hard drive.

After formatting

For the flash drive it got 53 of the 70 MP3 files and a couple of the were crossed. What I was impressed with was that it actually recovered the file names. The other programs did not do so for the formatted drive.

With the SD card it found all 19, but 7 were not usable.

With the external hard drive for some reason it would not scan.Data Recovery Wizard openning screen

Data Recovery Wizard from EASEUS  

Data Recovery Wizard says it will recover deleted files emptied from the Windows Recycle Bin, or lost due to the format or corruption of a hard drive, virus or Trojan infection, unexpected system shutdown or software failure. They state it is 100% guaranteed - if it does not work to your satisfaction, you get your money back.

Price: $ 69.95 

This is a demo version which will not restore anything, but just shows you the files it found.

Note: after this review they release a new version which will allow you do recover 1GB of deleted files for free. I've updated the link to that download.

With the flash drive is found all the MP3 files.

With the SD card it found the all, but 8 could not be previewed so I would assume they could not be recovered.

No problems with the external hard drive

After formatting

With flash drive it found all of the MP3 files

With SD card it found all 19 picture files, but could show only 12 of them.

With the external drive it said it would take about 13 hours. I stopped it after about 40 minutes and could see some of the files it could recover. Drive Recovery


  Evaluation version $139.95 to buy

Flash drive it said there were over 1,000 files, but only show 12 of the songs, I guess I’m suppose to believe they can see and get them all.

On the SD card same thing, but only presented the latest pictures I deleted. It does show them in a preview window. Of the 19 deleted 6 could not be used (from the preview).

As I said at the top I did not worry about the time it took, but with it taking 20 minutes to scan just 10% of the external hard drive I gave up on it. This would be okay on an overnight scan.

After formatting

SD card it found over 4,000 files, but again only showed me about 100. Of the 19 I looked for, 6 could not be used (from the preview).

Flash drive it found JPG files, ZIP, and PDF, but no MP3s.

Hard drive it looks like it would recover the files (shown in preview).

Easy Recovery from Ontrack  

I should note here I am using a Professional version that I got for review about 7 years ago. You can tell it to look Easy Recovery for Ontrack - openning screenfor specific type files. For DOC and JPG files you can view the file to make sure it is the one you want. You can see that full review here - They have thirty day trial versions for some of their programs.

EasyRecovery™ Professional 6.2 - Standard Edition $499

Licensed for business and corporate use to internally perform recoveries on 20 drives.  Allows you to view software functionality and recover a single file for free.

EasyRecovery DataRecovery Standard Edition $199 - Allows you to view software functionality and recover a single file for free. Do-it-yourself data recovery with added repair capabilities for Zip files. Use to perform recoveries on 20 drives.

EasyRecovery™ Lite 6.2 - Individual Edition  $89

Do-it-yourself data recovery with added repair capabilities for Zip files. Recover up to 25 files per recovery session. Use to perform recoveries on 5 drives.

With the flash drive it recovered everything.

With the SD card it was able to get them all, but 4 of them could not be used.

With the external drive it had no problem

After formatting

For the flash drive using the format recovery it did a though scan and found over 3Gb of data. Recovering them, it put the files into four folders of PNG, PDF, JPG, ZIP, and MP3.

With the flash drive it looks like it recovered all of the mp3 files, but some in bits it pieces. It came out to a total of 149 recovered files. With the PNG and JPG files there were 33 images and all but 2 were good. The PDF file was readable. EasyRecovery copies other files over to the destination drive and creates ZIP files there were 57 created, but Windows could not read any of them.

With the SD card it found all 19, but 6 could not be used.

With the external hard drive it showed file names and it found over 135,000. It would have taken over 24 hours to recover the files, I felt assured it could recover them and stopped after 10 minutes. By the way if you do have to stop it gives you the option of saving what it terms “the state of your recovery to resume at a later time.”

Pandora Recovery  Pandora Recovery

A good program which does what it suppose to do with a simple menu which makes it easy to recover deleted files. I will warn you to watch the installation. If you don’t you will get the toolbar installed and homepage set to Simply uncheck the boxes and you won’t have that problem. I also noticed that each time you bring up the program it tries to phone home to check on updates. You can change that under Tools, Options, Update.

  It has a preview so you can see which pictures you want to recover.

With the flash drive it recovered the files, but some of the were cross linked. Some recovered MP3 files name said it was one song, but was actually another and a few were half one song, half another.

On the camera media it could find only 3 of the 19 I erased. However after doing a deep scan (they call it a Surface Scan) it did a recovery of 18 pictures with 6 of them not being able to use.

On the hard drive it was super recovering everything at the start.

After formatting

Surprisingly it did better after the quick formats. It found all of the MP3 files, in fact it duplicated each of them in its find. It also found 13 jpg files. All of the music and jpg images were useable.

With the SD card it found all 19 pictures, 6 of them I was not able to use. It also found another 7 old pictures from the past.

For the external drive I told the program to look for pictures, it said it would take 27 hours to complete the scan. I stopped it after an hour of scanning with it finding 378 files.  PC Inspector

PC Inspector File Recovery  Get it from   

Upon doing a scan a popup comes up saying please wait. It completes the scan (scan bar goes completely across) and then just sits there until I close it. The scan still worked though.

On Flash drive it recovered all the MP3 songs

Recovered all 19 pictures on the SD card, 7 could not be used.

External USB hard drive it had no problems

After formatting

It was just plain strange. In doing a scan for any of the drives it seem to come up with information from the hard drive. It showed there being PDF and DOC files on the SD card. Also it would just display files it found in clusters. If the file filled more than just one cluster it could not be recovered. It could not find any of the MP3 files.

Search & Recover from iolo technologies  

Search & Recover preview screenFrom Flash drive it found and recovered all of the MP3 files.

From SD card it found 15 of 19 pictures deleted and 2 of them were cut off. Using their deeper sector scan did not find any more.

With the external hard drive it had no problems finding files.

In using it I thought to myself, it really needs a search for file name so I could tell it to just look for a *.doc file or whatever I need. When it is looking at a drive with lots of files deleted there can be so many it is easy to pass over the file needed. I finally realized there is such a thing in the results screen. On the toolbar there is a “Filter Results” feature. Once inside it I can tell it to look for. I do wish it was at the start of the search.

After formatting

For the Flash drive it found 342 files saying 235 of them are Songs or sounds. In trying to select which files to recover it was really a pain to go through and have to click on each to be recovered. So I went back and tried to choose a total recovery. For some reason it kept saying it could not find any deleted files, but if I told it to look for Songs & Sounds it did find them.

With the SD card it was almost like it got things out of the way. It found over 200 files most of which were just a black screen. I did find many others which were good, yet reduced in size by comparison with the others. It found 18 of the 19 pictures of which 4 could not be used.

With the external hard drive after a quick format for some reason it would not do a full data recovery. I then tried telling it to look for Pictures or Movies. It could find some JPG and WMF files from a drawing program, but no movies or documents. After that it came to another screen which says Recovered Deleted Files which found the JPG files  SoftPerfect File Recovery

SoftPerfect File Recovery 1.2 from SoftPerfect

With the flash drive it recovered all songs except one.

With the SD card it recovered all 19 pictures with 6 of them being unusable.

With external hard drive no problems

After formatting

It could not find anything on any of the drives

Undelete Professional from Diskkeeper $49.95   

I see they have a special offer on their website for buying the Undelete Home Edition and Diskeeper Home Edition bundled together for $49.95.

Undeleted from Diskeeper recoverying MP3 files Undelete® file recovery software replaces the Windows recycle bin with a catch-all Recovery Bin™ that intercepts all deleted files, no matter how they were deleted. The Recovery Bin displays information about each deleted file including the file owner, the date and time the file was deleted and allows for easy recovery.

It does not have a preview window to make sure of what you are recovering.

It found and recovered all the MP3 files on the flash drive

It found 18 pictures files on the SD card, 6 of which could not be used.

No problem recovering anything with external hard drive. Zip, Doc, images, or MP3 files were all useable. 

After formatting

I could not find anything after a format.

Most testing was done on an HP notebook with a Celeron M 1.2GHz processor and using Windows XP. The exception is for iolo technologies Search and Recover. I used a Toshiba  Notebook with Athlon 64 X2 Dual Processor with Windows 7 installed. I had System Mechanic Professional installed with Search and Recover as part of the package.

Screen captures were done using SnagIt.


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