You know what’s the best part about software, no matter the device targeted by it? Every time you think you’ve seen it all, something comes to prove you wrong. For example, when talking about data recovery/basic undelete software for Windows, I was sure that Recuva is the best free thing to get, so I didn’t even bother to look for any other free tool to get this job done.
Well, today I discovered Undelete 360 and it really turned my world upside down, so I have to share this with you. After all, even if you’re a Recuva fan, it’s always good to know there’s something as good as your favorite around – in this world, if a program is free and great from all points of view, it doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way forever, unfortunately…
Since Undelete 360 is a fully-featured, free to use program, there’s no need to bother with information about the available versions and pricing of the licensed ones – you get all of it for free, and that’s all you need to know. The release I got here is 2.1 Build 8 and it really does more than some commercial products from this category, trust me!
According to the official page, Undelete 360 2.1 works with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7/2003 or 2008 Server, supports FAT/NTFS and requires at least 15 MB of free disk space, as well as between 128 and 1024 MB of RAM, depending on the size of the drive(s) to scan and the amount of free space. So far, so good…
… and it gets even better when you install Undelete 360: the 2 MB setup package has no evil pieces of code inside it, no options to send you looking for a geek to help you and only a few screens to go through (the setup screens pictured at the end of the articles are all you’ll see during this stage, nothing more!). Only lack of multilanguage support and better graphics keep this installer from being worthy of 5 stars, so everything’s great here. All right, let’s check the looks and works, then!
Undelete 360 may not have any offline documentation available and its About window is ridiculous (just look at it!), but the rest of it is pretty good – the graphics and layout are far from original, but it looks good and any computer illiterate should be able to use it and this is what really matters, after all. In fact, I think the graphics are great and the layout is also very good, so it’s all about one or two clicks, without any hidden settings for power users. Awesome, now we can move to the features…
… and we’ll start by saying that searching a large drive can take some time, so if you really need to recover some deleted files, you can’t make it in a hurry. On the other hand, it’s good to know that you can scan an individual partition or a single external drive, like an USB stick. In fact, Undelete 360 supports more than just hard drives or USB sticks, since it can also handle memory cards, Firewire drives and more, while any file type you can think of can be recovered – as long as it wasn’t damaged beyond any chance of recovery yet, of course.
Once the scan is complete, you can choose to recover one or more files, filter the results, preview the files found – even a Hex viewer is at your disposal, as well as a nice Log feature and access to the file properties of the items that can be recovered… or not. Anyway, sorting the files found after a scan is really easy, since you can choose only to view files of a certain type with a single mouse click, for example.
Fortunately, there’s more to Undelete 360, and it even gets really funny – what about a program that’s supposed to help you recover data that also comes with data destruction capabilities? Yup, you got that right – Undelete 360 is also a pretty capable data shredding solution, although it can’t match most programs built only for this purpose, and not even file destruction capabilities of some all-in-one system tools I’ve seen so far. Anyway, Undelete 360 can wipe your files and folders using one pass or the more advanced 3 passes DoD 5220.22-M method. With this program, you can easily wipe files/folders or free space from a certain drive/device. Nothing out of this world, but the basic tools to get the job done. Excellent!
Other than the above, you should know that, in my case, Undelete 360 proved to be rock-solid and it only used around 10 MB of memory no matter what happened. With a few minor exceptions, working with it was a pleasure, so this one will join my free-software-to-keep-around collection. These being said, let’s move to the final parts with a few…
Tips & Tricks
1. Sometimes, files with “Very Good” status can’t be previewed, but if you choose to recover them, some information may still be useful. Don’t take too seriously what you see in the Preview window!
2. In case this is the first time you read about data recovery/file undelete operations, always keep this in mind: to maximize your chances of success, never write data to a drive/device that contains file you just deleted and want to recover!
3. When recovering files from a hard drive, especially one that has hardware problems, be sure to save your files to an external device.
Undelete 360 looks good, using it is a piece of cake, compatibility with Microsoft’s operating systems is really good, comes for free and has enough features to get the job done and then some!
I was really disappointed to find some fake badges on the official page (if it doesn’t link back to the site giving it, it’s fake to me), not to mention that the interface could be great, if not for that silly About window and the link in the upper right corner of the main window.
Despite the above, Undelete 360 gets our badge – this time, for good. Why that? Because it deserves it, that’s why! If you don’t trust me, you’re free to take it for a spin a decide for yourselves, but don’t forget to get back here and drop a comment, all right? That’s all, folks!