Today we’re taking a look at MiniTool Power Data Recovery. This certainly isn’t a new program, in fact it’s been around for some time. As it was featured on giveawayoftheday.com recently we’ve decided that it’s time to review the latest version to see what’s new and post our results.
Warning! We are Data Recovery Professionals
We may tend to be more critical than your average reviewer, as we’ve used pretty much every data recovery tool there is from the free testdisk and photorec to the extremely expensive PC-3000 with Data Extractor. So we may make some tough comparisons in this article, please don’t take offense or rule out this rather handy program.
Overview of Features
As you can see in the picture here, Power Data Recovery breaks down it’s features into five categories. Undelete Recovery, Damaged Partition Recovery, Lost Partition Recovery, Digital Media Recovery, and CD/DVD Recovery. Let’s take a look at each of these features.
This is pretty much what it sounds like, it’s to find and recover deleted files. Please keep in mind though that it doesn’t use any file carving or RAW scan for lost files in this mode. It’s just the quick scan of the file tables for deleted files. But, if the file isn’t there this isn’t the feature for you. I found that on my system it found almost nothing in this mode. Probably because I always use Shift + Delete and not the recycle bin.
Damaged Partition Recovery
I find this name a bit misleading. It really has nothing to do with your partition, but rather the filesystem on your partition. This is where you want to go for sustained filesystem damage such as an OS over-install, delete where the recycle bin wasn’t used, or other cases of lost data requiring file carving. Perhaps the name “Damaged FileSystem Recovery” would be more appropriate, though I may be just getting overly technical about it.
In this mode, just a 1 minute scan (before I stopped it manually) found far more data than in undelete mode. The data is then displayed sorted by file type in a familiar file tree. One feature I definitely like is the check boxes making for easy selection of multiple files/folders for recovery. It’s a feature we often take for granted until we try to handle a complex recovery in a program without that (GetDataBack).
Lost Partition Recovery
This one is more what it’s name suggests. If you’ve deleted a partition, over installed your OS, or otherwise completely lost the logical volume your data was on then this is the one you want. It scans the physical volume looking for lost partitions and filesystems, then allows you to analyze and extract the data.
The result after the scan looks pretty identical to the file tree in the damaged partition scan with a similar file/folder tree. On the drive we tested it on there were no lost partitions. However given their track record I’d assume it’s capable of recognizing most typical filesystems such as FAT & NTFS. Though for HFS+, Ext4, etc. you’d probably need to buy the Mac version of their software.
Digital Media Recovery
This isn’t just a utility for scanning SD cards, though it certainly could be used for that. It’s also their RAW file carving utility which is capable of scanning hard drives as well.
I particularly like the fact that it gives you an explorer style window complete with thumbnails to make for easy sorting and finding of which files you actually want to recover and what’s just internet garbage from your browser cache.
As for it’s RAW scanning power, the program has a pretty extensive list of file types it’s capable of recovering in RAW. It’s certainly not the most extensive I’ve seen, but it covers most of the basic file types you’re likely to miss if you lose them.
One feature that I don’t see, but would like to, is the ability to add new file types such as how R-Studio allows for adding in custom file signatures. Or even how Data Rescue 4 allows for dropping in a new file type and it tries to identify the signatures. Certainly not a feature most people will need, but for those who do this often the need does arise.
I didn’t actually have a chance to test this feature as the laptop I’m testing with doesn’t even have an optical drive, but it seems pretty self explanatory what it does.
Pretty basic preview window for viewing images before they are recovered. Not much of any frills, but it is quite snappy and loads quickly. I’ve certainly seen better preview windows, but it does the job, and it’s simple.
Would be nice if it could preview more file types such as PDF, DOC, and video files. Although even the programs that do support those rarely do a good job at previewing those types. I guess it’s just nice that they at least try to implement those other file types in the preview.
It also includes a very, very basic hex viewer. I’m not sure what use this would be without even having basic search and edit features other than to just verify a signature of a file type that doesn’t allow previewing.
I think that given it’s price tag the software can definitely use to improve in this area. I’d love to see a more well rounded hex editor such as what’s included with R-Studio or GetDataBack.
The Good: It’s very easy to use, easier than many many others. So it’s a great choice for those with more casual data recovery needs who don’t expect to need more advanced features. It’s also quite well rounded in it’s features making it good for a variety of situations. It’s also one of the nicer looking programs I’ve used (especially when compared with the new Simple Data Recovery from Runtime).
The Bad: No features for RAID reconstruction and recovery. Only works on Windows filesystems (FAT & NTFS). For the same $69 price range, you can certainly get more powerful software such as R-Studio from R-tt or GetDataBack from Runtime (yes it’s ugly, but powerful).
However, this may still be a good choice for many people. Many of the more powerful programs are better suited to those with more technical expertise and may be confusing to beginners. I personally don’t expect to buy any licenses, as my needs are a bit more complex, but this may be a good choice for you if you’re only looking for an easy to use program that can still work in most cases.
Overall Rating by Us