Did you ever accidently delete an important digital photograph on a memory card or computer and then empty the recycle bin? Perhaps your computer got infected by a virus which then corrupted the hard disk with your photographs? Then again, maybe you have had the case where your camera card will not even show up as a readable disk when inserted into the card reader! Enter the world of photo recovery software – software designed specifically to recover deleted photos.
We looked at four different photo recovery software packages: Digital Photo Recovery, Hetman Photo Recovery, Photo Rescue and Adroit Photo Recovery. Adroit Photo Recovery software came out on top due to ease of use, quality of recovery, efficiency of recovery and it recovers 15-20% more photos than the other software packages. The price for the various software packages was less of a consideration as all software packages were within the $ 30-$ 50 range with Digital Photo Recovery at $ 29.00, Photo Rescue at $ 29.00, Adroit Photo Recovery at $ 39.99, and Hetman Photo Recovery at $ 49.95.
We selected the four photo recovery software packages for the following reasons: Adroit Photo Recovery has been developed after years of research conducted at NYU-Poly and has been getting good press coverage by reputable publications such as The New York Times. Photo Rescue has been getting good reviews by PC Magazine. Hetman Photo Recovery got the highest CNET user rating (however comparable user ratings on all the photo recovery software packages are not available). Digital Photo Recovery has one of the highest CNET downloads.
What We Tested?
In order to compare the photo recovery applications, we used a 1GB USB card containing images from a camera. The card originally had 130 images of which we deleted 121, and left 9 of them as is. We then ran the application on all 4 applications.
Note: We only tested JPEG recovery as that is still by far the most popular camera format. Adroit, Digital Photo Recovery and Photo Rescue all support a limited number of Camera RAW formats (very high definition camera files). Hetman doesn’t seem to support RAW but supports a number of other photo formats that the others do not. However, since we are interested in the most common type of photos we only used the JPEG format.
Here are our findings:
Ease of Use:
The user interface in all software packages was simple and not confusing. Typically it took at least three steps in almost all the software packages to recover files. In Photo Rescue, however, it took four steps for quick recovery and more than four steps for advanced recovery.
Adroit Photo Recovery provides for automatic detection of devices even if you plug in a removable drive after the software has started. Digital Photo Recovery and Photo Rescue have refresh buttons that can be clicked and for Hetman you have to restart the application for the drive to be detected.
Adroit and Photo Rescue accepted disk images while others did not. Adroit also provided the best source information data while the other software packages provided limited information for screening and finding the right data. Recovery tips and help manuals were readily available in most software packages except in Digital Photo Recovery which had limited help features and no help manual. Adroit Photo Recovery has no help manual.
Note: While all the applications recovery from most removable media like USB sticks, camera cards, and external hard drives, Digital Photo Recovery can recover from most CD/DVD formats. We did not test this functionality.
Quality of Photo Recovery: Adroit Photo Recovery was the only software that could recover fragmented photograph files and distinguish valid and invalid photo files. As a result, Adroit was able to recover more photo files than other software. All software packages were able to recover photo files from corrupted drives though in some the error messages needed to be ignored.
Trying to recover the deleted photos we got the following results:
1. Adroit Photo Recovery: Fully Recovered (120), Partially Recovered (1)
2. Digital Photo Recovery: Fully Recovered (113), Partially Recovered (8)
3. Hetman Photo Recovery: Fully Recovered (109), Partially Recovered (11)
4. Photo Rescue: Fully Recovered (109), Partially Recovered (13)
Efficiency of Recovery: Most software packages showed the thumbnail pictures of recovered photo files though Hetman had other options for viewing files. Adroit also provided useful information about the photo files such as date-time information, height, width, size of file and other information useful for recovery. Hetman also provided some of this useful information.
In summary, at $ 39.99, Adroit Photo Recovery is a steal to help recover those priceless photographs. More information on Adroit Photo Recovery can be found at the Digital Assembly site. Note: All of the software can be used for free to see if they recover your photos. You will be able to see a preview of the images recovered, and if you are satisfied with the recovery then you will have to pay to save the recovered photos. Check out for yourself as to what makes sense for you.