Consumer Reports Data Recovery

Wednesday, April 6th.

2022 Data Recovery Product Reviews

O&O Software

  • Ontrack is a data recovery software service that has been around since 1985.
  • They specialize in helping Windows, Mac, and iOS users recover from loss of files, photos, and other media.
  • They perform an average of 50,000 data recovery operations per year.
  • The software provides increasing amounts of capabilities the further up the pricing tier you go.
  • It has few complaints and does a great job of data recovery, earning Ontrack our highest recommendation in the industry.
  • Salvage Data is an ISO certified full-service data recovery company that offers free, do-it-yourself software as well as on-site data recovery services.
  • This is a company you'll want to use if you have data that is critically important, or hard drives and other storage media that are too compromised to try to deal with yourself.

Wondershare Recoverit comes in PC and Mac versions and is geared for individuals, teams and businesses. Wondershare's price points for its Recoverit software are low enough to be affordable for most people and high enough to show that they take your data recovery needs seriously. Some problems with the software exist, but support representatives are actively addressing complaints. EaseUS offers three main products to help you manage unlimited backups and data recovery: Data Recovery Wizard, Partition Master, and Todo Backup.

Since 2004, EaseUS has helped individuals, small- and medium-sized businesses, and enterprises manage disk backup, security, and recovery.

It comes in three tiers of pricing: Free, Pro, and Pro+Bootable with a 30-day warranty.

  • Mixed customer feedback is the main reason EaseUS doesn't come in a little higher in the rankings among data recovery services.
  • Stellar is a data recovery software and services company that is ISO certified.
  • It offers software for individuals, professionals, and businesses to recover and repair all types of files from a variety of devices.
  • There's something for everyone in their array of software and services.

Customer feedback on the products is generally positive with only a few complaints, earning this data recovery platform a high ranking among the competition. O&O Software is based in Berlin, Germany and is a Microsoft Gold-Level Partner that helps individuals and companies improve data workflow and capabilities.

Their software focuses on backups, transfers, data rescue and protection, as well as system optimization.

They are Microsoft certified, but unfortunately don't support MacOS, so Mac users will have to look elsewhere. Remo Recover by Remo Software is a Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS file recovery suite that promises complete data recovery and file repair for every type of file and device.

However, user experiences indicate that this data recovery service is difficult to understand and use, and you may wind up feeling like you've been duped into paying for software when you expected a free version.

You may want to look elsewhere for more straightforward data recovery help. Among the lower-cost options for data recovery, Wise Data Recovery stands out a bit more from the rest, but just barely. The dizzying array of options presented on their website is hard to make sense of if you don't know what you need, so if you're going to use this software, stick with the All-in-One offering.

Otherwise, you may want to look at some of the more highly-rated data recovery services in our review.

Undelete File Recovery is an uncomplicated, bare-bones approach to data recovery software. And, that is its primary weakness in an age when data recovery is more complicated than ever.

  • Undelete File Recovery is suited to an earlier and simpler era of computing, so it's not likely to be a good option for most users.
  • The Technician edition ($299) includes all functionality of the Premium version plus software licenses for installation on multiple devices, a license for commercial use, recovery of data from RAID volumes, and creation of a virtual RAID volume.
  • Finally, The Toolkit version ($499) includes everything from the Technician version plus support for Windows, Mac, and Linux and the ability to create disk images.

Strong positive reputation

Customer reviews of Ontrack data recovery solutions are quite positive on the whole. The users love the speed and user interface of the software as well as helpful customer support representatives. Plus, Ontrack has both an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau: further evidence that this data recovery service is well worth the praise it receives.

Best data recovery option for all users

For every type of data disaster, Ontrack has a solution. Whether you're the average home user or an IT professional, you'll find a data recovery package that will help you salvage what you thought was lost - affordably and effectively. Ontrack gets our highest recommendation among data recovery software platforms.

Undelete File Recovery

  • Cost: Free (DIY full version software), $200 to $1,900 for hands-on recovery by technicians
  • If data is not found, there is a "No Data, No Charge" policy
  • 96% of data recovery projects succeed
  • SOC 3 Type III security and privacy protocols to keep your sensitive documents, images, and data from falling into the wrong hands
  • 24/7 emergency recovery and top-notch customer service
  • Straightforward and easy to understand pricing
  • Free estimates and quote

Salvage Data offers free, fully-featured do-it-yourself data recovery software for Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you have the courage to try to recover your own data from your computer and portable storage media, that's a price that can't really be beat.

Easy DIY data recovery

Just download the software, install it, and follow the steps of data recovery that it offers. If you get stuck, you can open a case on the website or call the toll-free phone number for immediate assistance with your problem. The technician will guide you or help you escalate the problem to higher-tier support personnel.

Professional help available too

For data recovery projects that require a more trained hand, you might want to consider their full-service option. You can begin by starting a case at their website. Then, you can drop off or mail your hard drive, SSD drive, USB stick, or other storage device to one of their locations nationwide.

ISO certified = safer data recovery

Salvage Data is ISO 9001 certified, which means that they've met very stringent criteria for industry standards in data recovery technologies and procedures. For example, if your hard drive needs to be opened to be serviced, you don't want that done in an unclean environment where the air is full of dust particles. That should only be done in an ISO-5 "clean room" by technicians who are ISO certified and have the skills to keep the inner workings of the storage device from becoming even more damaged. Because of the ISO certification, Salvage Data is also certified by major data storage manufacturers as a trusted partner.

Software Features:

  • Data recovery
  • Drive imaging
  • Drive cloning
  • Complete drive wiping/deletion
  • Supported technologies: MacBook/iMac, HDD, SSD, PC/laptop, External Disk, Video Player, CF/XD/MMC/RAIDCF/SD card, Zip Drive, Pen Drive, USB Drive, Micro Card, iPod, MP3, MP4, Digital Camera, Music Player
  • Supported OSes: MacOS 10.6-10.14, Windows Server 2003-Windows 10.
  • Supported file systems: APFS, HFS+, HFS X, FAT (FAT12, FAT16, FAT32), exFAT, NTFS, NTFS5, ext2/ext3, ReFS, CPU

Reasonable pricing for top-notch services

Salvage Data is really tough to beat on price and quality of service. You get both the option of do-it-yourself data recovery and having highly-qualified technicians do the work for you at a reasonable price (from $200 to $1900, depending on the case).

Some strong positives

Reviews of the service were mostly positive. The Better Business Bureau gives Salvage Data an "A+" rating, and only two complaints had been registered there in the three years leading up to our evaluation.

A few negatives

The negative reviews did highlight some concerns in terms of additional fees charged for already-opened hard drives, or a ship back fee for non-recoverable storage that was not specified on the website nor in the signup process. However, on the website in the pricing and process section, these facts were indeed spelled out.

Great option for hands-on professional help

Salvage Data makes it easy to recover your data, whether you choose the do-it-yourself free version or the expertise of a trusted professional to do it for you. We encourage you to read the terms of service carefully; the company spells everything out very clearly but you should make sure you understand what you're getting and/or paying for. Out of all of the data recovery services we evaluated, Salvage Data is our preferred choice for hands-on professional attention (and their DIY services are solid too).

Stellar

  • Cost: Free for 100GB of file recovery; $79.95/year to $139.95/year for individuals and teams. Call for pricing for businesses. Discounts for students and teachers.
  • Restore over 1,000 file formats
  • Deep scan and preview files to recover
  • Free tech support
  • Multiple device type support
  • Create bootable removable disks and USBs
  • Advanced recovery of video files, including video fragments
  • Repair corrupted files

Wondershare Recoverit for Mac and PC computers helps everyone from individuals to teams and businesses recover lost or corrupted files on their devices. It costs between $80 and $140 for a one year license. The subscription-based fee structure is geared more towards computer users who have a regular and ongoing need for access to regularly updated tools for data recovery.

Fully-featured data recovery platform

The software license comes with a money-back guarantee of 7 days from the purchase date, free software updates during the subscription period, support from knowledgeable representatives via live chat and email response within 24 hours. Your privacy and personal data is protected with encryption and fraud protection measures.

Pricing up to $140/year, free for the first 100GB recovered

You can get your first 100GB of files recovered through Wondershare at no cost. If you expect to need to recover more data or to use the service on a regular basis, you'll pay an annual subscription of up to just short of $140/year. Your pricing will vary based on the level of service you need. We encourage you to visit the Wondershare site to determine which package is best for you and the most updated cost list. Also, students can enjoy a 30% discount on the software subscription after verifying their student status with a third-party verification service.

Mostly positive reviews

Reviews of Wondershare Recoverit are fairly positive with people liking the quick and accurate recovery of files, good customer service, and ease of use. There was room for complaints from individuals who had bad customer service experiences or whose files were not fully recovered, or weren't recovered at all. However, the support team at Wondershare are actively responding to customer complaints online and offering help and alternative products.

Incongruent low rating from the BBB

We also feel it necessary to mention that the company had an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau at the time of this evaluation - which we found somewhat puzzling, given the overall positive response we found from Wondershare users elsewhere on the internet.

Good software, but check most recent reviews first

Wondershare Recoverit makes good data recovery software. Just be sure to give a quick read through some of the negative reviews and how they're handled by customer support to learn how to avoid any unforeseen problems, before you commit to using the service. If current customer reviews look positive, we encourage you to look seriously at using Wondershare Recoverit for your data recovery needs.

Wise Data Recovery

  • Cost: Between Free to $499 depending on the plan type
  • Recover unlimited amounts of data, including thousands of file types
  • Preview files before they're recovered so you know what you're recovering
  • Recover data from a deleted, hidden, lost or RAW disk partition
  • Get free remote consultations from EaseUS specialists
  • Before a system fails or crashes, create a bootable USB for data recovery after the crash

EaseUS has 72 million users and 17 years of experience in data recovery for individuals and businesses. EaseUS offers a 30-day money back guarantee on data recovery services with free technical support. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android operating systems, including as far back as Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 for legacy data recovery.

3 available consumer tiers of data recovery service

There are three main tiers of pricing for EaseUS: Free, Pro, and Pro+Bootable.

  • With the Free version, for $0.00, you get recovery of up to 2GB of data, preview before recovery, and recovery of data from deleted, hidden, lost, or RAW partitions.
  • With the Pro version, which costs $69.95/month, $99.95/year, or $149.95 for a lifetime, you get everything in the Free version, plus recovery of unlimited data, and remote help from EaseUS technical specialists in recovering your data.
  • With the Pro+Bootable version, which costs $99.90, you get everything in the Pro version plus creating a bootable USB for data recovery when the system fails to start or crashes.

Available plan for business users

A technician version, at between $299/year, $399/2 years, and $499 lifetime is also available which allows small- and medium-sized businesses and enterprises to distribute and run data recovery software at scale within their organization, with support from EaseUS specialists to help the company's help desk technicians doing the data recovery.

Even trashed files can be recovered!

An additional capability is that EaseUS can recover and repair photos, documents, music and video files, even if they've been permanently deleted by emptying the "trash" on the file system or if the disk has been formatted.

Plenty of support on hand

The EaseUS website offers a full user guide, plus a number of self-help articles and videos to get you from start to finish with a data recovery operation. If you get stuck, you can contact their experts via phone, email, or live chat for assistance at no additional charge. However, there are different levels of support depending on the plan that you purchase.

Customer reviews are a mixed bag

Customer sentiment about EaseUS data recovery software is somewhat split. Those who like EaseUS appreciate its ease of use, support, and the time they saved using EaseUS vs. other solutions. We found more than 1800 people who gave EaseUS a 5-star rating. On the other hand, those who complained said they didn't like that they weren't able to fully redeem the 30-day warranty because of technical issues, support availability only during inconvenient hours, support representative incompetence, and unrecoverable files. Over 300 users gave this data recovery platform the lowest possible rating of 1 star.

Tentative recommendation

There's a lot to like about EaseUS, especially with millions of users and nearly two decades of experience with data recovery. But, there are enough concerns to temper our enthusiasm. We give this service our tentative recommendation, though we recommend that you consider the platforms with stronger customer feedback before deciding to use EaseUS for data recovery.

EaseUS

  • Cost: Free to $149 for a lifetime license; up to $299 for individual professional technician versions; up to $1,999 for business versions
  • Recovery of encrypted drives
  • Support for formatted drives
  • Data retrieval from any storage media
  • Restoration of deleted videos, photos, and other media
  • Lost partition recovery
  • Unbootable system restoration
  • Optical media support

Stellar provides software and services for data recovery to everyone from the casual home computing user to large businesses. Based in India, they're ISO certified and handle data recovery projects from all over the world.

Licenses available for entities of all sizes

Their software, which can be purchased directly on the website, includes a free version. The software increases in price as more features are made available or as the users of the software are employing it in larger and more complex business environments. For example, you'll pay up to $149 as a regular consumer user if you want a lifetime license, but the business version is $1999 for the same license (which, of course, makes sense: the amount of potential data to recover from home user is vastly smaller than the data of a business!).

Available for Windows, Mac, iPhone users

Windows, Mac, and iPhone device users will find support for recovery of data, videos, photos, emails, and much more. On the business side, there is a heavy emphasis on email inbox file repair and conversion between different formats as well as repair of various office document types that have become corrupted or erased.

Mostly positive reputation

Reviews of Stellar are very positive, with people liking sales and customer support experiences, the success of the data recovery routines, and the overall quality of the software. The few negative reviews talked about not getting activation codes via email, customer service issues, and various problems with the software on specific drives. Also, the BBB gives Stellar a "B+" rating. There was an alert from 2018 on their listing, at the time of this review, that described a pattern of Stellar refusing to honor the 30-day refund policy. Fortunately, those issues largely seem to have been resolved.

Not the best, but definitely not the worst

At the end of the day, you want data recovery that isn't going to cost an arm and a leg, and Stellar definitely has options (you can't beat free, after all, and some of their licenses won't cost you a thing). We're a little less than impressed with their reputation, particularly the Better Business Bureau's alert, but Stellar may still be worth looking at if you need data recovery services.

Remo Software

  • Cost: $50-$99 for individual/home use, $399-$990 for enterprise use
  • Wizard that is simple to use for searching out and recovering files
  • Improved data recovery methods
  • Prior to recovery you can preview files
  • Recover an unlimited number of files
  • Two forms of scan: Quick Scan and Deep Scan
  • Over 400 different recoverable file types
  • Support for every kind of Windows-based storage device and even digital cameras
  • Installs quickly
  • User-defined profiles

O&O Software offers data management solutions that address four areas: backup and transfer, systems and data rescue, system optimization, and systems and data protection. O&O, which is based out of Berlin, Germany, has a long-standing Gold Microsoft Partner certification, which means they have all the training, expertise, and resources you'll need to help you in your data recovery projects.

Data recovery for individuals and businesses

O&O Software has solutions for personal and corporate-level data protection and recovery. On the data recovery side, they provide:

  • O&O DiskRecovery - This software digs through every sector of a hard disk or other storage media to find files that were once thought lost and recovers them. It works for 400+ file types.
  • O&O MediaRecovery - MediaRecovery software finds and recovers priceless photos and video of family members, special events, vacation, etc. that you once thought were lost forever. It can also recover songs and other media files.
  • O&O BlueCon - For when a computer won't start at all, you'll need BlueCon software. Even if your computer is stuck at the dreaded "blue screen of death" , BlueCon can still nondestructively boot into the operating system, then find and recover data. It can even recover data from computers that are remote (in the cloud).
  • O&O RegEditor - Sometimes a computer gets into a corrupted state when the Windows Registry is overwritten with bad data. RegEditor software improves on the native Windows regedit experience as it helps you access and edit the registry quickly and easily.

Helpful support, plus trial version

O&O provides an extensive support page on their website to help you work through your data recovery process. A trial version of their software is available for evaluation as well.

Perfect... but only if you have a Microsoft operating system

The strengths O&O Software products provide are the Gold-level Microsoft Partnership and their specialization in all modern Microsoft operating system versions. The software is sophisticated enough for experienced corporate IT professionals while still being accessible to home users. However, if you're looking for help from O&O for a Mac OS computer, you'll need to search elsewhere. For that reason alone, this company winds up in the middle of the pack among data recovery services.

Ontrack

  • Cost: From $49.97 to $99.97
  • Recovery of lost or accidentally deleted files
  • Recovery of lost or erased hard drive partitions
  • Data recovery after a computer or mobile device crash
  • Advanced data recovery options
  • Full awareness of what files you're recovering
  • Restoration of media files
  • Data recovery after storage has been formatted
  • Multiple file system support
  • Save and resume recovery sessions
  • Read-only software that will not write new data to a file system that is being recovered

Remo Recover software recovers and repairs files on computers running MacOS, Windows, Android, and iOS operating systems. With it you can restore deleted files, recover partitions, recover photos, repair Outlook PST files, repair video files, and recover data from whole hard drives. After installing the software, in only four steps you are able to recover your files, even if they were deleted using Shift+Delete or other usually destructive types of deletion.

Instructions provided - but not for MacOS or mobile users

Installing Remo Recover is a matter of downloading the installation program and running it on your computer or device. Follow the setup workflow and it should install correctly. Unfortunately, the help section of the website is short on details in that it seems to focus only on installation and usage instructions for Windows operating systems. There doesn't appear to be any instructions for MacOS users or for mobile devices.

Doesn't deliver what it promises

The support information also seems to be written by a non-English speaker or by someone who uses awkward phrases and idioms, making what should be a straightforward technical document into something too personal and confusing. Downloading the free version immediately results in a prompt to upgrade to the paid version before being able to use the software, which feels like a bait and switch technique. And, the money-back guarantee criteria that customers have to meet seem to be in conflict with one another on various points.

Not the best option out there

While we found hundreds of positive reviews online, Remo Software didn't have a listing with the Better Business Bureau. Combine that with the confusing user experience and the lack of instructions for mobile and MacOS customers, and it's easy to see why this data recovery service fails to rank among the best of the best. Remo Recover needs some more work before you should consider trying to use it for important data recovery projects.

Salvage Data

  • Cost: Free or $44.96 and $67.46 for PC; $79.99 and $99.99 for Mac
  • Recover documents, images, audio, video, email, and dozens of other file types
  • Restore data from all different types of devices and file system formats
  • Perform a quick scan or an advanced scan
  • Portable version avoids data overwrites via running from a flash drive
  • Compatible with Windows XP up to Windows 10

Wise Data Recovery software products do a lot of things to help you keep your PC and Mac under control as well as recover your data. The variety of individual programs offered also has the potential to be quite confusing to the average non-technical user. The Wise Data Recovery (PC) and Data Recovery for Mac tools are the subject of this review.

Free options, but not for data recovery

The PC and Mac recovery software comes in two versions, free and $29.95. Note that the free version doesn't do any data recovery, but is more for speed optimization and diagnostics.

Not much to offer

Reviewers complained that it didn't fully scan their storage, nor did it recover all of the data. What good is a data recovery service...that doesn't actually do the job? We also were far less than impressed with this site after noticing that it didn't have a secure URL. In terms of protecting data, that's the first thing that any self-respecting IT company should do - but Wise failed to do so.

Not a good option for most people, even if it's free

At best, Wise Data Recovery is a method to try if you have a few files to recover that are of marginal importance, but avoid this if you have anything more substantial to restore. Since that would apply to, well, pretty much everyone, we can't recommend using this data recovery platform over the more robust services we evaluated.

Wondershare

  • Cost: $24.95 one-time fee
  • Button to run a scan for deleted files
  • Button to run an advanced scan for deleted files
  • Buttons to recover discovered files
  • Functional "Buy Now" button on the website leading to a completely different website to complete the transaction
  • Non-functional "Contact Us" page on the website

Undelete File Recovery software is the cheapest available among the solutions we reviewed. At just $24.95, it is within most people's budgets, especially when compared to the hundreds or even thousands of dollars that many data recovery companies will charge to restore precious data.

Should you entrust your data recovery to inexpensive software?

But that's also the weak spot for Undelete File Recovery. The maxim "you get what you pay for" is as true with data recovery as with anything else. If you have just one or two files you're trying to recover, it would make sense to pay less and Undelete File Recovery just might work for you. However, if you've lost thousands of precious and irreplaceable digital family photos, videos, and perhaps your financial records, are you really going to want to trust a $24.95 piece of software? Or will it be a better move to pay more for the higher-grade software built and managed by heavy-hitter data recovery professionals?

Use a more fully-featured service to recover your data

In most cases of failed data storage devices, you have, at best, one or maybe two chances to recover the data. Make the most of that probability and move on to another solution. Undelete File Recovery is more likely to waste your time and money, and possibly corrupt your devices even further, rather than restore your files completely and quickly.

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