Technology professionals quickly learn the need for a reliable data recovery utility. Files are accidentally deleted. Volumes are inadvertently reformatted. Files a user believes are no longer required are placed in the Trash, and the Trash is later emptied. Even proficient Mac users occasionally fat finger a key combination that ultimately deletes needed files. Fortunately, applications such as 321soft's Data Recovery for Mac exist to recover lost files.
Most valuable utility
At $99.00 (USD), 321soft's data recovery solution is a must-have tool. Unlike some file recovery programs, 321soft's application leverages a wizard-like process to walk users through recovering lost information.
The program greets Mac users with a splash page that enables configuring options, updating the utility, or simply proceeding by clicking the Continue button. The next window asks the user to specify the media from which data recovery will be attempted. The provided choices are hard drive, memory device (thumb drive), optical media, multimedia/mobile device, or RAID system.
Next, the user sees the volumes present on the specified media, which must be connected to the Mac. Then the user selects whether the recovery app should perform a deleted file recovery (search for files that were accidentally deleted), formatted media recovery (seek files from a volume that was formatted) or search lost volumes (scan the disk and seek lost or deleted volumes).
Users must also, using provided checkboxes, specify the file systems to search (provided options include FAT, NTFS, and HFS+). Once selections are provided, users click Continue, view the summary window, then click Continue to trigger the recovery scan.
A progress window displays the data recovery utility's progress as the program scans the volume seeking old data. Due to the nature of data recovery operations, the process can take considerable time. The larger the drive, the longer the recovery scan requires.
To test the software, I copied a folder containing several subfolders and files to a thumb drive and an external hard drive. I then deleted one subfolder, proceeded to copy and delete numerous other files and folders to the drive, and then attempted the data recovery. The recovery scan required just five minutes on an 8 GB thumb drive. A 250 GB 5400 RPM external hard drive, however, took much longer, requiring just shy of three hours to complete.
Following the completion of the data recovery scan, found files are listed. Users can then select the specific files to recover. 321soft provides a handy thumbnail view to help determine whether a file in question is the specific file the user is seeking (Figure A).
Testing 321soft's data recovery solution.
I found it easier to search for the specific deleted files I sought, rather than navigate the application's folder tree (Figure B).
You can search for specific files.
321soft's recovery application found the deleted file I sought. I tested opening the lost PDF to confirm the previously deleted information could be properly accessed following the data recovery operation (Figure C).
Data recovery process.
Not only did Data Recovery for Mac locate the previously deleted file, but the data recovery program enabled me to recover the file from the flash drive to my Mac's hard disk. I was then able to open the recovered file and view it in all its glory, which is the end goal of any data recovery operation.
Do you use Data Recovery for Mac? If not, what other recovery tool(s) do you use? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.