Previously, I have posted here some common causes of USB/Flash drive data loss. After downloading and testing some free data recovery softwares designed to restore/recover lost or deleted data, I am posting now my verdict on the efficiency and performance of these free softwares.
Generally, all data recovery softwares perform the same – free or commercial. I have actually used a commercial software (whose name I will no longer mention here) but did not perform significantly better than freewares.
In my evaluation of 3 free softwares, the best free data recovery utility I have used is “PC Inspector File Recovery”. It’s a totally free data recovery tool and works with FAT 12/16/32, and NTFS (used by hard disks, disks, Smartmedia, Compact Flash, Memory Stick and others). Although the documentation states that it only runs under Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP, I have tested the utility under Windows Vista and it still works fine! On the other hand, I’m not sure if this will work under Windows 7 beta (I haven’t tested it yet under this platform as of this writing).
However, a second hard disk is recommended for recovery because the second hard drive will serve as a temporary storage of lost files – music, videos, photos, Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft Excel worksheets, etc. The steps in restoring lost data using PC Inspector File Recovery is self-explanatory. Once the progam is running, I’m pretty sure you’ll know what to do with its intuitive graphical user interface.
If you are really looking for a nifty tool to recover lost or deleted files from your USB/flash drives and other storage media (whose file systems fall under the ones enumerated above), then I highly recommend that you download this free data recovery software.