Data Rescue One: Retrieve Your Data From Failing Drives

Data Recovery At Its Best for Your Mac’s Drives

Data Rescue One
Courtesy of ProSoft Engineering

Data Rescue One from Prosoft Engineering is a data recovery system that can retrieve files you may have deleted, recover data from a failing drive, or clone the contents of a drive to a new device. What sets Data Rescue One apart from other file recovery services is that it's simple to use, and comes with its own storage device for recovered files.

Pro

  • Able to recover data from any HFS, HFS+, FAT, or NTFS formatted drives.
  • Recovers data from internal or external drives.
  • Supports data recovery from RAIDs, USB drives, SSDs, media cards, and HDDs.
  • Recovers deleted, formatted, or data no longer accessible to you.
  • Includes Data Rescue 4 software.
  • Available as a bootable 16 GB flash drive, or a 500 GB or 1 TB external hard drive.

Con

  • Data recovery size limits of 12 GB, 500 GB, or 1 TB.

Data Recovery One is offered as a combination of Prosoft’s well-regarded Data Rescue app along with a 16 GB USB 3 flash drive, a 500 GB USB 3 external hard drive, or a 1 TB USB 3 external hard drive. There's also a Professional version designed for IT and support pros.

In this review, I’m going to concentrate on the non-professional versions that Prosoft refers to as using the Home User license that includes a restriction on the amount of data that can be recovered at any one time. The Pro version has no data limit, while the Home User versions have limits of 12 GB (16 GB flash drive model), 500 GB (500 GB model), and 1 TB (1 TB model).

We'll talk more about the recovery limits later on.

Using Data Rescue One

The Data Rescue One models all come pre-configured with Prosoft’s BootWell, a technology that allows the Data Rescue One models to serve as a boot device to start up your Mac. Though it's possible to recover data from non-startup drives without having to boot from the Data Rescue One device, I highly recommend using Data Rescue One’s ability to serve as your startup drive.

By starting from Data Rescue One, you ensure that no data is being written to, and thus no data is being overwritten on, the drive from which you're attempting to recover files.

To use Data Rescue One, simply plug the flash drive or hard drive into any available USB 3 or USB 2 port on your Mac. Start your Mac while holding down the option key, and then select the Data Rescue One drive as the startup device.

Once the startup process is complete, the Data Rescue app starts automatically, and displays an easy-to-use guided recovery process. You start by selecting the drive you want to recover data from, and then select where you want to save the recovered data to; in this case, Data Rescue One has its own built-in storage space available, although you could choose to store the recovered data on another device.

Quick Scan

Next, you select the type of data scan to perform. A Quick Scan is able to rebuild directory structures on failing drives or drives that won’t mount. Directory issues are the most common type of drive issue, so performing a Quick Scan is a good way to start data recovery.

While the process of examining and rebuilding directory structures is relatively fast, it's also important to know that actually recovering files can take many hours, even with a task whose name is Quick Scan.

Deep Scan

Deep Scan is a much longer process. Just like Quick Scan, it will try to rebuild any directory structures it can find, but it goes a step further by analyzing file patterns and matching them up to known file types. When Deep Scan finds a match, it can rebuild the file, making it available as a recovered file.

The Deep Scan process can take hours, even days, to complete, depending on the size of the drive from which you're attempting to recover data. Deep Scan is a good choice for recovering data from drives you have accidentally reformatted, or when Quick Scan didn't return the files you were looking for.

Deleted File Scan

A Deleted File Scan is similar to a Deep Scan; the difference is that a Deleted File Scan only searches a drive's recently freed-up space. This cuts down on the amount of time the scan takes, and makes it a great choice for recovering files that were recently deleted by you, an app, or the system.

Clone

In addition to data recovery, Data Rescue also includes a clone function. Cloning in Data Rescue isn't meant to back up data the way Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper do. Instead, the purpose of the clone function is to make a duplicate of the data from a drive that has hardware problems, where the drive could fail at any time. By first cloning the drive data, you can then use the Quick Scan or Deep Scan to restore the data without worrying about the repetitive nature of data scans and file rebuilding causing the original drive to fail and take its data with it.

Recovering Files

Once the selected scan is complete, Data Rescue will display a list of files that can be successfully recovered; you can then select the files you wish to recover. Where possible, files are listed in their original locations, maintaining the file and folder structure you're used to seeing on your Mac.

You may also see a reconstructed folder, where Data Rescue stores files it found using the file pattern matching system used in Deep Scans or Deleted File Scans.

Because files in the reconstructed folder aren't likely to have meaningful file names (a side effect of the pattern matching system used), you'll probably want to preview the files before recovering them. Data Rescue One allows you to preview files in much the same way you can preview files on your Mac: by selecting them, and then pressing the space bar.

Once you've marked the files you want to recover, you can start the actual recovery process. Once again, depending on the amount of data you're actually going to recover, the time can be somewhat short or very long.

Final Thoughts

Data Rescue One from Prosoft Engineering is the data recovery system every Mac user should have in their personal toolkit; it's that good.

Data Rescue One really is plug-and-play easy, and that's important when you’re trying to recover from a loss of data on a drive that's likely failing. One of the nice touches with Data Rescue One is that it already includes a drive on which to store the recovered files. If you've ever tried to recover files, you know that the last thing you want to be doing is running around trying to find a storage drive you can use during the recovery process. By including a self-powered USB 3 drive as an integral part of Data Rescue One, Prosoft has eliminated one of the problems that beset a user at this critical time.

To my mind, the only choice to make is which size model of Data Rescue One to have around the house or office.

Data Rescue One Models

A demo of Data Rescue 4, the app included with Data Rescue One, is available from the Prosoft web site.

See other software choices from Tom's Mac Software Picks.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the developer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.