iCare Data Recovery Review – Worth a Try but Probably Not Your Money
Out of 5 Total Score
No. 12 Among all Windows solutions
iCare Data Recovery isn’t as well known as other software, but its promise of unlimited free recovery gained it some traction. However, that’s not enough to convince us – so we put it through the wringer. Is it worth your download? Read on to find out.
Free unlimited recovery. The free version of iCare Data Recovery offers unlimited recovery of deleted files. This version doesn’t work with Deep Scan and RAW/Deleted Partition recovery. However, iCare Pro offers a free trial where you can recover up to 1 GB of data, which does work with Deep Scan and RAW/Deleted Partition recovery.
Supports non-mountable disks. iCare Data Recovery can scan disks with no file system.
Works with most Windows versions. The program supports Windows versions all the way from Windows 2000 to Windows 11.
Convenient file type scan selection. You can specify the file types you want the signature scan to search for.
Lightweight app. The app doesn’t require a lot of resources to run, so it’s a good choice for users with limited RAM.
Outdated interface. iCare Data Recovery’s GUI (graphical user interface) looks really dated and clunky, and it lacks quality-of-life features other modern data recovery software offer.
Inconvenient scanning process. It takes about 3-4 steps to scan disks, as compared to other software that only require 1-2 steps.
Too much user interaction. Users will have to pay attention to the screen during the process because the app may display prompts that require further action before continuing. Other apps only require 1-2 clicks to start and can handle the rest of the process without any more input.
Infrequent updates. iCare Data Recovery doesn’t get updated often so this app will continue losing relevance over time. Modern data recovery software usually get updated at least every 6 months.
English only. Its GUI only comes in English. No other languages are supported.
One scan type at a time. Users must specify only one scan type per run unlike other data recovery software that can apply all 3 scan types (Quick Scan, Deep Scan, Signature Scan) at once.
Inefficient lost partition scanning. If the program finds any lost partitions, it prompts the user to select which partitions to scan. However, it only permits the user to scan a few partitions at a time – not all. The user will have to go back and reselect partitions to eventually scan them all.
Inconvenient file preview. To preview files, users have to select a found file and then click the preview button on the toolbar to open a new window that displays that file. While open, users will not be able to interact with the main window.
Unresponsive while scanning. During a scan, users will not be able to interact with the program until completion.
No S.M.A.R.T. The program cannot monitor nor analyze the health of a disk.
Limited preview support. There are only a few file types this program can preview. In fact, it sometimes fails to preview popular photo formats.
|Free version available|
|Free version limitations|
|No credit card to try|
|Money back guarantee|
As we’ve already mentioned a few times, iCare Data Recovery offers free unlimited data recovery, which is rare among its competitors. But it only works for recently deleted files, so don’t apply this type of scan on a corrupted or infected drive. Users can also activate a trial for iCare Data Recovery Pro, which provides a complete solution for up to 1 GB of data.
As of this writing, iCareAll is offering great discounts for paid versions – yet it’s still on the pricier side considering the app’s limitations (which we’ll explore later in this article). They offer annual subscriptions at $69 for 1 PC and $99 for 2 PCs, as well as a lifetime license for $399.99 that can be used on an unlimited number of machines.
iCare Data Recovery does not have a money-back guarantee, which is something most data recovery software offer. We consider this a red flag, so we strongly advise you to read the rest of this article before deciding to buy.
Everything in Home license plus:
Everything in Workstation license plus:
Developer — iCareAll Inc.
iCareAll was established in 2009 and released version 1 of iCare Data Recovery that same year. The company added more tools to its arsenal, including document editors and converters. This is a common business model for many developers (not all).
1% 47% 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).
1300 72% than avg
Based on the number of brand-related search queries on Google US according to ahrefs.com.
Despite offering a suite of tools, iCareAll isn’t as popular as most of its competitors. Their site is rarely in the top search results for the niche’s commonly used keywords, and we don’t see iCare Data Recovery featured on many websites.
2009 • 14 years on market
10380 Bren Rd W, Minnetonka, Minnesota, 55343, United States
iCareAll has a presence on most social sites, but their most recent activity was in 2020, followed by 2018. Their own website looks outdated, but they do have some useful how-to articles.
How We Test
Pandora Recovery reviews follow a strict testing methodology that our technicians designed to measure the value any app offers its users – especially when compared to its competitors.
|1||Installation||We expect a fast and easy installation process. Time is of the essence – every minute lost fumbling over installation decreases the likelihood of recovering all or most of your data.|
|2||Source selection||Following the same logic as above, it should be quick and easy for users to select the drive or partition they want to scan.|
|3||Scanning process||The best data recovery tools can track, predict, and even pause and resume the scanning process. This is especially important for failing or corrupted drives.|
|4||Managing found data||After scanning, we expect to easily locate and organize the found files through filters and sorting tools.|
|5||Recovery and post-processing||Finally, saving the files we want to restore should only take a few clicks. It should also be easy to choose a location to save the files. Ideally, the app should encourage the user to avoid saving files to the same disk that is being recovered.|
Our top-to-bottom approach will paint a clear picture for potential users and buyers of what they can expect to get out of this software. We consider performance, usability, value, extra features, and more – all the intel you need is in the following sections.
Installing iCare Data Recovery is as easy as installing any other Windows program. Users can download installers for the free and pro versions from their website. The installer itself is a standard wizard that users can complete with just a few clicks.
Unfortunately, source selection was our first clue of iCare Data Recovery’s below-average user experience. The first source selection screen prompts the user to select a disk (not partition – not yet, at least). Then, a dialogue box pops up where the user can select the file types they want the program to restore.
The program will start scanning at this point. Once the scan is complete, only then can users select the partition they want to browse… But only once at a time. This means that users will have to go through each partition separately and return to the partition window to browse a new one (even if they’re on the same disk).
In comparison, other data recovery software prompts the user to select a source just once in the entire process. And right off the bat, users can usually select whether to scan a whole disk or just one of its partitions.
Once iCare Data Recovery begins the scan, a pop-up appears displaying real-time data such as elapsed and remaining time, found files, and more. As we explained in the last section, the app by default scans the whole disk and users can only browse specific partitions once the scan is complete.
Scan time depends on the size of your drive but we did notice a slower speed compared to other data recovery software we tested under the same conditions.
Managing found files
The app provides a few tools for users to manage and organize the found data. They can: (1) locate files by name, (2) search for data by file type, size, date, and other metadata, and (3) preview files one by one.
Recovery and post-processing
Fortunately, recovery is the easiest step. Users can select the files they want to restore by ticking the boxes to the left or by clicking the Select All button.
Upon clicking the Recover button, a pop-up appears where the user can browse and select a folder to store the recovered files. Once the retrieval process is complete, iCare Data Recovery will notify the user and simultaneously open the folder that contains the recovered data.
iCare Data Recovery for Windows – Tutorials and Other Videos
If you want to watch iCare Data Recovery in action, here are some useful videos from the developers:
iCareAll and iCare Data Recovery have been around since 2009, so the developers are already established in the niche. However, that doesn’t mean they’re popular. In fact, their brand comes up 81.5% less than their competitors.
The app doesn’t get updated much, especially when compared to similar data recovery software that get updated as often as every 3 months. There are also no changelogs on their site.
That said, iCare does support the latest Windows version (and even supports versions as old as Windows 2000) and they provide helpdesk support on-site in case users run into any trouble. We wish they provided live chat support, as we’ve come to expect that from most of the apps we review on this site.
More than 6 months
|4||Latest Windows release supported|
Yes, all good
|5||Genuine or clone?|
|6||Brand name popularity|
|7||Online market share|
|9||Extensive knowledge base|
iCare Data Recovery’s biggest selling point is its free version – users can recover unlimited recently deleted data without having to pay for a license. iCareAll also offers a free trial for the licensed version that provides a complete toolset but only provides 1 GB of free data recovery.
Without the unlimited free trial, the app becomes a hard sell. Licenses are only available for annual subscriptions at $69 and $99 or a lifetime subscription at $399. Those prices are pretty expensive compared to other options – and that’s not even considering whether its performance is worth the cost. More on this in the following sections.
Unlimited Quick Scan + 1 GB free for all scan types
|4||Is it free?|
Unlimited Quick Scan for free version, 1 GB free for Pro version
Two annual subscription plans, one lifetime option
|6||Unlimited recovery in full version|
|8||Commercial rights in the cheapest license|
Most modern data recovery software put great emphasis on user experience. Based on what we’ve seen on the market, we expect a decent GUI (graphical user interface) and quality-of-life features that make it easy for users at any level to restore data.
Unfortunately, iCare Data Recovery lacks both. The GUI is outdated and critical usability features – like convenient session management – are missing. The app currently can’t auto-resume scans and backups, which is bad news for users with failing drives.
While basic features are easy to find and straightforward to use, the app isn’t beginner-friendly. Users can’t rely on it to choose an appropriate scan type and source selection is super clunky. As we mentioned in the testing section, users can only browse specific partitions one-by-one after scanning a disk. Finally, there is no built-in updater within the app and it only comes in one language: English.
There are a few good points worth mentioning, such as hex view and decent sorting and filtering tools for recovered files. The app was also easy to install.
|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|
So, how good is iCare Data Recovery at actually recovering data? Well, we were underwhelmed. Core scan types produced below-average results and many recovery features we’ve found in other apps are missing from this one. Details below.
|1||Clever in-depth scan|
|Clever scan works well with FAT32 and NTFS formats but failed to restore data from exFAT and non-Windows formats.|
|NTFS, exFAT, and FAT32 formats are supported with mixed results.|
|3||Other types of scan|
|Below average signature recognition and lacks BitLocker support.|
|Great support for common internal and external storage devices.|
|5||Real-life recovery challenge|
|Below average to average results when tested with document, video, and RAW photo recovery.|
|6||Other notable recovery features|
|Sorely lacking in features compared to competing software.|
When tested on our FAT32 partition, iCare Data Recovery restored most of our data but parts of the original folder structure and some file names were missing. It did a little better with our NTFS partition. Most files were stored in a “lost” folder – recoverable, but orphaned from the folder tree.
We were disappointed that it didn’t work with our exFAT partition, which uses a Windows-based format. It also failed to restore anything from our HFS+, APFS, and EXT4 partitions. However, since those aren’t Windows-based formats, we won’t consider this as a major point against iCare Data Recovery for this article.
iCare Data Recovery’s Quick scan did a little bit better. We were happy to discover that it worked with our exFAT partition this time, even if it missed more files than our FAT32 and NTFS partitions.
We encountered minor checksum and corruption issues when restoring our FAT32 partition, but we were satisfied with the results overall.
Similar to the Clever scan results, iCare failed to restore data from our HFS+, APFS, and EXT4 partitions (non-Windows).
Other scan types
|1||The number of formats supported by deep scan|
|3||Windows shadow copies scanning|
|4||Scan for lost partitions|
|5||Recovered files' labeling|
|6||Partial file recovery|
|7||Disk images: scan and recovery|
Clever scan and Quick scan aren’t the only scan tools offered by most data recovery software, especially since data loss situations vary among users.
Unfortunately, iCare Data Recovery lags behind the majority of its competition. Its signature scan is rudimentary and produced below-average results (which we’ll explore in the real-life recovery challenge section). iCare also does not support BitLocker-encrypted drives at all.
Its lost partition scanning and partial file recovery are effective, but that doesn’t mean much when it struggles to restore common file types.
|1||Internal and external HDD|
|2||Internal and external SSD|
|3||USB thumb drives / Classic iPods (non-iOS) / FireWire devices|
|7||Recovery from RAID1, 0, JBOD|
iCare Data Recovery provides standard device support. It works with internal and external hard drives and solid-state drives, as well as other commonly-used flash media like USB sticks and memory cards. It also supports unmountable partitions.
As of this writing, iCare does not provide recovery tools for iOS and Android mobile devices. Users with RAID drives should also look elsewhere.
Real-life recovery challenges
|1||Document formats recovery|
|2||Raw photo recovery|
|3||Video formats recovery|
Raw photo recovery
|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)|
RAW photo recovery results were abysmal. iCare Data Recovery is decent for certain Nikon and Canon RAW file types (not all) and it’s reliable enough for JPG and BMP files. That’s it. Photographers, look elsewhere.
Video formats recovery
|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)|
iCare Data Recovery did a little bit better when we tested it for video recovery, but we were still disappointed with the results. MOV and AVI files have decent support, but the app struggled with other common files like MP4 and WMV.
We were surprised to find that it restored some of our BRAW data, but we advise users with professional equipment to try another software.
Document formats recovery
|1||accdb (Microsoft Access 2007+ database file)|
|2||djvu (compressed image format)|
|3||doc (Microsoft Word 97 – 2003 document file)|
|4||docx (Microsoft Word 2007+ document file)|
|5||fb2 (FictionBook 2.0 File)|
|6||key (Apple Keynote)|
|7||mdb (Microsoft Access 97 - 2003 database file)|
|8||numbers (Apple Numbers)|
|9||odp (OpenOffice presentation file format)|
|10||ods (OpenDocument spreadsheet file format)|
|11||odt (OpenDocument text document file format)|
|12||pages (Apple Pages)|
|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)|
iCare Data Recovery performed a lot better with document files, but the best we could hope for was average results. Expect to restore Microsoft Documents, Excel, and Powerpoint files, but struggle with everything else or at least face mixed results.
Other notable recovery features
|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||Convenient scan session management|
|7||Bad sector management|
|8||Recovery chance prediction|
|10||Disk vitals monitoring and tracking during scan|
|12||Links to in-lab recovery service for physically damaged devices|
|14||Scan free space only|
|15||Start file recovery without interrupting the scan|
|16||Preview recoverable items without interrupting the scan|
Aside from iCare Data Recovery’s below-average session management and decent scan speed, there’s nothing much to write about here.
Extra features are a great way for data recovery software to provide more value to users. Like most, however, iCare Data Recovery doesn’t offer much.
|1||Disk space mapping|
|2||Disk clean up|
|3||Corrupted video repair tool|
|4||Corrupted photo repair tool|
|7||Built-in disk space secure eraser|
|9||Disk surface test|
|10||Secure data shredding|
We were disappointed to find that it lacked even common and useful features like S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology).
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you want to know about iCare Data Recovery?
iCare Data Recovery is a data recovery software available for Windows and Mac computers. Its job is to help users recover data that was lost due to accidental deletion, formatting, and corruption.
To restore your data with iCare Data Recovery software:
- Download and install the free or Pro version of iCare Data Recovery software from their website.
- Launch the application and scan your disk.
- Select the partition you want to browse.
- Select the files you want to restore and choose a destination folder.
Yes, we were able to recover decent amounts of data using iCare Data Recovery Pro. However, there are other tools that performed better under the same conditions.
To use iCare Data Recovery Pro to restore your data:
- Download and install the Pro installer from their website.
- Choose a scan type and select the drive you want to restore.
- Select a partition you want to browse.
- Select your files and choose a destination folder.
iCare Data Recovery provides an unlimited free version where users can restore as many recently deleted files as they want. However, it does not provide Deep Scan and lacks support for RAW/deleted partitions. The Pro version offers 1 GB of free data recovery with access to all of the app’s features.
Yes, iCare Data Recovery is safe. It has been around since 2009 and its developers have created other legitimate software products along the way.
The speed of recovery mostly depends on how much data you need to restore. However, iCare Data Recovery is a bit on the slower side. For reference, it took us around 30 minutes to recover deleted files from a 64GB flash drive.
Will do ⚖️️
Out of 5 Total score
No. 12 Among all Windows solutions
We can’t recommend iCare Data Recovery when there are many similar tools that perform a lot better for a fraction of the price.Visit developer website
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Alejandro is a veteran writer with a rich background in technology. He worked part-time in his uncle’s repair and recovery shop as a young boy, and now uses his experience and writing skills to produce content for multiple tech websites – specifically on the topic of data recovery. As an author for Pandora Recovery, he is constantly testing and experimenting with new tools and technology to help his readers find the best software for their needs.
Frisco, Texas, United States
Yevgeniy Tolkunov is Hardware Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Yevgeniy has a Master's Degree in Physics, Information Technology; 15+ years of experience.