Category Archives: Free File Recovery Applications

Panda SafeCD – Plus Six More Free Recovery Tools

imageSitting down and pushing the start button on your PC only to have it refuse to boot, will fit right in with anyone’s definition of frustration. It’s almost a personal thing – “why are you doing this to me?” But all is not lost.

Before you consign your dead PC to the garbage dump, or start considering just what kind of boat anchor you might craft, you should know that there are some terrific free tools that can help you recover (provided it’s a software issue).

These free applications are at the “Top of the Class”, in my view. Since I first wrote on this issue, back in June 2010, I’ve added Panda Security’s (the highly regarded developer of Panda Cloud free antivirus), Panda SafeCD, to the list below.

I’m not suggesting that you download them all but, if you have some spare CDs – why not? Or, do a little info gathering on the author’s site – then choose those that best meet your specific needs.

Hiren’s Boot CD


Hiren’s Boot CD is a boot disk containing various diagnostic programs such as partitioning agents, system performance benchmarks, disk cloning and imaging tools, data recovery tools, MBR tools, BIOS tools, and many others for fixing various computer problems.

Downloading this application is a bit of a hassle, since ownership of some of the utilities on the CD is open to interpretation.

Ultimate Boot CD for Windows


A terrific recovery CD for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing computer problems, but since it involves hands on “building skills” to compile the necessary tools, it’s not for everyone. Nevertheless, for those who have the skills, this utility is a “must have”.

Trinity Rescue Kit


Trinity Rescue Kit, or TRK, is a free live Linux distribution that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines, but is equally usable for Linux recovery issues.

Ubuntu Live CD


Can’t boot into Windows? Can’t figure out how you’re going to rescue all that data that you can’t reach? Ubuntu Live CD can come to the rescue. Need to connect to the Internet as part of your recovery process? No problem – Ubuntu Live CD makes it easy.

Specialty Recovery Tools:

Panda SafeCD

Click to see larger images

This useful utility comes in handy when you need to clean a friend’s PC (or your own), from a malware infected state. It is specially useful for detecting and disinfecting malware infections which give regular AV products running within Windows a hard time.

Features include: Automatic detection and removal of all types of malware. Boot from CD or USB stick. Supports using updated signature files. Supports 13 languages. Supports both FAT and NTFS drives.

The download consists of an ISO. You can either burn this into a CD/DVD or alternatively create a more convenient Boot USB stick by using something like the Universal Netboot Installer (UNetbootin).

Kaspersky Rescue Disk


This rescue CD can scan your boot sector, and your Hard Drives from the outside looking in. Malware doesn’t have a chance to hide if it’s not running. It’s become the first step I now use, when I’m dealing with an infected machine.

Avira AntiVir Rescue System


Avira AntiVir Rescue System is a Linux-based application that allows accessing computers that cannot be booted anymore. Thus it is possible to, repair a damaged system, rescue data, scan the system for virus infections.

Just a personal note: I scan all my machines with this application on a weekly basis.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Computer Tools, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Free File Recovery Applications, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Malware Removal, Software, System Recovery Tools, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Download Paragon’s FREE Rescue Kit Express

Popular guest writer Rick Robinette, has a knack for finding great free applications. Paragon Free Rescue Kit, one of Rick’s latest finds, professionally fixes boot problems as well as retrieves your data when your system fails to boot. It even rescues deleted partitions

During my research and testing of Paragon’s FREE edition of Backup and Recovery, I happened to notice that they also have available for FREE, a Rescue Kit.

To use the FREE Rescue Kit, you must acquire a registration (serial # and product key) from  [ HERE ] . This may sound like a hassle to go through, but this disk, once created, may be helpful in recovering data from your PC when disaster occurs.

Key Features

Worry-Free Data Protection with Paragon’s Bootable Recovery CD

Don’t wait for disaster strike before using Rescue Kit. Burn the software on your CD/DVD and be prepared for any situation.

Easily Fix Boot Problems

Boot Corrector option resolves various problems you may encounter during the system boot process. These problems may be caused by program errors, user mistakes, or become the results of boot virus activity. Boot Corrector allows you to cure the majority of boot problems for Windows Operating System and gives you access to your data!

Rescue Your Data

In case of a system malfunction, caused either by a virus attack or file corruption, you can retrieve valuable information from your disks and copy it to another local drive, partition or save the data to CD/DVD. The File Transfer Wizard helps you to export data as easy and convenient as possible.

Undelete Partition

When simply deleting a partition (without additional wiping) disk management software only removes the references to it in the Partition Table, thus leaving the possibility to recover it later. The Undelete Partitions Wizard enables you to find and recover these partitions. A restored partition will be fully functional, as long as other partitions were not created, moved or exceeded the disk space.

System requirements: Windows Me/2000/XP/Vista/7

Download at:

This is a guest post by Rick Robinette, who brings a background as a security/police officer professional, and as an information technology specialist to the Blogging world.

Why not pay a visit to Rick’s site at What’s On My PC. Like me, you’re sure to become a frequent visitor.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under downloads, Free File Recovery Applications, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Hard Drive Problems, Hard Drive Tools, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Laptop Computer Stolen from Hospital Room – Irreplaceable Photos GONE

image Just a few days ago, here in Toronto, as reported in the Toronto Star,   a despicable crime was committed (not the first such crime of this type, this year), when a Laptop computer was stolen from a hospital room.

The story, more or less in chronological order, went something like this:

  • Laptop stolen from hospital…
  • Hospital theft suspect may be involved…
  • Laptop theft suspect captured …
  • Owner hopes for recovery of photos from stolen laptop“A woman whose stolen laptop was recovered without its photos of her dead daughter will likely get them back, computer experts say.”

Kudos to the Toronto Police Service, who recovered the Laptop within a few days – only to find that the irreplaceable photos had been erased.

As well as newspaper coverage, this sad story received massive play on Toronto’s seven television stations. It was evident that the victim was extremely distraught over the loss of her dead daughter’s photographs.

While I had great sympathy for the Laptop owner, at the same time I was mystified that:

  • No recovery software was installed on this machine; despite the fact that Laptops are at high risk for thief.

Recent survey results from the Ponemon Institute, indicates that more than 10,000 laptops are lost, or stolen, each week at U.S. airports alone, coupled with statistics which show that a laptop is stolen, not lost but stolen, every 53 seconds.

Free recovery applications are widely available on the Internet – see Download Prey – A Free Recovery Solution to a Lost or Stolen Laptop, here.

  • The irreplaceable photos of the victim’s dead daughter were not backed up to another medium.

USB flash drives cost virtually nothing – prices range from less than $8 (2 GB), to under $30 (16 GB). That’s a lot of photo storage per dollar. A simple Windows Explorer right click menu command “Copy to folder”, would have copied the photos to a USB stick in seconds.

Copy to

Worse however, was the realization that the Laptop Hard Drive was not backed up. This, despite the fact that that there are some very substantial free backup applications available for download on the Internet – see Free Paragon Backup and Recovery – Incremental Backup Included, here.

Finally, while I’m unsure as to the cost of recovery this woman faced, the newspaper story did mention a cost of $80 to $150, for a simple recovery operation such as this.

This expense could easily have been avoided if the victim had been aware, that free software is readily available on the Internet to effect photo recovery – see Recover Picture Files On Your Digital Camera Card, on regular guest writer Rick Robinette’s site What’s On My PC.

The recovery application Rick reviewed, Recuva, is capable of recovering photos from virtually any media – including Hard Drives.


I’m not trying to be a big “meanie” here but, it seems to me, that this woman was the architect of her own misfortune. A little pre-planning, particularly with a high risk item like a Laptop, could have saved her considerable distress. But, like too many computer users, her interest stopped with the on/off switch.

As is usual with mainstream media, the Toronto Star failed to grasp the significance of this event, and use it as a teaching tool so that other computer users could learn from the mistakes evident in this occurrence.

Perhaps, I expect too much.

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Filed under Backup Applications, Backup Tools, downloads, Free File Recovery Applications, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, Software, USB, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

CD Recovery Toolbox – Recover Damaged CD/DVD Data

CD Recovery Toolbox, a free CD/DVD file recovery solution that can help you recover damaged data that you may have considered unrecoverable.

damaged_cd So how many coasters do you have that started life as critical backup CD/DVD’s, or the CD/DVD’s that you entrusted to store a lifetime of photo memories? Well if you’re like most of us, you may have more than one.

As a long term file storage medium, CD/DVD’s are, in effect, all-purpose, durable and, generally inexpensive. The difficulty in relying on this storage medium however is; they aren’t always as reliable as we sometimes seem to think.

Recently, I experienced CD failure when testing a system using a special boot CD called, “The Ultimate Boot CD”, which ironically failed to boot despite the decisiveness of its name.

There I was stuck with an unreadable CD; but being the “geeky” kind of guy that I am, and having been through similar situations in the past, I’ve learned to double up on all my diagnostic tools. Later, I confirmed that the unreadable CD had not been burned correctly – the deadly “bad burn”.

So you’re not alone in turning what you may consider to be, unusable/unreadable CD/DVD’s into expensive coasters. But there is a solution that can help you to recover damaged data that you may have considered unrecoverable. Stepping into the picture is CD Recovery Toolbox, a free CD/DVD file recovery tool.


This small, free application was designed to recover damaged files on CD, DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-Ray disks. It can recover files that have been lost as a result of physical damage to the disk, (scratches, chips, and so on), or as a result of a bad or inaccurate recording.

The program scans damaged CD and DVD disks and produces a listing of files and folders on the media, which it can recover. Be aware however, that depending on the degree of damage, there may be files that the application cannot recover.

In testing this product’s file recovery ability on a severely scratched and chipped disk, I’m happy to say that it recovered 934 files out of a total of 936, that Windows could not read, and it did this in less than 2 minutes

Data recovery is generally a complex process, but even beginners will have an easy time with this application based on it’s step-by step wizard, which makes the use of the tool very simple and convenient.

Quick facts:

Recovers files/folders from CD and DVD’s

Recovers files larger than 4 GB

Detects lack of free space on the designated storage hard drive

System Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2K/XP/2K3/Vista

Download at:

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Filed under CD/DVD Recovery Tools, CD/DVD Tools, Free File Recovery Applications, Freeware, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Recover Deleted Files with Recover Files.exe Freeware

We’ve all done it; accidentally deleted an important file. That document you’ve been working on for weeks is no longer in your document folder. The music collection you’ve spent years putting together, or that family photo album you’ve worked on for weeks – gone.

The simple solution to this problem that most of us can use, most of the time, is to simply restore the file from the Windows Recycle Bin. The Recycle Bin can be a life saver when a file has been accidentally deleted.

Normally, the deleted file sits in the Bin until you empty the Bin, or restore the file. But what if the file has been permanently removed from the Bin, to make room for more recently deleted files when the maximum size allocated in Recycle Bin properties, has been exceeded.

All is not lost and here’s why: when a file is deleted from your Hard Drive, or portable media, what really gets deleted is the system link pointing towards the file, but not the file itself. Surprisingly, it can often be relatively easy to retrieve the deleted file, or a good portion of the file, using specialized file recovery software, which takes advantage of this reality.

To enhance the possibility of recovering the deleted file, rapid action is a prime requirement. File recovery software has limitations, so once you have realized you have deleted that important file; do not write any more files to drive until you can run the recovery program.

A free recovery application with a particularly helpful and instinctive interface, one the one that I use most frequently, is Recover Files.exe from Recovering files with this freeware program is as simple as launching the application, selecting the drive, and clicking on the analyze button.

Files that can be recovered, on that drive, are presented in an easy to understand format that includes the file Path, Status, Size, Date Created, Date Modified and a rating (from Overwritten to Very Good), as to the likelihood of recovery. Selecting the listed file to be recovered, clicking on the Undelete button begins the recovery process.

Those users, who are unfamiliar with this type of application, will find the well written and instructive help file, particularly useful.

I’ve had good success with this small application recovering deleted files, and I recommend that all users’ consider adding Recover Files.exe to their toolbox. Recover Files.exe has been awarded kudos by a substantial number of application review websites.

Quick facts:

Recover Files.exe can recover –

Files deleted bypassing Recycle Bin.

Files deleted even after you have emptied the Recycle Bin.

Files deleted accidentally from a network share.

Files deleted from the DOS command prompt.

Files deleted when you press Shift+Delete on the keyboard.

Files deleted when you use Move or Cut command.

Files deleted in other applications or by viruses.

Files from Hard drives

Files from Floppy disks

Files from Compact Flash, Smart Media, Multimedia and Secure Digital cards

Files from External USB Disk Drives

Files from Flash drives/Flash Memory

Files from Zip disks, Jazz disks

Supports FAT16, FAT32, NTFS and NTFS 5 file systems.

Performs non-destructive and read-only scan and file recovery.

Displays file name, type, size, date, and more.

Restores original create and modified file dates.

Supports Unicode and non-alphabet languages.

Filters files by name, extension, folder and file type.

System Requirements: Windows 95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, 2003, Vista

Download at:


Filed under Free File Recovery Applications, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools