Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery is produced by a company that specializes in data recovery so they know about recovering files. This review will focus on their Photo Recovery software which can recover photos, videos, audio and other files including RAW format files from SD cards to flash to external hard drives, usb thumb drives and any other media up to 2GB. They offer a free download which you can try. This will tell you what can be recovered and even let you preview the images. If you like the results you do have to purchase the full version to actually recover the files.
Stellar Photo Recovery supports over 70 file types including RAW images from Canon, Nikon and other manufacturers. It also recovers common audio and video formats.
Plug your problem disk into the USB port or connect however your drive connects. Then start the software. It will show you a list of drives and let you select which one to scan. This software will recover deleted files, recover files from a reformatted card even if it has been reformatted multiple times, and it will recover data from a corrupted card which gives data read errors or shows as unformatted in Windows or on the Mac.
There are only a few options which makes it simple to operate.
It does take a very long time to scan a 32 gig SD card. My card took about an hour to scan. The free version will let you save the scan results so you do not have to re-scan after purchasing the full version. The time it takes is not a big issue. I am just used to everything taking a few seconds on modern computers. It obviously takes longer to scan a drive when looking for lost files because there is no way to locate them without reading every byte on the media and checking to see if it is part of an identifiable file header.
There are two versions, a basic and advanced. The advanced version is more expensive and only gives "expert recover advice", Remote desktop support, and premium dedicated phone lines. I could not find an explanation of what any of those actually mean and saw little use for them. If you download the free version and it finds the files you want, there is no need for support. Unless you are very uncomfortable using computers I would suggest getting the cheaper version. If you have trouble find someone who knows about computers and they should be able to run the software. It is really simple. Below is the first screen shot. It is hard to be confused about which button to click. The other options are to create an image of the disk which is handy if you are afraid of damaging the original media or if you fear the original media may only work once and die completely. In that case an image would be a good idea. The other option is to resume a recovery which means the scan results were saved but you either did not recover the files or did not have the pay version at the time.
Stellar Photo Recovery does not modify any data on the drive you want to recover data from because this could overwrite existing data, permanently destroying it.
The deleted photos or files on a damaged or formatted drive will lose their original file names. Stellar Photo Recovery will assign numeric names. You will need to use the built-in preview feature in order to find the files that you're looking for. The preview feature is one of the best parts of Stellar Photo Recovery since it works in a very familiar and user-friendly way just like selecting files in Windows by showing you exactly what you can recover without you having to sift through meaningless numeric file names. You can also search by date, file size or other criteria which you might know about the files you are trying to recover. This can be very helpful if you have reused a card many times and only want the photos you took yesterday back. The preview feature can also preview some audio and video files, although this largely depends on the format and quality of the deleted or damaged file.
I would suggest recovering all files possible and then go through them to see which you want to keep. For my camera, many files were given the wrong file extension so I had to rename them and when I did that they worked.
If you know the file extension for the files you want to recover, you can select them before starting the scan, saving even more time, but be warned that the software does not always get the extension correct so it is best to let it scan for everything and then pick what you want.
Stellar Photo Recovery is a top choice if you want to recover photos, videos or audio files. The disk imaging and backup features are also very useful if you lack confidence in the media itself because you can make an image of the drive and work with the image without worrying about the physical disk failing while trying to recover files.
One of the biggest advantages of this over other software is the ability to recover data from disks that are physically damaged, media cards that are corrupted or show as unformatted. This program is limited to media files. If you want to recover files of other types, you will be better off going for a fuller-featured version of their data recovery software.
I will admit, I did not buy this software just to test it and write up a review. I bought it because I honestly needed it to recover important personal photos from an SD card that had become corrupted. I was very happy with the results and was able to recover all of the important photos I wanted along with some older photos that were still on the card.
Download a free copy and try it on your own card to see if it will recover your files. Recover Your SD Card Data Here.
Review by guest reviewer, James Amieson