Most users, even those that consider themselves technically-inclined, are often pleasantly surprised to learn that data and file recovery are an option available to them in times of mistakes or failure. When data is deleted from a drive, the name and location of the file is deleted from the file table on your hard drive, but the file itself will remain present until that data is overwritten with new information.

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This is why it is absolutely critical to save nothing to the computer you have lost data from, and use it as minimally as possible to prevent your files from being overwritten and, ultimately, unrecoverable.

Starting A Scan With Data Rescue

Whether running on Windows or Mac, we recommend running the demo of Data Rescue to see exactly what is recoverable before you make a purchase. The demo will allow you to run a full scan of your drive, and preview your scan results to make sure the files you want to recover have been found intact.

In order to begin your recovery, you will need to request a serial number for either the Mac or Windows version through this Data Recovery Software page from the Prosoft Engineering, Inc. website. Entering your email will also begin the download of the software, but if you need to perform the recovery on a different system the download link will also be emailed along with your serial number.

After the download and registration is complete, you will want to launch Data Rescue and follow the on screen instructions to begin the scan. In order to get the most comprehensive scans out of both the Mac and PC versions of the software we recommend running the scan on the physical drive as opposed to the volume or partition that lost the data. While scanning the entire drive will extend the length of the scan, it will provide the most in-depth recovery of your hard drive.

Unlike other softwares that force you to specify what you would like to recover, Data Rescue will attempt to recover all of the files on your hard drive, to provide the absolute best scan results with no need to run another scan.

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Previewing Scan Results With Data Rescue

Depending on which version you are using, either Mac or PC, your scan results page will look slightly different.

On the Mac you will see a “Found Files” folder and a “Reconstructed Files” folder (if you ran the Deep Scan). The “Found Files” folder will contain all of the files that were recovered with their original file structure. These files should be in their original location with the correct name of the file. If you are unable to find the files you lost, or the found files are not able to be previewed, you will then need to search through the “Reconstructed Files” folder. In this folder, all of your files will be organized by file type and then by extension, as these files were found without their corresponding metadata.

On the Windows scan results page you may be presented with a partition list to select from, depending on how your drive was configured before the data loss. You will want to search through the largest of the partitions and work your way through the data looking for the missing files.

If you are unable to find the missing files in the partitions you will then want to look through the Found Files – Raw Sectors partition. This partition will contain all of the files that were recovered without their attached file names; this data will be separated categorically and then by file type.

The Data Rescue Advantage

Prosoft Engineering, the developers of Data Rescue, offer free US-based tech support via email, phone, and online chat Monday–Friday from 7am–5pm PST for both pre- and post-sales support. If you are unable to recover your data, or run into any issues with the software, Prosoft Engineering highly recommends you reach out to their support team. Data recovery is done in emergency situations, and their trained support staff will guide you every step of the way to ensure you receive the best results possible.

If you have not been able to retrieve the files you are looking for, or would like a more in-depth breakdown on how to run a recovery please checkout this in depth guide on recovering deleted files.