2013/11/12 - Geoff S. - Chicago, US
I recently had a severe computer crash, and in trying to recover data I ham-handedly managed to damage the disk that had an excellent backup of all my information. I tried three disk recovery programs in succession: VirtualLab Client, Iolo Search and Recover, and File Scavenger. All have similar marketing schemes: They will scan your damaged disk and identify recoverable files for free, but to actually recover those files, you have to purchase a license. That seems fair enough to me.
The Iolo and File Scavenger products cost about $50 each, and VirtualLab cost about $100. VirtualLab recovered a handful of files, randomly named and including many duplicates and damaged files. Iolo recovered a smaller handful of files, in similar condition.
File Scavenger recovered about 80% of my files, completely intact, correctly named. Another 10-15% were recovered with random names, but were otherwise undamaged and completely useful. I wish I'd found File Scavenger before I wasted my money on those other programs.
It wasn't quick: It took over 24 hours to scan my 2Tb disk, and about ten of those hours were spent as the progress indicator moved from 72% to 75%. So if you try it, don't assume that it's crashed just because things appear to be going slowly. And since File Scavenger doesn't alter the disk that it's scanning (which could cause more damage) you will need a separate disk to receive the files that it recovers.
Needless to say, I highly recommend the program. If you've had a disk disaster or are anticipating one, go to quetek.com and get File Scavenger. It will be the best fifty bucks you ever spent.