GetDataBack for NTFS
GetDataBack for NTFS is considerably friendlier than R-Tools Technology's R-Studio, my old standby for data recovery. Not only does GetDataBack give you suggestions as to what option to use under what condition, it also considers that you might not know what you're doing and offers you an "I don't know, use default settings" option. You're stepped through the recovery process in wizard fashion, with concisely written, lucid instructions--but there's also enough feedback that pros will feel comfortable as well. Options are placed where they are needed (this is not as common in the software industry as it should be!) and the overall feel is these guys know what they're doing.
Performance-wise, I was impressed. I keep a couple of trashed drives around for testing recovery software, and GetDataBack for NTFS did an excellent job of not only finding stuff, but also putting in order so I could actually tell what it was. I also like the fact that I could run the program after booting with a Windows PE disc. You can create an image of the drive you're trying to recover in case there's ongoing physical degradation as well as save the results of the recovery scan for later use. The latter is a good thing as the demo will only find the data; to recover it you need to buy the program.
Which leads me to my major complaint about GetDataBack for NTFS: It only works on NTFS partitions. You have to pay the same price again for GetDataBack for FAT, which recovers data from FAT partitions. Competitor R-Studio works on both NTFS and FAT--as well as Linux and Mac partitions--for the cost of one of these programs.
Cost aside, I really enjoyed using GetDataBack for NTFS and I'm going to keep it around for long-term evaluation. It costs nothing to try, so if you have data to recover give it a shot. The price is cheap if you really need the data.
Tip: Never try to recover really important data if your drive is making clicking, whining or scraping noises, which may indicate ongoing destruction of the drive platter surfaces. If you absolutely need the data, take it to professionals such as DriveSavers. They're extremely expensive, but they can retrieve data in clean rooms that local techs aren't equipped to recover.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.
--Jon L. Jacobi