The Best Data Recovery Services & Software For 2018
Data loss can be devastating for businesses without a solid emergency plan. Data backup is the first line of defense against disaster, but backup servers can also fail. Accidental deletion of files happens more often than you'd think, but luckily, just because something is gone from the recycling bin doesn't mean it's gone from your computer. When files are deleted from your computer, they remain on the hard drive. What you delete is the directory listing for the particular file, but the data remains on the disk and isn't permanently removed until it's overwritten with new data. This is the case with a reformatted drive as well – only the OS and file system are replaced, while the raw data remains.
Data recovery software is designed to scan for that hidden data and recover it as complete files. Pictures, documents, and even audio and video files can be detected and returned to their original forms, averting the loss of irreplaceable family photos or essential spreadsheets for work. It's important to remember with data recovery software, however, that it's never a 100 percent guarantee that you can retrieve all of your files. The raw data can sometimes become damaged or incomplete in the process, so it's never a sure thing. But different solutions are better suited for different data loss scenarios, increasing your chances for the most recovery.
Developed by Prosoft Engineering, Data Rescue 4 Mac data recovery software is easy to use while being highly effective in recovering deleted files. It demonstrated exceptional performance in our testing, recovering nearly every file regardless of type. Top it off with a wide variety of features that make it useful for business.
The great recovery rates of this Mac file recovery software are complemented by its fantastic ease of use. You can have it installed, registered and ready to scan in just a few minutes, and even the newest of users can see how to scan and recover lost data. From installation to recovery, the interface walks you through the process.
When you open EaseUS Data Recovery, all it takes is one click to begin the data recovery process. This program wastes no time; it immediately begins scanning your drive and saving your important data, making it ideal for beginners and non-IT employees who need to recover a single hard drive. EaseUS delivers positive results, and it has useful features for businesses that ensure your inadvertently lost data is never permanently erased.
EaseUS Data Recovery has nearly every tool you'll need to run data recovery for your business. One of the most important features is remote network access. Either you or your IT professional can act quickly to locate missing files, which is crucial for successful data recovery. A computer that's connected to the office's network can be scanned and recovered from a remote location, allowing easy recovery for both you and your employees. In case your business uses a RAID system, EaseUS Data Recovery can run on those as well.
Ontrack EasyRecovery for Technicians is a valuable tool for freelance IT workers and computer repair businesses. This data recovery software walks you through its process of recovering your data with just a few clicks. Its ease of use and likelihood of recovering your data from accidental deletion make it one of our top picks. Its simple interface is welcoming to novice users, but there are still enough options for advanced users that make it a great addition to a computer technician's toolbelt.
The technician version is among the cheapest of commercial licenses, at $500 for one year. It contains all the necessary features to perform diagnostics on hard drives with nearly any file system, RAID servers and other devices. You can also use it to completely wipe a hard drive of data to where it can't be restored with software so that sensitive files don't fall into the wrong hands.
iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices are just as vulnerable to data loss as computers. With precious contacts, pictures and other important files, losing your phone data, especially for your business phone, can be devastating. It could occur from accidental deletion, accidental factory settings reset or errors from an upgrade.
DoYourData has an iOS recovery version and is by far one of the easiest applications to use. Its sleek design is easy for newcomers to understand and operate. The scan screen has you select your drive or partition, then the type of files you are trying to recover. You can select a quick recovery, which is recommended for retrieving deleted files, or an advanced recovery, which is for more complex recovery situations, such as a reformatted disk.
Below are all of our reviews for data recovery software and related categories. Our coverage includes reviews of the best data recovery, disk recovery, Mac data recovery and Mac hard drive recovery software. See all of our reviews below.
The price of software or service will depend on the extent of your data recovery needs. For the base DIY software, including one license for one computer, you'll likely pay $50 to $100. There are often professional or business editions of the software that either allow you to recover more than one device or recover them through a network connection and are compatible with RAID servers. A technician edition is sometimes also available, allowing you to perform data recovery on a commercial level as a computer repair business. These licenses can exceed $1,000 for a year.
Data recovery companies offer a more comprehensive solution to data loss that's usually beyond your own capabilities, so their services will no doubt cost much more. Quotes for recovering your data will depend entirely on the situation, what kind of device you need recovered, how it was damaged and where you're located. At an even greater cost, with most companies you can request priority or emergency service, which means the company will ship your device to its lab overnight or, if possible, send technicians to your business.
Many software solutions have downloadable trial versions that can scan your hard drive and determine how much is recoverable. You can try different solutions to see how much you can recover, but do not install them on the drive you need to recover, as they could overwrite the data. You'll need to buy the full version to recover your data, although some allow you to recover up to a certain amount of data, such as 1GB, for free.
These are some other features to keep an eye out for: ·
Network access, which allows you to recover computers and servers over your office's network.
RAID support, since RAID servers are more complicated than normal servers and require more intensive scanning for recovery.
Multi-use licenses for installing this software on multiple computers. Many business or professional editions come with multiple licenses.
Free updates, because you shouldn't have to pay for new upgrades unless it's a complete revision of the software, besides a yearly license fee.
Similarly, many services evaluate your hard drive to see if recovery is possible before you pay a penny. Look for services that provide free evaluations. If the damage is too much and recovery is impossible, the company will ship you back your hard drive without charging you. Ask the company if it has a "no data, no cost" guarantee.
The disk platters that contain the data in your hard drive are extremely sensitive and should be worked on in a cleanroom environment. Ask the company if it uses an ISO-approved cleanroom and when its last certification was approved, which should be within the last 12 months. Safety is also a concern, so if your recovered data is being sent back to you online, make sure the company encrypts your data.
State of the Industry
With the threat of ransomware and other damaging malware, businesses need to formulate emergency plans more than ever. In fact, 42 percent of IT professionals believe that ransomware is the largest threat to their businesses, according to StorageCraft. When a malware strike damages computers and servers, and restoring with a backup isn't an option, reformatting the affected drives and using data recovery to restore essential files should be a ready option. Planning for every scenario is the only way to prevent cyberattacks, especially if your backups also become compromised. Reformatting an affected server, and using data recovery to save the files you need and not the malware, may spare your business from the worst of an attack.
Data recovery is split between DIY software and professional services. Most software solutions are for what's called logical recovery, which saves data lost due to accidental deletion or a reformatted drive. Professional services can handle logical recovery, but their specialty is physical recovery. This is necessary in the event that the physical hard drive becomes damaged and can no longer be read by your computer. Fires, flooding and other disasters can nearly destroy the disk, but the data can still be recovered through professional means. Services often operate on damaged disks in a cleanroom environment and use various techniques to retrieve as much data as possible. As with logical recovery, it's never a sure thing that services can recover all of your data. It depends on how damaged the disk is.
It should be noted that with logical recovery, it's easier to recover data from a hard drive disk (HDD) than a solid-state drive (SSD). Depending on the drive, data from an SSD is deleted permanently when files are deleted. Data from these drives can still be recovered after physical damage.
Data Recovery for Business
When considering a data recovery solution for a business environment, it's important to look for certain features that will help you or your IT professionals resolve these issues as they arise. Data recovery software developers usually offer different versions of their programs at varying price points.
Programs with a professional or enterprise edition usually come with features such as remote network access, which allows you to run data recovery on any hard drive connected to your local network. Other programs issue licenses that allow you to install the application on multiple computers.
Another common feature for business-oriented programs is compatibility with RAID (redundant array of independent disks) systems. While most data recovery software can work with RAID systems, since they are complex servers and can suffer from complicated issues, you may want to consider a RAID recovery service.
Data loss can happen at any moment and can be due to different factors, such as human error, hardware failure or hacking. The effects of losing your business's most critical data, financials, customer information, etc., can be disastrous for your business.
Implementing smart and consistent backup strategies is one preventative measure. In the event the worst does happen, data recovery software can help avert a devastating crisis by saving important tax documents, spreadsheets, important digital assets and more so you can quickly get back on your feet.
How to Identify the Best Software
Ease of Use: Easy & Effective Software Is Best The best Mac data recovery software should be intuitive. You should never have to guess what the next step is in the recovery process. We looked closely at the interface of each data recovery program and gauged how easy it was to scan, preview, sort and recover lost data.
We graded each step of the recovery process, from installation to recovery, looking for clearly labeled scan and recovery buttons. We favor interfaces that provide clear definitions under the scanning options listed in the startup menu. While it was relatively easy to initialize a scan with most programs, the recovery process proved to be the least intuitive step for most products. Our Ease of Use scores rate which programs were the most user-friendly to novices.
Scan & Recovery Speed: Faster Isn’t Always Better Sorting through all of the data on a hard drive takes time. Some programs like Ontrack EasyRecovery can scan a standard 1TB hard drive in five hours, while the slowest program, Stellar Phoenix, can only scan 50GB per hour. The type of drive, the brand and how it's connected to your computer also impact scanning speed.
However, we didn't find a correlation between speed and the percentage of successfully recovered files: A faster or slower scanning speed does not mean that the recovery will be more successful.
Business Features If you run a business or you're a self-employed IT professional, you might need features specifically suited to an office environment. Depending on the size of the business, you'll want to look for features usually included in a "professional" or "enterprise" version of the software.
Some versions allow you to install the program on multiple computers with just one license, or they allow you to restore other computers through an office network. And if your business uses a RAID server, you'll want a program that supports it, like R-Studio.
Help & Support: Get Answers Fast The best data recovery software for Macs comes with exceptional support to make the process as smooth as possible. We looked at the avenues available to you to contact customer support, specifically whether each manufacturer offers a phone number and a live chat option. We also scrutinized the resources on the developers' websites – tutorials, articles, FAQs and manuals. You should have little trouble receiving the help you need with the best software.
What We Tested, What We Found
There are different types of data recovery software. Some software focuses on different operating systems or recovering specific types of files. For this review, we focused solely on data recovery software for businesses, most of which is compatible with different server types and includes features useful to IT professionals.
Here's more about our testing of data recovery software:
Recovery We tested the recovery capabilities of each product by having it scan and recover files from a hard drive multiple times. Our testing methodology considered the two most common reasons for data loss: deletion and formatting. We filled our test hard drive with common types of files in a variety of formats: documents, images, audio and video files.
We then partitioned our test hard drive to be slightly larger than the data comprising each test. We did this so the amount of recoverable data would stay constant and would be overwritten with each new test. We also did this in the interest of speed since data scanning and recovery can be time-consuming. Recovering a full 1TB hard drive can take hours.
In recovering deleted data, nearly all of the products we tested easily recovered most lost data, with only a few exceptions where we found some files were missing. Since this is a simple procedure, we expected most of the products to recover all of the files or recover no less than 90% of the data. We found that this was the case, with only a few outliers that dipped as low as 70%.
Recovering a formatted hard drive is a more advanced issue, so we anticipated more varied results. Since formatting a drive wipes its file system and replaces it with another, recovery programs must locate the raw data in a drive. Usually, it requires applications to perform a deep scan.
Some programs were better at recovering certain file types than others. For example, Ontrack EasyRecovery recovered 100% of reformatted documents each time we tested it but struggled recovering image files.
Ease of Use We looked at and rated each product's ease of use in the areas of installation and scanning and recovery. For installation, we rated each application, based on a scale of 0 to 100%, reflecting how easy it was to install each product onto our test computer. Straightforward installations that required only a few clicks to set up scored high; complicated applications scored lower.
When using the software to perform data recovery, we rated how easy it was for the average user, such as a manager or IT professional, to initiate a scan of the drives and subsequently recover files from the drive. While advanced options are good, we rated products based on how easily a normal user can perform data recovery.
Highly rated products reflect those applications that allowed us to quickly find the desired drive and scan it. Likewise, once scanning was complete, top-rated products displayed the recoverable files, allowed us to select them, select where they were to be copied to and initiated the recovery process with a couple of clicks.
We favorably rated products that initiated the recovery process by providing options that corresponded to specific issues like deleted files, formatted drives or damaged drives. These programs then ran the scanning and recovery process with preset options that were best for that problem. (Of course, advanced users can still customize the settings within the program.)
Before You Attempt Data Recovery …
When preparing for data recovery, there a few things you should keep in mind and steps you should take to get the best results from your data recovery software.
First Steps As soon as you realize data was accidently or mistakenly deleted from a computer or server, you need to act fast. If your business uses a network, immediately restrict access to the drive where the data was located so that no further data can be uploaded and lost files are no longer at risk of being overwritten.
Once the drive is isolated, create a disk image of the drive and contain it in a separate hard drive, which can be accomplished with disk imaging software. Cloning the drive you're recovering safeguards the hard drive from further damage and allows you to attempt recovery.
Don't save recovered data to the same hard drive you're recovering from, as it can disrupt the recovery process and damage the drive. Most data recovery programs don't allow this anyway.
If at First You Don't Succeed After you initiate a scan for recoverable files, don't be dismayed if the file you're looking for isn't found. During testing, we found that not every scan was consistent and that we sometimes got different files if we scanned the hard drive again. You can scan a hard drive as many times as you need until you get your desired results, as long as you don't write more data onto it.
Results May Vary While you can expect to have a high success rate using the top-ranked products on our list, it's still entirely possible that there are some files that cannot be recovered. When attempting a recovery on an advanced problem, such as a formatted disk, you will usually get files back with different names, formats and sometimes duplicates.
Certain files may come back damaged or without content. If the data you're trying to recover is vital, consider using a hard drive recovery service.
Slower Doesn't Mean More Thorough The products we tested scan and recover files at varying speeds, with some applications performing significantly faster than others. Many programs include a quick scan option, but this feature isn't usually helpful in recovering data from advanced issues, such as formatting or a disk error. What we found during testing is that there is no correlation between the speed of the scan and the percentage of files recaptured by the software.