Macintosh Recovery Software: Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery for Macintosh
I repair a variety of older equipment and am always on the look out for new repair and data recovery utilities. Putting aside my usual suspects I was recently invited to try out Macintosh Data Recovery by Stellar Phoenix. The latest 4.0 version of Stellar Phoenix Macintosh Data Recovery software helps you recover data from Mac OS X 10.3.9 and higher and now supports Snow Leopard. The repair software also includes a partition recovery tool that will help you recover photos, music, videos, data based files like emails and information about partitions. Not to be overlooked, the software also supports volumes scanning both from internal (SATA, EIDE, IDE) and external (USB, FireWire, eSATA) hard drives.
I tested the software out on a corrupted externally connected Maxtor DimondMax IDE 120GB Journaled HFS+ formatted drive with Mac OS 10.4.11 installed pulled from an iMac G5. I have to note here I am running the software from a working MacBook Pro and not as a bootable repair disk. Based on my testing you would need an external or separate repair drive with Mac OS X 10.3.9 or latter installed and Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery for Macintosh installed for you to repair a local internal drive. I was unable to use Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery for Macintosh installed on a disk to repair a corrupted local drive.
The software is easy to install and provides an intuitive user interface. Once launched you can select the repair process you would like to conduct including Drive Recovery, iPod Recovery, Photo Recovery, Resume Recovery or Create Disk image. For the interest of this review I am focusing specifically on Data Recovery abilities of the software.
Starting by launching and performing a Quick Recovery of the 120GB drive it took about 20 minutes to complete and yielded an inventory of recoverable files on the drive. Clicking on the items gives you a preview of their contents and double clicking on folders allows you to navigate through the folder structures. From here you can select the files you wish to recover and then click the Recover icon in the lower right hand corner.
Next choose a location for your recovered files to be transferred. Depending on the size the duration of the backup will vary. I selected 1GB of items (text, images, and files) and it took less than 2 minutes. When complete you can simply hit the Home button to return you back to the main screen and you have the option to save your scanned information from that drive. This can use this file again later if you want to resume a recovery by reattaching the drive, clicking on Resume Recovery and selecting the file.
The Deleted File Recovery worked well in my test using the same drive. After selecting Deleted File Recovery you are presented with a list of possible extensions. You can speed up your search if you now exactly what you are looking for. Click OK and you will be taken to a list of available volumes. Select your volume and click Continue. Once again I it took about 20 minutes and gave me an inventory of available JPGS. Overall the product performs as advertised and was able to recover files from a previously corrupted drive.
Other packaged options included with the complete version of the software are iPod Data Recovery (music, video and image files) and Photo Recovery retrieving data from camera cards (RAW files from various manufacturers as well as JPEGs and TIFFs). I tested the iPod recovery on a working 3rd Generation iPod 160 GB and it worked well in my testing. The scanning took about 30 minutes and targeted primarily the iPod’s main directory giving me an inventory of my music files and excluded any extraneous system files. The software also allows you to filter the lists of files that it generates. This lets you target specific music files types; like limiting a list to MP3’s and excluding AIFFs and AACs. The preview feature allows you to listen to the music files.
The Photo Recovery work well on my Kingston 1GB Secure Digital (SD) card. The scan took about 1 min and created an inventory based on the type of image files that the card contained. I would like to retest this on files that I know are corrupted and will return with any feedback once this test has been conducted.
Overall the software performs as advertised and has undergone a lot of improvements since its previous versions. I would recommend Stellar Phoenix’s Data Recovery for Macintosh to intermediate to advanced users looking to recover corrupted drives since the software is not bootable and wouldn’t help you if your primary system went down. The iPod and Photo Recovery software are available separately and work well based on the iPod I tested the software with. I would recommend the iPod and Photo Recovery software to novice to advanced users as it is easy to use and the tools provided are self-explanatory.