ReclaiMe Your Data Worth GBs from A Software Less Than An MB

-By Vaibhav Kaushal

For those who have used a Mac (OS X) – they might find the lack of 'Shift-Delete' a tad inconvenient. But believe us when we say – it’s a good thing. For, those who have been looking into Windows know this. The delete confirmation dialog box peeves you, so instead of disabling the delete confirmation dialog (Right Click recycle bin and click properties) you get disciplined into pressing Shift+Delete. The danger with that habit is that once in a blue moon (or may be every fortnight), you happen to delete a file which you actually did not intend to. And then follow tears of repentance. Fret not, for you’ve got ReclaiMe File Recovery.

Installation, Interface and Ease of use

How do you install this software? Well, you install it just the way you install any other on Windows – you double click the installer, a wizard pops up and then there is next-next-next-install. That was how we installed ReclaiMe too. So, nothing memorable here!

The UI of this software is conventional. You launch the program, and the UAC prompt appears asking for the admin privileges and then a splash screen, followed by the program window. The main screen lists out your hard disk partitions out of which you can top one. When you select it, the gray button at the top named ‘start’ turns blue and you click it to start the process. It’s easy enough to use. If you have never been through a data recovery software before, it’s still friendly enough to let you explore and recover at ease. There is a left pane to cruise through the directory structure. On the right side, you have two panels. The top one lists the files under the selection you made on the left and a preview pane at the lower side to preview the file you selected.

Memories of Past Lives

Once you commence the scan, it takes time by the size of the partition and starts listing all the files it has found. Now, there is no window to display all the files that got deleted. You ought to know their locations before you attempt at recovering them. That is fine because you’d remember what you deleted anyway. Once the scanning is complete, you have the folder structure on the left under the ‘NTFS’ tree. However, there is another tree as well. Quite non-intuitively, it is called ‘Other’. Don’t be intrigued, it did not scan any other drives or read data in another file system format. It just orders the files it found by extension. One quirk though – it does not show up the deleted files as was anticipated.

We were successfully able to resurrect a PNG file we had deleted. It also recovered flawlessly a compressed (using NTFS’s built-in compression feature) PDF file. However, a file we overwrote was nowhere to be found and that’s okay because most other recovery tools do not do that anyway. Even if they did, the data would mostly be corrupt.

When it came to actually previewing and recovering the data, the preview pane comes in handy. For times when your images are saved with names like IMG148, 2013-12-20_20-20-17 or 75298673.jpg and you have no clue which one you actually need the most, the preview pane would serve. You look at the picture and recover those which you need the most, first. However, for files that are not pictures, the preview pane shows HEX data. You can grumble but hey, how do you expect to preview an EXE file, and something is better than nothing. But really, it’d have been much nicer ‘n cooler if ReclaiMe actually attempted to preview more files like PDFs and DOCXs etc.

Remarkably, there is a search feature which lets you search for deleted or undeleted files by wildcard name search. So if you want to find all the PNGs whose names began with “doc_scan” that were deleted across the drive and were of size between 1 MB and 2 MB, you can just call upon the search faculty and require it to do that and you could save just the time. In addition, when you search for another set (say DOCX files), the previous result set of PNGs is right there as an entry on the left pane so you don’t have to search for that set again. Handy for sure!

Verdict

ReclaiMe does what any other data recovery software would do and is a good one at that. With previews, searches and an easy to navigate UI, it would make you like it. But UI would not have mattered if it were not for the functionality which is quite good. We were almost tempted to give RecaliMe 3.5 points out of 5 if it were not for its size. The installer comes in at 818 KB and that comes as a surprise. For those who program – they know that the images you see on buttons and splash screens – they all have to come inside the installer. Think of it again – 818 KB contains the installer, the images in the program and then the data recovery logic. By our calculation – the recovery logic is contained in only about 500 KBs and that is quite impressive.

For not allowing the recovery of any kind in the free edition (the preview works though and is enough to let you know if it worked or not, in most cases), and for the amazing work it does for that size, we rate this software at 4.2 out of 5.

Posted on Dec 22, 2013 01:12 AM
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