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Data recovery tool?


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We are small company and we accommodate local professional services in computer hardware..

Now we have more and more requests for our customers to 'recover their lost data' on hard/flash drives; sometimes it's just deleted information etc., but they often bring computes with different operation system (not Windows only).

We already used some utilities to this, but they are for NTFS or FAT only.

So we want to choose some new software package for this.

Can anybody advice us some 'universal' software solution?

In best case we need one tool to recover MacOS, *BSD, Linux, Windows file systems, sopport RAID arrays reconstruction, undelete etc.

Of course for acceptable price :-)

We currently reviewed:

- 'Runtime' solutions (GetDataBack from NTFS and their RAID recovery tool):

It works, but slowly... Supports NTFS and FAT only... RAID reconstruction - through 'virtual RAID' disk image only... It's TOO SLOW...

- R-Studio:

Nice GUI (but some complex; I spent much time to find their RAID recovery); some expensive and not supports *BSD/MacOS file systems. Have some 'cheats' in description: it NOT RECOVERS deleted files from Ext2/Ext3 as outlined on their site :-(

They always are shown zero-size...

Most other tools are too special (for NTFS or FAT or NTFS/FAT only).

Any suggestions?

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Quite obviously, most "COMMERCIAL" data recovery programs are aimed to MS originated filesystems, whilst for *nix based filesystems most of the work is done by Open Source project/contributions.

To this you add that until a short period ago, using Unix, Linux or BSD was "reserved" to people which know what to do, actually 2 words: BACKUP OFTEN!

However there are such programs, here are a few:










Data recovery tools (ALPHA)









But I am quite sure there are many others.


Edited by jaclaz
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R-Studio looks attractive, but not supports *BSD/Mac; also some misunderstanding with Ext2/Ext3 deleted data recovery... I found it is almost impossible at all (from discussion in other forum). I tried trial and it was confirmed :(

About software, like GetDataBack ('runtime software') or Kernel * ('Nucleus'): there are plenty of 'special' utilities... Will be too expensive to purchase all of them..

Free software: I do not want to use any of them because of NO ANY SUPPORT. Commercial ones looks more attractive. Also I found many 'bug reports', especially for 'kernel-mode' applications....

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SpinRite - looks interesting; may be useful for 'low level' tasks and will precise...

FinalData - again, it is too special... :-(

Also I found utility, named UFS Explorer Pro ('Sysdevsoftware'). Looks like alternative to R-Studio... Unfortnely, no disk scan for lost partitions, but everything else looks enticing... (and not high price 'business' license :) )

Anybody heard something about it? Any comments/feedback?

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Free software: I do not want to use any of them because of NO ANY SUPPORT. Commercial ones looks more attractive. Also I found many 'bug reports', especially for 'kernel-mode' applications....
If you want to be a slave of the industry then go ahead... but note:

- Open-source means you can locate and fix problems, and resubmit it to improve the software for everyone.

- There is support, and it's also free.

- New versions are released more frequently and bugs are fixed faster as well.

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May be it's just a stereotype that "free software" = "no support". But often it is true.

Usually such support is throu some forum, there no one is _responsible_ to send you any proctical answer: usually just comments, suggestions etc.

Also I found many interesting open-source projects already lost their authors so there are nobody to controll/improve the project, except 'society'.

Your suggested advantages of open-source:

"Open-source means you can locate and fix problems, and resubmit it to improve the software for everyone."

Yes, it is possible. But usually if some _person_ started the project, there are only his mention how source code must look like. This means there are usaully 'non-standard' source code style, plenty of macros used etc. I already tried (by myself) to participate some of such projects (including 'wine' project, with some code submission), but some code parts are too complex to understand: just because of plenty of macros/callbacks you need to trace to determine how it works.

So there are too few persons who can really participate on such projects 'with results'. Sorry.

"There is support, and it's also free."

I already tried it. But FREE means nobody due to help. If 'project manager'/'support team' is interested in improvement - probably they will do it. If only user - probably not.

"New versions are released more frequently and bugs are fixed faster as well."

I can just say here about Linux and BSD. Last one updates more rarely, but completely works. I can not say same for Linux: many 'community updates' make some parts uncompatible :(

Also, for 'Ufs explorer' I found this page on 'versiontracker': http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/win/53038

Looks like even commercial software is updated instantly :)


To resume this post:

1. I do not mind to use free soft by myself, and I often use it. But my boss requires 'company-standard' solution. No free software match this criteria (too many software packages required; not everything is covered).

2. Now I see only advantages of 'ufs explorer professional' solution for most of our common task, of course in combination with some kind of 'disk scan tool'. These guys ('Sysdevsoftware') promise good support. Of course it doubtly, but looks like I will try..

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Well, well.


To resume your post:

1. You have a boss that tells you what the solution to the problem has to be, not caring if that solution does not exists or it is inferior to an alternate one.

2. You fail to see what the "open mindedness" of several different programmers can add to a recovery process.

I will try and explain myself better, though I am NOT a professional in data recovery, over the years I have developed an interest in this branch, and quite naturally I have been in the Company I worked with the "reference man" when a problem occured on a Mass Storage device, so I claim to have some knowledge in this field.

In my experience, not a single program, either Commercial or Open Source is "perfect", a software that succeeded 100% in an occurrence of data corruption failed miserably in another one, and vice-versa.

Rules are as follows, as I see it:

1) ALWAYS make a bit by bit copy of the damaged media, if possible, make TWO of them

2) Run against the image EVERY single piece of software you can think of, starting with a program you know and trust, but do NOT overlook "minor" ones or "narrow" ones, i.e. those aimed to recovery just a certain type of file or a certain type of damage

3) Given the low cost of todays hardware, NEVER attempt repair on original media, only do it AFTER recovery was succesful on the copy, what you were not able to do might be possible

4) Do not EVER give up, I was able to recover data that "so-called" professionals had determined to be an impossible recovery, simply by using a different tool or making some minor manual corrections.

5) TELL the customer that recovery has MANY levels of accuracy and corresponding many levels of time involved and cost, explain him that even if a quick scan determined that no recovery was possible, a deeper analisys may give some results, data recovery if not successful with "easy - press one button and go" tools, manual recover is often possible, and in some cases even partial data can be of great help, all in all is a matter of the VALUE the customer attributes to lost data

Programs I can swear by:

TESTDISK (Freeware)

File Scavenger (NTFS only -Commercial)

TiramiSU (FAT16-FAT32-NTFS-ZIP disks - not anymore developed - Shareware - Commercial - acquired by Ontrack)


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I understand your point of you and mainly agree with it.

Your rules:

1. We alway do it, and no special software is needed for this; I'm a windows-programmer (a little :)) and I know how to make few-line program to make it; it's not a problem.

2. I alrerady have 'programs collection', but mainly it's required only basic solution and often just one tool is enough. Many customers have only minor problems, so to have 'time/cost efficient' solution, it's better to use as few as possible tools.

3. I have doubts that physical media recovery is possible at all (and never trust utilities, like HDDRegenerator) and I see no advantage to spend any time to recover media thast gone bad. Bad sector on hard disk means only one way - throw away.

4. I know what means 'impossible' and what really is it. Any 'impossible to recover' data - it is just 'unindexed' in any method space beween real data. Most users have no ideas have to assemble these pieces, so commercial soft in most does not contain tools to get it. Due to file fragmentation and partital overwriting by other data, such lost files recovery is too complex and _mainly_ manual task. We very rarely have to do it... Most of our customers are home users, so have almost no data to be recovered _in any case_.

5. Yes, we tell them. We analyze the media and tell how complex the recovery could be. Most users are humble with lost data... We just optionaly provide them with 'snapshot' (compressed disk image) of damaged media; they may try recover data with other company...

About your adviced TESTDISK: looks like it is the tool we need for 'scan' I mentioned before.

Thank you very much!

I already tried trial of 'UFS Explorer Professional' and looks like these 2 utilities will cover 98% of our data recovery tasks.

Ufs explorer support recovery from disk images (to leave damaged media alone) and tech. support of 'Sysdevsoftware' (author) 'promises' they will add soon support for 'externally loaded partition map', so I think we will be able to recover most data with them.

We already decided to use these utilities, so for ones who are interested, here are references:



(Free, open-source, GNU GPL)

UFS Explorer Professional:


(Commercial, Personal and Business licenses)

hope this will help to others...

2all: thank you for advices!

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