How To: Recover Lost or Deleted Files with Data Rescue PC.

Data Rescue PC is a powerful and easy to use data recovery software that runs from a bootable CD. It can be used to recover files from any hard drive, removable drive or other non-optical storage media that can be accessed under Windows. Because it runs from a self contained boot CD, it can recover lost files from drives even when Windows cannot boot up.

This tutorial will walk you through a typical file recovery using Data Rescue PC, so you can see for yourself how easy it is.


You will need to order a Data Rescue PC boot CD, or download the setup program and burn one yourself.

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The computer from which you wish to recover data must have a CD-ROM drive and be set up to boot from CD if a disc is present in the drive. You may need to change the Boot Preferences or similarly named settings in the BIOS Setup, which you normally access by pressing a key right after the computer starts up.

You will also need access to another drive on which to save the recovered data. This could be either:

Getting Started

Insert the Data Rescue PC CD into the CD drive and restart your computer.

Select the screen resolution

After the splash screen has cleared you will be asked to specify a screen resolution. Normally you can use the default Autodetect. If Data Rescue PC does not automatically detect the correct screen resolution you can choose one manually. In the unlikely event that none of the display modes offered by the software will work with your graphics card, you can use the text mode interface. However, that will not be covered in this tutorial.

Next, you will be prompted to enter a serial number.

Enter your Data Rescue PC serial number

You will have received a serial number when you purchased a license for Data Rescue PC. If you have not purchased Data Rescue PC and only want to try it out, click Run in Demo Mode. You will be able to use all the features of the software except for the ability to save the recovered files. You can use the demo to see whether or not your lost files appear to be recoverable, before committing to a purchase.

Recovery in Standard Mode

Next, you will be asked whether you want to use the program in Standard or Advanced mode.

Choose Standard mode

Choose the default Standard mode. This is the easy method, designed for ordinary users, and that is what we will cover in this tutorial. If you are able to use Advanced mode you will be able to understand what to do without the aid of this tutorial! Note that online help is available within Data Rescue PC, either by pressing F1 or from the menu.

Selecting the Source Drive

First you must select the source drive. This is the drive containing the files that you hope to recover.

Selecting the Source Drive

Click the arrow to the left of the drive, and the list will expand to show the different partitions. Most computers only contain a single drive and a single partition. Select the partition that contains the files you wish to recover. If you aren't sure which partition that is, or if no partitions are listed, select the drive itself.

Selecting the Destination

Next, you must select the destination. This is the drive on which you will save your recovered data.

Select the Destination

If you will be using a directly connected drive such as a second internal drive or an external USB drive, this should appear in the list and you can simply select it. If you will be using a drive that is accessed via your network, you will first need to configure the network, so click on Network Setup.

Configure your network settings

Enter the name of the workgroup, and any required passwords (use user guest and password guest if you aren't sure), and click OK. You should then be able to expand Network Neighborhood in the Select Destination dialog by clicking the arrow to the left, and see all the available network shares. Choose the drive you wish to use to store your recovered files, and click Next.

Starting Data Recovery

Data Rescue PC will now show a summary dialog showing the source and destination drives you selected.

Check the source and destination are correct

Check that these are correct, and click Next. Data Rescue PC will now scan the source drive. This can take a long time, so you don't want to waste time by using the wrong source and destination.

Scanning your source drive to recover lost files

Now would be a good time to go and have a cup of coffee!

When the scan is complete, Data Rescue PC offers you the opportunity to save the results of the scan to a file on the destination drive. This can save time if you wish to stop the data recovery and then start again at a later time. You can reopen a scan made using Data Rescue PC in demo mode, in order to continue recovery after you have purchased a license. You will be asked whether you want to use a saved scan after you select the destination location, if Data Rescue PC finds one.

Choosing a Partition

If you selected the whole drive as your source drive, Data Rescue PC will now ask you to select a partition. You will also be given the choice of selecting Found Files, by scanning Raw Sectors.

Selecting a partition

If this is your first attempt at recovering data from the drive, select a partition, which will be accessed using a file system (NTFS or FAT.) This will allow Data Rescue PC to see and show you the folder and file names, which will make the recovery task much easier.

If a previous attempt at recovering data using the file system was unsuccessful, then choose Found Files. This will display lists of recovered files categorized by file type. But it will not show the filename of the recovered file or its original location. Many of the files recovered in this way will be very old, with a high probability that parts have been overwritten so that they are corrupted. So this method will recover files that were not found the first time, but you will need to look at each file to discover what it is and whether or not you want it.

Listing Files Found

After selecting the partition to recover data from, click Next. You will then need to wait a moment while Data Rescue PC builds a list of found files.

Building a list of recovered files

You will then see a window that looks similar to Windows Explorer, with an expandable folder tree on the left, and a list of the files found in the selected folder on the right. The main difference is that each file has a status indicator against it which shows the expected chance that it can be recovered intact.

Exploring the folder tree

There are four levels of file status:

You will also see an additional folder named Found. This folder contains files that were recovered, but which have lost their original file names and path information. Data Rescue PC will give them generic file names. You will need to view these files to see whether you want to recover them.

Viewing a file also helps you to discover whether the contents are corrupt or not. To view a file just double click it or select Tools, View File. Data Rescue PC's internal file viewer can display text files, many popular image files, Microsoft Office files and many other file types.

Viewing a recovered file

Selecting Files to Recover

Files can be selected for recovery simply by right-clicking each entry. Data Rescue PC marks each selected file with a red check mark.

Data Rescue PC has some tools to help you find the important files you want to recover from among the thousands of files found on your hard disk. Using Tools, Find File you can search for a file with a specific name, using wildcards if you want. You can also narrow the search by specifying a last used date range.

Selecting files by mask

You can also find files using a mask. Type a file mask, using wildcards, such as *.doc, and Data Rescue PC will select all the files that match the mask, showing the folders and files selected using the red check mark.

Selected files to be recovered

You can repeat the file selection by mask until you have selected all the files you wish to recover.

Saving the Recovered Files

Having marked all the files you wish to recover, you finish the data recovery by saving them to the destination path. To begin saving the recovered files, click Options, Recover.

Files selected for recovery

Data Rescue PC will display a summary of the files selected for recovery. Click Recover, and the files will be written to the destination drive, in a folder named Recover.

After the files have been saved, the program will display a final summary dialog, and give you the option of viewing a file recovery report. You can't print this report direct from Data Rescue PC, but you can save it to any accessible drive, to print later. Click OK to close this dialog.

Data recovery is complete!

To shut down Data Rescue PC when you have finished your data recovery, click on File, Quit.

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