Program bugs, hardware problems, virus attacks, human error – there are many possible reasons why you might lose valuable data. And so it’s a very good idea to have a file recovery tool to hand, ready to call into action just as soon as you notice there’s a problem.
Which one, though? That’s a tricky question – there’s plenty of choice – but if you’re a home user then MiniTool’s Power Data Recovery Free Edition has more to recommend it than most of the competition.
The program’s core undelete module supports multiple file systems, for instance (FAT12/16/32, HFS+ and NTFS). It scans them all extremely quickly: you’ll probably be waiting for seconds, rather than minutes. And the files are presented in an Explorer-type view, organised into their original folders, which makes them generally easy to find.
If you do need more assistance, though, it’s possible to filter your recoverable files by name, size, creation or “last modified” date. And thumbnail images, text or hex previews allow you to confirm that you’ve located your lost document before recovering it.
You’ve lost an entire partition, not just a few files? That’s not a problem: Power Data Recovery can simply scan the drive to figure out what’s there, so whether your partition is deleted, formatted, damaged or just lost, it should still be able to locate at least some of your data.
The Digital Media Recovery module scans memory cards, MP3 players, digital cameras and more, using an in-depth knowledge of file formats to recover your lost music, images and videos. And we do mean “in-depth”. The program doesn’t just know about JPEG images, for instance: it also recognises 10 RAW formats from companies like Canon, Kodak, Nikon, Pentax and Sony, giving it a much better chance of discovering your files.
Support for the ISO9600, Joliet and UDF formats means the program can also recover files from scratched or accidentally formatted CDs and DVDs.
And Power Data Recovery has support for all kinds of tricky situations that might trip up lesser tools. So it understands NTFS compressed and encrypted tools; works with many volume types (dynamic, simple, spanned, stripe, mirror, Raid-5); and can recover your lost files to local or network drives in a couple of clicks.
The program isn’t perfect, of course. It’s not portable, which is a shame. And we found it didn’t always show image previews, even of ordinary JPEGs which proved to be perfectly recoverable. Power Data Recovery is otherwise a comprehensive, effective and easy-to-use undelete tool, though: go grab a copy now, and when disaster next strikes it’ll be ready to help.