FinalData Standard (ESD) Review

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FinalData Standard (ESD) is designed to help you restore deleted files. One of the unofficial shortest amounts of time is the “ohnosecond.” This is the amount of time between when you delete a file and realize you did not mean to.

Peter Norton made a fortune off the ohno when he produced his Norton Utilities, which were mainly used to retrieve erased data from DOS disks.

Undeleting files became much easier when Microsoft introduced the Recycle Bin in its Windows 95 operating system. Before Windows 95, using a utility was the only way to recover accidentally deleted data.

Today there are many reasons why you still need a data recovery utility, including accidental deletion of data, intentional deletion of data, deletion of data due to virus or hacking, application failure, damaged system files, and so on. However, there are some factors that needs to be considered before performing data recovery.This review looks at FinalData Standard (ESD) and how well it does in the event of a hard drive failure.

Security & Privacy (4 out of 5)

What’s Hot:

FinalData Standard lets you protect files and folders from being deleted with Folder Protection. Folders registered with folder protection are protected from future deletion of files and subfolders within that folder. Please refer to image 14 (found on page 3) for more details.

You can also do the exact opposite via Folder Exception. Please refer to image 16 & 17 for more details. This stops FinalData from storing those files. This is mainly used for temp files, cache files, and the like. You can also configure this setting by file extension.

Help & Support (4 out of 5)

What’s Hot:

Clicking F1 when in FinalData Standard brings up the help screen, which has most of the information you need to use the program. Please refer to image 18 for more details.

At 100 pages, the PDF manual is comprehensive and well-written.

The FinalData support website has a good FAQ available. Please refer to image 19 for more details.

You can also submit tickets via the web. Please refer to image 20 for more details.

I submitted three tickets via the web and got a reply within 12 hours of each.

What’s Not:

Price to Value (4 out of 5)

What’s Hot: The price for FinalData Standard (ESD) is in line with the competition.

What’s Not: You are paying for a product that has not been updated since mid 2003. The most recent patch for the current version of FinalData Standard (ESD) is dated 04/24/03. But then again, this is true for one of FinalData’s competitors, OnTrack Easy Recovery, which has not been updated since mid-2002.

Installation & Setup (5 out of 5)

What’s Hot:

FinalData Standard (ESD) uses a standard Windows installation, which was easy and straightforward. [See image 1]

Because many people will use FinalData Standard in a crisis to restore data, the installation routine gives a warning that if FinalData Standard is to be installed on a drive where you want to recover data, the data may be permanently written-over if the program by chance uses that area of the disk. [See image 2]

FinalData Standard (ESD) also has a File Delete Manager that automatically backs up deleted files. But there is a potential that the File Delete Manager can use significant resources. A warning message gives you the option to bypass that. Please refer to image 3 for more details.

The last step in the installation and configuration enables you to set the maximum file size for the File Delete Manager to maintain. Please refer to image 4 for more details.

User Interface (4 out of 5)

What’s Hot:

The FinalData Standard (ESD) user interface is relatively straightforward and easy to use. The main interface has an easy-to-use menu bar and icons. [See image 5]

To get started, you need to select a drive to check. Please refer to image 6 for more details.

At that point, FinalData will perform a cluster scan of the entire drive. [See image 7] On a 250GB drive, this can take a long time, even up to 17 hours. Please refer to image 8 for more details.

On smaller drives, such as a 250MB thumbdrive, this process took about three minutes. [See image 10]

When the scan is complete, the interface displays the retrieved files. My scan showed a significant amount of the deleted files and directories. [See image 11]

To recover a file or directory, you simply right-click on it. [See image 12]

Product Features (4 out of 5)

What’s Hot:

FinalData Standard’s main functionality is via the File Delete Manager. The reason is that if you take action after an accidental deletion, data recovery is possible only if data is not overwritten. However, controlling the access of clients is difficult after data is deleted, especially in the case of a server. Also in such a case, the filename often can’t be recovered and it’s often difficult to recover fragmented files.

The File Delete Manager ensures that you are able to recover the entire file in a single mouse click.

FinalData can recover files even if the drive has been formatted. [See image 13] While the directory structure was lost, the files are still recoverable.

FinalData has a find command that can search on the original file name or date (file creation, modification, or access). [See image 15]

The file recovery tool has a handy option to preview a file being recovered. You can see the content of it, be it a document or a web- or email-based file.

Another feature is the ability to recover a damaged CD-ROM. Final Data supports both CD-RW and CD-R media.

FinalData supports Windows version up to XP, with support for FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems.

What’s Not:

FinalData Standard isn’t compatible with Windows Vista but the company is planning on releasing a Vista version later in 2008.

Performance (4 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
As mentioned earlier in this review, disk recovery can take a significant amount of time. One way to reduce the amount of scanning time is to change the range of the cluster. When starting a cluster scan, FinalData lets you select a range rather than the entire drive. After that limited scan, you can check if all the data you needed is recovered. If not, then you must rescan the drive. Unfortunately, there is no way around this issue given the size of today’s hard drives.


Initial install screen

Install warning

Feile Delete Manager screen

Feile Delete Manager config

Main screen

Drive selection

Cluster range

Cluster scan in action

Deleted files/directory listing

Cluster scan for a small thumb drive

Main screen listing

Right-click for file recovery

Recovery of a formatted drive

Folder protection configuration

‘Find’ utility

Folder exception configuration

Extension exception configuration

Help screen

Support on the web

Tech support request


Power surges, overwriting, physical damage, natural disasters, viruses, spyware, and myriad more threats are what can face your hard drive every day. Every hard drive will fail at some point. Above and beyond a data backup, FinalData Standard (ESD) is a highly effective piece of software to use for your data recovery and file repair needs.

On Track EasyRecovery, R-Tools, Stellar, Nucleus Data Recovery