In my opinion free software should allow that it can be used, studied, and modified without any restriction, and it can be copied and farther distributed in modified or unmodified form. To make this possible the program (called the source code) must be made available. Even though when this application cannot be tagged as an open source it still is available free of cost of recovery.
This application unlike others does not provide the setup using famous “Inno” but uses Install Shield which looks impressive and does the installation quite simply. The application is a multilingual application supporting English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
The UI is not that impressive, but frankly who cares when we have something important to recover. It presents a wizard initially which helps even a novice to make this software work for him by selecting the data loss situation (Like to recover deleted files, lost files or search for lost drives). The display of available logical drives with drive letters assigned by windows and without any drive letters might prove to confuse users who are new to any sort of data recovery applications or technique.
Deleted file recovery is quite impressive as the results are displayed in a flash with the help of an explorer like tree and a user can browse both files deleted either using simple delete and later emptying recycle bin or using shift+del. The mode of deleted file recovery displays only deleted files. Separate icon for recycler is also good.
I couldn’t test the application supporting advanced features of NTFS file system, also nowhere in the documentation it was mentioned that software support ADS, Compressed or Encrypted files.
The lost file scan engine designed by the developer is not much which was seriously thought of. Application derives the cluster sizes by the native boot sector and farther derives directory entries using MFT or FAT table using available details. The display after the complete scan consists of existing files and lost files which are clubbed inside a folder even though this number could populate heavily and handling together might cause problems.
Application lacked the file preview feature before recovery, the hex and text are the preview options which work with this application and in no way these options are going to help the user who is looking to recover files other than “Documents”.
Lost partition search is also very basic, re-formatted drives like a drive formatted from FAT32 to NTFS is quite difficult for this application to identify as there is no internal partition validation.
As a free application support is not a factor which we should consider however the user manual consists of 4-5 pages basic instructions. One of the topics I loved was pre-crash precautions which included the best suggestion to “defrag” drive.
Finally PC Inspector is must have to test and try after a mishap but is not the best which is going to help always.
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