Reliable Media Recovery Solution

very good
key review info
application features
  • Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery works with any type of digital card reader or storage media that can mount as a volume. The program displays images that it finds and allows you to recover all of them.
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Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery has been created to help you get back all those important media files that were corrupted or deleted by mistake. It also includes support for easily imaging your Mac's disk drives so that you'll always have a disk backup at hand.

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery comes as a small download (11.9 MB), costs 39$ and can be used to scan and recover lost/corrupted multimedia files. While there are lots of similar solutions, it stands out of the crowd by performing a deep scan and recovering thousands of photos, even the ones that were deleted when reinstalling your OS.

The application also comes with support for creating an image of the drive that you want to scan and analyze that particular image at a later time.

The Looks

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery has an easy-to-use interface; it provides quick access to the most important functions right from the main window.

You can choose to recover photo, audio and video files, create an image and resume the previous recovery session.

In the select media recovery window, you can choose one of the drives you want to scan. Here you can access all the drives accessible by your computer, including removable ones.

The Works

Starting a new scan is fairly easy. You just press the Recover Photo, Audio&Video button and you're good to go. You then have to choose the drive you want to scan. The application automatically detects removable hard drives and displays a pop-up window that asks you if you want to scan that specific drive.

I liked the fact you can easily customize your search by pressing the Advanced button. Here you can choose a specific format that you want to search for, reducing the scan time quite a lot, since searching for all supported formats on a large drive can take several hours to complete.

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery, like its name implies, is focused mainly on image recovery, but it can also be used to recover audio and video files (it comes with support for an extensive list of both audio and video formats). The app features support for basic image formats, such as JPEG, BMP, TIF, GIF, but it can also handle RAW formats from specific camera developers, like Nikon, Motorola or Samsung.

Another interesting feature is Select Range. This allows you to choose the start and ending sectors on the selected drives, which is great for experienced users. However, skipping certain sectors may very well mean jumping over the files you are searching for. While this might help power users quite a lot, it's not a feature that a normal user would use.

From the Preferences panel you can choose if you want the application to display a preview of images found during scanning. While this is helpful if you're searching for a small number of images, those that need to recover a large amount of data will find this slowing down their search.

You can open multiple instances of the application, if you want to scan multiple drives at the same time. However, this is not recommended since this may slow down your Mac quite a lot. But it's available, for anyone who wants to try it.

If you want to recover images from removable media, then I suggest using the Create Image feature. This allows you to create a 1:1 virtual copy of your drive (memory drive, USB stick, etc.) that you can use at any time. You can also choose the start/end sectors that you want to include in it.

Recovering from an image was very fast and with good results, since I encountered no corrupt images. However, scanning a normal 250GB hard drive took several hours, even with the photo preview function turned off, so if you want to recover images from your HDD, you may have to wait a while until the scanning process ends. The good news is that after the scan was completed, I was able to successfully recover the files I wanted, with no errors.

If you want to recover a file that's not yet supported by the application, you can add the file signature using 5 sample files of the desired format. Choose a category and an average size for that format and you're good to go. I think this is particularly useful for professional photographers that want to add support for any exotic image formats they might work with.

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery also features the ability to resume the recovery process from a previously saved scan. This will help you restart the recovery process from the exact spot it reached before you had to stop it, thus saving you a lot of time.

The Good

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery is very easy to use and reliable. It allows you to add support for your own files, create an image for any drive you want to recover files from later on and it even includes the ability to resume a scan any time you want.

It also comes with extensive support for multiple image, audio and video formats by default.

The Bad

Phoenix Photo Recovery needs a lot of time to scan and recover data from large hard drives, but this is understandable due to the process involved (scanning each drive sector for useful information).

This makes it a very time-consuming app but, the fact that it does find and allow you to recover the media files you saved on the scanned drive a (very) long time ago means that a lot of people will still use it in the hope that they'll be able to get their files back.

The Truth

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery is a great media recovery tool, it helps you get your important files back without errors. It's very useful for anyone who needs a reliable tool in order to get back important files. If recovering your media files is all you need, you should definitely give it a try.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 3

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good