Free Data Recovery Tools Roundup

Software Review

Some Free Data-Recovery Tools!

Data-recovery is a bit of a touchy subject. For many of us, data recovery, like good health, has no price. The bottom line -- what is your data worth to you? If you've experienced hardware damage or if your data is extremely valuable, don't even bother to play around with free data recovery tools.

Rule one in data-recovery: an ounce of prevention... If you've not yet experienced major data loss, take that as a personal gift from heaven and go get yourself a real automated backup solution. I cover several freeware backup options on my backup software page but nowadays I am tending towards recommending online backup systems (whereby your data is automatically mirrored at a remote site over the internet).

If you have important data -- and especially if you use a laptop (laptops are highly prone to theft and damage no matter how careful you are) -- you should absolutely try an online data backup service.

NTFS Reader for DOS
lightweight, $0, undelete-style data recovery

NTFS Reader DOS Boot Disk provides read access to NTFS drives from the MS DOS environment. Its data recovery functionality includes support for long filenames as well as compressed and fragmented files. NTFS Reader for DOS allows you to preview the files on NTFS and copy them from NTFS to FAT volumes or network drives. In order to use this data recovery tool you need to copy the readntfs.exe file to a bootable floppy disk and boot from it.

  • Can be run from bootable floppy
  • Complete physical & logical drive
  • Supports IDE / ATA / SCSI drives
  • Supports NTFS/NTFS5
  • Supports FAT12, FAT16, FAT32
  • Compressed/fragmented files
  • MS-DOS/XP/2000/NT/ME/98/95/7
  • Non-english/long file names
  • Preview files & folders
  • Search by file name or mask
  • Display content of the file

You can use NTFS Reader for DOS to recover data from NTFS drives in Windows 98 95 and 3.1. Although this is a DOS program, it can be run from Windows.

Restoration
lightweight, $0, undelete-style data recovery

Restoration is an easy to use and straight forward tool to undelete files that were removed from the recycle bin or directly deleted from within Windows. Upon start, you can scan for all files that may be recovered and also limit the results by entering a search term or extension.

In addition, Restoration also provides an option to wipe the found files beyond simple recovery. And as such it is not only a data-recovery tool but also a security cleanup application. You can use it after deletion of confidential documents, embarrassing files and so on.

The program is very small and standalone, it does not require installation and can also run from a Floppy disk. Restoration works with FAT and NTFS as well as digital cameras cards.

  • Can be run from bootable floppy
  • Complete physical & logical drive
  • Supports IDE / ATA / SCSI drives
  • Supports NTFS/NTFS5
  • Supports FAT12, FAT16, FAT32
  • Compressed/fragmented files
  • MS-DOS/XP/2000/NT/ME/98/95/7
  • Non-english/long file names
  • Preview files & folders
  • Search by file name or mask
  • Display content of the file

You don't have to install it, so it doesn't leave any garbage in the PC.

PC Inspector File Recovery
lightweight, $0, undelete-style data recovery

PC Inspector File Recovery is a data recovery program with support for FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems. It recovers files with the original time and date stamp, and can optionally restore them to a network drive and can recover many files, even when a header entry is no longer available. On FAT systems, the programs finds partitions automatically, even if the boot sector or FAT has been erased or damaged. PC Inspector File Recovery offers an easy to use interface that will scan your drive and automatically make files that can be recovered available from a "Deleted" folder in an Explorer Style navigation tree.

  • Can be run from bootable floppy
  • Complete physical & logical drive
  • Supports IDE / ATA / SCSI drives
  • Supports NTFS/NTFS5
  • Supports FAT12, FAT16, FAT32
  • Compressed/fragmented files
  • MS-DOS/XP/2000/NT/ME/98/95/7
  • Non-english/long file names
  • Preview files & folders
  • Search by file name or mask
  • Display content of the file

To be able to use PC Inspector File Recovery you need a working Windows System. Never install the current version on the drive from which you intend to recover data! The program must be installed and run on a second, independent drive.

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