Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard Professional
by Chris Taylor

F:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable. A minor annoyance if you have a good backup. No problem if drive F contains nothing imprtant.

 Figure 1 - Heart-stopping message
But, when my son Michael ran into this and had no backup and drive F contained the only copies of his photos from a school trip to France and Italy, well, it was kind of heart stopping.

Rebooting didn't help. Facing Redmond and sacrificing a Macintosh-formatted floppy didn't help. And building a time machine so we could go back and make a backup before this occurred seemed like just a tad too much trouble.

A friend with great knowledge in the structure of files, the NTFS Master File Table, partition tables and directories tried. Alas, little was recovered. And so the disk sat on the shelf for over a year.

Then a company by the name of EASEUS contacted me and told me they wanted to donate some software to the OPCUG. One of those pieces of software was Data Recovery Wizard Professional v4.3.6 (called DRWP from here on). I decided I would give it a try and write a review for the newsletter.

 Figure 2 - Opening screen
When DRWP loads, the interface is downright Spartan, with three buttons labeled Deleted File Recovery, Complete Recovery, and Partition Recovery. The help file pointed me to the second button as my best choice. This led to a screen that showed all locally attached storage. It correctly identified my F drive as a Maxtor OneTouch II USB Device. I selected that and clicked the Next button.

A dialog box labeled Intelligent Searching told me it was going to run for about 6 hours, so I went to bed while it happily went about its business.

            Figure 3 - Searching for files

Figure 4 - Corrupted file
In the morning, DRWP had found 21,344 files totalling 187 GB. There were two categories of files found - Raw Files and Lost Files. The help file told me I should recover both. DRWP needs to recover files to a different drive, so I cleared off a couple of hundred GB on my LaCie Terabyte drive and started the restoration.

DRWP started with Raw Files and created a series of directories on the destination drive for types of files, such as JPEG Graphics File and MP3 Music File. After a couple of hours, these directories were filled with files with names like FILE001.JPG and FILE650.MP3. Okay, so the file names and directories they came from were lost. But if the data was good... Alas, the data was not good. All but the smallest of files seemed to start with good data, but then have junk afterwards. And it found a disappointing 3,346 files. What about the other 17,998 files?


It turns out that the Raw Files are just scraps that DRWP found on disk that did not match up with any of the directory information that was recovered. DRWP recovers these files by ignoring the file structures and looking at the unallocated space on disk. It finds the signatures of different file types by their headers. They were files that had been deleted over time. In many cases, parts of the disk were re-used for other files and so only fragments were found by DRWP. If the file structures that define where the files are (partition table, Master File Table, and directories) had all been unrecoverable, I would have been left with just Raw Files. If the files had used contiguous space on disk, they would have been mostly recoverable. I would have only lost the file names.

After it finished with Raw Files, DRWP started on the Lost Files. All of a sudden, it was building the original directory structure on the destination drive and filling it with files with correct names, such as France Trip (first half) 781.jpg and Blue Rodeo - Bad Timing.mp3. It was truly amazing to see the files coming back.

 Figure 5 - 21,342 files recovered!
A couple of hours later, it reported that it had recovered 21,342 out of 21,344 files. And this time, every single one of the files was perfect! Okay, I haven't checked all 21,342 yet.

I asked Michael what it would be worth to him if I could recover all his files from the corrupted drive. Does it count if he promised to try to keep the kitchen clean?

Other magic DRWP can perform includes recovering deleted files, formatted hard drives, and disks with damaged or missing partition tables.

DRWP can deal with disks with FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, EXT2, and EXT3 file systems. It supports IDE/ATA, SATA, SCSI, USB, Fire wire (IEEE1394) hard disks and other media such as floppy disk, USB flash drive, digital camera, and digital audio players.

A couple of tips: First, if you have to count on the Raw Files recovery, it helps if files are contiguous, so you will improve your chances immensely if you keep your hard drives defragmented. And second, if you have a problem with a drive and you think you will need to perform a recovery, STOP doing anything that could be writing to the disk. Any writing will decrease the chances of recovery.

I wonder what was in those two files that could not be recovered. Oh well, I guess a 99.991% success rate is pretty good.

While EASUS has some other software for recovering lost data, DRWP is the most comprehensive. Visit their web site at www.easeus.com to see other programs they have. And pick up a copy of the free program for managing disk partitions, Partition Master.


Bottom Line:

EASEUS Data Recovery Wizard Professional v4.3.6
http://www.easeus.com/datarecoverywizardpro/
US$89.95

System requirements:
Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista
128MB RAM minimum
32 MB disk space for installation
Enough space on a good drive to store the files recovered from the bad drive

EASUS is offering a 20% discount on the purchase price of DRWP as well as any other of their commercial software.


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Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

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