Security

Review: File Scavenger 4.1

Looking for a thorough and refined file undelete app can be a challenge, but Matt Nawrocki thinks he may done just that.

Yes, it certainly is a travesty to have your data accidentally deleted, particularly if you have a pressing project you're working on and time is of the essence. With file recovery, time is not your friend, and you need a tool that can recover your documents as fully as possible. There are many contenders in this space, but there are only a few apps that seem to actually work and not spout off fake results and recovery metrics. Today, we will look at File Scavenger 4.1 from QueTek Consulting.

Recover deleted files

Product Information

  • Title: File Scavenger 4.1
  • Company: QueTek Consulting Corporation
  • Product URL: http://www.quetek.com/prod02.htm
  • Supported OS: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8.
  • Price: $49.95 for personal edition / $89 for personal edition with RAID reconstruction / $185 for professional edition

As far as file recovery programs go, File Scavenger 4.1 comes with a rather impressive array of features. For instance, not only are you able to process scans and dumps on Windows-based file systems like NTFS and FAT32, but you are also able to touch disks formatted for Linux, BSD and Mac OS X. There is also largely improved 4K sector support, compared to previous releases, as well as ability to read and write to dynamic volumes.

FileScavenger_1.png

The installer gives you a choice to run or install

Highlights

When I fired up File Scavenger's installer application for the first time, I was given the option to either install the software to disk or run straight away. Obviously, in the case of a delicate operation such as recovery, installing the program is likely to cause more harm than good to any deleted files that exist on the hard drive. Such an option is welcome. Of course, you will need to provide your license code every time you use this option; so it's best to keep your registration information handy if you want to actually restore any data.

With the interface displayed in all of its shining glory, I found everything to be rather straightforward. For my tests, a JPEG file that I had saved to the documents folder was deleted as well as a text file. I chose the C: drive and performed a full scan in order to pick up every last deleted file I could, hopefully without any falling through the cracks. Impressively enough, File Scavenger found all kinds of deleted data that ranged from the present to nearly two weeks ago in age. I localized my search and, sure enough, my text file and JPEG image were within the file list.

FileScavenger_2.png

File Scavenger gets to the point and leaves no stone un-turned

Now although the text file came back to life without incident, the image in question didn't quite make it. I went into the preview mode to check the file before restoring and I saw a light pink distortion all over the image. It appeared as if nearly all the color was stripped out. I'm not entirely sure why a file that was deleted just mere moments ago looked like a wreck, but I could at least make out the details. Oddly enough, older images that were deleted did come back just fine, which leads me to believe that ultimately, your mileage may vary.

FileScavenger_3.png

As one can see, the results might not be favorable, even for files deleted moments earlier

Something that I found quite interesting that doesn't seem to be present in most other file recovery applications I have sampled to date is a feature for recovering files from a broken RAID array. Simply click the "Advanced Volumes" button and you are presented with a window that grants you the ability to restructure a spanned or striped volume (RAID 0 and RAID 5 configurations supported) as well as pull from any parity information stored on volumes in order to enhance recovery procedures. Unfortunately, as I did not have a RAID array in my test environment, this feature mainly went unused.

Bottom line

For the asking price of $49.95 (and $89 for the ability to reconstruct RAID sets), the treasure-trove of features that File Scavenger contains is impressive. The support for different disk layouts and file systems in particular grants this utility an edge over other Windows-based file recovery suites. If you are willing to spend a bit, you are likely not to be disappointed.

As a final note, the cheaper versions of this app are designed to be actively tied to one machine per license. However, the professional license, which is offered at a rather pricey $185, is tied to the registrant rather than to a machine, allowing you to use one copy to support any complement of machines within a business. For some, the extra coin in exchange for added flexibility might be worth it in the end.

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About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

1 comments
hologram
hologram

I have used file scavenger to successfully recover data from two crashed windows harddrives. The "run without installing" feature is very important in these situations. My biggest takeaway was to not "test" it but to be prepared to use it right away because any testing of a crashed harddrive may cause even more complete unusability & subsequent inaccessibility.