Best data recovery tools?

Hello I was wondering if someone could give me some insight as to what types of tools they were using to retrieve data from hard drives that have corrupted OS installations.

I have had mixed results using a usb to ide/sata cable and sometimes it works like a dream but I feel like its a very basic tool compared to what the real pros must be using. I am not necessarily ready to drop the big bucks for super equipment but I was curious what a private tech operator with a budget of 150-300 for this purchase could consider as some options.

Any software that anyone can recommend?

Do I need a hard drive dock or is the usb to ide/sata cable just as good?

Thanks to anyone who can contribute any suggestions!
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  1. Hi and welcome to Tom's forum.

    I had used Active File recovery with very good results on 80GB and 120GB drives.
  2. Active File Recovery eh? I'll check it out. Thanks!

    So I don't know if I am reading in to what you are saying too much but are there different programs that work best with certain sizes of hard drives?

    Any tools you recommend I buy?

    Thanks again for your prompt response.
  3. Well, getData back is a free software with very good results too. I'm not sure about the difference in freeware and shareware programs, but I think that with the 2nd one you get the support and the "warranty" that will work.

    You also can hear about Ontrack Easy Recovery, that program never works for me while did disasters with my other drives trying to recover files
  4. Thanks for the additional info. I will stay away from Ontrack, I am glad you mentioned it because its once I just started reading about and now I won't have to waste any more time looking at it. I'm prepared to spend some money if I need to but I will definitely try these first.

    Do you usually just do this by hooking the hard drive up with traditional means? (IDE or SATA cable to the motherboard)?
  5. Here is the forum that talks about all things related to hard drive data recovery. You can learn alot there...

    For your budget I would recommend an external esata docking station. And for recovery software R-studio...
  6. Some tools that I've had success with, are Easeus, and Recuva.
  7. Thanks to both of you for your suggestions and I will check them both out, do either of you ever use the usb to ide/sata cable when you use this software or do you usually just hook it up as a slave drive to the motherboard?

    Any opinions about hardware docks?

    Let me just say I wish I had started using tech forums a LONG time ago, I am moved by the willingness of people to help strangers but I guess I am just behind on the times.

    Thanks again for your help.
  8. Here's a good dock that I like using.

    However, you can also slave the drive as an internal drive. It's a cheaper option than buying a dock. :)
  9. Yes many times I've successfully used usb to ide/sata converters. But only as a last resort. You will experience a better/faster data recovery if you slave it internally or use an esata docking station. Avoid usb if possible.
  10. Youngster - For data recovery I've had the best success with R-Studio but if the data structure is really damaged you might be out of luck.

    If possible install your drive off the mother board - MUCH faster performance. Next best is eSATA (I've not tested USB 3 or firewire - I have both).

    I'm not a fan of external docks because the drives run too hot but if it is a temporary thing it would be OK. For external eSATA enclosures I'd suggest the following: - this is the Thermaltake ST0021U enclosure with two 80mm fans. This will do an outstanding job of keeping your drive cool. I currently have a Thermaltake Archon cooler on my CPU chip and it does an outstanding job of cooling and is quiet.

    My second choice for external enclosure would be the Rosewill RX-358-S I have two of these and they do a good job of keeping the drive cool and are quiet.

    Possible the Rosewill RX355-X2 would be a good choice as well -

    Good luck (don't forget to backup your data and system!!!) I use SyncBack Pro and Acronis 2011. Both have saved me several times.
  11. Wow, I feel like I just hit the jackpot on good answers. Thank you guys all very much for your input on this, It sounds like a dock wouldn't be a bad investment, so long as it stays cool like jgt1942 mentioned.

    I am looking in to all of the software that has been recommended on this thread so none of you have wasted your time and I appreciate all of your input very much.

    Thanks again to everyone who has contributed.


  12. I looked at the thermaltake external enclosure, that looks pretty solid to me, too bad it requires a little bit of extra work but then again like I really have SO many hard drives to fix that I can't be bothered with taking them in and out of an enclosure vs putting them in a dock. I think not, it looks good and I think I may just have to get that this week :)

    If I understand the consensus correctly, its best to just hook up the hard drive to the motherboard instead of through the usb cable. I could see that making a lot of sense but I guess my n00bness is stopping me from reconciling the driver problem. By the driver problem I am referring to the way that the hard drive being hooked up begins to boot and then flashes a bluescreen for only a moment before restarting the system. I read that this was due to the drivers on the hard drive being configured for a specific laptop hardware assembly. Okay that makes sense also, usually bsod is from hardware problems but how do I set this up in such a way that there is no such problem?

    Will it work if I set it as the primary drive in my desktop?

    Is there a specific mode I need to boot into? Like a safemode or something that will "neutralize" the hardware incompability problem?

    Other thoughts or tips?

    Thanks again for all your help everyone.
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