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Undelete 2009 Review: File Recovery Made Easy

written by: Bill Bunter•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/24/2011
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Diskeeper Corporation's Undelete 2009 is an easy to use file recovery solution that will protect your data against accidental deletion.

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    What is Undelete 2009?

    Have you ever accidentally deleted an important file? Or been left cursing after having unintentionally overwritten a Microsoft Office document? It's a situation which most people have probably encountered at some time - and a situation which IT departments need to deal with on a regular basis. Undelete enables you to easily and speedily recover from such disasters. With Undelete you can:

    • Recover deleted accidentally deleted files, including files deleted over the network.
    • Recover files that were deleted prior to Undelete being installed.
    • Recover previous versions of overwritten World, Excel or PowerPoint documents.

    Additionally, Undelete also includes a SecureDelete function which enables you to securely delete files so that they are, to all intents and purposes, impossible to recover.

    Undelete supports Windows 2000 through to Windows Vista and is available in Home, Pro and Server Editions. In the Home Edition, support is limited to 32-bit versions of Windows. The Pro version adds support for 64-bit versions of Windows and can connect to the Undelete Server Edition (making it suitable for deployment on client computers or computers which connect only intermittently to the network). The Server Edition adds support for Windows Server 2000, 2003 and 2008 and can be delpoyed across the entire network (a Desktop Client is installed on each client computer which enables users to perform their own undelete operations).

    Undelete works with NTFS and both 16 and 32-but file systems and supports primary partitions, logical partitions, RAID arrays, SAN-attached volumes, removable media (including ZIP drives and memory cards) and a range of other IDE and SCSI devices.

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    Installation and setup

    Rating Average

    Installation is extremely straightforward. In the case of the Server Edition, no reboot is needed and a PushInstall feature enables the speedy install of either the Desktop Client or the Professional Edition on client computers.

    Note that the Desktop Client only enables users to recover files that were deleted from the server on which Undelete Server is installed, and not files that were locally stored on the client computer. To enable users to recover locally stored files, it is necessary to install (and buy) Undelete Professional.

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    Features

    Rating Average

    Undelete works by replacing the standard Windows Recycle Bin with a "Recovery Bin" into which all deleted items are placed. Items stored in the Recovery Bin can be accessed and recovered at any time. In the case of Undelete Server Edition, the Recovery Bin is held on the server and accessed by users via the Desktop Client or via Undelete Professional if it is installed, both of which making searching a snap. NTFS security is maintained meaning that users can only access their own deleted files.

    Additionally, Undelete automatically captures and stores copies of Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents and holds these in the Recovery Bin. Should an important document be unintentionally overwritten, the original can be restored simply by right-clicking the document and selecting the version that is to be restored. The saved copies can even be previewed making it a snap for users to find the version that they need to restore.

    Once it is full, the Recovery Bin automatically purges items on a first-in, first-out basis. The size of the Bin is completely configurable and it can even be set to operate dynically - holding more or less items according to the amount of available disk space - enabling it to automatically protect the maximum number of files without consuming an excessive amount of disk space. The Bin can also be set to securely delete files as they are purged using Undelete's SecureDelete option (users can also choose to use the SecureDelete option at any time in order to render data completely unrecoverable - even by Undelete).

    Undelete ships with a standalone application called Emergency Undelete which enables the recovery of files that were deleted prior to the installation of Undelete. This works well but, like any such utilities, will not be able to recover the file in every case (the more disk activity there has been since the deletion, the less likely it is that the file will be recoverable). The user manual does, however, contain advice which, if followed, will help maximize the chance of recovery.

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    Performance

    Rating Average

    Undelete uses "InvisiTasking Technology" which, according to Diskeeper:

    "Allows for all background operations within Undelete to run with zero overhead. These invisible background tasks include:

    • Automatic purging of the Recovery Bin when it fills up
    • Managing the 'Common' Recovery Bin (moving files from one volume to another)
    • Securely overwriting free spaces using the automatic Wipe Free Space feature (more info below)
    • Automatically adjusting the size of the enhanced Recovery Bin (more info below) "

    And Diskeeper are good to their word here; Undelete operates completely transparently and without impacting on system performance.

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    Help and support

    Rating Average

    Undelete ships with a comprehensive user manual written in plain English. Technical support options are extensive and support requests can be submitted via the web, email, fax or telephone.

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    Conclusion

    Microsoft has undoubtedly made considerable steps in improving data security in recent versions of Windows, but some holes still remain. While the Volume Shadow Copy Service and System Restore combine with your preferred backup product to provide your data with a reasonable degree of protection, you will nonetheless still only be able to recover files that existed at the time of the last snapshot/backup (files that were deleted before being backed up, cannot be recovered). Furthermore, the process of recovering accidentally deleted files from a backup can be extremely time consuming (as any admin who has ever had to recover a file from a tape backup will be quick to tell you!).

    Undelete expands on the protection provided by the latest versions of Windows and backup products by capturing absolutely everything that is deleted and enabling it to be restored in seconds by end users. Deployed in a home office environment, Undelete will ensure that you never again lose an important file or document. Deployed in a small office environment, it will provide your data with an unparalleled level of protection as well as reducing IT's workload.

    The product is easy to install, easy to use and has minimal impact on performance. What more could you ask for? In short, Undelete is probably one of the best file recovery programs on the market.

    As an added bonus, Undelete is also able to work its magic on digital camera memory cards making it a great tool for any digital photography enthusiast (see the review in the Digital Photography Channel for more information).

    You can download a free trial version of Undelete file recovery software here.

    Highly recommended.

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    More Reviews!

    Would you like to read more reviews? Look around Bright Hub and you’ll find reviews of numerous other leading security solutions including SpamTitan, GFI MailEssentials, GFI LANguard, Norton Internet Security, Kaspersky Internet Security, ESET Smart Security, McAfee Total Protection, Norman Internet Security Suite and ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite.