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  #1  
Old 11-09-2017, 04:36 AM
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KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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File Recovery Software

Once or twice every couple years, I encounter a friend or family member, or myself, that has a hard drive failure, or a failure of some other media type. About 5 years ago, I paid for a full use license of "Recover My Files" software.

4am this morning, I'm using this software on the same machine I installed it on after purchasing, it has just completed a 6 hour scan, and I'm in emergency mode - with critical files found and ready to be recovered. The software kicks me to an activation screen before actually letting me pull files from this failed hard drive (files that have in fact been deep scanned for, and found).

The activation fails, as it has done each and every time I have used this software after purchasing (maybe 3 to 4 times). I have always had to call the company to get them to re-activate it, and they have been reluctant to do so each time - telling me that I should pay to upgrade. I'm using the software in its original downloaded state on a Windows 7 system with the failed NTFS hard drive plugged into this system, and there is no reason to upgrade, and when I purchased the software there was no indication of a limitation of use.

Although it's a great piece of software for scanning and file recovery, the activation falls down each and every time. Does anyone have a recommendation for a solid piece of data recovery software that just works, for a paid, licensed, user? I'm happy to pay, as long as it's reliable and doesn't continually leave me stranded like this.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:12 AM
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Which software is that ?
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:04 AM
trk2 trk2 is offline
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I've used Ontrack to recover files before and it worked well. However, the last time I used it was 5 or so years ago so I don't know how much value should be placed in my experience.
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:39 AM
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I have Runtime
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2017, 06:24 PM
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KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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Recover My Files.

http://www.recovermyfiles.com/

It was the best software I could find at the time I was looking for deep scan data recovery. Typically the way this kind of software works is you download a trial, which always has a fully functional scan - after the scan you can see a list of what you can recover from the media, but actually pulling the files off the bad media and saving elsewhere requires purchasing a license. This is just fine with me, until it turns into some form of extortion down the road.
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:34 PM
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I used this in the past. I remember it worked quite well.

https://www.stellarinfo.com/
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Old 11-09-2017, 06:55 PM
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I've only had to use recovery software twice and both times I had great results with PhotoRec. It does more than just photos.
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Old 11-10-2017, 04:24 PM
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Uh, well, I was going to recommend Handy Recovery, but in looking it up it appears it has been replaced by Disk Drill.

https://www.handyrecovery.com

I will still post the link but I can't vouch for how well it works.

There is also Recuva, from Piriform. The same group that does CCleaner.

https://www.piriform.com/recuva
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Last edited by UgaData; 11-10-2017 at 04:33 PM. Reason: added Recuva
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Old 11-11-2017, 06:18 AM
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You can file this under the super geeky and extremely hands on rescue recovery, but I've used http://www.system-rescue-cd.org/ (SystemRescueCD) to perform recovery operations in the past.

This is a great tool (bootable cd/usb). But, if you lack experience with Linux, then I'd not really recommend it, since you might find yourself lost in linuxisms.

The tools that you'd use would likely be photorec (as mentioned above) and/or ddrescue.

It's free, but, I wouldn't call it userfriendly... you have to know what you are doing.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:22 PM
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Thanks for the options, folks. I'll give 'em a shot for the next family member/friend that doesn't have a solid backup scheme, which I would estimate is 100% of them.

Does Linux do a better job at low level file recovery than other OS's?
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:23 AM
davidk21770 davidk21770 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blade View Post
I've only had to use recovery software twice and both times I had great results with PhotoRec. It does more than just photos.
I tried the free versions of most of these on a friend's system that had been hit by ransomware and this was the only one that found older versions of some of her important files. (The ransomware seemed to be smart enough to zero names and wipe disk space so newer versions were gone). I'd start with this one!
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KryptoNyte View Post
Thanks for the options, folks. I'll give 'em a shot for the next family member/friend that doesn't have a solid backup scheme, which I would estimate is 100% of them.

Does Linux do a better job at low level file recovery than other OS's?
My opinion is yes if the drive is failing and doesn't seem to matter if you're just trying to "undelete" something on an otherwise ok drive. The reason it works better for failing drives is because it doesn't try to mercilessly keep reading data from the drive that you're not trying to recover. Windows tries to be smart with the drive which can best case make recovery take longer and worse case kill the drive before you get what you wanted.

If you want the best of both worlds, I would use ddrescue (Linux) to clone the failing hard drive to a good hard drive of the same size or bigger, then do data recovery with the tool of my choice (Linux or Windows) on the good hard drive with the cloned data. This is what I used to do when I did desk-side support. This usually buys you a lot more time and enables you to try multiple recovery tools to see what gets you the best results.

Also worth mentioning is that data recovery from an SSD is much more difficult because of TRIM which basically tells the drive to forget about the data in a range of sectors because the OS has deleted the data that they contained (e.g. you deleted a file). In that case it is unlikely you will ever recover that deleted data.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnterNoEscape View Post
Also worth mentioning is that data recovery from an SSD is much more difficult because of TRIM which basically tells the drive to forget about the data in a range of sectors because the OS has deleted the data that they contained (e.g. you deleted a file). In that case it is unlikely you will ever recover that deleted data.
I thought that would be the case, but even so, I ended up getting 1.4 terabytes off a 500 gigabyte Samsung SSD (Evo 840). This is the first SSD that I've seen lose partitions, or have any real loss of data. Back in 2008, I assumed that we might be a year or two before failure of my (3) RAID 0 30gb OZC drives, but as it turns out they have been far more reliable that we thought.

Thanks for the info. I've never used Linux, but the list of things pushing me towards it seems to be growing.
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