capsule review

Pandora Recovery 1.1.20

At a Glance
  • Pandora Recovery

For restoring files that you've deleted from your hard drive, Pandora Recovery is one solid option. Version 1.1.20 of the utility worked well in my tests--and it costs nothing.

An optional step-by-step wizard helps beginners get up to speed. The utility's paned file-browser interface is probably most appropriate for an experienced user, but anyone who's familiar with Windows Explorer will find it easy to learn.

Selecting a partition in the file-browser interface produces a quick list of all the files and the status of each (healthy, deleted, or overwritten). To undelete a file, you simply select it, right-click, and choose Recover from the pop-up menu. The utility reveals to you how much of a deleted file has been overwritten--an important feature, since no program can retrieve overwritten data.

The version I tested has a "surface scan" feature that supposedly recovers files from reformatted media or from discs whose file allocation table is damaged or missing. But its scope is limited to digital image files, and it found no additional recoverable files on my 250GB test drive despite taking an hour to inspect it.

Because Pandora Recovery works only on existing NTFS partitions, you can't use it on a FAT32-formatted thumb drive, though the company says that a program to handle that task is in the works.

Unlike other programs of its ilk, it won't prevent you from writing undeleted files to the same media you're recovering them from (it does warn you against doing this); using the same media is a horrible idea because it may result in overwriting files that you want to restore. But quibbles aside, it's a good undelete program for NTFS partitions, and it's free.

Jon L. Jacobi

At a Glance
  • Pandora Recovery is free a utility that restores files you've deleted from healthy, existing NTFS hard drive partitions.


    • Free
    • Easy to use


    • Doesn't prevent recovering to the same media.
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