TestDisk, PhotoRec fix disks, recover files

Perform low-level disk repair and file recovery--from a command prompt or DOS box

If you're a fan of character-based interfaces -- such as DOS -- and free data recovery, you're going to love TestDisk and its companion utility, PhotoRec (a brother program included in the TestDisk download). Both free programs run in a DOS box or from a command line and test, report on, fix common disk boot problems, and recover files from damaged hard drives. All this is done at low level, below the operating system.

You don't install TestDisk and PhotoRec. You simply unzip the archive to the location from which you want to run it. This may be a bit confusing for users used to installing, but it makes the apps portable, which is far more important to the techier types who are the intended audience. Simply drag the files around on your flash drive and run them from there. Being portable also makes these utilities suitable for inclusion on boot discs. Though character-based, TestDisk and PhotoRec are just as easy to use as a GUI-based program. The options are logically laid out, the language readily understandable for anyone comfortable with command-line utilities, and you simply cursor up and down, right and left to navigate. The way the cursor control is facilitated to accommodate two functions per page is actually quite clever.

I ran both programs through their paces and they worked quite well. They accurately reported the types of drives I had attached to my system and recovered all the deleted files I threw at them -- regardless of an existing partition or not. There were some misfires in the recognition, but there are in every recovery program I've ever used. But I'm definitely going to give both TestDisk and PhotoRec a long hard look in future repair operations. I like character-based utilities.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags storagesoftwarerecoveryhard driveshddUtilitiesFreeware / sharewarefreewareDrivesHard Diskrepair

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon L. Jacobi

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?