By: Piriform Ltd.
Ain’t it amazing to collect so many movies, songs, videos, and documents from around, and watch them at your own place? Well, you may get a shock when all these data suddenly goes boom! We mean, hard disk failure, crashes, or accidental deletions!
It can be such a drastic situation to handle. Imagine the pain after all your critical files get lost with a shift + delete combo. In such cases, our sole savior is a Data Recovery Tool. With such tools, data recovery of all kinds of file is possible.
Among such data recovery tools, Recuva, from one of the popular software company Piriform Ltd., comes to our mind. Piriform, after being formed in 2005, London, had launched Recuva later in 2007. After that, the software has made some drastic progress to help people recover their lost data.
Although having a minimalist setup, it has gained quite a popularity along the lines of other sibling product, CCleaner. In this review, Recuva is to be verified, and compared with other counterpart products in the data recovery field.
After the review, users can themselves give us a verdict if the software performed as per their needs, or not.
One of the most key objective of any backup tool, is restoring data from a drive. This recovery process is done using an integral recovery system of hard drives. Some of you may not know this procedure, and so we explain you in brief about it.
Like a book, hard drives are categorized into several sectors, most of which are divided equally. Similar to books, some pages are filled while some are empty. The filled pages are working data sectors, while blank pages are the empty ones.
Although, the inbuilt recovery system of modern storage device does not entirely removes data from these pages. Just like the pages in Tom Riddle’s Diary, this deleted data is hidden/inaccessible for practical means.
To access them, we need magic spells from these data recovery tools, or say program codes to access them. Now, not everyone can access these spells, and so they need help from these recovery tools.
A data recovery tool simply uses some program codes to access the data in deleted sectors. After which, they recover these data from there. However, this is only possible if those sectors were not accessed with a drive wiper tool, which happens to empty these sectors permanently.
And so, in standard scenarios like accidental deletes, drive crashes, etc., this data is recoverable. With that, we have to check our tool Recuva for same. There are methods beyond this review to recover data from highly corrupted drives. For now, we are going to stick to normal standards.
Once you have set up the product, access these drives to backup files. From here, you scan the drives for recovering files. Once the scan is done, simply select the files and recover them.
This is a typical practice in data recovery software. However, the setup of Recuva is minuscule. Apart from scan and recover, there are no options to choose different types of data recovery, no partition management system, no file format selection or pre-scan filters, etc. It severely lacks many core functionalities found in other top data recovery tools like MiniTool data recovery, EaseUS, Stellar, etc.
However, we will still check the given features in the software and then decide its real worth. We are hoping, that if not advanced data recovery, Recuva must be able to do at least some essential functions.
As said before, Recuva is mostly used for elementary data recovery. It doesn’t have any of the advanced features like other comparable top products.
First of all, the main setup of Recuva consists only a drive browser, a scan button, and a recovery button. There’s a panel on right with file preview, info, and headers.
A search button is given too for searching files from scan results. Like other Piriform products, users can see system info on the top left bar. The recover button is at the bottom right of setup, along with checkboxes, to select files from the scan results.
As you can see, the setup is highly novice friendly. In the beginning, users must select a drive that they want for data recovery. After that, use the scan button to allow the software to inspect the drive for deleted data.
It may take some time for the scanning to be complete. Let us try this scan feature.
When it comes to scanning the disks for recovering data, there are several ways for it. This can be based on category of files to recover, method of data erasure, size of data, device selected for recovery, and many more.
Among all these, Recuva has none of the varied options as above. All the above options are basic scan-criteria for any data recovery tool. Without them, the setup is very dull, and it is totally stressful to sort out relevant data from total scan results.
Once the scan finishes, the result tab is shown. In that tab, there are fields which display filename, path, last modified, size, file state, and comments. Apart from this, there are three fields on side as preview, info, and headers.
Like usual, these elements had standard fields. Users can sort out the results based on either of them. The Status Tab had options to delete status and check file condition. There were some non-deleted file results too in the scan which was a bummer.
First of all, why not to categorize these results? Then, allow us to have a filter, using which we can isolate such undelete files for recovery. We think advanced users who have used many top recovery tools, might have the most annoying experience with this.
Although, they have given a small UI touch with colored radio buttons in front of these files. The white+ green will show the undelete files, dark green for recoverable files, orange for medium recovery possibility, and red for unrecoverable files.
Then, talking of the scan period compared to top tools like EaseUS, MiniTool, Stellar, etc., it took way too long for the scan. The drive in use was only 10% filled, with delete history within 8 months. The above tools only took 15-25 minutes for scanning the drive whereas Recuva took around 45 minutes for the same.
Not only that, the categorization of scan results was much better in these products than Recuva. If Piriform is serious about the future of this product, they have a very long way for the top position.
Since an advanced filter button is not given, Recuva has added an alternative in the scan function itself. From the scan menu, select Scan Contents Button. In this new pop-up, users need to put the filename in the name string, and select the format from below.
Press scan now button after the filter criteria is filled. From here, there are some unusual file type selections too. In the pop-up, add file name in the string portion, and then pick an extension of the searched file. These are limited to TXT, DOC, DOCX, XML, HTML, HTM, MP3 AND .EML.
Overall, this worked pretty hastily. It is not the kind of feature beginner users can work with. Simple filter option for scanning, based on file formats, file size, letters, etc. could have made it modest for everyone else to configure.
Now, on to the worst part of scan results, i.e., the results cannot be saved or exported elsewhere for reviewing them. It was very frustrating that we had to scan the drives repeatedly to check for specific files.
A save button for scan results is no brainer to be included in a data recovery tool. It is still okay if the deep scan takes longer time, but inability to save those results is really annoying. This seriously halts the credibility of tool, especially if they can’t even provide a vital function.
Once again, the file view can be changed from the settings menu. This is again, a UI blunder. File view change icon must be given in the scan result tab itself, and not separately. To compensate, it can be accessed by right-clicking on a file too.
Lastly, in the scan results, we need to explore side panels too. The first option in it is the preview tab — another namesake feature. It seldomly works for image files, with no response for other file types like text, doc, pdf, etc., which are quite necessary.
Next was file info tab, which again shows same information we see in the list view of results. Only additional info was the cluster allocation of that file in the disk drive. The last one, header info, showed the hex code of the file, which honestly had very little use in the recovery software.
This ends the scan results section. So far, apart from indispensable drive scan, file details, etc., there were many sophisticated features missing compared to top products. Recuva needs to make a hell lot of efforts to come on top position in this market. Without proper implementation of functions and neglecting advanced functions will worsen their reputation.
Now, after going through the scan results, we need to make sure the files are working correctly after the recovery. If they are not, then the software is not good.
Once a recovery tool scans the drive, users are free to select files individually, and then recover them. As pointed out earlier by us, without the feature to properly filter the files from scan results, it is going to be one big mess to find out nameless files from significant file clusters.
For starters, we used the recovery option to recover MS Word document files. These were all less than 50 kb, and so we believe recovering them must not be an issue.
We selected healthy files first. This is to ensure proper file recovery without any hassle. After the recovery was successful, we went to the folders for checking that file.
To our surprise, the files will not open. Even though it showed as healthy, it was corrupt. Compared to this, same files recovered by us using tools like EaseUS, Stellar, etc., and were accessible from the get-go.
In case of Recuva, using the word recovery tool was also futile for some of the recovered files. The recovered images worked fine. But then, most of the items that were under the non-recoverable zone were recoverable in other similar products.
This was a learning lesson for Recuva once again. With scan results from Recuva, we got around 1700 files detected for recovery whereas other tools suggested recovery of up to 2.5k files, including system files and even 4-year-old files.
This again lowers the comparative performance ratings for Recuva. Still, the recovery of most video files was corrupted. As we had tested other tools for some higher quality files like 2k and 4k video files, we did the same with the Recuva.
The good thing was that, for non-deleted files, Recuva was able to recover them properly, and the files worked smoothly. But, the files lost in deleted partition were not appropriately recovered. Even video files as small as 35 MB were corrupted and not playable.
This has to be improved by Recuva. Overall, most files under the green mark were accessible. The recovery chance of even these files was 50/50. So much randomness is not right in this software category.
Other tools have much improved UI and functions, which must be perceived by Recuva. Overall, it was an analogous experience as in the result’s section. Too much underwhelming to be honest.
Now, we have seen both data scan, and data recovery of this tool. So, what’s this deal with Data Recovery Wizard? And what is the Disk Image feature?
Both of these questions may be dribbling in the minds of novice readers. Worry not, both of these are part of data recovery in Recuva. Data recovery wizard is a for the novice users whereas the disk image feature is one of the advanced features in Recuva.
In the data recovery wizard, apart for scan results, file recovery is same as discoursed above. Only difference is that users get options to choose file types for the scan directly.
On the main interface of data recovery wizard, there’s a list of file types for recovery. It has options for audio, video, documents, images, etc. In this section, If not from one of these, you can pick the All File Types button.
After that, you can produce a disk image. Then, choose the directory for recovery. Choose the target drive to be scanned and check the Deep Scan option.
After this, the tool scans entire drive for all types of files. This tool took almost 50 minutes for scanning the drive. After that, the results were auto displayed on the interface.
From the search bar on top, the program auto sets standard file types as in video, audio, documents, compressed, images, and emails. This must have been added in the filter section of the scan results.
For the last feature, i.e., disk image, it is pretty meek. Users can create replica image of a disk drive. After this, same image-file can be used to make a recovery later on. This is sort of substitute for saving scan results, albeit a very long process.
Both of these features were quite decent, but as we said, they were not too astonishing. Similar products have way much better features than what given in here. MiniTool, EaseUS, Stellar, etc., have created a top-end product for data recovery, with sophisticated, as well as novice-friendly UI.
As far as it goes for the concluding words, we can tell that Recuva needs a lot of features, as well as a UI update, for competing with top brands in the market. Piriform is a very reputed company known famously for its CCleaner product.
This is why we hope, that they start by comparing their own product with others. If you ask us to recommend this data recovery tool, our choice would be EaseUS or Stellar, given that they provide a complete set of tools for this purpose.
For now, unless you really want to explore Recuva, we wouldn’t endorse you to purchase it. The price is very cheap at $ 20, but most probably you will miss out on other features, which you can get at $ 90-lifetime license in other similar products.