We’ve all done it. No matter how often I tell myself to backup files, and to do it often, something happens, I forget, the drive fails and then… I kick myself. Repeatedly. This time it was just a few photos and not really a big deal, and just coincidently Stellar Data Recovery contacted me to review their Photo Recovery Software, so I had nothing to lose in trying.
Disclaimer: I was not paid to review this software, only receiving the full software and registration key for full usability, and this is an honest appraisal of my user experience. I specifically tested the Mac version. You can read more about my policies here.
Photo Recovery Software v’s regular recovery software
I was curious to know the difference between regular recovery software and photo recovery software and specifically Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery claims to have improved support for PSD PSP, INDD, JP2, PCT, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, Tiff, JPEG files, as well as video formats and those stored on memory cards. It also claims to:
- Restore photos, audios, & videos of different formats including MXF movies, HD-MOV files, and Adobe EPS
- Facilitate photo recovery from encrypted hard drives and for Unicode files
- Have improved Mac photo recovery for HFS+, FAT32, ExFAT, and NTFS based systems
- Have enhanced scanning engine quickly scans hard drives with capacities above 2TB
- Be compatible with the latest MacOS Sierra 10.12, 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, 10.8, 10.7, 10.6
Installation and setup
Installation and setup are a doddle. I didn’t bother reading the instructions (yes I am one of those people) as everything is very straightforward and if you have ever used data recovery software before, everything is easy to find.
Unzip the disk image and install to your preferred location. Simply click Recover Photo, Audio and Video to start the scan and choose a source, navigate the folders to select the files you want to recover, register the product to have full recoverability and choose a destination to save them. At just under $50 (but currently on sale for $29.95) it’s pretty reasonably priced also. And I do like you can scan and see if you can get your files back first, rather than paying beforehand. If you are recovering corrupted files there is an option in preferences to view these files in safe mode, you can also view previews of the files rather than going by the code which is helpful but obviously slows the process down.
I had a SanDisk Ultra Plus 128GB memory card which I had formatted or deleted (can’t remember which) images from which I hadn’t backed up. I shoot in Raw format and also keep a jpeg with each Raw shot. It took about half an hour to scan the card in total. I knew the date I was looking for which helped. And now the bad news. They weren’t there. As I mentioned I sometimes format the card, I sometimes trash the files and empty the trash after. I can’t remember which I did with these images and I had taken other photos since but I couldn’t recover those images. I did find images from the months before and recovered those easily. After test formatting the card again on the camera as a low-level format I repeated the scan and again ended up with only the images from the summer, not the most recent ones. So I can only conclude it works better with the other method.
Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software is quite easy to use and though I couldn’t get the exact files I was looking for, I was able to test it successfully with other files and it records data quite well. I do think it’s worth paying for data recovery software – generally, the free versions haven’t been successful for me in the past, and to get back what I lost I consider it money well spent.Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software is quite reasonably priced it’s a handy piece of software I will (unfortunately definitely!) be using again.