Keeping regular backups is the best way of protecting your data, since that way you should have a second copy of your important documents.
If your backup has failed in some way, though, Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery could help recover files that have been deleted or corrupted.
Besides a disc containing the software, a startup CD is also included for when your PC won’t start up normally.
This loads a stripped-down version of Windows so you can still attempt data recovery.
There are four options on the program’s main menu: Quick Recovery attempts to recover corrupted files, while Deleted Files Recovery is for files that have been deleted and emptied from the Recycle Bin.
Formatted/Lost File & Folder Recovery tackles files you need to recover after having reformatted a partition or whole disk and Search Lost Volume tries to recover an entire disk that has been accidentally deleted.
How the above options work in this application tool?
In the first three cases, the program scans your chosen disk and brings up a list of the files it discovers, which it should be able to recover. Whether it finds the ones you want depends on whether the disk has been in use since they were deleted.
If it has, then the files you want may have already been overwritten.
To reduce the chance of this happening, you can copy contents of a disk to a new location so it can be worked on without risking further harm to the damaged disk.
When the scan has finished, the program displays the contents of the files before you recover them so you know you’re picking the right ones. Stellar uses a number of file ‘signatures’ to help recognise common file types.
It knows the difference, for example, between a .jpg graphics file and a Word document by the way the data is structured inside the file.
Specify where you want the recovered files to be put – it has to be on a different disk – and the program will attempt recovery.
In our tests, it managed to successfully recover individually deleted files from a partition which had been reformatted so it’s up to the job.