When your hard drive bites the dust, you have a serious problem on your hands. Ontrack EasyRecovery Lite offers a wide array of tools to recover from such disasters. From restoring accidental deletions to fixing damaged Word or ZIP files to salvaging files from a completely corrupted file system, the software's slick interface simplifies the recovery process. It can even run in DOS from a boot disk if Windows is disabled. With all of its features, EasyRecovery Lite is a bargain at only $89. And, unlike LC Technology File Recovery, which can recover only deleted files, EasyRecovery Lite restores data even if the drive becomes corrupted. But there's a catch: the Lite version allows you to recover only 25 files per session, making it unsuitable for big recovery efforts. To recover more files at one time, you'll need to pay $199 for the full version of EasyRecovery.
After you purchase and download the software online, EasyRecovery Lite installs with a standard Windows setup program. Once installed, EasyRecovery Lite asks you to create a self-booting emergency disk that lets you run a DOS version of the software. If you cannot boot Windows due to a damaged disk or a corrupted system, this is a very handy feature.
Once you're ready to recover files, a wizard walks you through the process with clear explanations of each step along the way. The program interface's left pane offers two main options: Data Recovery and File Repair tools. Selecting one of these options displays additional option icons in the main pane on the right. Select the appropriate icon depending on the type of recovery task you need to perform, and the wizards help you complete the task.
EasyRecovery Lite's icon-based interface makes it easy to find the features you want.
If, for example, your File Allocation Table (FAT) is corrupted, the software prompts you to select the disk or partition to salvage, then scans the disk or partition and creates a list of recoverable files. A filter mechanism lets you winnow down that list by filename or file type to help you focus on the specific files you want to recover. Another feature lets you search for specific filenames. You can then preview the recovered files and select where to save them once recovered, whether to another disk or even to an FTP site.
A free trial is available for download from the company's Web site, and it makes sense to scan your disk with the trial version to see if it will be able to recover your files before you purchase the software.
Typically, when Windows deletes a file or formats a drive, it doesn't physically erase the files from the disk. Only the disk's directory structure is erased or changed. That directory structure can also become damaged or corrupted, making a drive unusable, even if the file data is still physically on the disk.
EasyRecovery Lite searches a disk or partition for all recoverable files.
EasyRecovery Lite offers tools to recover otherwise inaccessible files. For instance, it can reinstate inadvertently deleted files, salvage files from a disk that has been formatted, and rescue files from a disk with a corrupted directory structure that is no longer usable in Windows. During the recovery process, you select which kind of salvage operation you are attempting to perform, which helps determine how the software goes about scanning the drive for missing files. In addition to salvaging deleted or missing files, the software can also repair specific file types. For instance, if you have a ZIP or Microsoft Word file that has become corrupted and can't be opened, EasyRecovery will analyze the file and attempt to repair it.
In addition to recovering deleted files, EasyRecovery Lite can also repair damaged Word and ZIP files.
Though powerful and effective, the Lite version of the software comes with a serious limitation: it recovers only 25 files per session. This limitation quickly becomes impractical if you are trying to salvage many directories containing multiple files--say, if your entire hard drive crashes--since the software would need to be shut down and restarted every time 25 files are recovered. The more expensive, standard version of the software has no such limitation.
Ontrack backs EasyRecovery Lite with toll-free phone support, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT. The software comes with a detailed Windows help file that explains how to use the software's many features, as well as a manual that comes as a PDF file; because the software is distributed mainly online, there's no printed manual. The company's Web site offers fast, accurate e-mail support as well as an extensive searchable database of frequently asked questions.
Ontrack's Web site features a searchable database of frequently asked questions.