Recover Data from Formatted Drives

key review info
application features
  • Recover data from ISO9600 format
  • (5 more, see all...)

The times when you had to pay a small fortune to recover data lost in all sorts of accidents are long gone. Nowadays there is plenty of software available to get your files back if you deleted them from Recycle Bin. MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free Edition goes a step further and even finds data on formatted or deleted drives.

There are multiple flavors for this tool, each more expensive than the other, but with a richer set of features as well. For home users, however, the free version is a perfect choice since it sports modules to recover files that have been shift-deleted, get data back from damaged or formatted partitions or from drives that have been deleted.

Moreover, it supports digital media devices like flash drives, memory cards or iPods, from which it can recover media files (photos, music and video). Another module in the application, although you may rarely appeal to it, lets you recover data off CDs and DVDs.

Installing the app does not take too long and during the click-through process w witnessed no attempts to push additional items on the computer. Being a free edition, though, it will display a nag screen urging you to register a paid version if you are not a home user employing the software for personal purposes. This prompt will pop up each time you start the free edition of MiniTool.

A wizard-like interface makes it extremely easy for any type of user to start a recovery session. At first you are presented the five supported modules, each one specific for a certain recuperation task. Thus, for reclaiming data that has been purged from the Recycle Bin or accidentally shift-deleted from the hard disk you have to access one module and a different one for files on lost or formatted partitions.

You can choose the module appropriate for the file recovery task you want to engage in straight from the main application window. The screen also shows a brief description of the modules the moment you move the mouse over them.

Since recovering shift-deleted data is not something particularly special, as there are plenty of programs capable to achieve this, our tests focused on getting back the data on formatted and lost partitions. MiniTool will first scan the system for all available drives and then returns the results of the operation.

Verifying the selected drive for deleted data is pretty fast, but the time required to complete the task is proportional with the size of the selected drive. The scan windows displays the amount of data encountered, time elapsed since the beginning of the operation, and a percentage progress bar; paid editions support more file systems.

MiniTool can uncover multiple lost or damaged partitions, thus giving you better chances to retrieve the exact files you need. During our tests we were able to recover all the data off a formatted partition. The application had no trouble at all uncovering the files after a quick format. However, a full format made the rescue operation impossible.

Compared to a different file recovery freebie MiniTool had the edge as it managed to get us back all 90 items. The other instrument succeeded to retrieve 84 of them. This may not seem like a steep gap, but you would appreciate it if your interest was in one of the 6 elements that were not recovered.

MiniTool puts at your disposal the possibility to preview the files before restoring them. This is a very handy feature when you want to recover only specific images.

All data detected by the application is laid out in front of you as if in a file manager. There is also some information on the uncovered elements. You’ll have the size of the item and, if the damage is not too extensive, there will also be the modification and creation date. A quick format can also strip the files of their original name; in our case all the data was renamed with a generic name.

If you are in a more fortunate situation and file names remained unaffected, you can search for a particular item directly with MiniTool. The program sports a search function which sports advanced filtering options as well. Thus, you will be able to find an element by its name, but you can also use details like extension, size or creation/modification date to narrow the results down.

The Good

It can recover files from partitions that have been treated with a quick format; also, it retrieves shift-deleted files. The wizard-like interface makes working with the application an effortless job.

All recovery modules are available in the main application window and you can also read a brief description of their purpose by passing the mouse over them.

The Bad

We noticed a slight problem when you try to select all the listed files using the green plus button in the toolbar: it will leave only the first item selected the moment you instruct the application to recover the data.

The screens popping up upon launching or closing the application could be a real nag for plenty of users, but this is the price for the free edition.

The Truth

This edition of MiniTool Power Data Recovery is free of charge and pretty powerful. Unlike most file recovery tools on the market it can bring back data after a quick format, not just the shift-deleted items.

Despite the more powerful scans, the basic rule in file recovery still has to be respected and avoid writing information on the drive you’re trying to recover data from.

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

final rating 5
Editor's review