All Mac computer users will eventually encounter the alarming situation of accidentally deleting an important file or collection of files.
Although not uncommon, inadvertent deletion is usually always followed by bouts of panic and distress. These fits are often in vain as recovering this lost data from the Mac hard drive is often a relatively easy process.
How Data Recovery Works on a Mac Computer
When a file is deleted on a Mac computer, it is not deleted from existence instantaneously. The file remains in the Trash but is removed from the directories so it appears to vanish in the eyes of Mac OS X and subsequently, the eyes of the user who deleted the file.
Despite this disappearing act, the file is more often than not fully intact and retrievable because the hard drive space occupied by the “lost” file is not immediately re-used.
In fact, if the hard drive on which the “deleted” file resides remains relatively unused, the data contained in the deleted file will continue to exist on the hard drive in a retrievable state.
Ways of Ensuring Successful Mac File Recovery
Chances of successful data recovery on a Mac largely depend on two things: how often the hard drive has been used since the deletion and the capacity of that hard drive when the file was deleted.
The greater the free space on the hard drive, the greater the chances for a perfect recovery of the deleted files as the file will not be spread out over the entire disk. Furthermore, the lower the usage of the hard drive in question, the higher the chance for a successful recovery of the lost data.
Mac Data Recovery Software and File Recovery Services
Obviously, most users in this situation will want to recover the lost or damaged data as soon as possible. The two most common options for recovering lost data from a Mac are: using data recovery software or hiring a data recovery service specializing in Mac data recovery.
The latter usually involves removing the hard drive from the computer and sending it to a service center to be repaired. This process can be costly and time-consuming whereas inexpensive data recovery software can be downloaded relatively easily and quickly from the various companies specializing in Mac data recovery software.
Regardless of the data recovery option, users should always remember to limit use of the hard drive on which the deleted or damaged file resides to ensure the highest rate of successful Mac data recovery.
The Best Mac Data Recovery Software
When data loss occurs on a Mac OS X computer, the user has two viable options for recovering the lost files.
The first option is to hire a data recovery service specializing in Mac file retrieval. These services tend to be expensive and are often excessive in situations where only a single file has been accidentally deleted.
The other choice is to purchase a professional Mac data recovery program. Data Rescue II, Stellar Phoenix Macintosh Data Recovery and Boomerang Data Recovery are all examples of Mac-specific file recovery software.
Tips For Successfully Using Mac Data Recovery Software
Regardless of which Mac file recovery software is used, it is imperative to never install the data recovery software on the same hard drive as the deleted or damaged files. Installing the data recovery program on that drive will greatly decrease the chances of a successful file recovery. Instead, install the program on a second drive or create a bootable CD or DVD.
Once the files are recovered, be sure to save those rescued files to a different hard drive than the one the files were recovered from. If there is no second hard drive in the computer, save the recovered files to an external hard drive or a USB flash drive.
After the recovery process is complete, it is best not to use the hard drive on which the recovery occurred as a main system hard drive.
Keeping these pointers in mind, the next step is to download a Mac data recovery program and begin the recovery process.
Mac File Recovery Software Choices
Most of the professional Mac-specific file recovery programs allow users to download a free trial version of the software which scans the user’s hard drive for the deleted files. If the scanner finds those missing files, the user has the option of purchasing a license for the recovery software.
Mac data recovery software companies charge around $100 USD for a single-user license but this price varies depending on the company. For example, Boomerang Data Recovery charges by size of the files being recovered and thus has the lowest entry cost for recovering data at $39.95 USD for 100MB of file recovery.
Data Rescue II by Prosoft Engineering is one of the most popular data recovery software solutions for Mac users. This software has a great reputation for being both easy to use and incredibly effective. So much so that many professional data recovery services use Data Rescue II to retrieve deleted or lost files on Mac hard drives.
File-Specific Mac Data Recovery Software
Specialized file recovery programs are designed to find specific types of deleted files such as MPEG audio/video or Microsoft Word documents. These dedicated programs are arguably more proficient than standard recovery programs because they employ unique recovery algorithms when retrieving lost data. AppleXsoft Photo Recovery and Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery are two examples of this file-specific recovery software.
And as an added bonus, many of these specialized Mac data recovery programs also excel at retrieving any and all other types of deleted Mac files.
The Best Software for Mac File Recovery?
Choosing the best program for retrieving lost Mac data requires the user to do some research to determine which program is best suited for the user’s individual needs. At the time of this writing, the programs mentioned above are all great options for Mac file recovery. However, new software is always being developed and there may be a better program available.
In the meantime, it is imperative to limit the use of the hard drive on which the deleted files reside and remember to backup files to decrease the chances of Mac data loss in the future.