Disk Drill for Mac OS X review

Sections: Mac Software, Reviews, System Utilities

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Disk Drill BoxProvides: Data protection and recovery
Format: Download
Developer: Cleverfiles
Minimum System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Processor Compatibility: Intel or PowerPC
Price: Free for Basic, $89 for Pro, $169 for Expert (commercial user), $299 for Enterprise (company) with competitive and non-profit discounts available.
Availability: Out Now
Demo: 16 MB dmg file

It goes without saying that everyone should have a back-up for their computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad, memory cards, external hard drives, and digital cameras. However, the more devices you have, the harder it is to remember to back everything up—and with how busy life is, it’s easy to forget to keep data safe. This is where Disk Drill comes in with its ability to prevent data loss with its Recovery Vault technology.

Disk Drill Welcome Screen

One of Disk Drill’s main features is the Recovery Vault, which keeps a record of everything you delete. In case you need to get these files back, this dramatically increases the odds of finding them. This is not a back-up, and the longer those files have been deleted, the smaller the chances are of getting them back. However, a small chance of getting a file back is certainly better than no chance. All you have to do is turn it on for every hard drive and it works silently in the background.

When you need something recovered, Disk Drill has three ways of finding your lost data: undelete from Recovery Vault, Quick Scan for deleted files, and Deep Scan for when your data loss is severe such as a formatted drive. Using Recovery Vault is fast, gives you the best odds of recovering your lost data, and can be used with the free version. If you’ve lost files after you’ve installed Disk Drill, then you’ll need to use Quick Scan or Deep Scan, which attempt to locate every deleted file. While the free Basic version can scan, if you want to undelete the files you’ll need to pay for the Pro version. At least this way you’ll see if your files can be recovered before spending money. There’s even a handy preview feature so you can see if a file is the right one.

Disk Drill Recovery

In addition to undeleting files, Disk Drill can also locate lost partitions, monitor the status of your hard drive, alert you if your hard drive is in danger of failing, and save disks and partitions into a disk image so if your hard drive is failing you can save your data or you can use it to make regular backups. With these features available even in the free version, it would make sense for everyone to get Disk Drill even if you don’t have lost files to save.

What I like most about Disk Drill is the way the interface is designed to make recovering data an easy three step process of selecting a disk, scanning it, and choosing which files you want to recover. Being able to select what type of file to scan for is a great addition, particularly for the Deep Scan which can take several hours. Being able to stop and resume a scan means that you can still use your computer if you want to without having to start the scan all over again from the beginning.

Disk Drill Recovery Vault

Just about the only thing I don’t like about Disk Drill is its inability to save the disk images of your hard drive into smaller sizes. The only option you have is where to save the disk image and which partition you want to save, which means if you don’t have an external hard drive that’s bigger than your internal hard drive, then you’re pretty much out of luck. However, for a device such as an iPhone, this limitation doesn’t really apply. You can even save the disk image to a DVD, which saves a step.

Disk Drill is an excellent utility that has a place on every hard drive, especially if you use an iPhone, digital camera, or other digital devices. Disk Drill can’t take the place of a regular backup, but it can be used alongside of one to ensure your important files aren’t lost forever to either an accidental deletion or a failing hard drive.

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  • oxchris

    I couldn't get this to recover an encrypted image file that had just been deleted – it only seems to work with images, documents etc.

  • Erica Marceau

    oxchris, how did you recover it? If it's Recovery Vault or Quck Scan then it should be able to recover everything. If it's from Deep Scan then there are a limited number of file types it can recover, although those are being added to every day.

    I sent an email to Cleverfiles and asked them about encrypted image files and will follow up with what they say.

  • Erica Marceau

    Sorry for the delay in updating this as I wanted to get some clarification before posting. Here's the official response from CleverFiles.

    Disk Drill lets you protect your data with Recovery Vault. When
    something’s deleted, Recovery Vault remembers all the original
    properties of the deleted items and makes it possible to easily
    recover this data later on. Recovery from Vault and Quick Scan in Disk
    Drill are not signature-based. They work with different algorithms,
    and are capable of recovering ALL file types.
    You can find more information about Recovery Vault here:

    If this doesn't answer your questions then I suggest emailing .