Recover lost files on your Mac and other media

Everyone loses files sooner or later and it can be a disaster or a minor inconvenience depending on what software tools you have. Backups are essential of course, but not everyone has a backup, sometimes they are incomplete, and files can be lost before they are backed up. When this happens you need a file recovery tool like MiniTool Mac Data Recovery.

I recently looked at Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery and found it useful for recovering lost photos, videos and audio files on the disk drive, USB flash drives (pen drive or thumb drive), external and internal disk drives. MiniTool Mac Data Recovery will also recover lost media files like photos, videos and audio files, but it is a more general tool that can recover any type of lost partition and file.

It is always best to have a file recovery app installed on the Mac before something goes wrong, because the more time that passes between losing files and trying to recover them makes recovery less likely. You have to be quick for the best results.

There is an app for the Mac and a boot disc – a CD that can be used to boot the Mac which contains MiniTool Mac Data Recovery. The normal prices for a personal license are $79 (£52) each, but there was a limited time offer of $89 (£59) for both when I visited the website. The app is all most people will need.

The software can be downloaded for free, but there is a recovery limit of 1 MB until you purchase it. I download it and used it to recover some small files and it worked perfectly.

In order to test the program’s ability to recover lost files, I used the same test setup as for Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery. I don’t have any lost files, so I put some files on a USB flash drive (pen drive or thumb drive) using a Windows computer. I deleted the files in Windows and then formatted the drive for good measure. I then put the USB flash drive into the Mac and ran MiniTool Mac Data Recovery to see if it could find and recover the files.

There are several modules to choose from and it isn’t obvious, but Damaged Partition Recovery is a general file recovery tool. For what I am going to do, the Digital Media Recovery tool is quicker and simpler, but it is useful to show the general tool.

Mac Data Recovery

After a quick scan of the system to detect all the drives and partitions, a list is displayed. You can then select one and perform a full scan using the button on the left. I chose the SanDisk Cruzer, which is the deleted and formatted USB flash drive.

Mac Data Recovery for OS X

A scan produced the following list of partitions. This is a well used USB flash drive that has been formatted several times using different file systems. This is why there are so many partitions. The seventh one is highlighted, so it seems to be the one to go for.

Mac Data Recovery

It produced a list of file categories such as TIFF, PNG, JPEG and so on. Selecting a category displayed the files on the right. The original names have been lost and so the files are just named file1, file2 and so on.

Mac Data Recovery for the Apple Mac

A file can be selected and previewed, which is great if it is a photo. There are options to view the file as text too. Files can be selected and the Save Files button saves them to disk. It is best to use another disk and not the one you are recovering files from.

On the home screen (the first screen shot above), there is a Digital Media Recovery module. This skips a step or two and is quicker and easier to use when recovering photos and videos. 

Mac Data Recovery finds lost files

MiniTool Mac Data Recovery worked very well on the test I gave it. Recovering lost files in real situations is not always as straightforward, but when you don’t have a backup of the lost files, this is a good tool to try. Run the free download and see if it can find the files you have lost. If it can – check with the preview function – then go ahead and buy it. It isn't cheap, but those lost files may be irreplaceable.

Has anyone tried this software in a real situation? I would be interested to hear how it performed.

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