Reikel, January 2004
98 through XP
finding useful things. I also like finding things I thought
were lost forever. And while the Windows Recycle Bin has
saved many an accidentally deleted file, there's still
no doubt that far too many files are lost each year (month,
day, hour and minute) by myriad busy people who are tapping
keyboards and clicking mouses (Mice? Meece? Mices? They're not
real rodents after all - what's the correct plural?), singularly
unaware of the file losses occuring right before their
busy eyes. So what's a body to do when the inevitable happens?
Ripping of shirtsleeves and gnashing of teeth does not
help. Neither does crying and wailing. An efficient and
powerful file recovery utility, on the other hand, can
often end the suffering.
Scavenger installs two ways - directly to your hard drive
and/or directly to floppy disk. That's right - floppy disk.
It's not so crazy when you think about it. The main reason
for running the utility from a floppy disk is simply that
if File Scavenger has not been installed on a system on
which files have to be recovered, subsequently installing
File Scavenger to the hard drive may actually worsen the
problem because of the potential for the installation to
overwrite initially recoverable files. In such a situation,
don't disturb the hard drive - install File Scavenger on
a floppy disk and run it that way. Very handy.
is crowded with file recovery utilities. I won't name them
all here because this review is all about File Scavenger.
But you do have even more powerful choices if the recovery
job has to peel back a couple of layers of data. However,
keep in mind that such deep drilling usually requires intimate
knowledge of Windows' file systems and the work is definitely
not for the faint of heart. File Scavenger on the other
hand, is great for quickly recovering recently lost files.
It works both as an Undelete utility and file recovery
There are a variety of file systems and operating systems
in my research offices including NTFS and FAT32 drives
on Windows XP/2000 and NT4 computers. During a two week
daily usage period, we used File Scavenger to recover files
accidentally deleted, including files removed from the
Recycle Bin, in a DOS window, from a network drive, from
Windows Explorer with the SHIFT key held down, all prior
to the files being overwritten by other data. We ended
up recovering all sorts of files and folder paths - complex
file names, Unicode file names, deeply nested files, etc.
We also attempted to recover files from one hard drive
that had been accidentally reformatted by one of our IS/IT
technicians (man, was he embarrased - but it happens from
time to time). File Scavenger has a Defunct Volume Search
mode that is useful, albeit somewhat limited in function,
which allowed us to revcover several important documents
from the formatted drive. We recovered one broken striped
volume in a RAID 0 array - just as advertised. And that
was the point too - we checked the File Scavenger web site,
read all its PR claims, then ran the program over a selection
of goofed-up drives in our tech support cave, especially
one drive that XP would not recognize that we thought was
completely unrecoverable. File Scavenger recovered about
75% of the files on the drive, including some irreplaceable
archives (which is why the drive was still hanging around
against the hope that it was totally lost). The program
There's one big note for potential users. If you're in
an typical office environment, you're likely not logged
on with administrator privileges - something you need in
order to run File Scavenger on Windows NT, 2000 and XP
at least. If you accidentally delete something, STOP working,
call your nearest IS/IT person, DON'T shut down your computer,
get your File Scavenger floppy disk ready (if the program
is not already installed on the hard drive). Don't reboot,
don't shut down, don't do anything else on the computer
- not even web browsing, which actually writes all sorts
of data to your hard drive in the form of cookies, HTML
files, and images.
File Scavenger is quite easy to use. There is one main
dialog which contains several file search options. Choose
from Normal (quick search for recently deleted files),
Exhaustive (scans every disk sector; used for recently
reformatted drives), and Defunct Volume (for damaged drives,
broken striped volumes and spanned volumes). Choose a disk
to search. Type a file name using wild cards. Select an
output location where File Scavenger can save the recovered
file(s). That's about it - click the Search button and
File Scavenger does it's work quickly. The interface is
simple, there are explanations of each feature, and a small
but thorough online help system. If you've never used an
undelete or file recovery utility before, File Scavenger
is a very good place to start.
Cons: There are other file recovery utility choices which
cover somewhat different ground - or at least take a different
interface approach. Test drive File Scavenger to make sure
you understand how it works before you pay money to register
it. If you have no memory for file, volume and path names,
choose another utility.
Pros: It works across all Windows file systems. It's quick
and effective. During our day-to-day use of File Scavenger
at least two people in my office inadvertently deleted
crucial files which were subsequently (and immediately)
successfully recovered with File Scavenger. Easy to use.
Safe to use. Recommended.