Why TestDisk is some of the best data recovery software
TestDisk is a free console utility developed by Christophe Grenier. It is most commonly used in partition recovery, repairing corrupted file tables, copying data from one partition to another and, finally, data recovery itself.
TestDisk supports most filesystems; it’s enough to mention FAT, NTFS and exFAT (here’s the complete list), which covers most operating systems and devices including USB memory sticks and SD memory cards.
Besides, TestDisk is backed with documentation on how to use it: the official page cgsecurity.org provides a Step by Step recovery guide and FAQ about the use of the utility. There’s also a forum where you can ask questions. Looks like this software has a wide community and an extensive base of recovery solutions.
Main Features of TestDisk
Here we’ll name the app’s basic features.
TestDisk was designed mainly to recover lost partitions and make non-booting disks bootable again.
Corrupted or deleted Partition Tables are a frequent case which can be caused by Windows system crash, misuse of the hard drive or a virus attack.
TestDisk can also:
- Recover deleted and corrupted files from (ex)FAT, NTFS and ext2 filesystems which are enough to work with desktop operating systems.
- Copy files from one partition to another (or make a full replica of a partition): comes in handy if you need to transfer DOS data when your Windows OS is broken
- Fix partition tables
- Recover FAT or NTFS boot sector from its backup copy
- Fix Master File Table
- Collect troubleshooting information which can be sent to the lab specializing in data recovery.
TestDisk is cross-platform
The currently used version of TestDisk was released a while ago, as well as another utility from CGSecurity – PhotoRec. By the way, on their official page you can find a beta version of TestDisk 7.1, and we’re going to have a look at it after the release of its final version.
If you want to recover files using Graphic User Interface, try PhotoRec from CGSecurity. PhotoRec has GUI-version (QPhotoRec), with an intuitive user-friendly shell and settings.
The software doesn’t need traditional installation and you only need to extract TestDisk and PhotoRec from the archive. Consequently, TestDisk has a portable mode TestDisk Portable and can be run using testdisk_win.exe.
TestDisk is perfectly compatible with Windows, including the most popular Windows 7 and 10. In general, due to having a console interface, the app is also compatible with Dos/Win9x. For Linux and Mac OS there are binary executables.
On top of that, TestDisk is included as a recovery utility in several LiveCD. It is an optimal way of booting after an OS crash as well as recovering partitions or transferring files from one partition to another.
TestDisk builds are listed on CGSecurity page. In general, all the versions of this software have been free unless used for commercial purposes. You are always welcome to support the development of the project and make a donation by clicking “Donate”.