Handy Recovery is a file recovery software that lets you recover (accidentally) deleted files on your system. If you have read my blog in the past you probably know that deleting files does not really delete them immediately but only removes the reference to the file.
This means that you can't see the file anymore in Windows while it still exists on your hard drive. File Recovery tools are able to restore those files if no other file has overwritten parts of the deleted one.
Handy Recovery works on every Windows edition including Windows Vista and supports recovery from FAT12/16/32, EFS, NTFS/NTFS 5(including encrypted or compressed ones) and from CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMedia and Secure Digital cards.
While tools like Recuva only show a list of files found Handy Recovery displays the complete folder structure of the hard drive that includes the deleted files. This makes it much easier to locate files that you want to restore. It also displays a probability rating that shows how likely it is that the file can be restored.
It is furthermore possible to scan a drive for files or filetypes. You could use the filter option to search the drive for all deleted mp3 files and select those that you want to restore again.
If the scan of the hard drive did not reveal a file that you want to restore you still have the chance to restore it by using the Extended Analysis option.
If you have analyzed the disk where your deleted files were located (either an existing logical drive or a lost partition) and still cannot find your files in the folder where they were stored, this may be because the corresponding file records have been overwritten. In this case it is impossible to recover file path and name, however there is still a chance that the content of the file is still saved on the disk and has not been overwritten at least partially.
Handy Recovery has two more options that stick our from the rest of the competition. The first is the ability to search for lost partitions and restore files that have been stored on those partitions. The tool either scans a hard drive automatically for lost partitions or lets you choose a range that should be scanned. If a partition has been found it will be added to the list of hard drives.
A unique feature as far as I know is the option to save disk images. This option creates an exact image of a logical drive which means all files and deleted files will be saved in that image. I suppose this is how experts and the police are analyzing the contents of the hard drive.
This way the original partition will be left untouched while it is still possible to recover files from the image.
The mentioned advanced features are only available in the retail version of Handy Recovery (which offers a 30-day trial period) while the others can also be used in the freeware version of it. You can download both from the developers homepage.
The ability to browse the full folder structure of a hard drive is certainly handy in finding deleted files provided that you know their last location on the drive before they have been deleted.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.