Disk Drill Review (v4.0) (2019)

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disk drill review

Data loss is a problem faced by many computer users. The sudden disappearance of important files or folders can lead to excessive stress and panic. But in many cases, a data recovery tool can help resolve the issues by restoring your lost files. Disk Drill for Windows is an application that has been helping users restore deleted data for years. Recently version 4.0 was released, which includes a shiny new user-interface and data protection capabilities. We are going to take a tour of this software tool to help you if it’s the right data recovery product for your situation.

Here is a quick table summarizing our review of specific aspects of Disk Drill.

Parameter

Score

Features

9.5/10

Recovery Process

9.0/10

Usability

9.5/10

Pricing

9.0/10

Support

8.5/10

#1 Features

One of the most important aspects of a software application is the range of features that it offers. Let’s take a look at what you can expect when you download and install Disk Drill on your machine.

User-Interface

Disk Drill’s interface is easy to navigate and makes all of its features readily available to the user. A panel on the right side of the main window lets you choose from data recovery, data protection, or drive backup. You can also choose from among recent scanning sessions or load those that were previously saved.

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Menu bar options enable you to display your disks in a tree or detailed format, and choose whether to use hardware disks or logical volumes for a scan. Scan results are displayed in the main window, and your scans can easily be paused and restarted with a click.

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Clicking on Data Protection opens a window displaying the current Recovery Vault settings and allows you to make configuration changes to protect your data. The Drive Backup option walks you through the process of creating a byte-level backup of your disk to be used for recovery at a later time.


Recovery capabilities

Disk Drill addresses all types of data loss scenarios including accidentally formatted disks, recovering files from an emptied Recycle Bin, and corrupted SD cards. It uses sophisticated algorithms that scan your drive for recoverable data and can find your deleted music, photos, videos, and documents.

disk drill v4.0

Scans can be paused, saved and restarted, giving the user flexibility in recovering their data. The result of a scan can be mounted as a virtual disk, allowing you to move files as you would with any other folder. This makes it extremely easy to relocate your files safely after they have been recovered. You can select to use just a single scanning method or employ them all to run in the optimal order for the most thorough data recovery.

disk drill overview


Additional data protection tools

The additional data protection tools included with all versions of Disk Drill are one of its most outstanding features. You can configure the tool’s Recovery Vault to protect your important files and folders from inadvertent deletion. It functions as a supplemental Recycle Bin and enables you to quickly recover lost data without performing the full scanning and recovery process.

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Creating a byte-level backup of your disk can be instrumental in protecting data on drives that are experiencing problems. Rather than subjecting a failing disk to the multiple reads and writes associated with data recovery, you can use the backup to perform your recovery. Working in this way means your disk will only be accessed once more to create the backup. This minimizes the chances of a catastrophic failure before you can save its data.

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Here is an overview of the features and some of the weaknesses of Disk Drill.

Feature

Disk Drill

Recover deleted files

Yes

Recover deleted files from an emptied Recycle Bin

Yes

Recover data from formatted disks or partitions

Yes

Find lost partitions

Yes

User-friendly interface

Yes

Intuitive recovery process

Yes

Windows and macOS support

Yes

Linux support

No

Data loss prevention tools

Yes

Display scan results as a folder

Yes

Repair damaged partitions

No

Recover data from any disk-based device

Yes

Over 400 file formats supported for recovery

Yes

Filter recovery files for faster scanning

No

Here’s an overview of the types of files and file systems that Disk Drill can recover.

Recoverable file formats include:

  • Images – JPEG, RAW, PNG, Illustrator, Photoshop
  • Documents – Word, Excel, plain text, Powerpoint, PDF
  • Audio – MP3, WAV, AIFF, Ogg, AAC
  • Video – WMV, AVI, MPEG-4, QuickTime
  • Archives – Zip, Gzip, Stuffit, RAR

File systems that can be recovered include:

  • Windows – NTFS, FAT16/32
  • macOS – HFS, HFS+
  • Removable storage – exFat

CleverFiles, the developers of Disk Drill for Windows 4.0 have included advanced functionality and data protection capabilities in their data recovery tool. Let’s take a closer look at the application’s recovery process, which is probably the feature that interests you the most.

#2 Recovery Process

Here is a step-by-step guide that demonstrates the ease with which you can perform data recovery with this tool.

To recover deleted files using Disk Drill, you need to:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill on your Windows computer.

    If you are recovering data from your machine’s main hard drive, you should perform the download and install on a removable USB flash drive to protect the recovery media.

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  2. If you are recovering data from an external device, now is the time to connect it to your computer.
  3. Launch Disk Drill and select the device from which you want to recover data.disk drill
  4. Click the Search for lost data button to start scanning the media for recoverable files. You can accept the default which will execute all recovery methods in their optimal order or select a specific method such as Deep Scan.disk drill recovery software
  5. You will be presented with a window containing a status bar at the top which indicates the progress of the scan. The window displays the number of files found in various categories such as documents, video, audio, and pictures.disk drill v4.0

    The files can be previewed before committing to a recovery by selecting the Preview view from the View dropdown on the menu bar.disk drill overview

  6. When the scan is complete you can select the files you wish to recover by checking the box to the left of the filenames. Once you make your selection click the Recover button.disk drill alternatives
  7. A dialog box will be displayed in which you select the location at which you want to store your recovered data. Don’t use its original location, as this can lead to data corruption while the recovery is being performed.disk drill professional review
  8. After selecting the recovery location, click the OK button.

That’s it. When recovery is complete a message will be displayed notifying you that the procedure was successful. You can return to the disk list for more recovery if required.


Performance

Recovery performance is dependent on a number of factors that are beyond the control of the application performing the restore. Hardware considerations, virtual memory, and the type of data on the drive can all affect the time it takes to completely scan your disk.

A complete scan using all methods on a 931 GB hard drive in my Windows laptop would have taken almost eight hours to finish as reported by the scanning timing status displayed at the bottom of the recovery window. The quick scan of that drive was finished in around five minutes and found the files I was interested in recoverin.

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A complete scan of a 16 GB flash drive took about nine minutes to finish. I created a folder with several files and then deleted them prior to the recovery test. Disk Drill did successfully recover those files.

Disk Drill provides a simple and streamlined data recovery process that can be performed by users with any level of computer knowledge. In the matter of a few clicks, you can begin to recover your lost or deleted data. Seasoned data recovery professionals and novice computer owners will enjoy the intuitive and user-friendly recovery process.

#3 Pricing

Disk Drill offers several different pricing models to address the varied needs of its users. From single users to a business environment, Disk Drill has a pricing option right for you.

Version

Price

Limitations or Perks

Primary usage scenario

Basic Version

Free

500 MB recovery;

Preview all recovery features;

Data protection tools are included.

Testing the application for small data recovery tasks.

Pro Version

$89

Unlimited recovery;

Full access to all features;

1 user 3 activations.

Best for a single user with large data recovery requirements.

Enterprise Version

$499

Unlimited recovery;

10 users and unlimited activations;

Comprehensive commercial data recovery for your business;

Priority customer support.

Appropriate for company-wide data recovery.

disk drill

All paid versions of Disk Drill for Windows 4.0 includes Disk Drill for macOS to fully protect your data on either popular computing platform. Discounts may also be available from the CleverFiles download site.

#4 Customer support

CleverFiles offers an extensive knowledge base and access to FAQs by simply clicking Help in the upper-right of the main window. You can also engage support through email at this link. Enhanced support is offered for owners of the Enterprise version.

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#5 Disk Drill Alternatives

Here’s a chart demonstrating how Disk Drill stacks up against some competing data recovery solutions. We compared the application to two comparable recovery tools from other developers. These were chosen due to their popularity with the Windows user community.

Parameter

Disk Drill

EaseUS Data Recovery

Stellar Data Recovery

Recovery interface and usability

9.5

8.5

8.5

Recovery capabilities

9.0

8.0

8.0

Pricing

Flexible pricing terms are available

Subscriptions are required.

Flexible pricing terms are available

Support

Email and knowledge base

Email, knowledge base, and phone

Email, knowledge base, and phone

File formats supported

Over 400

Over 1000

Over 200

Data protection tools

Yes

No

No

Free macOS recovery with paid versions

Yes

No

No

Recovery file thumbnail preview

Yes

No

No

RAID recovery

No

No

Yes

While all of the app’s we looked at give you a good chance of recovering your lost data, Disk Drill offers some extra features that may influence your decision when selecting a data recovery tool.

FAQ

Q: Is Disk Drill safe?

A:
Disk Drill is safe to use and will not make any changes to your disks unless you instruct it to perform data recovery and store the recovered files. Scanning your disk is completely safe.

Q: Where to Buy Disk Drill

A:
You can download the free version of Disk Drill or upgrade to the Pro or Enterprise versions at the Pandora Recovery website.

Q: How to Delete Disk Drill

A:
Just right-click on the app in the Windows 10 Start Menu and select Uninstall. Older Windows versions require you to remove the program using Control Panel.

Verdict

Disk Drill provides all the features you want in a data recovery application. It is a user-friendly solution to data loss that won’t cost you a fortune. The tool guides inexperienced users, allowing them to recover lost files in an intuitive and stress-free manner.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface for streamlined data recovery
  • Powerful recovery capabilities
  • Support for virtually all disk-based storage media
  • Valuable data protection and backup tools

Cons

  • Does not support the Linux operating system
  • Full scans using all available methods can be time-consuming
  • No phone support

Overall

Summing it all up, Disk Drill provides a flexible data recovery application that has a high chance of successfully restoring your data is you have met the required conditions. It’s a great solution for individuals or small businesses that need user-friendly data protection and recovery capabilities. Download the app for free and give it a test-drive to see if it’s right for you.

Jeff Cochin is a data management and recovery professional, who has been with Pandorarecovery for nine years and has always been an essential part of the team. Jeff also works as a technical writer at Macgasm, being a first hand in testing, trying and writing about big and small tech software.