Ever gone to edit that critical file or update a presentation just to realize that the file’s gone? Somehow it got deleted. Or worse, an external drive is now completely empty and there’s nothing in the trash? Stellar Phoenix has a solution: Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Professional. So I thought I’d give it a try…
Even the most experienced Windows user can accidentally delete files, photos and data. Fortunately there’s the trashcan and it’s easy to open it up, find your accidentally deleted files and drag ’em back onto your Desktop so you can get back to work. Usually, at least. But when you’re working with external drives – like a simple USB flash drive – the trashcan doesn’t quite work the same way and files go straight into limbo, vanished without hope of recovery.
There are undoubtedly hundreds of people around the world at this very moment realizing with a cold, sinking feeling that their book, their thesis, their report to the board, it’s vanished from their portable thumb drive without a trace. Now what? Are you just doomed to recreate it based on a backup from a few days ago? You do have a good backup strategy, right?
That’s where Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Professional comes in; it can analyze the actual storage medium and identify files and other content that’s been deleted minutes, days, and even sometimes weeks ago for recovery. Let’s check it out…
To start, I pulled out a 1GB USB flash drive and checked to see what I’d dropped onto the device:
Looks pretty typical with its mix of folders and files. Note the Lawsuit Research and the SEO REPORT.pdf document too. If I delete it all, I can just grab things out of the recycle bin, right?
No, not with an external drive:
This is such a horrible feeling. Easy to have a small panic attack here, particularly if it’s mission critical data or even just irreplaceable baby photos.
Fortunately I’ve already downloaded a copy of Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery. Even launching it brings a small sense of relief because it’s immediately obvious that it’s the right tool for the job:
I’ll stick with “All Data” since it’s easy to pick and choose from the resultant information to get the gems out of the folders and device. A click on “Next” moves forward to device options:
You can see that the program has the ability to analyze specific folders on your computer – Desktop and My Documents are common places to have files accidentally deleted – but I’m interested in analyzing local disk E: which is the 1GB flash drive.
A check on the corresponding checkbox and a click on “Scan” and after a surprisingly short amount of time here’s what I see:
Basically, it found everything that I deleted. Hurrah! 212 files, organized in 27 folders, 100MB of data. What a relief.
A click on “OK” and I can actually see all the files including the mysterious “dot” files that are usually hidden from view in Windows:
One rather unique feature of Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Professional is that it offers up previews of the files before you recover them. Super helpful!
Let’s say that this didn’t identify all the files and folders that were originally on the drive, however. Another way to recover is to do the slower, but more thorough “deep scan”. That’s easily done by clicking on the “Click here” link at the bottom of the screen.
It’ll take a while, but the program will step block by block, sector by sector, through the entire drive, analyzing data as it goes:
My 1GB flash drive took a few minutes for a deep scan, but if you had a 500GB drive or bigger, it would likely take an hour or two of slowly stepping through everything to recover as much as possible. Handy tip: While it’s working don’t have any other programs or utilities open or working.
Finally, it’s done with the deep scan too:
Notice that it found more: from 212 files it’s now identified 219 files, and 27 folders has bumped up to 31 folders, another 34MB of data. With a larger drive that was in use for a few months or years it could find hundreds or thousands of additional files!
Again, I can step through the folders and preview files to ascertain exactly what I want to recover:
To actually recover the files, data, photos and folders you’ve identified as needed, simply choose them and click on the blue “Recover” button. How easy is that?
Here’s a video that highlights some of the other types of data recovery possible too:
To be fair, Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Professional isn’t a tool you will use on a daily basis. But having it available can be an absolute life saver and the difference between being a hero and being, well, up all night trying to rebuild that critical presentation or rewrite your best chapters.
Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery – Professional is $99.00 with lifetime license.
Disclosure: Stellar Phoenix supplied me with a license for the purposes of this review.