MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free Edition
Full user review
"Not free in the true sense of the"
It seemed to do a thorough job. I looked at many of the files in the 300+ gigs I lost due to a partition error and saw much of what I was going to miss. I look in the lost folder that they say can not be recovered and did not even recognize the files so it would have been a good service but...
It is NOT free. I trusted Cnet up until today. This program belongs to a suite of different versions. They push this home version as being free, and nowhere did I see a quota limit until after the operation when I was forced to double-check whether I downloaded a free program. But here's what happens. You download install and run the software. It took about 12 hours to analyze a 500 GB HD that had over 300 GB of data on it. Once the analysis is done, you get a window showing you a reconstruction of the file structure it is able to recover. You try to recover and you can't until you activate the product through their website. OK, no problem there. More than reasonable. They send you an email, with a link that you must visit to get the activation. OK some fancy security I guess. Once you enter the key, you are informed that you have a ONE MEGABYTE quota. That's right. ONE M E G A byte. I didn't see any mention of quota anywhere before downloading. Hugely disappointed in this approach.
They should have been up front about this just being a test run piece of software and I would be giving them money right now. But as it stands, the deliberate obscuring of the true functionality of the program prevents me from giving my money to what I deem to be a business that employs dishonesty. I've looked around and see now that there is no such thing as a free data recovery tool (so far that I can see) which makes sense as they pretty much have you by the short-hairs. And there are also a few more that try to hide the fact that you can only recover a MB or so of data. But some are quite open about it and that is where I will be spending my money.