Undelete and file recovery for Mac

One of the questions I’ve received most often is whether or not there is a file recover or undelete software for the Mac.  Until recently, I did not know of one — and I’ve been burned more than a couple times.  I had one user who lost his 60GB+ iTunes library and I was not able to help him recover it.

Enter Disk Drill. Disk Drill, made by Clever Files,  is the software I have been missing for a number of years on Mac.  There may be other software available, but I’ve never found it when I was searching.   It supports file recovery from HFS and HFS+ , NTFS and FAT formatted volumes.   The software includes both a recovery vault option which keeps a “smart history” of your file activity to increase your chances of recovering a file.  It also has a scan functionality if you accidentially deleted a file and need to try and recover it.  Like all software in the genre, if you’re using the disk you are trying to recover from, then there is a good chance that you will overwrite the deleted file.

Install is super simple – just drag the app to the Applications folder.  On first launch, a tutorial to explain how the software works appears and explains the software extremely well.  You are also prompted to install the Recovery Vault option – which appears to be optional – though I proceeded with its installation.  The Recovery Vault option require administrative access on the Mac, so you’re asked for your password to install it.

My initial deep scan of the hard drive shows about 6 hours to wait before the scan completes.  Since I am not really looking for a deleted file, I didn’t continue with the scan.  The recovery vault in the future will protect me if something accidentally is deleted.

I must admit, however, that in all my years since switching, I have not deleted anything I didn’t mean to.  I have lost work when Word has crashed a time or five, but never really lost anything by accidentally deleting it.  Could it happen – certainly – and if it were say my iTunes or iPhoto library – that could be bad.

The best bet, in any situation, is a proactive backup – Mozy or Time Machine come to mind immediately.  Perhaps I am paranoid, but I do both – sending my iTunes and iPhoto libraries to Mozy on my two primary Macs and having a full disk image backup of all four of my family’s Macs.

To be sure, this app has a solid place in the market.  Oh, and did I mention that its currently free during its beta period.

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Philip is a IT solutions engineer working for AmWINS Group, Inc., an insurance brokerage firm in Charlotte, NC. With a focus on data center technologies, he has built a career helping his customers and his employers deploy better IT solutions to solve their problems. Philip holds certifications in VMware and Microsoft technologies and he is a technical jack of all trades that is passionate about IT infrastructure and all things Apple. He's a part-time blogger and author here at Techazine.com.

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