Most people have lost files from time to time, it is all too
easy to delete a folder, or format a USB drive.
You always hear about file recovery tools, but I have never
bothered to use one before. Recently, when doing my NAS reviews and while
setting up servers, I realised I had formatted a 3.5-inch drive, and a USB
drive that had files I could do with. They weren’t super important, but I
thought I would try the popular Stellar Data Recovery software out.
For my review, I used the Stellar Data Recovery Professional Edition, which is £59.99, but there is also a more affordable home edition. The main difference between the two options is that the pro model can recover data from lost partitions, recovers data from unbootable or crashed systems and can create a disk image and recover data from it. It will even attempt to recover data from damaged optical discs.
You do not need to be an IT expert to get this working.
Install the software and that’s about it. If you have bought a licence, you
will need to click on the little person icon on the menu bar, copy and paste it
then activate it. From there you will have all the features you have paid for.
Recovering files from a formatted USB
In my scenarios, I have drives that had been repeatedly formatted
so a quick scan was not appropriate for my use. A deep scan takes a long time,
with my 1TB drive it reported over 8-hours, so I tried the software out with my
USB drive which was just 32GB. The drive had been formatted to be a Linux boot
disk, so there were no files that I had previously used on there. Even at 32GB
it still takes a while for the software to complete a full scan.
If you scan a very large drive, there is an option to stop
the scan and then restart it which could prove useful as drives of several terabytes
will likely take over a day for a deep scan.
What amazed me was how much data it reported that it could
recover. I have had this drive for a few years, and it has been used for random
things most of which I can remember.
Even though the drive is just 32GB the software reported
225GB of recoverable data!
The software doesn’t recover the data as you left it though,
I assume things like folder and file structure are lost in the deletion
process, as are some files names.
The software breaks down all the files into their respective files types, so I had PHP, JPED, MKV and more.
In my case, it looks like I had used the drive to back up the Mighty Gadget website at some point. All file names seem to be named numerically, and images also have the resolution attached to them.
There are then lists of broken folders. In my case, these
were nearly all exclusively jpegs and this seems to be the files the software
hasn’t fully recovered. In one of the folders I had were 65 files of Acer
tablet images and Acer desktop images, but only some of these were actually
those products, while other images were completely broken.
A lot of the files in the broken folders appears to be years
old so I would imagine the drive has been formatted multiple times since this
The software has a range of features, some of this includes
preventing data loss.
With the drive monitor tool, you can test the health of your
drive. Drives wear out over time so it is good to keep an eye on things. Any
time you install a new drive you should run some health checks on it to make
sure it doesn’t prematurely die, similarly if you plan to reuse an old drive,
it is worth checking its current condition.
Clone disk is a great tool. If you have a drive that has
smart errors or some other problems you can clone your OS drive to a new drive
avoiding future issues. With the cost of NVMe and SSD drives dropping in recent
years, this is also a superb tool to use when you want to upgrade your OS
Create Recovery Drive
Creating a recovery drive will eliminate downtime in the
event of a drive failure or some other catastrophic failure with the OS. It is
worth doing this periodically so you can recover your data from where you left
off. I also create one after installing a fresh OS and then getting all the
apps set up how I want them.
I was amazed at just how much data this software can recover.
If you have an old drive, you may have to wade through a lot of old data if you
want to find what you deleted, but the software has a high chance of successes.
Depending on what you have lost this could save you hours’ worth of work, or
help you recover irreplaceable data such as sentimental photos.
The option to select what data to recover can also save you’re
a significant amount of time in the recovery process.
If you have suffered from any data loss and want a chance of recovering it, then I absolutely recommend trying Stellar Data Recovery before seeking professional help. It is extremely easy to use, anyone with a simple grasp of computers should be able to use this and it will be quicker and considerably cheaper than sending a drive off somewhere or paying someone to come and do it.