PROS / Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional allows for user defined file type searches.
CONS / Stellar took longer than average to recover our test devices.
VERDICT / While it is missing some features the top-rated software offers, it tested with one of the best recovery rates among the software we reviewed.
Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional is our choice for the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for best disk recovery software. The software outperformed several others in the area of recovery, but fell short in a few key features that we deemed beneficial to the consumer. Regardless, Windows Data recovery is among the best disk recovery software brands available.
Stellar’s scanning and recovery speeds were below average, so you may have to wait a little longer than most to get what you need. We measured its rate and determined it would take just over a day to scan a 64GB microSD card. It performed more quickly in SSD testing, but it was still the second slowest program we tested.
File Recovery Rate
Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional’s best showing was on solid-state recovery. From our reformatted microSD card, it was able to recover two-thirds of our picture files, three-quarters of our MP3s, and nearly all of our videos and MS Office documents. It was also able to consistently recover all of our documents (though not always picture, video or music files) from the solid-state drive across our two tests: lost files and a reformatted drive.
Lost File Recovery
Lost files are simply files that have lost their header information. This type of data loss has a variety of causes, but no matter how it happens, your data is still there – the computer just doesn't know how to find it. All a recovery software has to do is piece together a file’s various fragments. Steller was one of only a handful of leaders that was able to do this successfully on our solid-state drive. It performed slightly less well on the hard disk, but that was only for a few missing video files.
Lost file recovery fell to 69% when we tested it against a microSD card, but it still recovered our pictures, MS Office files and most our MP3s. It did find some of the video files too, but barely more than half.
Reformatted Drive Recovery
In our tests, Stellar Phoenix recorded excellent recovery rates on each of the storage devices we tested. With the HDD, it recovered 66 percent of the files, which was among the highest recovery rates in that test. It recorded an even better recovery rate of 68 percent on the reformatted SSD. However, the best recovery rate was on the MicroSD, rescuing 78 percent of the files. Each recovery rate was among the highest in our tests for the tested storage device, which makes this data recovery software one of the best options when you've lost files because of a reformatted drive.
The overall recovery process of Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional is intuitively designed to guide you from beginning to end. This includes a remarkably uneventful interface with buttons that only appear when you need them. There's also a noticeable lack of overwhelming options and hidden menus that you'll see in some of the other software we reviewed. This all makes the interface clean and easy to use as it guides you through the recovery process.
This software has a powerful recovery engine with some of the best results we’ve seen. This of course is built on Stellar’s own in lab experience. The software has options for drive, CD-DVD, photo and email recovery. While each does provide settings for specific types of data to recover, we found our best results when testing the raw data recovery capabilities found in Drive Recovery.
The Raw Recovery tool lets you work on even the most severely corrupt devices. It works by executing a comprehensive scan for the file signature of specific formats among the file fragments on your connected drives. It does this by scraping every bit of data from the drive's surface and identifying the pattern of the file against known formats. You can add to user-defined formats to this format database.
The software doesn't come equipped with tools for network recovery or boot recovery. This means you can't perform a remote or pre-OS environment recovery. However, you can purchase these tools as add-ons to the software if you determine you need them.
Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional has the advanced options necessary to recover your lost data. It comes with imaging options and a S.M.A.R.T. interface to help you diagnose your data loss and to help you from further damaging your drive.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology, which is your hard drive’s own utility for warning you of potential disk failure. While it only reports to you on bad sectors and their proliferation, it can also advise you of when you need to send your drive to a professional recovery service.
Elsewhere on the Advanced Options tab is where Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional keeps its advanced imaging tools. Among the features you will find the Create Image button, which allows you to create a functioning copy of your drive or device as an IMG file. This file also allows you to interrupt your scan and resume later. You can create an image of the disk, partition, or particular region.
Under the same tab is the Clone Drive button. Cloning a drive creates a bit-for-bit mirror copy of your drive. A clone is a lot like an image; however, the tool is limited in that it cannot be used to capture only a partition or particular file.
Help & Support
The support services for Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional are based in India. It is a large part of a global corporation with offices around the world. The sum of Stellar's global experience in data recovery is built into its software, and its support is based on that. Windows Data Recovery offers multiple support channels, including a comprehensive user manual, a knowledgebase, a live chat function and even lab recovery services to help you get back the data you need. However, because that service is not based in the United States, it has not been included in our Best Hard Drive recovery Services Review.
Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional had the broad compatibility to take on all three of our test devices and perform very well. The software’s additional features give you the opportunity to make even your most challenged recovery better.