Stellar Data Recovery for Windows Review – A Hard Sell
Out of 5 Total Score
No. 6 Among all Windows solutions
Stellar Data Recovery for Windows is among the most frequently recommended data recovery software applications for Windows. But as this review reveals, recommendations should always be taken with a grain of salt because they can be seriously misleading.
Support. Customer support is responsive and willing to solve issues over TeamViewer.
Repair of photos and videos. The software can repair photos and videos that otherwise wouldn't be possible to open even after being recovered.
S.M.A.R.T. Stellar Data Recovery can read S.M.A.R.T. data of internal storage devices.
Preview in safe mode. There is an option that allows you to view file previews in safe mode to prevent crashes when opening corrupted data.
Backup creation. When creating a byte-to-byte copy of the disk, it's possible to specify the range of data to be backed up.
Custom file signatures. New file signatures can be manually added using sample files.
Scan settings. It's possible to configure which file signatures the software should look for.
Scanning for bad sectors. The program has an option that allows you to scan the surface of the disk for bad sectors.
Disk cloning. You can use the software to create exact copies of storage devices.
Scanning speed. The speed of reading data from the media is very fast, but the analysis of the received data is slow.
Scan screen. The screen used to display scanning progress is well-designed and informative.
Updates in the free version. The free version of Stellar Data Recovery doesn't check for updates.
Lost license information. The entered license information becomes lost with every update and must be entered again.
Slow previews. The preview feature is slow, with individual previews of recoverable files taking a long time to generate.
Preview limits. The preview feature only works for files up to 100 MB and for limited types.
Scanning speed. Stellar Data Recovery is able to scan a storage device relatively quickly, but it then takes a long time to process the scan results.
Recovery speed. It takes the software a long time to recover selected files.
No real-time recovery. During a scan, the user can't view and restore found files.
Disks without a file system. It's not possible to scan storage devices that don't have a file system. Such storage devices have to be formatted first, which increases data loss chances.
Crashes during scanning. The software failed to scan our test drives to recover the original folder structure and file names, soft failing (crashing) every time.
Sessiong management. Previous sessions are not conveniently displayed and take some time to find.
Signatures. The software isn't able to recognize many signatures (118).
Additional features. The few additional features supported by the software are not easy to find.
Ability to scan the entire disk. The program doesn't allow you to scan the entire disk if it has partitions on it. You only need to scan each partition individually.
Search for lost partitions. The software doesn't look for lost partitions by default. Instead, you have to begin a partition scan manually.
Recovery performance. Considering how much Stellar Data Recovery costs, the overall recovery performance is poor.
Changelog. The official website doesn't provide a complete changelog that includes all previous updates.
Auto scan resume. If something interrupts the scan process, the application doesn't notify the user in any way.
Bad sectors. If the disk has a bad sector, the application doesn't report this, but, instead, continues scanning, which is an unsafe thing to do.
Hex view. It's not possible to view the hexadecimal form of recoverable files.
Language support. The app is only translated into 6 languages.
Fullscreen mode. It's not possible to enter fullscreen mode.
Lack of feedback. Stellar Data Recovery doesn't provide any feedback at the end of the recovery process.
File browser. The built-in file browser, which is used to display recoverable files, is slow and unresponsive.
File view modes. It's not possible to choose between different file view modes.
Stellar Data Recovery for Windows – Overview #
The data recovery software we’re reviewing today is a widely recognized name in its niche. That’s in part because it has been around for nearly three decades now, but its age alone doesn’t tell the full story. Here’s a concise overview of Stellar Data Recovery for Windows to help you understand today’s test subject and the company behind it.
|Latest version||10.2.0.0 • Released 3rd Jan, 2022|
|Download size||300 MB|
|Category||Data Recovery Software|
|UI languages||English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean|
|Trial version available|
|Trial version limitations|
|No credit card to try|
|Money back guarantee|
We always appreciate when data recovery software makes it possible recover some data for free because it gives users a welcome opportunity to painlessly evaluate its capabilities on their own. Stellar Data Recovery for Windows shines in this regards, with the free version recovering up to 1 GB of data. Unfortunately, going beyond this limit can be expensive because the software relies on subscription plans, with lifetime upgrades being a rather expensive extra option.
|1||1 Year License||$49.99|
|1||1 Year License||$89.99|
Everything in Stellar Standard Data Recovery plus:
|1||1 Year License||$99.99|
Everything in Stellar Professional Data Recovery plus:
|1||1 Year Subscription||$199.00|
|2||3 Year Subscription||$399.00|
Everything in Stellar Premium Data Recovery plus:
|1||1 Year Subscription||$299.00|
|2||3 Year Subscription||$599.00|
Everything in Stellar Technician Data Recovery plus:
Discounts and coupons
Stellar Data Recovery 15% Discount
Coupon code - ColormangoStellar15.
|Get the Deal|
Developer — Stellar Information Technology Pvt. Ltd.
Stellar Information Technology Pvt. Ltd. was founded in 1993. The company is based in India, and it specializes in the development of software applications across multiple niches, including data recovery and file repair.
3% 56.6% 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).
13000 86.8% than avg
Based on the number of brand-related search queries on Google US according to ahrefs.com.
Since its inception, Stellar has successfully expanded its presence to the United States and Europe. The company has served millions of customers from most countries around the world, and it has established a strong online presence through its ongoing marketing effort.
1993 • 29 years on the market
D16, Sector-33, Infocity Phase II, Gurugram-122001, India
Stellar is active on social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Despite being based in India, it provides customer support to international customers through multiple channels, and it also maintains a comprehensive knowledge base where most commonly encountered issues are explained in great detail.
Data Recovery with Stellar Data Recovery for Windows
Tested on: Windows 11 (version 21H2)
The best data recovery software applications make it straightforward to recover lost files from any supported storage device. Is Stellar Data Recovery for Windows among them? Let’s find out.
How We Test
When we test data recovery software Windows, we're guided by our comprehensive testing methodology, whose purpose is to ensure objective, repeatable results. All data recovery tests consist of the following steps.
|1||Installation||First, we install the tested software, focusing on how intuitive the installation process is.|
|2||Source selection||We then use the software to scan a curated collection of deleted files in the form of a virtual drive.|
|3||Scanning process||During scanning, we measure how fast the software is finding and processing files and how well it keeps the user informed.|
|4||Managing found data||Next, we go through the scan results to see how easy the software makes it to locate, preview, and select specific files.|
|5||Recovery and post-processing||Finally, we recover the selected files and verify their integrity.|
We repeat the above-described series of steps as many times as necessary to test all available recovery methods. Then, we analyze the gathered results and summarize them in the next section of this review.
We experienced no issues during the installation of Stellar Data Recovery for Windows on our test machine.
A free version of the software can be downloaded from the official website, and the installation process itself consists of a few simple steps, each of which is explained well.
It's great that even the free version doesn't come bundled with promotional software or adware, a practice that has sadly become common in the software industry.
Before you can begin scanning, Stellar Data Recovery for Windows requires you to go through two steps.
First, you need to select what you want to recover. All checkboxes all ticked by default, but you can manually narrow down scanning to just documents, emails, or multimedia files, for example.
Next in order is the selection of the storage device you want to scan. In addition to connected drives, you can select a specific folder or recover from a disk image. Don't miss the Deep Scan button in the bottom-left corner if you want to recover as many files as possible.
When you begin scanning by clicking the Scan button, Stellar Data Recovery for Windows displays a comprehensive scan progress screen to tell you which file is being scanned, how much time is left, and which scanning phase is currently in progress.
Once finished, the software will automatically take you to its scan results browser window, where you can go through all recoverable files and preview some of them.
Managing found files
The scan results browser is basic, but it gets the job done. The pane on the left is divided into three separate tabs. The first tab lets you sort the scan results by file tap, the second tab is dedicated to a tree view, and the third tab displays only deleted and RAW files.
The pane on the right provides basic information about individual files, such as their file sizes, creation dates, and modification dates.
When you select a supported file format (such as an image), a preview of the file becomes visible above the right pane. You can manually turn off the preview feature for a small but noticeable performance boost.
Recovery and post-processing
Selecting files for recovery can be done simply by clicking the checkbox next to each file you want to add to your recovery queue. Stellar Data Recovery for Windows will tell you how many files you have in your queue and what their total size is.
To recover all selected files in one go, you need to click the Recover button. The free version can recover up to 1 GB for free. To recover more, you must purchase a license and enter your activation key. Regardless of whether you use the free or paid version of the software, the only step separating you from your lost data is the selection of a recovery destination.
Before you exit the application, you can choose to save the scan session for later. This allows you to skip the scan process and start with the selection of recoverable files.
Stellar Data Recovery for Windows – Tutorials and Other Videos
The tutorials and educational videos below can help you better understand how Stellar Data Recovery for Windows works in practice.
Stellar Data Recovery Windows – Full Review
Let’s dive head first into our detailed review of Stellar Data Recovery Windows to objectively reveal what the software does and doesn’t do right.
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|
Yes (unlimited time but limited amount of data)
|4||Is it free?|
Paid license is required to recover an unlimited number of files
Three subscription plans with lifetime options.
|6||Unlimited recovery in full version|
|8||Commercial rights in the cheapest license|
Stellar Data Recovery for Windows has an appealing user interface, but the modern design is undermined by multiple usability issues that can be frustrating to deal with. The built-in file browser could use a few extra view options, and the built-in file previewer can be punishingly slow to work with.
|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|
|1||Clever in-depth scan|
|Frequently results in crashes.|
|Frequently results in crashes.|
|3||Other types of scan|
|Some important scan types are lacking.|
|Internal and external storage devices are well supported.|
|5||Real-life recovery challenge|
|The software delivered mixed results.|
|6||Other notable recovery features|
|With a few exceptions, there are not many features to write about.|
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
As you can see, Stellar Data Recovery for Windows fails at restoring the original folder structure and file names. That’s because the software crashed a lot during out testing, but that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to crash every single time.
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
Sadly, you’re more likely to recover recently deleted files from the Recycle Bin than retrieve them using Stellar Data Recovery for Windows due to how often the software crashes during scanning.
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|
|3||Windows shadow copies scanning|
|4||Scan for lost partitions|
|5||Recovered files' labeling|
|6||Partial file recovery|
|7||Disk images: scan and recovery|
In some ways, such as the option to look for only certain file formats, Stellar Data Recovery for Windows makes a great impression. However, this impression doesn’t last too long because several other aspects of its scanning capabilities leave a lot to be desired.
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|
|7||Recovery from RAID1, 0, JBOD|
Stellar Data Recovery for Windows doesn’t support any mobile devices, and it also doesn’t handle internal and external storage device without a file system. Such devices need to be formatted first to be recognized by the software, and that can lead to worse data recovery outcomes.
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|
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)|
The fact that Stellar Data Recovery for Windows can repair damaged images isn’t enough to compensate for its lackluster image recovery performance. Many raw file formats are not supported at all, and only a handful of supported file formats are supported well.
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)|
It’s interesting that Stellar Data Recovery for Windows has fairly advanced video repair capabilities when its video recovery capabilities are at best average. Even some popular video file formats, such as .mov and .mp4 are a challenge for the software.
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||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)|
Because Stellar Data Recovery for Windows supports only a little over 100 file formats, some document files that we include in our test data were not found at all, including a .rtf document. The good news is that PDF files and Office documents can be recovered with ease.
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||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|
Using Stellar Data Recovery for Windows, you can create byte-to-byte device backups, bootable recovery drivers, and perform RAID reconstructions. The software is reasonably fast when scanning, but it does take its time when processing found files.
|1||Disk space mapping|
|2||Disk clean up|
|3||Corrupted video repair tool|
|The software can repair video files that have become corrupted.|
|4||Corrupted photo repair tool|
|The software can repair photo files that have become corrupted.|
|It's possible to read S.M.A.R.T. data of internal storage devices.|
|7||Built-in disk space secure eraser|
|You can use the software to create exact copies of storage devices.|
|9||Disk surface test|
|The detection of bad sectors is supported.|
|10||Secure data shredding|
The ability to repair corrupted videos and photos is arguably the most attractive extra feature included with Stellar Data Recovery for Windows. Unfortunately, this extra feature is held back by the application’s data recovery performance because you can only repair files that can be recognized in the first place, and Stellar Data Recovery for Windows recognized only around 100 file formats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s answer some commonly asked questions about Stellar Data Recovery for Windows.
Stellar Recovery is a data recovery software application for Windows and Mac. You can use it to recover permanently deleted files from all kinds of internal and external storage devices.
As a data recovery software, Stellar Data Recovery is designed to scan a selected storage device and find all files that are still physically present despite no longer being accessible from Windows.
To recover data using Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery, you need to:
- Install the software and connect the storage device you want to recover.
- Launch the software and scan the storage device.
- Select the files you want recover and specify a suitable recovery directory.
Stellar Data Recovery is a reasonably fast data recovery software application, but its speed will be greatly influenced by the capacity and performance of your storage device.
To retrieve deleted photos on an SD Card using Stellar Data Recovery:
- Connect the SD card to your computer.
- Launch Stellar Data Recovery.
- Scan the SD card and recover your lost files.
To save a scan in Stellar Data Recovery, you need to click the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) when viewing scan results and select the Save Scan option.
Yes, you can use Stellar Data Recovery to recover up to 1 GB of data for free, but you have to purchase a license to recover more.
To register Stellar Phoenix Data Recovery:
- Launch the data recovery application.
- Click the key icon.
- Enter your activation key and click Activate.
Yes, Stellar Data Recovery is developed by a reputable company, and the software has been around for a long time to prove its legitimacy.
Considering its price, Stellar Data Recovery Professional isn’t nearly as good as some other data recovery applications, but it can deliver decent results under certain conditions.