File Rescue 

While Windows Recycle Bin does a reasonable job of providing a failsafe when a file is accidentally deleted, sometimes a more powerful tool is required.

Mistakes can happen and, as is usually the case, they occur at the most inappropriate times.  When the mistake is an accidental deletion, or in certain cases the overwriting, of an important file from your hard disk, then the results could cause a great deal of trouble and heartache.  Diskeeper, best known for its defragmentation software, has turned its expertise on file management towards the task of rescuing files that have been deleted by mistake.  Appropriately entitled Undelete 2009, this product is available in Home, Professional and Server flavours with this review being based on the Professional edition.

Installation is fairly straightforward although you are given the option of deciding whether the software should be enabled or not for all connected drives.  If you choose the latter option then this process will need to be carried out manually at a later date.  Undelete works with NTFS along with 16 and 32-bit file systems while supporting primary and logical partitions, RAID arrays, plus removable media such as ZIP drives and memory cards amongst others.

Once the installation has been completed, a system restart will need to be carried out.  Following the reboot you will notice that Undelete has replaced the standard Recycle Bin with its own offering.  Diskeeper Undelete consists of four elements.  These are Recovery Bin, Search Disk, Version protection for Microsoft Office files and an Emergency Undelete feature.  In each case they will take over the relevant function provided by other file recovery tools you may have installed on your system.

You can fire up Undelete either from its Start Menu entry or by clicking on your new Recycle Bin icon.  This will bring up a two-pane interface showing a tree structure on the left listing the current drives being monitored by Undelete while the right pane will show the items deleted from a particular drive/folder.  To restore a file or files, you simple need to select them then choose the restore option from the tool bar.  This process will work if the file was deleted from a local or network drive.

As well as keeping a close watch on any files that are deleted, Undelete takes a special interest in documents created by Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  It will automatically capture and store these documents as part of its version control facility.  By right clicking on such a document, you can select the View Version option that is available from the Context menu to see all the available versions of that document before choosing the one you want.

Undelete also includes an Emergency Undelete feature for those files that were deleted prior to the installation of the product.  The program makes a reasonable stab at recovering these files but its success will depend upon circumstances out of its control.  You will have a greater chance of success with recently deleted files and if there has been little disk after following the original deletion.

A Search facility is provided for use with the Recycle Bin.  You can search by name/location, date, and owner/deleted by criteria.  When the Recycle Bin is full, it will automatically create space by removing files on a first-in, first-out basis.  You do have the option to adjust the size of the Recycle Bin to suit your individual circumstances.  Finally, you can opt to delete content yourself from the Recycle Bin by using a SecureDelete feature.  Any files removed by this method will be irretrievable even by Undelete.

While you may not need to use Diskeeper Undelete on a regular basis unless you are in a habit of deleted important file, on the odd occasion when you do need it, it could prove invaluable.  You can download a 30-day trial version of this software in order to check out how it fits in your use of the computer.  The Professional version of the software, requiring a system running Windows XP and later, has been priced at £57.07 for an online purchase.

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