Data Recovery Digest

Do-It-Yourself Windows File Recovery Software: A Comparison

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The Best Pro Data Recovery Software - Review 2019

If you are a data recovery professional, you face much more challenging tasks than home users. As such, you have higher demands for the software you use. Professional data recovery software goes above and beyond the features and performance of the programs we evaluated in our article: “Do-It-Yourself Windows File Recovery Software: A Comparison.” These programs are intended to be used by technicians who have a deep knowledge of recovery methods, hard drive operation, and the various different file systems used by businesses and larger operations. A good professional data recovery program includes the features that allow you to fully utilize your knowledge while omitting extraneous features that may be more suitable for amateurs or home users.

Furthermore, the market for professional data recovery software is very dynamic. As new data storage and data recovery technologies are developed, new programs enter the market and established developers add functionality to their existing products. To stay abreast of the latest offerings, we update our professional data recovery software comparison on an annual basis. This year, our criteria remain the same, though we’ve added a few additional programs to our review.

A program that is suitable for professional data recovery must have the following features in addition to standard ones:

  • A wide variety of supported file systems, including those used in server environments.
  • RAID recovery, with support for rare and non-standard RAID layouts.
  • Advanced hexadecimal editor that is able to parse and interpret disk data.
  • Advanced disk imaging and copying.
  • Additional features that can expand the data recovery services you can offer. For example, network data recovery allows technicians to provide clients full-fledged remote data recovery service from anywhere in the world.

From a functionality standpoint, the above features are key. The end user license is equally important. The end user license should allow for performance of commercial data recovery on your client’s machines and systems. Many programs suitable for professional data recovery are offered in multiple versions, each with a different end user license. For our descriptions, we give the pricing that includes an end user license suitable for working on systems other than your own.

On the other hand, some features are less crucial for professionals. Many do-it-yourself data recovery programs include wizard-style interfaces that pre-select various parameters for applicability to the most common cases. Data recovery pros may find these features unhelpful, or even restrictive, and may prefer a more advanced interface that allows greater control and customization. For this comparison, we will be providing very limited focus on these basic features. However, we do address the demo mode restrictions for each professional data recovery program. Each of these data recovery utilities has its own strengths and weaknesses, and being able to estimate a particular program’s ability to recover files in a specific scenario without making the significant investment in a commercial license can be extremely useful.

And a final note: Although our discussion is dedicated to logical data recovery (i.e. data recovery from a problematic file system on an otherwise healthy hard drive) we should point out that some professional data recovery programs can work together with special disk imaging and recovery hardware. Such hardware and software integration can retrieve data even from severely damaged hard drives. This functionality, while not essential for all tasks, can greatly expand the level of service you can offer to your data recovery customers.

  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014

Professional Data Recovery Software Tested and Evaluated in 2019

For the 2019 update of our professional data recovery software comparison, we have added a new test: data recovery from a damaged APFS partition. We kept the rest of the scope of our tests the same as 2016-2018.

We also removed two programs, Data Rescue 5 and Do Your Data Recovery, for their quite poor performance shown in our 2018 tests, and added one new program to our tests:

Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Technician (ver. version 8.0)

Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Technician

Reviewed Version: version 8.0

Prices: Technician: US $199.00 (with a discount) US $ 499.00

Host operating systems: Windows 10, 8.1/8, 7, Vista and XP

Support for data recovery hardware: No

We continue to test and evaluate the programs which were included in our 2018 review: %ratedproduct:recovery-explorer-professional_review%

R-Studio (ver. 8.9 build 173589)

R-Studio

Reviewed Version: 8.9 build 173589

Prices: Local recovery: US $79.99 Network recovery: US $179.99 Technician License: US $899.00

Host operating systems: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1, 10 and Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016 (32/64 bit)

Support for data recovery hardware: DeepSpar Disk Imager™ (http://ww.deepspar.com/products-ds-disk-imager.html) (Technician license only)

DMDE (ver. Version: 3.5.1.753)

DMDE

Reviewed Version: Version: 3.5.1.753

Prices: Professional: US $95.00 (Additional features)

Host operating systems: Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, Windows 8/8.1, 10 (32/64 bit) DOS and Linux command line versions are available

Support for data recovery hardware: no

%ratedproduct:active-at-file-recovery-ultimate-corporate_review%

ReclaiMe File Recovery (ver. Version:  3906)

ReclaiMe File Recovery

Reviewed Version: Version: 3906

Prices: Standard: US $79.95 Ultimate: US $199.95

Host operating systems: Windows

Support for data recovery hardware: No

Evaluation and Test Results

Overall product ratings

Overall product ratings were based on two main criteria:

  • Interface and features – We evaluated each software package’s capabilities and created a side-by-side comparison of the most crucial professional data recovery features.
  • File recovery performance – We put the identified features to the test to determine how effectively each program can recover data in various scenarios.

Since our last review, all of the old programs kept their positions: R-Studio leads as the best professional data recovery software, followed by Recovery Explorer Professional, ReclaiMe File Recovery, DMDE, Active@ Filer Recovery Ultimate Corporate, and finally Stellar Pheonix Windows Data Recovery Technician.

The new program in our review, Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Technician, did not show any impressive results. In truth, the only interesting feature is its ability to automatically create custom file signatures from 10 or more files. The remainder of the program is average at best, and several tests showed results at the lower end. Once again, active promotion doesn’t guarantee legitimate performance.

As in our previous tests, all of the tested programs (with the exception of Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Technician) showed quite similar performance for data recovery for conventional data recovery cases. The main difference was in data recovery from various RAID and logical disk managers. In those tests, R-Studio, Recovery Explorer Professional, and ReclaiMe File Recovery have the highest number of supported logical disk managers.

R-Studio, Recovery Explorer Professional, and ReclaiMe File Recovery now support the Apple’s new file system, APFS. Furthermore, Recovery Explorer Professional has the highest number of supported file systems.

Interface and Features Ratings
Product Localization Support Demo version restrictions File preview Standard file recovery features Advanced file recovery features
R-Studio6.03.56.05.95.8
DMDE6.05.50.04.74.4
ReclaiMe File Recovery3.55.03.54.83.4
Recovery Explorer RAID4.53.53.04.84.0
Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Technician5.33.04.53.40.9
Active@ File Recovery Ultimate 3.52.03.54.42.4
File recovery performance Ratings
Product Deleted files Emptied Recycle Bin Disk re-format Damaged partition Deleted partition RAID recovery
R-Studio5.75.55.55.95.55.9
Recovery Explorer RAID5.35.34.95.65.55.8
ReclaiMe File Recovery5.05.04.55.55.03.6
Active@ File Recovery Ultimate 5.05.84.35.15.92.4
DMDE5.05.34.75.16.00.8
Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Technician5.05.54.61.64.90.6
Overall Rating
Product Rating Conclusions
R-Studio 5.6

An excellent data recovery program based on a combination of file recovery features and performance. Shows the best results in roughly every category. A must-have for any data recovery professional. Strengths: Outstanding RAID and logical disk manager recovery, file preview, network data recovery, a disk copy module, built-in hexadecimal editor, excellent documentation including online manuals and tutorials for every data recovery scenario. High scores in essentially all of the file recovery cases. Weaknesses: Lacks support for less common file systems, such as XFS, ZFS, JFS, Novell NWFS/NSS, VMware VMFS, ReiserFS.

Added since our last review: Estimation of successful file recovery. A new file previewer that supports almost all document, graphic, audio, and video files. A new file system: APFS

Recovery Explorer RAID 4.8

A great data recovery program with solid recovery features and performance. Strengths:
One of the best sets of supported file systems. Very good data recovery performance, always among the top scores. Excellent raw file recovery. Support for logical disk manager recovery and automatic RAID parameter recognition.
Weaknesses: Limited file search and preview capabilities. Also, it doesn’t show the disk’s S.M.A.R.T. attributes.

Added since our last review: Support for new RAID levels: RAID7, RAID level 10, 50, 60, 50E Automatic RAID parameter recognition.

ReclaiMe File Recovery 4.6

A good data recovery program with an excellent combination of file recovery features and performance. One of the best sets of supported file systems. Great file recovery performance. Strengths: Automatic RAID parameter recognition and support for many logical disk managers. Weaknesses: Poor file preview capabilities and lack of built-in S.M.A.R.T. reporting.

Added since our last review: Support for the new file system: APFS (in Ultimate version).

DMDE 4.3

An effective data recovery program with nearly all the features required for professional data recovery. Requires a deep knowledge of disk and file system structures. Offers a highly advanced hexadecimal editor tailored for data recovery for Windows and Linux file systems. Strengths: Advanced disk and file editing capabilities. No demo mode limitations, except group file recovery. Attractive price tag. Great imaging capabilities. Showed the best results in recovering data from deleted partitions. Weaknesses: No support for logical disk managers.

Added since our last review: Support for the new file system ReFS

Active@ File Recovery Ultimate 4.1

An effective data recovery program with nearly all the features required for professional data recovery.
Strengths: A full-featured startup version. Weaknesses: Only one interface language (English). Incredibly limited demo evaluation mode. Lacks support for many logical disk managers such as Windows Storage Spaces, and user-defined RAID layouts. Doesn’t show a disk’s S.M.A.R.T. attributes.

Added since our last review: Support for new file systems: ReFS2/3

Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Technician 3.6

Has the ability to automatically create custom file signatures from 10 or more files. Showed second best results in SSD scan speed test. The remaining results were mediocre at best, in areas such as its file search capabilities, RAID reconstruction module, or recovery of files deleted from or without Trash Bin. It nearly failed the tests of file recovery from damaged partitions. It does not show S.M.A.R.T. attributes or contain a hexadecimal editor and there is no support for any logical disk managers.

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