Data Recovery Digest

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

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The Best Pro Data Recovery Software - Review 2018

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.

  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014

Professional Data Recovery Software Tested and Evaluated in 2018

For the 2018 update of our professional data recovery software comparison, we keep the scope of our tests the same as for the tests of 2016 and 2017.

We removed one program, FILERECOVERY Enterprise, for its quite poor performance shown in our 2017 tests.

We added two new programs to our tests:

Data Rescue 5 (ver. 5.0.1 (5172.89.18))

Data Rescue 5

Reviewed Version: 5.0.1 (5172.89.18)

Prices: Professional: US $299.00 (Annual Subscription)

Host operating systems: Windows 7 or Later

Support for data recovery hardware: No

Do Your Data Recovery (ver. 6.0)

Do Your Data Recovery

Reviewed Version: 6.0

Prices: Professional: US $69.00, Enterprise: US $199.00 Technician: US $249.00

Host operating systems: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, and Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016

Support for data recovery hardware: No

We continue to test and evaluate the programs which were included in our 2017 review:

Recovery Explorer Professional (ver. 6.13.2)

Recovery Explorer Professional

Reviewed Version: 6.13.2

Prices: Home/Personal: US $214.06, Corporate/Business: US $860.00

Host operating systems: Windows XP Service Pack 3 and higher

Support for data recovery hardware: No

R-Studio (ver. 8.3 build 168075)

R-Studio

Reviewed Version: 8.3 build 168075

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, 10 and Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012 (32/64 bit) Technician license includes versions for Mac OS X and Linux with the same functionality.

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

DMDE (ver. 3.4.0.720)

DMDE

Reviewed Version: 3.4.0.720

Prices: Professional: US $95.00

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

Support for data recovery hardware: No

Active@ File Recovery Ultimate Corporate (ver. 16.0)

Active@ File Recovery Ultimate Corporate

Reviewed Version: 16.0

Prices: Standard: US $29.95 (Personal), US $39.95 (Corporate), Professional: US $44.95 (Personal), US $64.95 (Corporate), Ultimate: US $69.95 (Personal), US $89.95 (Corporate), Unlimited: US $995.00

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

Support for data recovery hardware: No

ReclaiMe File Recovery (ver. 3442)

ReclaiMe File Recovery

Reviewed Version: 3442

Prices: Standard: US $79.95, Ultimate: US $199.95, Pro: US $799.00

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, the first three programs have not changed: R-Studio keeps the leading position as the best professional data recovery software, while Recovery Explorer Professional is second, and ReclaiMe File Recovery is third. DMDE moved up to the fourth-ranked software because of many important features it now has.

On the other hand, the newly added programs, Data Rescue 5 and Do Your Data Recovery Enterprise appeared very disappointing. That is especially true for Data Rescue 5. It is actively being promoted on the Internet, but its only feature worth looking at is support for Apple’s APFS file system. The rest, especially its pricing model – a year subscription for the Professional version is not impressive at all. Moreover, to add insult to injury, the program failed unbelievable number of tests throwing error messages instead of any result.

As in our previous tests, all tested programs (except Data Rescue 5) 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 and ReclaiMe File Recovery have the highest number of supported logical disk managers.

Since Apple introduced its new file system, APFS, only two programs have gotten support for it: Recovery Explorer Professional and Data Rescue 5. Also, Recovery Explorer Professional has the highest number of supported file systems.

This year many programs have introduced quite important new features, DMDE taking the lead. Now it supports the HFS+/HFSX file system, custom file signatures, S.M.A.R.T. reporting, and automatic RAID parameter recognition. R-Studio, in turn, now supports many Apple volume managers: Apple CoreStorage/File Vault/Fusion Drive, and Linux MD RAID. Recovery Explorer Professional has confirmed its reputation of the program supporting the largest number of file systems, adding 5 new file systems to its list.

Interface and Features Ratings
Product Localization Support Demo version restrictions File preview Standard file recovery features Advanced file recovery features
R-Studio6.03.55.05.85.9
DMDE6.05.50.04.84.4
ReclaiMe File Recovery3.55.03.54.83.4
Recovery Explorer Professional4.53.53.04.83.4
Data Rescue 53.53.03.54.61.6
Active@ File Recovery Ultimate Corporate3.52.03.54.42.4
Do Your Data Recovery1.51.03.52.30.3
File recovery performance Ratings
Product Deleted files Emptied Recycle Bin Disk re-format Damaged partition Deleted partition RAID recovery
R-Studio5.55.55.35.85.55.9
Recovery Explorer Professional5.25.35.05.25.55.1
Active@ File Recovery Ultimate Corporate5.05.54.15.85.82.7
ReclaiMe File Recovery4.55.04.25.35.13.6
DMDE5.05.34.85.86.00.6
Do Your Data Recovery5.55.34.84.35.50.7
Data Rescue 53.84.01.81.31.90.1
Overall Rating
Product Rating Conclusions
R-Studio 5.7

An excellent combination of file recovery features and performance. Shows the best results in almost 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 almost all data recovery scenarios. High scores for almost all file recovery cases. Weaknesses: Lacks support for the newest Apple file system: APFS, Lacks support for less common file systems, such as XFS, ZFS, JFS, Novell NWFS/NSS, VMware VMFS, ReiserFS.

Added since our last review: A very advanced algorithm for processing multiple copies of recovered files. Support for Linux MD RAID, Apple CoreStorage/File Vault/Fusion Drive. A new file system: ReFS2

Recovery Explorer Professional 5.0

A very decent professional data recovery program with good 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. Support for the newest Apple file system: APFS. Weaknesses: Limited file search and preview capabilities. It also doesn’t show the disk’s S.M.A.R.T. attributes.

Added since our last review: Support for new ReFS/ReFS2, ZFS, ESX(i), VMFS, APFS file systems. Supports for Apple RAID

ReclaiMe File Recovery 4.7

A very good data recovery program with excellent combination of file recovery features and performance. One of the best sets of supported file systems. Very good 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 custom file signatures.

DMDE 4.7

A highly advanced hexadecimal editor tailored for data recovery for Windows and Linux file systems. Requires a very deep knowledge of disk and file system structures. It introduced the largest number of new features added since our last review. Strengths: Very advanced disk and file editing capabilities. No demo mode limitations, except group file recovery. Very attractive pricing. Very good imaging capabilities. Showed the best results in recovering data from deleted partitions. Weaknesses: No support for logical disk managers.

Added since our last review: Supports for HFS+/HFSX file systems. Support for custom file signatures. Support for S.M.A.R.T. reporting Support for automatic RAID parameter recognition.

Active@ File Recovery Ultimate Corporate 4.5

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

Added since our last review: Support for new file systems: ReFS, JFS

Data Rescue 5 3.3

Although many internet resources are actively promoting this program, it shows quite poor performance. Moreover, it completely failed in many tests throwing error messages. The only reason to use the program is data recovery from Apple modern SSD disks with the APFS file system. Strengths: Support for Apple’s APFS file system, good imaging capabilities, support for custom file signatures in raw recovery, and versatile logging. Weaknesses: No S.M.A.R.T. reporting, a limited number of RAID levels (JBOD and RAID0). No support for logical disk managers. Extremely customer-unfriendly pricing.

Do Your Data Recovery 3.0

Although it showed quite decent results for simple recovery cases, the program appeared unable to solve more advanced data recovery tasks.
Strengths: Good results for file recovery from emptied Recycle Bin. Weaknesses: No RAID or logical disk manager recovery, or we could not find how to use this feature. No S.M.A.R.T. reporting and poor recognition of all non-European characters.

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