Review: Data Rescue to the Rescue

Need to recover from hard drive losses? (April 1st, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: ProSoft Engineering, Inc.

Price: MSRP $89.00 US

The Good

  • Much less expensive than professional recovery services and may well save your bacon!

The Bad

  • Will recover files that are pieces of programs and you may have no idea what they are.

First, a reality check, before OS X, Macintosh file recovery was much easier. Like other UNIX systems, OS X immediately writes over deleted files, so no tool on the market can recover deleted files on an OS X system. The only way to recover trashed files is to install ProSoft's Data Recycler program beforehand to protect against accidental file deletion. If Data Rescue can't help with deleted files, what use is it?

Set Your Priorities

There are times when a hard drive just won't mount and other utilities can't fix it or even see it. If your hard drive is malfunctioning, you need to think about options. Restrain the urge to fix things. First ask, "Is my life, project, job sunk without the information on that drive?" If the files are unique, such as photos, or irreplaceable, your first priority should be to grab any files you can and store them on another drive, such as a second internal or external hard or an iPod, removable media device (Zip), or another drive on the network. Next, think about recovering lost files, including your iTunes music. Data Rescue was tested on a failed drive from a school's Xserve. Unfortunately, the drive was not in pristine shape as other utilities had first been used in attempts to resurrect the damaged drive. So instead of Data Rescue being the first application, it was used as a last hope and the results do not reflect the best possible outcome. The lesson learned here is, use Data Rescue first!

Make the Time

Before embarking on file recovery, be sure to have an external drive and lots of time. Don't expect a quick fix. Scanning our sick hard drive to build a content list while in Target Mode took hours. Recovering the scanned files took hours more. Many recovered files were useless because they represented bits and pieces of software. I had to use Expert Mode and raised the file sizes to be recovered with much better results.

Only when your data is safe, should you begin to use utilities to try to repair the drive. When you need a hero and don't have the coin to send your hard drive to recovery experts, try Data Rescue. You won't be sorry, and you just might find your lost files.

ProSoft offers a demo version that will recover one file per session, so you can see if the program is your best solution. It will not harm the disk in any way should you choose to send it on to recovery experts. Versions are also available for Classic (Mac OS 8.6 to 9.x) and even legacy machines (Mac OS 8.1 non-PowerPC Macs).

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Pam Borys


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