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Reviewing data recovery programs is pretty easy most of the time-either they work, which Drive Recovery 2.1 does, or they don't. To be honest, I can't remember the last time one didn't work, hence, the major buying factors are ease of use and price. The former is good; the latter, $140 (free feature-limited demo).
Drive Recovery's interface offers a wizard to guide you through the recovery process that is super easy to follow. The main window is easy to divine and use, however, it greatly resembles a standard Windows Explorer window and is consequently easy to lose in a stack of other windows. At least until you spot the raw view of the file data at the bottom of the Drive Recovery 2.1 window. Despite the possible confusion, I find Drive Recovery 2.1 one of the easier to use of its ilk.
I said Drive Recovery 2.1 worked, and indeed, it found all the data I had deleted, reformatted and repartitioned over. However, in its partition search, the demo version did not find the original FAT32 partition that all the data was actually from. You don't need to restore a partition to recover data, but Drive Recovery should've found it. The program also claims to recover partitions and fix problems like corrupt MBRs, but as mentioned, the demo wasn't up to snuff in that department. Pingram claims the full version will find the partitions, as the demo did not.
Probably the biggest drawback to Drive Recovery is its $140 price tag. R-Studio Data Recovery and Active @ File Recovery Standard are considerably cheaper and have proven effective for me over the long haul. Still, Drive Recovery 2.1 is a small download and worth taking a look at. You might find it the bee's knees.
Note: No software program will recover data from a drive that won't spin up, nor recover all the data from a drive that has physically damaged sectors. If your drive is making strange noises, you should consider a recovery service, which while expensive, stands a much better chance of recovering data from failed or failing mechanisms.
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