Accidentally deleting important files is one of the oldest and most painful problems faced by computer users – and a concern that most computer users will face at one time or another. Coupled with corrupted drives or SD cards, the accidental (or incidental) loss of data can be extremely frustrating and time consuming.
There have been many answers to the plague of lost data over the years – and Cleverfiles has come up with a solution of their own that just might save your bacon when the unthinkable happens. Enter Disk Drill Pro ($62.30, link) – a powerful yet simple tool for protecting your data and recovering deleted files.
Disk Drill Pro combines a variety of innovative features and a simple, clean interface for monitoring and protecting your data – and most importantly, powerful tools for recovering that data when you accidentally delete it or something goes wrong. We took the latest version of the tool through it’s paces to see what it really has to offer!
Design / Interface
The beauty of Disk Drill is that it is designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind. Recovering lost data is a simple three-step process of selecting the drive the data is on, scanning the drive, then choosing the files you would like to recover. You can even choose which type(s) of files to scan for before beginning the scan, which can make it faster to recover a certain file you may have lost or accidentally deleted. You can also pause and resume scans to ensure you can use the full power of your Mac during the day without having to restart the scanning process over again.
The interface is divided into two simple sections – one for protection, and one for recovery. Using Disk Drill could not be more straightforward. There aren’t a lot of windows, panes, and configuration options to get lost in. Even if you do happen to lose your way in the app, there are a number of helpful prompts throughout to help you find your place again.
Simply put, Disk Drill is the fastest and simplest way I have found to date for recovering lost files – and much of that is due to the enormous attention to detail put into the software’s interface.
- Recovery Vault
At the heart of Disk Drill is a unique feature called Recovery Vault. This is what separates Disk Drill from any other data recovery program I have seen. Recovery Vault keeps a watchful eye on your Mac while you use it, keeping a complete log of every file you ever delete. This makes it even faster and easier to find and recover specific files – finding a lost file takes a matter of just a few minutes. Best of all, Recovery Vault runs quietly in the background, and takes up very few system resources while it is running.
It’s important to note that Recovery Vault is not a complete backup for your Mac – it’s just a database of deleted files. As such, it’s important to keep a complete separate backup of your Mac using Time Machine or some other method. After all, regularly backing up your Mac is the best way to protect against data loss. As with most things, prevention is the best way to make sure you don’t lose important files.
Recovery Vault is the fastest and most effective way to recover a lost file on your Mac. However, if you decided not to enable Recovery Vault, or are planning to recover a file deleted before you installed Disk Drill and enabled Recovery Vault, you can also recover files using a quick scan or deep scan, which will try to locate every deleted file on your Mac’s file system.
- S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring and Backups
Another of Disk Drill’s most useful features is the built-in S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) monitoring, which keeps an eye on the health of your drives, and can warn you if one of your drives is likely to fail or become corrupt in the near future. It can even display S.M.A.R.T. status of your drives directly from your Mac’s menu bar.
If Disk Drill does detect problems with your drive, it can then back up the data stored on the problematic disk to a disk before it fails, reducing the chance that you will lose any important data in the process. It can even keep that disk image updated until you stop using the compromised drive.
- Support for Multiple File Systems
In addition to being able to recover files from the HFS+ file system (the standard file system for all Macs running OS X), it can also recover data from FAT or NTFS filesystems used by Windows computers (in case you have Windows installed on another partition, or use a PC-formatted external hard drive, for instance).
Performance and Usability / The Disk Drill Experience
When you launch Disk Drill for the first time, you’ll be presented with a handy 9-step tutorial guiding you through the app’s various features, and how to use them. While this tutorial is fairly fast to get through, it is also surprisingly comprehensive in teaching you everything you need to know about the app.
I tested the app by plugging in an external drive I had recently deleted a few hundred audio, video, and text files from using another Mac. To my pleasant surprise, Disk Drill was able to identify every single one of the deleted files, and allowed me to quickly recover them. What surprised me the most is that recovering the 5GB of deleted files took less than 10 minutes.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Disk Drill is simple enough for practically anyone to use – and powerful enough to meet it’s purpose of easily and effectively recovering lost or deleted files.
Free vs. Pro
While Disk Drill can be used for free, it’s important to point out the limitations in the free version of the software. Using the free version of Disk Drill allows you to scan for lost files and use the application’s S.M.A.R.T. monitoring features – but in order to actually recover a file, or to make use of the Recovery Vault feature that is so central to the full Disk Drill experience, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version for $89 (which is well worth it if your data is valuable to you).
One of the benefits of the free version is that it allows you to see for yourself what files Disk Drill can discover before you pay, giving you a better idea of whether it will be worth the cost to you. The pro version also allows you to create a bootable DVD disc of Disk Drill, to recover data even if your hard drive crashes or your Mac won’t boot.
As a supplement to keeping a regular backup, Disk Drill is a simple, effective, and powerful option for preventing lost data, and recovering data if it does become lost. The Recovery Vault feature sets Disk Drill Pro ahead of its competition in a big way, and is the main reason that I recommend Disk Drill above other data recovery programs (at least for now – until I find another program just as powerful and easy to use!).
While $90 might seem like a lot for a piece of Mac software, it’s hard to put a price on your important files. Considering that Disk Drill easily handled every challenge I threw at it (while remaining so simple even a child could use it), I consider it to be well worth the money, and have no trouble recommending it to anyone looking for a way to further protect their data.
For more information, or to download Disk Drill or purchase the Pro version, head on over to the CkeverFiles website. You won’t regret it – and since it’s free to try, what have you got to lose? As an added bonus, we’ve partnered with CleverFiles to offer a 30% discount on Disk Drill Pro! Click here to purchase the full version for just $62.30!
- Extremely clean, simple interface. Very easy to use.
- Automatically monitors the status of your drives, and warns you if a drive is about to fail.
- Can recover data from both Windows and Mac-based drives.
- Recovery Vault feature makes recovering lost data simpler and faster than anything else I have seen.
- Can recover all major file types.
- $90 price may seem steep to certain users.
- Cannot partition, defragment, or maintain your hard drive (other data recovery programs do have these abilities).