System Rescue

TestDisk and PhotoRec

5  /  29 Reviews
Jul 29, 2019 Last updated



TestDisk and PhotoRec are two, free, open-source data recovery tools. They are both offered in a single archive.

To avoid confusion, we decided to create a single page for both software titles. Please scroll down to read the description and the review for each software.

TestDisk Review

If you are not a computer expert, you may think to call in an expensive specialist every time you have the smallest problem with your disks or files. The truth is that you can fix many problems on your own using the right software, and TestDisk is one of the programs that can save you some money and time.

What Exactly Does TestDisk Software Do?

TestDisk takes your modern computer back to a simpler time - the DOS days. If you are a newer user, you may not appreciate this, but you will. DOS is much easier to use when it comes to fixing low-level disk problems, and TestDisk gives you the insight that you need to make it happen.

TestDisk software is all about data recovery. If you use Windows, then you know that once you empty the Recycle Bin, the stuff in there is gone. If you have ever made a mistake putting files in there, then you pull your hair out and cry, but you do nothing. TestDisk may be your solution.

The UI

You have to be comfortable with "command line utilities," which is easier than it sounds. Instead of dealing with icons and fancy looking interfaces, you deal with a black screen and words. Type the right thing in, and the computer responds - easy, right? In many ways, once you get used to using only words, you will be flying through TestDisk, recovering data left and right with no problem.

Getting TestDisk in Your Computer

In keeping with the weird, old-school ways of TestDisk, you don't need to install the program. All that you have to do is unzip the archive in the correct location; this may seem counterintuitive for people who are used to installing programs, but it makes the program portable. You may not realize it if you are not a tech head, but avoiding installation is good for a deep level program like this. Take it as an indication that TestDisk does what it is supposed to do.

Learning Command Line

Learning how to make your computer do stuff by typing commands instead of clicking may seem hard at first. However, TestDisk makes learning command-line very easy. There is a fairly intuitive cursor control implemented into the program, and TestDisk ends up being just as easy to use as a graphical interface like Windows.

The Final Verdict

No matter how new school you consider yourself, it is always good to see where things came from. TestDisk is a great way to learn more about your computer and save some files at the same time. Get this free program to correct your mistakes, but also get it to dig more deeply into your computer. You may truly be interested in what TestDisk helps you to pull out of your machine!


PhotoRec Review

PhotoRec is a free, open source file data recovery software. You can use it to recover lost files such as pictures, video files, archives and documents from internal and external hard drives, memory cards, USB stick. It can recover deleted data from a reformatted partition. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Sun Solaris, Mac OS X and nearly on any Unix based OS.

Important: Make sure that you save recovered data to a different partition and NOT on the same partition with the lost data. If you ignore this, you might overwrite your lost data. As an example if the data you want to recover is from partition C: make sure to save the recovered files to partition D: or another storage devices such as an external USB or hard drive.

Note: This program comes included with an additional software named TestDisk. You will have to extract the archive called "TestDisk" and lookup for "PhotoRec" if you only need to try this program.

If you are looking for a way to recover once-lost data and pictures, PhotRec is the software you have been waiting. This data recovery program retrieves data files, photos and video from hard disks, CDs, and even digital camera memory banks. Granted, PhotoRec's functionality is limited to a seemingly minor niche, yet there is certainly a demand for such a software solution as just about everyone has errantly erased a digital picture or file.

PhotoRec Background

PhotoRec is a no-cost multiplatform application that is “open source” in nature, meaning that it can be improved by tech geeks who are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to boost its capabilities. The software is distributed under the GNU General Public License. It serves as the sister program to the TestDisk app that recovers lost partitions on an array of file systems. Download this software package and you will have access to PhotoRec as well as TestDisk. It is compatible with Mac OS X, DOS, SunOS, Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Windows 7, Vista, Windows 2008, 2003, XP, 2000 and NT4.

How the Software Works

PhotoRec software is programmed to bypass the traditional file system and tap into the underlying data for file retrieval. This means the software will still function even if the media file system has endured extensive damage or completely reformatted. Furthermore, the software is designed for read-only access when handling the media file system from which data is to be retrieved. This is why it is so important to avoid saving additional pictures or information to a device or disk drive upon accidentally deleting data. Saving more information will only serve to overwrite data that appears to be forever lost. Users should also be careful to avoid writing recovered files to the partition that they were originally stored on. It might sound a bit confusing and troublesome, yet it is a small concession to make for software that is completely free of charge.

PhotoRec works its magic by attempting to identify the proper data block by reading the volume boot record or superblock. It can also scan one media sector at a time, block by block, checking each against what is called a “signature database.” If a file is successfully recovered, PhotoRec taps into the previous data blocks to determine if the file signature was indeed found. The software can recover an abundance of file formats ranging from PDFs to JPEGs, graphic file formats, ZIP, HTML, and Office. All in all, over 480 file extensions and 300 file families can be recovered.

The Bottom Line

We have all mistakenly deleted pictures or files from our computers and mobile devices. PhotoRec is worth the download for such unfortunate scenarios. It costs nothing, works surprisingly well and isn't marred by any major flaws. You might download it after deleting an important picture, use it once and forget all about it. The software will have served its purpose; precisely why PhotoRec should be lauded.

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