Recover your deleted or lost files on a hard drive

Giveaway of the Day are giving away a free version of iCare Data Recovery for personal use. As GotD’s name suggests you need to download and importantly activate the software on the same day.

There are free file recovery applications around, but as Giveaway of the Day and iCare are being so generous I thought I would check this piece of software out and write a guide. If your reading this on the 29th March 2010 and have a Microsoft Windows 2000, XP or Vista operating system, you might want to consider Giveaway of the Day’s offer for personal use.

This piece of recovery software is very powerful and has the following options… partition recovery, advanced recovery, deep scan recovery and format recovery. I decided to only test the ‘advanced recovery’ today. I wanted to see how easy it was to recover files from a usb hard drive. More specifically I had placed an old 2.5 laptop hard drive in an usb caddy and then connected this to a Microsoft Windows XP laptop.

Once I had activated the software with the free license provided by Giveaway of the Day I did the following.

1. I selected Advanced Recovery.

2. I saw both my internal laptop hard drive and external usb hard drive listed. I selected the usb hard drive and then clicked on ‘Recover’.

3. Now as it was connected via a slow usb 1 connection, this process is painfully slow. Not the applications fault, but hardware limitation. If I had been scanning the internal drive it would of been a lot faster. Instead the process for the external drive might of taken up to twelves or thirteen hours for a forty gig drive! So for testing sake I stopped the process after a few minutes.

4. Once scanned the next window appears and the partition was already selected, so I clicked on ‘show files’.

5. Where this application stands out compared to many is that it breaks down the file types for you, so if your interested in recovery just documents, you can find those quickly. Instead of scrolling through a monster list. I selected a file and then selected ‘save files’. Now an important part is to save to another drive.

You don’t want to restore any files to the same hardware you are recovering from, regardless if the hardware isn’t faulty. This way your not possibly overwriting the files you are recovering in the first place! Thus reducing your chances of actually recovering data.

So I just selected a folder I had created on the laptop’s own internal drive. Et voila.

Conclusion: This piece of software has a lot of competiton and I currently don’t know where it stacks up compared to others for recovery results. What I do know is that it ran fine recovering from an old 2.5 hard drive with a ntfs partition, connected via an old usb 1.0 to a Windows XP laptop.

Obviously if you have a personal backup procedure in place this software might not be required. However it is a worthy addition, sitting ready on my laptop for the day I might require it.

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