Recently a friend asked me the classic question: how can I recover data on a Mac from a hard disk that has been formatted? a request that many make me. In answering, I always think that a good backup strategy would solve all the problems. Unfortunately, not all Mac users (and computers in general) are aware of what it really means to have a good backup strategy. So people often find themselves losing their data following an unintentional formatting of hard drives and pendrive.
To meet the needs of my friend, I searched among the applications installed on my Mac that could give me a hand in solving the problem. I wanted to use Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery in Professional version. This experience gave me the opportunity to test this software and share my considerations in this article.
Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery helps you recover data on Mac
Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery compatible with all file systems supported by macOS, such as HFS, HFS +, FAT, ex-FAT and NTFS. Also guaranteed support with all Macs with OS X 10.6 or higher.
How data recovery software works
When a file is deleted from a hard disk, a pendrive or from any storage medium, this is often not really deleted. It seems almost a contradiction but so. To understand my statement we should have a high-level view of how a hard disk works. This is a review of data recovery software and not a lesson on file systems, I know very well. I think a small introduction is necessary to understand how these types of programs work and what can be done to increase the chances of recovering our deleted data.
Each hard disk holds in memory a table within which it associates the data that was stored with the position inside the disk. A third information is also saved which indicates whether the data has been deleted or not by the user. When a file is deleted, the hard disk updates the table by changing the third field I mentioned. So the file remains on the disk but in a way it is hidden from the file system. When the user adds new files to the disk, if space is needed, the hard disk physically deletes all files that have been marked as deleted by the user to make room for the new files.
For this reason the first piece of advice you give when you want to recover data on deleted Macs is to not use the disk until a recovery operation is performed.
Including hard disk operation, it's easy to understand how Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery works. The program goes to read the table generated by the disk file system and searches for all the files that have been marked as deleted and not yet overwritten by new data.
Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery – Professional: field test
The latest version of Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery differs from the previous versions for a restyling of the graphic interface. The first screen that is presented to the user when starting the software allows you to select the types of files you want to recover. You can decide to search all types of files or filter the search on documents, emails, videos, audios or photos.
By clicking on the button Following the selection of the disk to be scanned is selected. In this screen all the external disks connected to the Mac are shown, with the possibility to also choose the internal disk of the computer.
If you decide to scan the internal disk, you need to enable a number of functions from the recovery of the Mac. Nothing difficult. I appreciated the short tutorial offered by Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery when choosing to go this route.
If you want to start a more thorough scan of the disk (recommended if the quick scan does not bear fruit), you can decide to activate it using the switch in the lower left part of the screen.
At this point, simply click on Scan to start the whole process. As you may have noticed, the configurations to be performed to start the scan are minimal. You must choose the type of file to be searched, the disk to be scanned and finally start the process.
Scan times vary depending on the size of the disc. In my case, the process of scanning an 8GB pendrive containing photos lasted about 10 seconds. If you decide to scan a larger disk or proceed with a thorough scan, the times increase.
At the end of the scan, the preview mode allows you to check all the files that the software was able to recover. At this point you have two ways to go: transfer all the files to a folder of your choice or choose which data needs to be recovered. The test to recover data deleted from the disk and from the external drive bin was extremely positive.
In fact, I was able to recover all the data that had been deleted from the external drive. For completeness I decided to format the same disk (obviously after having recovered all the data with Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery). In this second case the results were different. Obviously the formatting led to the complete deletion of the file system table and the software was not able to recover my data.
The free version of Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery only allows you to scan the disk. To be able to recover deleted data on Macs, it is necessary to purchase the full license on the manufacturer's website for the price of 99.
Using Stellar Phoenix Mac Data Recovery I was able to recover the photos that my friend had accidentally deleted. If the disk was formatted, the tests showed that the files would not be recoverable. The cost of 99 certainly does not make the Stellar Phoenix product a cheap software, but if you have eliminated an important and indispensable file for your work, the expense will certainly be repaid. My advice is to download the free trial on the official website. This way you can perform a test scan and check if your files can be recovered. If the outcome is positive, then you can switch to buying the software to end the procedure to recover data on Mac.