Mac data recovery is the sort of thing you worry about when it’s too late. You know you should have a robust backup plan for your Mac, but the moment this becomes real enough for you to action a decent Mac data recovery plan is when you really need one … now.
To recover lost data from your Mac you need software that can resurrect deleted files and find files lost to faulty drives.
Of course you should have frequently backed up all your data, with disks held off-site in case of domestic or office disasters. But how many of us can, hand on heart, say their data backup plan is watertight?
We’ve all accidentally deleted files from our computers. Usually it’s there in the Mac’s Trash. But sometimes we really do have a good go at properly deleting files.
Heard of the Mac “Click of Death”? Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? The click of death is when a PC or Mac’s hard drive fails. This can be accompanied by a repeating or single clicking sound. Your Mac might display only a grey screen with a flashing question mark on it, or an unmoving Apple logo, spinning globe / beach ball logo.
You know you’ve got a problem. And you know it’s bad. Very bad.
Just as you did with the deleted files you need an expert data recovery program to rescue your lost files, photos, music and so forth.
So what's the best utility tool to rescue a damaged Mac hard drive and recover lost files from?
Mac Data Recovery Guru 2.0 promises the most advanced file recovery yet, and the great thing is you can try before you buy – even after you've suffered the bad disk or disc.
When you delete a file on your Mac its disk file directory considers the location of the file as now being free space on that disk, which can then be used to store new data. However, until that exact space is actually overwritten, the original file data remains unaltered. You can't see it, but a good utility can.
Data Recovery Guru 2.0 helps you locate and unerase these seemingly deleted files.
Data Recovery Guru will check for bad sectors on scanned drives and recover most deleted files it finds. It will work with just about any device – local or remote, internal or USB/Firewire, DVD or CD that your Mac can see and mount as a drive.
The software’s new simplified interface lets users browse their deleted files, and recover them by file type. It's all very intuitive and simple to use.
You click on the lost file, and Mac Data Recovery shows a preview of the contents. Find what you need most, and click Recover to save it.
The only thing that can stop Data Recovery Guru 2.0 is if the file has been overwritten, or if your Mac’s secure delete (Secure Empty Trash) has been used.
Recovery Guru can even see and scan devices that OS X does not show.
Any media – including flash drives, hard drives, CDs, DVDs, SSD drives and all types of memory card – are supported. The developer claims that if Disk Utility can see the drive, there is a good chance that the files can be recovered using Mac Data Recovery 2.0.
Relax. Even storage drives that are physically failing due to faulty bearings, bad motors or the dreaded Click of Death can often still be saved. Due to the damaged disks spinning very slowly data recovery can be a very slow business, but it is possible. If a disk still spins, Data Recovery Guru 2.0 still has a chance of saving the data.
Files are recovered in two processes: Scan and Recovery phases. First of all the files are scanned for, and then the desired files or file types are selected and recovered.
It’s not completely simple. Sadly filenames are not stored as part of the file. Instead they are stored in a complex part of the filesystem.
After a file is deleted Mac Recovery Guru searches for the content of the file itself, which is the most reliable method of recovering any file or remnant of the file that exists. Recovery Guru does show live file previews that you can browse through, allowing identification of the desired files to be recovered.
There’s likely to be many thousands of files to wade through, though – so hopes of an immediate discovery should be tempered – although handily they are separated by file type (Word doc, PDF, JPEG, etc).
Data Recovery Guru costs £64.50 or US $99. Download it from here.
That might seem like a lot now, but faced with the loss of that important work file or your beloved photo collection it suddenly looks like a bargain.
Better still you can download a limited but free version to see if the Mac Data Recovery is able to find your files before forking out for the full version.
Each file type is treated individually. Sometimes Mac Recovery Guru will find partial files – this is particularly the case with things like MP3s, and videos, things that have frames in them.
And it will find text remnants absolutely anywhere on the system (that can go very deep).
It will very likely find pictures that are unknown to you. Some pictures are embedded in other files (such as TIFFS, MP3s). It even finds pictures from your browser cache - so photos from friend's Facebook pages and so on. You can see why it's popular with forensics investigators!
It usually (but not always) goes by the file header to find the start of the file, and starts recovering from there. So if the file is missing data below its header it will sometimes (but again, not always) copy say half of it, until where it can. For some filetypes it has to be complete or it's completely unreadable, and in those file types partial recovery is often removed to stop producing files that seem invalid.
It's usually best to let Mac Recovery Guru 2.0 run, then to recover entire folders, and finally use the Finder to search for the content you want within that folder (so, Spotlight would be good if you were searching for text for example).
The developer claims that Mac Data Recovery Guru 2.0 is faster than the previous version. Enhanced threading means you can carry on working while the software scans your disk.
Mac Data Recovery works with all Macintosh disks (HFS filesystems, HFS+, HFSX filesystems), Windows disks (NTFS, FAT filesystems), Linux disks (Ext2, Ext3, Ext4 filesystems), and Unix disks (XFS, UFS filesystems).
It can also work with: digital cameras from Kodak, Minolta, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, and Sigma; mobile phones, including Android, Nokia, Motorola, Palm, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Sanyo, Siemens, Sony Ericsson, Panasonic, Kyocera, and BlackBerry; as well as various devices such as USB pen drives, Memory Cards for cameras and portable devices, CDs, DVDs, MP3 Players, PlayStations, X-Boxes, Wiis, and Palm devices.
Seeing as you're reading this review now might also be the time to make sure you are properly backing up your Mac files. Keep an archive near your Mac and another (frequently updated) off-site in case disaster strikes the whole building and not just your precious Mac.