Seagate has launched File Recovery for Windows software, designed to recover deleted or damaged files from a Windows disk or USB stick.
It functions on local and network disks, even if such partitions are formatted, damaged or deleted, but it cannot recover files from a physically damaged hard drive. It can deal with compressed and encrypted files and has a file preview feature to let you know how recoverable most files are.
How does it work? FRfW reads disk blocks and uses pattern matching to reconstruct folder and file data and metadata. It operates in one of two modes:
-- In file search mode it analyzes tables in found partitions and displays all found files, including recently deleted files for which records remain. If files have not been found, that means that their records have been deleted. In this case, the second mode must be used.
-- In disk scan mode FRfW scans all or part of a disk. Using a number of statistical and deterministic criteria known as IntelligentScan technology, it reconstructs existing or 'existed' partitions on the disk, and their file systems. Once lost partitions are found they can be read in file search mode.
FRfW recovers file types such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook PST's, databases, AutoCAD, Microsoft SQL as well as all popular photo formats. Music and movie files such as MPEG, AVI, and MP3 files can be found by the software, and it recovers files deleted from the Recycle Bin, even if the hard drive has been accidentally formatted.
It supports all FAT12/16/32 and NTFS file systems running Windows, even if partitions are formatted, damaged or deleted. If your files are lost due to a virus, malicious hack attack or an operating system crash, Seagate claims this software can get them back.
You don't require any technical skills to use FRfW, according to Seagate, although the site of screens full of hexadecimal code may make some blanch.
Download a demo version to see what files are recoverable on your media. It will tell you which deleted and damaged files exist and are recoverable. If you decide to go and recover them then buy it online for US$139.
Seagate says FRfW is cheaper than using commercial recovery services such as CBL and Ontrack Data Recovery.
Unfortunately Seagate doesn't tell us that Ontrack itself provides DIY data recovery software, as its website explains:
-- EasyRecovery Lite 6.1 - Individual Edition -- Do-it-yourself data recovery with added repair capabilities for Zip files. Recover up to 25 files per recovery session. Use to perform recoveries on 5 drives.
The download cost is $89, cheaper than Seagate's software. Professional-level Ontrack software costs upwards of $1,400. Like Seagate and CBL, Ontrack offers a recovery service under which it works on hard drives delivered to it.