PowerQuest – Lost and Found review

powerful data recovery
Photo of PowerQuest – Lost and Found
£50 + VAT

It’s easy to lose files, either through ‘user error’ or because of a hardware or software problem. In most cases, once a file has been deleted or corrupted, the data it contains is still present on the hard drive, but actually tracking it down is a near-impossible task without (a) a hex editor and extreme patience or (b) some clever tool to do the job for you. Lost and Found is just such a tool. Running from a floppy disk, it will analyse your hard drive, track down any recoverable files and then recover those files to another drive for you. It’s all menu driven, with colour-coded lists showing the chances of recovery for each file or directory, and it works with FAT16 and FAT32 drives, supporting long filenames and any IDE, EIDE or SCSI drives that use either CHS or LBA addressing.

This is not a program for the faint-hearted. It doesn’t actually change any information on your hard drive, so from that point of view it’s safe. It does, however, require some knowledge of boot disks and, if you’re planning to recover the lost data to another drive (which you should), the ability to install device drivers for whatever SCSI or other removable storage device or network drive you may be using. In this respect, Lost and Found is considerably less point-and-clicky than previous tools from PowerQuest. It’s also copy-protected to the hilt. You can’t easily duplicate the disk (despite the fact that the user licence allows you to make one backup) and, once used on a PC, it will only work on that machine from then on. Which is a little bit of a pain if you happen to own more than one PC, or if you upgrade your existing PC.

But Lost and Found is a powerful piece of kit. There’s no need for preventative image files, duplicate FAT tables or other pre-disaster foresight on the part of the user. The program will attempt to recover lost files – and often succeed – without any hard drive preparation or modification. Its ability to track down data even on drives with a damaged file allocation table could be a real life-saver, since most recovery programs rely on either this or a duplicate of it in order to track down the location of a file on the disk’s surface.

Company: PowerQuest

Contact: 01202 716726


Verdict
Repeat after me; "There's no substitute for a good backup routine". But most people only learn this the hard way, so a tool like Lost and Found definitely has its uses. The copy protection and 'one disk, one PC' attitude can't quite detract from this program's near-magical ability to recover recently-lost data. It shouldn't be used as sole protection for your data, but it does provide an additional safety net should all your other loss-prevention mechanisms go horribly wrong.