TestDisk and PhotoRec - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

TestDisk and PhotoRec

CNET Editors' review

TestDisk and PhotoRec from CG Security are freeware utilities bundled together in one portable download. TestDisk is a simple but powerful tool for analyzing and recovering disk partitions, including some unusual selections such as Xbox and Mac partitions. PhotoRec is designed to recover lost files from your digital camera's memory or any similar memory device. It can handle most memory types, including USB, CompactFlash, MMC, and SmartMedia as well as optical disks and your hard drives. Though PhotoRec and TestDisk are bundled, they're separate utilities with separate executables.

PhotoRec is designed to be totally safe to use, and it doesn't write to the drive or memory directory you're trying to recover files from but rather saves recovered files to the directory it's stored in. Since PhotoRec is portable, that destination will be wherever you saved PhotoRec's program files. PhotoRec's user interface isn't a GUI so much as a modified Command Prompt that only allows keyboard control, but don't be put off by the stripped-down look. PhotoRec is easy to navigate. It walked us through every step: selecting a drive and partition, selecting Options, initiating a Search, or starting a recovery operation. We selected a thumbdrive, then the partition, and then clicked Search. PhotoRec automatically searches for lost files. The program usually highlights the best option, and users simply need to press Enter. PhotoRec definitely requires a little more knowledge and skill than many tools that do similar jobs. But it found a lost file, and quickly, too.

TestDisk is very much like PhotoRec in appearance and operation, but it requires more care to use successfully, and more knowledge, too (some experience is also recommended). This tool can analyze your disks and partitions to extract information about their geometry, formatting, and file structure. It saves the data as a text file that serves as a reference when you need to recover the partition. It can do more, such as make a nonbooting disk bootable. But be careful! TestDisk is a capable utility -- capable of wiping all data from a partition, if you let it. Just follow TestDisk's onscreen instructions and you won't go wrong.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    4.5 stars

    out of 81 votes

    • 5 star: 53
    • 4 star: 21
    • 3 star: 5
    • 2 star: 1
    • 1 star: 1
  • Current version:

    5.0 stars

    out of 11 votes

    • 5 star: 11
    • 4 star: 0
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 0
    • 1 star: 0
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 11

  • 5.0 stars

    "great software but.."

    December 6, 2013  |   By meral91

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    recovers most of the data,
    free software,
    easy to use

    Cons

    Don't know how to open the testdisk.log
    rename all data,

    Summary

    The software is great. I have got benefit from it, but the last time I used it gave me a .log file now I cannot open it :-( while it contains 185GB

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Irreplaceable Wedding Photos Recovered"

    August 12, 2013  |   By OccasionalCNET

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    We had a corrupted SD Card that camera was unable to access and computer could not mount. Photorec found the photos quickly and saved them to the designated folder.

    Cons

    It's a long time since I used a command prompt interface, but the steps were clear and easy to understand.

    Summary

    My wife was the official photographer for a wedding. She shot hundreds of photos, then late at night after many guests had already left, the camera was suddenly unable to access the card. Have you ever had something go so wrong that you felt like vomiting? I tried to access/repair the card from my computer using a disk utility application, but I couldn't even begin because the card would not mount. I was ready to mail the card to Recoverfab in Germany and pay them $300 to physically dismantle the card to recover the files...then I found Photorec. I downloaded the app and had all the photos saved within 30 minutes.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Photorec found more files on my XD card than any other"

    June 7, 2013  |   By poppyalex

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    worked brilliantly to restore corrupt and overwritten photos

    Cons

    the interface was scary to use, the online help page was good though, step at a time, with screenshots

    Summary

    Go carefully and follow the instructions closely, and this does the job

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  • 5.0 stars

    "When all is lost, recover it with TestDisk"

    February 7, 2013  |   By nauticarick

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    Simple to use, fast, recovered all files from an infected flash drive. I gladly donated the 25 Euros.

    Cons

    No GUI. Hey, who cares. I got my files back.

    Summary

    My wife's flash drive was corrupted by an unknown virus. The folder and file names were changed to symbols and modified dates changed to random dates 50-100 years in the future. All recovered, but most need to be renamed. A small penance.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Literally changed my life"

    January 26, 2013  |   By popesantaxiv

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    Recovered a lot more than I had hoped for. Wasn't sure whether to list this as a Pro or Con, but what the hey

    Cons

    The interface IS scary to use, but the instructions are clear enough.

    Summary

    I needed to recover a few videos that my sister had deleted from the camcorder. My SO also borrowed it from time to time to take make videos of his road trip and meetings and whatnot. Anyway, I am kind of in a state of shock right now due to the nature of images that suddenly showed up. Hundreds of them. Oh god why...

    Needless to say, I did get back the video I was looking for, plus extras.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Corrupt Hard Drive - windows & linux couldn't read"

    January 25, 2013  |   By BillyAsh07

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    Appears to have got all my files back - tens of thousands of them. Plenty of holiday pics - which I coouldn't get again!

    Easy to use - just followed the prompts - couldn't get easier - GUI would make it harder - well at least for what I wanted it to do :)

    Cons

    Took about 16 hours to recovery the files - but is it really a con when at least they were recovered? No real cons but I had to write something here!

    Summary

    Brilliant piece of software!

    Updated on Jan 25, 2013

    How could the CNET Editor's Rating be only 3 and a half stars - should be five stars!

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  • 5.0 stars

    "SD-card unvisible/error for many tools but TestDisk!!!!"

    December 25, 2012  |   By luukdeboer74

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    Helped me to recover a micro SD card which was totally messed up by a mistake using a partitioning tool. Tried several tools to find a solution. TestDisk did the trick VERY EASY. What's the problem for other programmers?

    Cons

    No user friendly interface for computer noobs

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  • 5.0 stars

    "what have I done..."

    November 23, 2012  |   By annatechnical

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    recovered like a billion files that I don't remember saving. I found files in russian(what? i don't even speak it) and a large amount of coding in text format plus a lot of gibberish. Within in the mess were my family pictures.

    Cons

    i think i did something wrong because it recovered 100k files i am now going to slog through (and its still going at the time of this post). I only saved 100 on my usb (which i accidentally reformatted)

    THe interface is scary looking if you're not a computer geek.

    Summary

    My usb is 6 years old so that may be the reason. Photorec is too strong for it.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Saved my bacon, and I do like bacon"

    November 17, 2012  |   By Marmotking1

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    I had photo shoot this afternoon. Later in the day it's time to start editing - step one is copy RAW files from compact flash to PC. Oops, all files corrupted! There were many muttered profanities. Multiple attempts from different angles fail, so I googled "recover corrupted raw file compact flash", PhotRec is top result, download, attempt, RTFM, attempt again, et voila! Not only did it recover the files from the shoot, but files from before the last card format! Now there will be no embarrassed email to the client scheduling a re-shoot, and I can deposit the check. This is free? I will be sending the PhotoRec folks some $$.

    Cons

    If, like me, your command prompt expertise is rusty or, ahem, nonexistent, you'll want to read the PhotoRec Step by Step guide linked near the bottom of their main web page. A real GUI would make this gem more accessible, but then it probably wouldn't be free. Minus half a star for potential difficulty of use for tech half-idiots like me. More experienced folks will breeze right on through.

    Summary

    I can't speak to the myriad other problems this program may solve, but if you've got important images buried in corrupt media, PhotoRec could be the answer to your prayers.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "This absolutely saved my Hard Drive."

    November 1, 2012  |   By monkeylick

    Version: TestDisk and PhotoRec 6.14

    Pros

    Nice instructions, I read them through twice before attempting to embark on the actual recovery of my Hard Drive. I don't know how my file structure got screwed up so is was not readable but it doesn't matter at this point TestDisk recovered them and I am back to using the disk in full confidence that if it happened again I would be able to recover again with this tool.

    Cons

    I think the instructions could be a little clearer, there were a couple of times I had to affirm "continue", after having to make a choice, that were frankly scary moments. I just wasn't sure I was understanding things right. Probably just me.. I like to have my hand held.

    Summary

    After getting repeated demands to reformat my secondary drive I went looking for help on the internet. I found repeated references to TestDisk and decided to download it as a last ditch effort to salvage the info from my drive. I followed the step by step directions and to my amazement my files appeared seemingly by magic. TestDisk is a phenomenal tool. Truly, the first tool to use if you are looking to recover files from a unreadable hard drive. This was however not my Boot Drive. If you are recovering your boot drive, you should read on for others experiences with that.

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Results 1-10 of 11

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