iCare Data Recovery Standard Review

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, September 2012
Published by: iCare Recovery
Requires: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000 Professional and Windows Server 2008, 2003, 2000 all versions
MSRP: US$69.95

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At some point, or perhaps several points, during the course of using computers at work, at home or on the road, a hard drive will fail, a memory card (CF, SD, SDHC, CD or whatever you're using) will become corrupt, a USB stick/flash drive/thumb drive or pen drive will conk out, or a partition on a server or RAID will suddenly disappear. You'll be left scratching your head, trying to figure out what to do, who to call or where to turn for help. The fact is, you can actually help yourself in most of these situations. The important thing to know is that you must have previously prepared for the problem by having previously installed on each of your Windows computers and laptops some sort of data recovery software. The term "data recovery" in this case includes restoring lost or corrupt drive partitions, undeleting files which were accidentally trashed, restoring sufficient integrity to a portable drive or a memory card to recover lost files, and repairing a Master Boot Record (MBR) so that a hard drive can be read sufficiently well to boot the thing and back up important files and data. iCare Data Recovery is one of a packed, competitive marketplace full of just such utilities.

iCare Data Recovery is designed to run on most current Windows business and home computers, laptops, and servers from Windows 2000 through to the latest versions. iCare Data Recovery is not a Windows system recovery utility, but rather a data recovery utility that operates in a working Windows environment for the repair, restoration, undelete and recovery of files, MBR and partitions in other parts of the system, and for file and data recovery, undelete, partition restoration and MBR repair of external drives and flash media of all kinds which are or can be attached to the main Windows system via peripheral connections.




For an apparently modest utility, judging solely from the user interface when iCare Data Recovery is running, it packs a lot of power:

  • Recovers files from reformatted partitions and memory cards
  • Recovers files from partitions, external storage drives and memory cards with a corrupt MBR
  • Undeletes partitions and files as long as they haven't been overwritten
  • Recovers files even if they've been deleted using Shift+DEL or emptied from the Windows recycle bin
  • Recovers files from corrupt dynamic disks and RAID arrays
  • Recovers files from MAC HFS or HFS+ drives if they're connected to a Windows PC
  • Provides support for hard disk sizes up to 2TB

iCare Data Recovery can perform deep enough scans on internal hard drives and external drives of all kinds and memory stick and cards of all kinds that can help recover a surprising amount of data.


Hopefully you'll never have to use iCare Data Recovery, because if you do it means that something bad has happened. As with all data recovery or data rescue products, prior planning either prevents bad outcomes or at least turns a bad outcome into something manageable. If you're serious about data protection, purchase iCare Data Recovery and install it now - before something bad happens.

iCare Data Recovery has a built in help system which you should read, fractured English though it may be. The first 'problem' you'll encounter when using the software is deciding which module/selection in the interface to use. By deciphering the instructions in the help system, and poking around and experimenting with iCare Data Recovery by connecting bad disks, deliberately deleting files and generally mucking up a couple of idle Windows XP and Windows 7 computers just for fun, we managed to sort out how to most effectively use the software.

Lost Partition Recovery is what you should choose when you suspect that a partition has been lost by Windows or accidentally deleted by someone, or when the partition table has become corrupt. Advanced File Recovery should be used to attempt recovery of files dumped using Shift+DEL, or when files are hidden in a suddenly inaccessible partition, or lost in an emptied recycle bin. Deep Scan Recovery is quite powerful and it's meant to be used to recover data lost after a system crash, a partition merge failure, when a file allocation table (FAT) has become corrupt, for a damaged RAID array, bad MBR or a bad drive boot sector. Format Recovery should be used to recover files after accidental disk, card or external drive formatting.

Just remember two things. First, iCare Data Recovery and all the other undelete, boot recovery, file recovery and system restoration utilities can't recover data and files which no longer exist because they've been overwritten by other files (because you kept using a PC or external storage media or drives for too long after data loss or partition loss took place. Once something has been overwritten by new data or files, or by corrupt data due to some Windows system problem, you're done and the data is gone forever unless you're willing to spend literally thousands of dollars on professional, forensic-level data recovery services. Second, avoiding the vanishingly small amount of effort needed to set up automated file backup in Windows (using the built-in Windows backup utility or an automated off-site back up service such as Carbonite) is about the dumbest thing you can do. For crying out loud, set up a sensible, automated back up routine. The files you save may be your own.


The real value of any data recovery product is driven not by the product alone, but by how the product is integrated as one part of an overall data security policy. That applies in your office or business (no matter what it is) and at home. Automated data backup to off-site or cloud storage, plus a ready-at-hand data recovery product, plus in-house backups of crucial data to external hard drives), equals good data security. At $69.95, iCare Data Recovery is competitively priced in the middle of the price range for this type of product. Call it fair value.

Cons: There are a ton of language translation, mainly terrible grammar and typos, in the user interface and the help system. iCare Recovery and plenty of other software developers exist around the world in cities and countries where English is prevalent for international communication purposes, but nonetheless is not the native language. Click the Main menu button and the dialog box asks, "Are you sure of returning?" Exit the File Preview screen and the dialog box asks, "Are you sure of abandoning these searched files?" There's lots more, which means iCare Recovery has to ensure - just as U.S., Canadian and UK software developers are held to a critically high translation/localization standard when their products are sold in non-English speaking countries - that it spends the appropriate amount of money on good quality interface and help system localization. Anyway, the current state of things makes for quite a few entertaining dialog boxes, which entertainment ceases when the meaning is unclear. For example, I couldn't initially figure out the meaning of "Preious reovey result" but then realized it was supposed to be "Previous recovery result" (and there's no date or time displayed to indicate when the previous recovery result was computed). The user interface design is intuitive enough, but the graphic design is coarse. The file preview function shows HEX code only, rather than launching the appropriate program in the system to view the file properly. Since iCare Data Recovery is definitely a small business and home file recovery utility as opposed to a test bench or IS/IT utility, the HEX file preview display is essentially useless. iCare cannot be installed on a USB flash/thumb drive. The software is limited to installation on a functioning partition in a desktop or laptop Windows PC.

Pros: The iCare Data Recovery software works. Nothing else is really important when data recovery suddenly becomes an emergency need. We threw every sort of storage device at the software - USB sticks, flash drives, compact flash (CF) cards, secure digital (SD) cards, a couple of different RAID systems, external hard drives, a few pen drives and XD cards among other things. iCare Data Recovery works simply and well, as long as you can get by the user interface language issues. You have to have something - at home and in the office or your workplace; anywhere there are computers actively in use - to recover accidentally deleted files, formatted disks and so on in Windows. We review lots of this kind of utility at Kickstartnews.com, so it has become difficult to recommend one product over another, but iCare Data Recovery is the one currently in our sights and it works. Try the trial version to check it out first. Buy it direct from iCare Recovery (link at the top of the review) or try one of the competitors we're showing on this review page. Recommended.

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