Oh no...so you accidentally formatted your memory card or you emptied Recycle Bin on your PC, only to find that you've got some photos or files that were supposed to keep.
Fortunately, there are data recovery software out there that might help you get back the lost files. iCare Data Recovery is one of them.
In this iCare Recovery review, I'm going to take you behind the scenes of how to use the program to recover deleted or lost items. I'll also show you the pros and cons of iCare Recovery software, through real testings designed.
Very important: don't do anything to your PC hard drive or an external storage device once you realize files have been deleted. This means, do not save new items to the original drive. Theoretically, this avoids data overwritten from happening thus increase chances of recovery.
iCare Data Recovery is a versatile data rescue tool to help you recover files that were accidentally deleted, formatted or lost in some other way. During my tests (more details below), it retrieved almost 90% of the deleted files from my designed data loss scenarios. The program is very powerful but not perfect, and it's unlikely that you'll be able to recover all of your lost data due to the nature of data recovery. However, iCare Recovery at least gives you some hope to restore your work, and may pull you back from the anxiety and panic caused by data loss.
- Clean interface, the program is very easy to use.
- It can handle different data loss scenarios with basic and advanced recovery modules.
- The scanning process is quick; it took less than 10 minutes to complete in either of my tests.
- The program is compatible with Windows only, not for macOS users.
- It does not support the recovery of JPG images (more in my scenario tests).
What is iCare Data Recovery?
Simply put, it is a software program that aims to bring data back from the dead. Ask yourself, have you ever encountered these situations? You formatted a camera card because it's corrupted, deleted several documents off a USB stick, or emptied Windows Recycle bin without knowing that some items are meant to restore, etc.
If any of those sound familiar to you, then iCare Data Recovery might help. It is a Windows file recovery program developed by the iCare Recovery team. According to the developer, it can rescue files deleted or lost in various scenarios, including but not limited to accidental deletion, raw drive or file system, virus attack, partition failure, software crash. iCare Recovery supports a wide range of storage media such as PC hard drives, camera SD/CF cards, flash drives, iPods, etc.
Is iCare Recovery legit?
During my research, I found out that the iCare Recovery is actually part of a company called iCareAll Inc, established in 2009. According to this CNET profile, the company has developed and published quite a few PC utility programs.So, back to the question, I'd say — yes, iCare Recovery is legitimate.
Is iCare Data Recovery safe to use?
I've tested the program on a Windows 10 based HP laptop (I've shared my findings below), and I haven't observed any malicious threats related to the software. Both Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) and the antivirus security software installed my PC showed the program is safe and does not contain any viruses or malware.
iCare Data Recovery Free vs Pro: a quick comparison
The program has two editions: iCare Data Recovery Free and iCare Data Recovery Pro. I've tested both of them on a PC. Both editions have similar interfaces and features, except that the Pro version is much more powerful, allows for commercial use, and requires to pay after exceeding 20MB data limits.
Here's how iCare Data Recovery Free looks. It has two main modules:
- Deleted File Recovery: helps recover deleted files from emptied Recycle Bin if files are deleted by mistake or wiped accidentally.
- Advanced File Recovery: as the name says, it's more advanced and can be used to search most digital devices for lost data.
Here's the main interface of iCare Data Recovery Pro. Different from the free edition, it has three main modules:
- Deleted File Recovery: this can be used to recover files deleted from Windows Recycle Bin.
- Deep Scan Recovery: similar to Advanced File Recovery in the free edition. It's used for data loss scenarios like disk formatting, raw drive, etc.
- Lost Partition Recovery: helps recover files from corrupted or lost partition due to partition error, software failure, etc.
The Pro version has a trial, with a limitation of recovering 20MB data for free. Otherwise, you'll have to purchase a license key to remove the restriction.
Also, according to the developer, the Free edition is for non-commercial use only, and it does not include email support and free lifetime upgrade.
Findings based on real testing results
Disclaimer: due to the complexity of the data recovery nature, it's impossible for me to prepare all data loss scenarios that iCare Data Recovery claims to be capable of handling. Hence the tests below purely serve as a surface exploration of the program with the purpose of discovering its capabilities to deal with common data loss situations.
The intent of these preparations is to mimic real life data loss situations.
I first prepared a list of files in different formats which include Office Word, Adobe PDF, TXT, JPG, PNG, MP4. Then I made two copies, one was saved on an HP laptop, and the other was transferred to a 32GB Lexar flash drive.
Then on the HP computer, I dragged these files to Recycle Bin and hit "Empty Recycle Bin."In the meantime, I formatted the Lexar USB drive (using Windows Quick Format option).
Scenario 1: Recovering files deleted from Windows Recycle Bin
Time spent to scan: ~ 2 minutes
Results & findings: iCare Data Recovery completed the scan very quickly and found lots of recoverable files, but I had to go to different folders to locate the items I wanted to save. And the process was quite time-consuming, although I managed to get the most of the files.
Step 1: Select "Deleted File Recovery" and highlight the partition you want to retrieve data from. In my case, it's Drive C: (NTFS) in 467 GB. Click "Next" to continue.
Step 2: Wait until the scanning process to complete.There are two stages: Reading files and Building directory tree, each took about a minute to finish.
Step 3: Preview and locate the files it finds. In my case, it found nearly 22 GB data.
Step 4: Select the files you want to recover and click "Next" to save them.
Pro tip: avoid choosing a destination that is under the path of the source drive. This helps increase chances of data recovery. Otherwise, you'll see a warning like this.
Scenario 2: Recovering data from a formatted flash drive
Time spent to scan: ~ 8 minutes
Results & findings: the scan was a bit longer but it managed to find most of my files lost due to disk reformatting. Specifically, it failed to find images in JPG format. Unlike scenario 1, locating desired items is much easier and pretty straightforward. Also, the preview and thumbnail features are very helpful in the process.
Step 1: Connect your external drive to your PC first. Open iCare recovery software, and select "Advanced File Recovery" (in Free edition) or "Deep Scan Recovery" (in Pro edition). Then choose your drive and click "Next."
Step 2: Wait until iCare Data Recovery finishes the scan. It took me about 8 minutes to complete.
Step 3: Preview the found files after the scan, select those you want to recover and click "Next" to save them. In my case, it found all the items expect images in JPG format.
iCare Data Recovery works well, and it's a great software for PC users of all experience levels. It has two editions: Free and Pro. The Free edition is for non-commercial use and is suitable for recovering files deleted from Windows Recycle Bin and external devices; While the Pro edition is more powerful as it includes several premium features (such as deep scan, lost partition recovery) that are not available in the free edition.
Now let's go back to the questions you might have in mind. Is iCare data recovery free? Yes, it does have a free version that allows you to recover files without function limitations. It has a Pro edition that is more powerful, but you'll need to get a license code to enable advanced features. Is iCare data recovery good? Yes, it's a good software that runs on Windows operating systems. Is iCare data recovery worth it? I'd say yes, it's a useful tool worthy to keep in your digital rescue toolbox just in case.
Hopefully, these iCare Data Recovery reviews and tutorials have helped you recover your files. If not, there are other options to try including professional data recovery services. Bear in mind that iCare Data Recovery works for Windows PCs only, and there are plenty of other data recovery tools out there. Some are free, some paid. For example, Recuva is a good alternative. If you are on a Mac machine, see this post Recuva Mac alternatives for more options.
One last thing — all data recovery software, are more like "cold meditation" than "flu vaccination". The best way to prevent data loss panic is backup. It's not exaggerating that you should make backups of the backups you have. Sounds boring but true, in the digital age no storage device is going to last forever. Some day it will fail and when that happens, you'd better have a backup.
Any questions regarding this review to the iCare recovery program, let us know. Simply leave a comment below, we'll respond as soon as possible.
Andreas is an Apple and Microsoft fanboy who works with his Mac and lives with a PC at home. While he is not reading technology journals, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends or hiking in the wild.