Microsoft Office handles so much business that eventually two things are bound to happen: 1) critically important files will be corrupted or damaged, and 2) there will be no backup. You'll then have two choices: 1) panic, and 2) attempt to recover the file. That's where Advanced Office Repair (AOFR) from DataNumen comes in. It's an enterprise-class tool for recovering and repairing not only Word, Excel, Outlook, and Outlook Express files but also Access databases. It can repair files on damaged or corrupted media like floppies, Zip drives, and CD-ROMs and handle legacy files, including Access 95, Excel 3, Word 6.0 and 95, Outlook 97, and all subsequent versions. AOFR offers drag-and-drop capability, context menu integration, batch repair, and command-line operation, so it suits a wide range of environments and installations.
AOFR bundles five tools in its compact interface: Advanced Access Repair, Advanced Excel Repair, Advanced Word Repair, Advanced Outlook Repair, and Advanced Outlook Express Repair, though you can choose to install only those tools you need. As (bad) luck would have it, we had some old, corrupted Word files for Advanced Word Repair to tackle. We opened the tool and saw a small dialog with source and destination fields, a log display, a progress bar, and tabs for Repair, Batch Repair, Options, and Advanced Options; the latter two consisting of simple selections for a temporary files directory, buffer size, and some output options. We clicked the icon to add Word files, which opened a search tool with tabbed options to search general attributes, date and time, or selected size and attributes, as well as a browse option where we could specify files, folders, or directories to search. Since we were interested in what AOFR would find, we started a general search, located our bad files, selected them, chose an output directory, and clicked Start Repair. AOFR tracked the repair process and displayed a pop-up message when it was finished. We navigated to the folder and clicked a file, which opened normally. AOFR's other tools had minor stylistic differences in their interfaces but offered similar functionality and, more significantly, similar performance.
We were almost as impressed by AOFR's ability to locate lost Office files as its repair job. It's not cheap, but it can pay for itself by recovering critical files and lost work in a corporate environment. If you rely on Office to take care of your business, Advanced Office Repair can help you take care of Office.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Advanced Office Repair 1.6. The trial version has a limited features.