When researching and evaluating the best data recovery software and services for business, we considered the following factors:
Ease of Use
Data recovery software should be intuitive. 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.
Scan and Recovery Speed
Sorting through all the data on a hard drive takes time. Some programs can scan a standard 1TB hard drive in five hours, while the slower ones 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.
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.
In recovering deleted data, nearly all 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 the files or recover no less than 90 percent of the data. We found that this was the case, with only a few outliers that dipped as low as 70 percent. We also found that some programs were better at recovering certain file types than others.
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.
Help and Support
The best data recovery software comes with exceptional support to make the process as smooth as possible. We looked at the avenues available for users 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, like tutorials, articles, FAQs and manuals.