Best general-purpose data recovery software?

Tea

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Nope, not looking for wireless network cable this time, I have to try a data recovery on a customer's hard drive. I need to do this stuff one in a blue moon. I really don't have time to try it very often, nor to spend too long on any given drive, so a reasonably low-cost package that takes most of the brain work out of it would fit the bill. Any suggestions?
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I'm a huge fan of Get Data Back from Runtime Software. The 30 day trial is fully functional and, I have to say, after PAYING a Tech License for Ontrack, it's worth the $100 they charge for a copy of GDB.

But, uh, if time's PM doesn't mention "Get Data Back", you can PM me, too. :D
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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For what it's worth, there are times when other programs DO work. I've played with tools that are easier to use for recovering specific, purposefully deleted files FASTER than Get Data Back does, but given the number of plug-ins and options that it has (e.g. RAID recovery), it deserves all the recommendations it's gotten.
 

time

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Actually, you'd be fourth ...

Having said that, I found iRecover to work just as well - maybe slightly better in my test case. It's also cheaper and the trial allows you to recover one folder for free (unlike GDB). The only reason I didn't recommend it ahead of GetDataBack is that their online store choked on our credit card - I was in a hurry so bought GDB instead.

The other products I tried weren't in the same class as these two.

BTW, I was unable to successfully restore the Windows partition that inspired all these trials. After hours of manual patching, I managed to make it boot up and look okay, but the user found subtle broken bits after using it. :( Recovery tools aren't as good as some people think: this was from a single head crash on consecutive sectors.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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If you happen to wander back to the thread I made about recovering a very large RAID array (which I am too lazy to look for, since I am sleepy and still in bed), one of the things that I pointed out was that GDB had several "near miss" recoveries that were almost right, but not good enough to be useful. That is why it took so incredibly long to do that recovery.

I have read that something like 95% of all data recoveries can be done with just software.
 

time

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Time said:
this was from a single head crash on consecutive sectors.
That is, part of one physical track. I don't believe that can be explained by a head or amp problem. Also, no further blocks failed - in fact, I still haven't got around to making a claim on it, wondering whether some sort of drive initialization might be enough.

Samsung 200GB SATA.
 

Gilbo

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Just for the record, an open source tool that is excellent and that I have experience using from Linux is Photorec. Despite it's name it recovers much more than photos --pretty much anything on the disk (including stuff that was deleted ages ago).

It's certainly not as full-featured as Get Data Back and it's a commandline tool, but it can be run from a Linux live CD which is handy. It also runs in Windows though. I mention it because 1) it's Open Source Software --which some people like/care for, 2) it works in Linux, so it has myriad associated advantages (LiveCDs, don't need a Windows computer around, which are becoming scarce for some people), and 3) it is very good at what it does (though it can't do RAIDs).
 

paugie

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I was planning to reformat the main office PC. I knew all along that I had to backup all the email. Copied over the PMail (which we had before I installed Thunderbird). Copied over all the myriad bits and files the officemates drop all over the C: drive (desktop, my documents, other "personal" folders) then I popped in the XP disc and reboot.

Midway through, horrors! Did I copy over the Thunderbird profile folder? Seems like I didn't. Reach for the shutoff button.

There's 14 hours down the drain. Finally got the folder back through GDB-NTFS. Whew!
 
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