DiskWarrior Review – Is It Still Worth Your Money?
Out of 5 Total Score
No. 6 Among all macOS solutions
DiskWarrior describes itself as the world’s most advanced repair and data recovery tool, but this bold claim contrasts with our own experience with the software. Read this detailed review to find out why DiskWarrior isn’t as good as it claims to be.
Repair capabilities. DiskWarrior shines when it comes to repairing drives whose file system has been damaged, triggering errors in Disk Utility and preventing files from being accessible.
Bootable recovery. The program can boot into the standard macOS recovery and repair HFS and HFS+ system disks that have stopped booting.
Disk optimization. The program can scan HFS and HFS+ disks and analyze them for directory index fragmentation. In theory, this can increase disk performance.
Error detection. It’s possible to scan existing files and folders on HFS and HFS+ disks for problems and potential data loss.
Disk monitoring. DiskWarrior includes a tool that allows you to automatically scan disks for hardware problems. If there is a problem, the program can inform about it.
Scanning security. Before scanning DiskWarrior unmounts the disk from the system, which is a good way to prevent data overwriting and other potential problems.
Strange behavior. On startup, the application always minimizes all other open windows for some reason, which can be quite annoying when you have multiple other windows opened.
File system support. DiskWarrior supports only HFS and HFS+ drives. That’s a huge downside considering that Apple has been using APFS as its default file system for some time now.
Development. The last update was released in 2018. Since then, not a single update has been released. On the official website, the developers have been promising a major new update with support for APFS for more than 2 years now, but nobody knows when it will arrive.
M1 support. Macs with the new M1 processor are not supported by the latest version of Disk Warrior.
Trial version. The developers of DiskWarrior don’t offer a free trial version, so there’s no way for customers to test the software for free.
Monterey support. The application doesn’t officially support macOS Monterey, but we were able to get it to work just fine on the latest version of Apple’s operating system.
Manual updates. DiskWarrior doesn’t support automatic updates, so each and every update must be downloaded and installed manually.
Repair methods. The program doesn't work as a full-featured data recovery software - it can't recover deleted/lost/formatted data. The program supports only one method of scanning: the repair of HFS and HFS+ directories.
Disk monitoring. The automatic disk monitoring module is very old and does not support many modern drives, including those found inside modern Macs with M1 and T2 chips.
User friendliness. The program doesn’t have a close button, so you have to close it from the menu or dock. DiskWarrior also doesn’t do a good job when it comes to explaining some of its options, forcing you to read the manual.
Preview files. The preview of the restored files and the directory is very limited—it just shows a list of files, and it’s not possible to analyze if they are broken or not.
DiskWarrior – Overview #
DiskWarrior by Alsoft addresses a common cause of data loss—hard drive issues—by offering a host of repair features that can restore even a badly corrupted hard drive to a functioning state. The company behind the software, Alsoft, has been around for a long time, and it has rightfully earned a lot of respect. In fact, Apple used to bundle DiskWarrior with AppleCare, which goes to show that this isn’t some random white label software with a bunch of anonymous developers behind it. However, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.
|Latest version||5.2 • Released 1st Sep, 2018|
|Download size||20.3 MB|
|Category||Data Recovery Software|
|Trial version available|
|No credit card to try|
|Money back guarantee|
DiskWarrior is a premium disk repair and data recovery software application that doesn’t offer a free trial version. Instead, users have to purchase a new license for $119.95 or upgrade from an earlier version for $59.95. What’s interesting is that Alsoft developers the software on a USB flash drive within 1 to 2 days from purchase, but customers also get an online link that they can use to download DiskWarrior immediately. Included with every purchase is one-on-one tech support provided by a USA-based expert. It’s also worth noting that Alsoft donates a portion of its earnings to Texas Children’s Cancer Center and Mothers Against Cancer.
Discounts and coupons
Get 10% OFF Disk Warrior 5.
|Get the Deal|
Developer — Alsoft, Inc.
The origin of Alsoft, the company behind DiskWarrior, can be traced to two former Apple employees, who founded the company in 1984. Since then, Alsoft has been a leading developer of macOS software.
3% 92.3% than avg
Reflects the share of online traffic within the niche occupied by data recovery software, based on data taken from ahrefs.com (from Google US search engine).
4200 120.6% than avg
Based on the number of brand-related search queries on Google US according to ahrefs.com.
Alsoft’s software portfolio stretches back decades, and it starts with the first and only disk optimizer for Macintosh computers, DiskExpress. Other noteworthy software released by Alsoft includes MasterJuggler, PllusMaker, PlusOptimizer, and, of course, DiskWarrior, which is now in version 5.
1984 • 38 years on the market
15411 W Fantage # 210, Houston, Texas, United States
Alsoft is based in Texas, which is also where its customer support staff is located. That’s great news for all paying customers who get to enjoy premium one-on-one tech support from real data recovery experts.
Data Recovery with DiskWarrior
Tested on: macOS 11.6.2 (20G314)
Excited to see if DiskWarrior is really the world’s most advanced repair and data recovery tool, we performed a comprehensive test to discover its strong and weak points. The results of our test may surprise you.
How We Test
We tested DiskWarrior 5.2 on a Mac running macOS 12.0.1 (21A559). Like always, we relied on our comprehensive testing process to gather objective data that made it possible to repeatably evaluate how the software performed when presented with multiple data loss scenarios.
Because our tests are repeatable, their results can be directly compared, allowing us to see how DiskWarrior does against other software applications of its kind.
|1||Installation||First, we installed DiskWarrior 5.2 on our Mac, which we use exclusively for software testing purposes.|
|2||Source selection||We put together several data sets to evaluate DiskWarrior's data recovery capabilities in a controlled manner.|
|3||Scanning process||Using multiple software tools, we first verified the integrity of our data samples before emulating data loss scenarios.|
|4||Managing found data||Next, we used DiskWarrior to recover as much lost data as possible, carefully documenting the software's performance.|
|5||Recovery and post-processing||Finally, we analyzed how well DiskWarrior performed, summarizing our findings in this review.|
When testing disk repair and data recovery software applications like DiskWarrior, we always focus on data recovery performance, but we make sure to test all extra features as well because such features can greatly increase the overall value provided by the tested software.
Because DiskWarrior doesn't offer a free trial version, we had no other option but to purchase the full version. After completing our order, we were provided a download link and informed that we would also receive a copy of DiskWarrior on a USB flash drive within 1 or 2 business days.
Since we didn't want to wait for the USB flash drive to arrive, we downloaded the DiskWarrior installer using the provided download link. The installation process itself was painless, and we were ready to launch the software for the first time in no time.
DiskWarrior doesn't make it exactly obvious how to approach a data loss scenario. The application is divided into three main tabs (Directory, Files, and Hardware), and each tab has its own source selection dropdown menu.
The Directory tab lets you rebuild damaged directories, the Files tab lets you run tests on files to fix user permissions and potential compatibility problems, and the Hardware tab is where you can perform S.M.A.R.T. diagnostics.
We started on the Directory tab, using the dropdown menu to select our test drive. Unfortunately, DiskWarrior doesn't support Apple File System (APFS) disks, but it does support any locally connected Standard (HFS) or Extended (HFS+) disk, including Fusion Drives, RAID volumes, journaled disks, case-sensitive disks, FileVaults, and Time Machine backups.
With our test drive selected, we first instructed DiskWarrior to rebuild the directory and then checked all files and folders for compatibility problems.
In both cases, DiskWarrior finished the task quickly, and the application then displayed a comprehensive overview of the results.
DiskWarrior informed us that the directory was severely damaged, making it impossible to compare it with the original one. The compatibility check ended with a more positive result, with 0 files and folders requiring fixing.
Managing found files
DiskWarrior features a preview feature that lets users compare how the storage device will look like after it is repaired. Unfortunately, our collection of RAW images that we use for testing purposes wasn't supported by DiskWarrior—all we could see were the names of individual files.
DiskWarrior – Tutorials and Other Videos
Here are some useful tutorial videos that you can watch to better understand how DiskWarrior works.
DiskWarrior – Full Review
Now that you know how DiskWarrior can be used to recover lost data from a logically damaged drive, it’s time we take a closer look at the results of our in-depth testing process.
Considering that the company behind DiskWarrior has been around for decades and was founded by two former Apple employees, we were surprised when the total Karma score, which reflects the rating criteria below, amounted to just 43%.
The below-average Karma score is caused mainly by the fact that DiskWarrior hasn’t been updated for a long time. The application doesn’t officially support Apple Silicon Macs, the latest version of macOS, and the APFS file system.
More than 6 months
Available (View full update history)
|4||Latest macOS supported|
Nope, macOS 11.0 (Big Sur) and older
|5||Runs natively on M1 Macs|
Does not support
|6||Genuine or clone?|
|7||Brand name popularity|
|8||Online market share|
|10||Extensive knowledge base|
There used to be a time when purchasing DiskWarrior when presented with a difficult data loss scenario was a no-brainer, but that time is long gone. Despite its bold claims about world-first data repair and recovery performance, DiskWarrior delivers poor results and even worse value.
To start with, you can’t even test the application without paying a lot of money for a full license. That would be bad enough on its own, but DiskWarrior doesn’t even run properly on many modern Macs, and it also doesn’t support the default macOS file system (APFS).
|4||Is it free?|
Paid license is required to recover files
Two subscription plans + Lifetime license option
|6||Unlimited recovery in full version|
Only with Lifetime license
|8||Commercial rights in the cheapest license|
Some software applications become better with age, others just become outdated and cumbersome to use. Unfortunately, DiskWarrior belongs in the latter category. Why? Because the application has a clunky user interface that doesn’t make it easy to work with recovered data.
All you can really do is mount recoverable files as a disk, but that’s it. There are no convenient thumbnail previews, no hex editor for in-depth analysis, no search feature, no filters, and so on. This might have been fine 10 years ago, but modern data recovery software applications have raised the bar so much higher that DiskWarrior pales in comparison.
|1||Modern user-friendly interface|
|4||Automatic implementation of multiple appropriate scanning methods without user interaction|
|5||Auto-resuming scans of failing drives|
|6||Auto-resuming backups of failing drives|
|7||Convenient source selection on start|
|8||Convenient file-by-file preview of recoverable items|
|9||Convenient thumbnail preview of recoverable items|
|10||Mount recoverable items as disk|
|12||Multiple view modes in scan results|
|13||Hex view for recoverable items|
|14||Filter recoverable items by type|
|15||Search recoverable items by file names|
There’s no sugar-coating it: DiskWarrior’s data recovery performance is abysmal. In fact, the developers shouldn’t even call DiskWarrior a “data recovery tool.”
In reality, DiskWarrior is a disk repair tool capable of fixing damaged HFS and HFS+ directories. Yes, it can restore access to files and folders by building a new error-free, optimized directory, but that’s not the same thing as analyzing a storage device sector by sector to find permanently deleted files—something virtually all other data recovery tools do.
Since only a very few Mac users rely extensively on HFS and HFS+ drives anymore, you can expect DiskWarrior to fail miserably in most data loss situations.
DiskWarrior doesn’t support conventional data recovery methods. The only trick the software has up its sleeve is the ability to fix logical issues affecting HFS and HFS+ drives.
|1||Clever in-depth scan|
|3||Other types of scan|
|DiskWarrior can rebuild HFS and HFS+ directories, but that's it.|
|All storage devices that use the HFS or HFS+ file system are supported.|
|5||Real-life recovery challenge|
|DiskWarrior failed all real-life recovery challenges.|
|6||Other notable recovery features|
|The application is non-intrusive and doesn't take much time to repair a drive, but it otherwise lacks extra features.|
The ability to restore original folder structure and file names. Most consumer-oriented data recovery software applications can attempt to not only restore deleted files but also recover their original file names and folder structure. We call this type of functionality Clever scan
The Clever scan recovery mode, whose purpose is to recover files with their original names and place them inside their original folders, isn’t present in DiskWarrior.
Recovery of recently deleted files Every lost minute can significantly worsen the outcome of a data recovery attempt, and Quick scan certainly doesn’t waste your time because it’s designed to find as many recently deleted files as quickly as possible
When used soon enough, the Quick scan mode can save the day and address less serious cases of data loss without, but DiskWarrior, unfortunately, doesn’t support it.
Other scan types
Advanced scan types for solving complicated data loss situations Basic data recovery algorithms aimed at recovering recently deleted data cover only a small subset of the data loss issues users experience every day. That’s why developers also implement all kinds of advanced scan types
|1||The number of formats supported by deep scan|
|2||Native deep scan of system drives on M1-powered Macs|
|3||Native deep scan of system drives on T2-encrypted Macs|
|4||Native data recovery from local Time Machine snapshots|
|5||Scan for lost partitions|
|6||HFS+ directory rebuild|
|7||Recovered files' labeling|
|8||Partial file recovery|
|9||Disk images: scan and recovery|
Our testing process includes the evaluation of HFS+ directory rebuild capabilities, and this is something DiskWarrior excels at. We just wish it could offer a bit more.
Supported internal and external storage devices Ideally, data recovery software applications should be able to recover from internal and external hard drives, external USB flash drives, memory cards, smartphones, and other commonly used storage devices
|1||Internal and external HDD|
|2||Internal and external SSD|
|3||USB thumb drives / Classic iPods (non-iOS) / FireWire devices|
|9||Recovery from RAID1, 0, JBOD|
|10||Encrypted device support|
DiskWarrior has no trouble recovering data from commonly used storage devices as long as they’re formatted using the HFS or HFS+ file system. Mobile devices are not supported, but that’s to be expected.
Real-life recovery challenges
Results of real-life data recovery tests performed under controlled conditions It’s one thing to advertise support for hundreds of file formats, and it’s something else entirely to recover them in practice. Our tests reveal whether the data recovery software lives up to its promises
|1||Raw photo recovery|
|2||Video formats recovery|
|3||Document formats recovery|
Our real-life recovery challenges turned out to be insurmountable obstacles for DiskWarrior, highlighting its poor data recovery performance.
Raw photo recovery
The ability to recover raw photo file formats used by digital cameras and mobile devices Most modern digital cameras and increasingly many mobile devices let their users capture raw image data in a variety of raw file formats, so having the ability to recover them can be extremely helpful
|1||3fr (Hasselblad 3F raw image)|
|2||arw (Sony alpha raw)|
|3||bmp (bitmap image file)|
|4||cr2 (Canon raw version 2)|
|5||cr3 (Canon raw version 3)|
|6||crw (Canon raw CIFF image file)|
|7||dcr (Kodak digital camera raw)|
|8||dng (digital negative lossless raw image)|
|9||CinemaDNG (Blackmagic, Penelope, Pocket)|
|10||erf (Epson raw file)|
|11||exr (high dynamic-range file format)|
|12||fff (Hasselblad raw image)|
|13||gpr (GoPro raw format)|
|14||heic (high efficiency image file format)|
|15||iiq (intelligent image quality raw Leaf, Phase One)|
|16||insp (panoramic image Insta360)|
|17||jp2 (bitmap image format JPEG 2000)|
|18||jpg (joint photographic experts group compressed image)|
|19||kdc (Kodak digital camera raw image)|
|20||mef (Mamiya raw image file)|
|21||mos (Leaf and Mamiya raw image file)|
|22||mpo (multi picture stereoscopic object file)|
|23||mrw (Konica Minolta raw image format)|
|24||nef (Nikon raw image file)|
|25||nrw (Nikon raw image file)|
|26||orf (Olympus raw format)|
|27||pef (Pentax raw image file)|
|28||raf (Fujifilm raw image file)|
|29||raw (native digital camera file)|
|30||rw2 (Panasonic LUMIX raw image file)|
|31||rwl (Leica raw image format)|
|32||sr2 (Sony raw 2 image file)|
|33||srf (Sony raw file)|
|34||srw (Samsung raw image file)|
|35||tiff (tag image file format)|
|36||x3f (Sigma camera raw picture file)|
|37||x3i (Sigma super fine detail picture file)|
We used DiskWarrior to attempt the recovery of a host of RAW file formats but the software failed to retrieve even a single one.
Video formats recovery
Video recovery performance measured against commonly used video formats Video file formats have evolved a lot during the last decade, and not all recovery software tools support modern formats used by the latest digital cameras, camcorders, and mobile devices
|1||360 (GoPRO 360 degree videos)|
|2||ari (ARRI professional digital video camera)|
|3||arx (ARRI professional digital video camera)|
|4||avi (GoPRO CineForm intermediate codec)|
|5||avi (MJPG, H.264, MSMPEG4 v2 codecs)|
|6||braw (Blackmagic raw video file)|
|7||insv (Insta360 panoramic AVC H.264 video file)|
|8||insv (Insta360 panoramic HEVC HVC1 video file)|
|9||mov (Apple ProRes 422 Proxy/LT/HQ)|
|10||mov (Apple ProRes 4444 Raw/HQ)|
|11||mov (advanced video coding H.264)|
|12||mov (CineForm HD codec)|
|13||mov (HEVC, HVC1 codecs)|
|14||mp4 (advanced video coding H.264)|
|15||mp4 (HEVC, HVC1, Apple ProRes codecs)|
|16||mxf (advanced video coding H.264)|
|17||mxf (DVCPRO HD codec)|
|18||mxf (ARRI raw, Apple ProRes codecs)|
|19||mxf (XDCAM HD422, HD35 MPEG2 codecs)|
|20||r3d (Red digital camera company raw video file)|
|21||wmv (pro raw 9 codec)|
DiskWarrior’s video recovery capabilities were equally disappointing. Even commonly used video file formats were not recovered.
Document formats recovery
Determining how well the software recovers document file formats Documents are among the most commonly recovered file formats because their importance can be tremendous, especially when they're related to work or school. Because of how many document file formats exist these days, older and less developed data recovery software often struggle recovering and recognizing all of them
|1||accdb (Microsoft Access 2007+ database file)|
|2||key (Apple Keynote)|
|3||pages (Apple Pages)|
|4||numbers (Apple Numbers)|
|5||djvu (compressed image format)|
|6||doc (Microsoft Word 97 – 2003 document file)|
|7||docx (Microsoft Word 2007+ document file)|
|8||fb2 (FictionBook 2.0 File)|
|9||mdb (Microsoft Access 97 - 2003 database file)|
|10||odp (OpenOffice presentation file format)|
|11||ods (OpenDocument spreadsheet file format)|
|12||odt (OpenDocument text document file format)|
|13||pdf (portable document format)|
|14||ppt (Microsoft Powerpoint 97 - 2003 presentation file)|
|15||pptx (Microsoft Powerpoint 2007+ presentation file)|
|16||rtf (rich text format)|
|17||xls (Microsoft Excel 97 - 2003 spreadsheet file)|
|18||xlsx (Microsoft Excel 2007+ spreadsheet file)|
We certainly can’t recommend DiskWarrior to people who have lost an important document and are desperate to recover it. because we were not able to retrieve a single document during our testing.
Other notable recovery features
Additional recovery features and their performance These additional recovery features are what often separates average data recovery software solutions from those that can satisfy the needs of professionals and power users
|1||Overall non-intrusive read-only algorithms|
|3||Effectively filters out corrupted scan results|
|4||Byte-to-byte device backups|
|5||Bootable recovery drive creation|
|6||Runs in macOS native recovery mode|
|7||Convenient scan session management|
|8||Bad sector management|
|9||Recovery chance prediction|
|11||Disk vitals monitoring and tracking during scan|
|13||Links to in-lab recovery service for physically damaged devices|
|15||Scan free space only|
|16||Start file recovery without interrupting the scan|
|17||Preview recoverable items without interrupting the scan|
There are exactly three other positive data recovery features DiskWarrior can offer: the software is non-intrusive, can run from a bootable USB, and doesn’t take a lot of time to finish repairing hard drive damage.
Don’t purchase DiskWarrior if you expect the software to single-handily handle all your data management needs. Unlike many other data recovery applications, DiskWarrior doesn’t include a secure data shredder, duplicate file finder, and other useful tools. While it does display S.M.A.R.T. data, it obtains it from Apple’s Disk Utility, which does all the heavy lifting.
|1||Disk space mapping|
|2||Disk clean up|
|3||Corrupted video repair tool|
|4||Corrupted photo repair tool|
|5||Time Machine backups parser|
|7||Bootable macOS installer|
|9||Built-in disk space secure eraser|
|11||Disk surface test|
|12||Secure data shredding|
Not including any extra features seems like a huge mistake considering how many competing data recovery software applications go out their way to help users manage data and prevent data loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to several frequently asked questions about DiskWarrior.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to download DiskWarrior without purchasing a license first, which you can do on the application’s official website.
- Launch the software.
- Choose a disk from the popup menu.
- Click the Rebuild button.
- Download and install DiskWarrior Recovery Make.
- Connect your USB flash drive to your Mac.
- Launch the software and allow it to access removable volumes.
- Select the destination flash drive, the source macOS recovery disk, and the serialized DiskWarrior application.
- Click Create or Recreate.
Since DiskWarrior doesn’t replace the directory structure until the very end of the process, you should be fine even if your Mac freezes in the middle of directory rebuilding.