MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free Edition: Recover Files From Broken Drives


I loaned my wife my USB drive that had YUMI, the successor/rename of the MultiBoot USB tool, on it with CloneZilla loaded in order to do some re-imaging.

She created her image and got 3 out of 4 computers up and running again. On the fourth computer, suddenly it wouldn’t boot from the USB drive and when sticking it into a Windows PC, you would get this error message: You need to format the disk in drive E: before you can use it.

Well that’s no good and it would mean she had lost the image she had created – backing it up was planned for after getting all the computers up and running.

She wisely didn’t format it and brought it back to me to see if I could save her hours of work and get that image back.

To recover the files on the drive, I turned to the MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free Edition – free for private, noncommercial, home computer use. The 5.6MB download includes an installer for the tool. Running through the setup, it is malware and bloatware free. It also warns you to not install the software to the same drive as the one you’re trying to recover files from as this may overwrite some of the lost files.

Once the install completes and you launch the application, you can see the various recovery modules available: Undelete recovery, Damaged Partition Recovery, Lost Partition Recovery, Digital Media Recovery, CD/DVD Recovery. I loaded up Lost Partition Recovery for this instance and it delivered exactly what I needed.

Once the module has been loaded, you can navigate to the drive or partition you wish to recover, select it, and hit the Full Scan button. After doing that, the scan will commence with a window to show you its progress, findings, and time remaining. The time it takes to complete seems to depend on the size of the drive, the number of files, and the damage to the drive. For this 16GB flash drive, that meant it took about 9 minutes.

After the scan completes, it will report on the number of files it found. You can go view the discovered files, which will allow you to browse the drive and select which files or folders you want. In this example, I browsed to the directory where the images are stored and found the one my wife was using. I right-clicked on the image’s folder and chose to recover the files to my secondary hard drive. This process took another few minutes, to move about 5.6GB of files.

After recovering the folder, I was able to format the drive, see it in Windows, load it up with YUMI and CloneZilla again, and copy back the recovered image.

Power Data Recovery supports FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, VFAT, NTFS, NTFS5, and ISO9660, Joliet, UDF file systems. It successfully recovered a FAT32 partition from this drive.

For more details, you might be interested in their Free Data Recovery Help Manual. There is also a table provided that compares the features of the free edition to the other pay licenses.

Version tested: 6.5

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 – 32 bit and 64 bit

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 5.6 megs).