[Windows] Recover lost files and repair corrupt documents, emails, archives, and more with MunSoft Data Recovery Suite

2013-03-14_230209Ever lost files due to system crash or reformat? Ever accidentally deleted files? Have corrupted files (documents, emails, archives, etc.)? MunSoft Data Recovery Suite is a program that does all of that. Let’s see if it is worth your time.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

MunSoft Data Recovery Suite in and of itself is actually not a program. Rather, it is a suite of MunSoft programs: MunSoft Easy Digital Photo Recovery, MunSoft Easy Drive Data Recovery, MunSoft Easy Office Recovery, MunSoft Easy Access Recovery, MunSoft Easy Mail Recovery, and MunSoft Easy Archive Recovery. You can actually get each of these programs on its own… MunSoft Data Recovery Suite simply combines them under one roof. You install/uninstall MunSoft Data Recovery Suite as one program, but when you want to use it you run each of the just-mentioned programs separately.

2013-03-14_230315Between the above-mentioned six programs, MunSoft Data Recovery does two main things: Recover lost/deleted files (documents, photos, archives, etc.) and repair corrupted archives (ZIP, RAR), emails (Outlook and Outlook Express), Microsoft Office files (Word DOC, DOCX; PowerPoint PPT, PPTX; Excel XLS, XLSX), and Microsoft Access databases (MDB, ACCDB).

Pros

  • Finds and restores lost files (i.e. files lost due to crash, reformat, etc.) and deleted files (i.e. files you deleted in Windows)
  • Is able to repair corrupted ZIP, RAR, DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, MDB, and ACCDB files and Outlook/Outlook Express email databases
  • Supports NTFS, FAT32 and FAT16 file systems and IDE, ATA, and SCSI drives
  • 2013-03-14_230232Provides you with file name, size, type, time modified, time created, and recoverability of files that are found when restoring lost/deleted files
  • Allows preview of files
  • Has filtering capabilities
  • Performs fairly well

Cons

  • Cannot create any type of bootable/recovery media, which means you cannot run file recovery from outside Windows which is the safest way to recover files
  • 2013-03-14_230126Not all file types can be previewed
  • What about SSD support?
  • Should support more than just Outlook/Outlook Express for email repair

Discussion

As already mentioned, MunSoft Data Recovery Suite is not a program in and of itself but rather contains six separate programs: MunSoft Easy Digital Photo Recovery, MunSoft Easy Drive Data Recovery, MunSoft Easy Office Recovery, MunSoft Easy Access Recovery, MunSoft Easy Mail Recovery, and MunSoft Easy Archive Recovery. Because these are six separate programs, they have some overlapping functionality. However, the funcionality of all these programs can be broken into two parts: file recovery and file repair.

2013-03-14_225959The main file recovery program is Easy Drive Data Recovery which can find and recover lost/deleted files of all types while the other programs offer a specialized version of file recovery. Easy Digital Photo Recovery is for recovering photos only, Easy Office Recovery is for recovery Office files only, Easy Access Recovery is for recovering Access files only, Easy Mail Recovery is for recovery Outlook/Outlook Express email only, and Easy Archive Recovery is for recovering archives only. In other words, Easy Drive Data Recovery does the file recovery that the other five programs do, plus more. We have already written a comprehensive review of Easy Drive Data Recovery, so read that if you are interested about more detail — we don’t rehash that review here.

In terms of file repair, Easy Office Recovery, Easy Access Recovery, Easy Mail Recovery, and Easy Archive Recovery offer the ability to repair different types of files. Easy Office Recovery is able to repair DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, and XLSX files. Easy Access Recovery is able to repair MDB and ACCDB files. Easy Mail Recovery is able to repair Outlook and Outlook Express email databases. Easy Archive Recovery is able to repair ZIP and RAR archives.

2013-03-14_230328Take note file “repair” in Easy Office Recovery, Easy Access Recovery, Easy Mail Recovery, and Easy Archive Recovery is not repair in the traditional sense. They do not work by you inputting a file, the file is repaired, and then you run the file as if nothing happened. Rather, you input the file, they try to repair the file, and, if they are successful, you are shown the contents of the file which you can then export. In other words, you don’t repair files per se but rather recover data from corrupted files; at the end of file repair, you still have the corrupted file is still corrupted… you were just able to recovery/extract the contents of that file. A subtle difference that most people won’t care about, but a difference worth mentioning nonetheless.

As mentioned in our review of Easy Drive Data Recovery, the performance of file recovery is fairly good. The performance of file repair, on the other hand, really depends on how corrupted your documents, databases, and archives are. There really is no way to say “MunSoft Data Recovery Suite will be able to repair all of your documents, databases, and archives” simply because how corrupt a file is determines how repairable it is; some files MunSoft Data Recovery Suite will be able to repair while others it will not. I cannot qualitatively or quantitatively describe the success or failure rate — it simply depends.

Lastly, I want to reiterate a point I made when reviewing Easy Drive Data Recovery; the point that lack of bootable/recovery media is a huge con with this program. The lack of bootable media is not as significant for file repair but is very significant for file recovery:

Without the ability to create Linux-based or WinPE-based bootable CD/DVD/USB drive, [MunSoft Data Recovery Suite] must be run within Windows. When it comes to data recovery, it is always best to run data recovery outside of Windows simply because you don’t want to overwrite any files prior to recovering them. So not only does the act of using [MunSoft Data Recovery Suite] from within Windows minimize your chance of recovering files (because the files you want to recover may be overwritten while you are in Windows, intentionally or otherwise) but only being able to run [MunSoft Data Recovery Suite] also minimizes its usefulness. Confused? Let me explain.

One of the major use cases for data recovery is hard drive failure or system crash. If this happens, that means you cannot boot into Windows. If you cannot boot into Windows, then how the hell are you supposed to run data recovery with [MunSoft Data Recovery Suite]? You would either need a second hard drive that you can put inside your computer, install Windows on, and then use [MunSoft Data Recovery Suite] from that second hard to scan the first hard drive; or a second computer in which you can pop the failed hard drive into to scan; or you would have to reinstall Windows onto your existing hard drive (the one on which Windows crashed), then use [MunSoft Data Recovery Suite] after reinstallation to try to recover the files that existed prior to reinstall. Neither of these situations are very user-friendly, especially the later scenario in which you risk overwriting (i.e. destroying) the data you want to recover by reinstalling Windows. Having bootable media mitigates all these situations.

CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK

Overall, with the ability to recover lost/deleted files and to repair corrupted files and with solid performance, MunSoft Data Recovery Suite is a fairly good program. Even at a price tag of $99.95/$159.95, MunSoft Data Recovery Suite is an attractive option due to all its features. After all, $99.95/$159.95 is a small price to pay if you are able to recover or repair your important file. The problem, however, is MunSoft Data Recovery Suite shoots itself in the file recovery foot by not having the ability to create bootable media. Without bootable media, the usefulness of MunSoft Data Recovery Suite’s file recovery is very limited which means you are only getting half of what you pay for (i.e. file repair with limited-use file recovery).

So I do recommend MunSoft Data Recovery Suite? Ehhhh, I’m not going to recommend it because it has not bootable media but I’m not going to not recommend it either. I’ll leave the decision up to you; just be sure to test the trial before shelling out your hard earned cash for the program.

For all your freeware junkies, Testdisk & PhotoRec is an all-time dotTech favorite file and photo recovery program that is a bit user-unfriendly but provides excellent recoverability of lost/deleted files and works from outside Windows. In terms of file repair, dotTech has an excellent guide on how you can recover data from corrupted DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX files for free. Aside from that, I’ve never used them before but I know of Zip2Fix which extracts data from corrupted ZIPs and File Repair which attempts to repair documents, spreadsheets, presentations, archives, videos, images, PDFs, databases, and audio; both are freeware.

Price: $99.95 (home use), $159.95 (business use)

Version reviewed: 2.0

Supported OS: Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista/Server 2008/Win7

Download size: 32MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 0/45

Is it portable? No

MunSoft Data Recovery Suite homepage

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7 comments

  1. riya

    I hope the developers will include bootable media then it’ll be a much better program. I will look into the freebies you suggested, I like to collect recovery and repair programs. If one fails then the others would help me out in difficult situations. Thanks again for a great review :)

  2. Shawn

    Here’s a good one with bad programming..

    http://www.ziprepairtool.com/

    The program is commercial however there is a loophole to recover your files just right click the file inside the loaded zip package and choose view file. If there is no association on your computer well guess what? It asks you where you want to save your file. So for anyone who really wants to test their corrupted zip file before purchasing this would be the tool of choice. Should the program work for you 20$ for a personal licence is cheap comparing to the costs of your time that was involved in the original file.

    Good Luck with your data recoveries…

  3. LivieS

    Thanks for the nice review, I did try out the software but in the end I decided to go with something cheaper, Reincubate Recover Files and also kept some freeware on my desktop for backup. Works just as well, besides I always make sure to keep system backups.

  4. alan

    I most strongly recommend LAZESOFT FREE (no time limit) as a product with similar claims that ACTUALLY WORKS WELL.
    The top item on the list – 20.6 MB download and no registration.
    http://www.lazesoft.com/download.html
    Very well worth a review here.

    Munsoft has a Physical Disk scan mode that promises to recover files from an entire Physical Disk (either HDD or SSD)
    It actually aborts within a few seconds with no results at all.

    It aborts when I select and scan a 600 GB HDD from WDC that was GPT style until a BIOS/Windows Boot fiasco changed the DISK ID from a GPT GUID to a BIOS MBR style eight digit number.

    It aborts when I select and scan a 960 GB HDD from SamSung which always was a remains MBR style,
    and which holds partition D:\ with my Palemoon (Firefox sibling) browser caches.,
    AND YET Munsoft in Logical Disk scan mode is able to spend over 20 minutes scanning my 10 GB partition D:\ and discover 1 GB in 230,000+ deleted (i.e. discarded) caches files.
    I do not think anyone has offered a data recovery tool that could not do that.

    Munsoft has a Physical Disk scan mode that is unable to launch under 64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate + SP1.
    It does absolutely nothing regardless of whether the Physical Disk is perfectly healthy or confused.

    On the other hand, LAZESOFT spent about 80 minutes scanning the entire 600 GB HDD with confused Identity,
    which held a 25 GB partition that Windows considers RAW DATA due to the Disk ID fiasco,
    and also all the Unallocated space that included a 500 GB partition E:\
    and successfully recovered well over 400 GB.
    I think there was only about 20 MB = 0.005% that were beyond recovery by LAZESOFT

    Regards
    Alan

  5. Mark

    While I believe there’s much room for programs that can recover data from within Windows, these have to be very cheap if not entirely free. A program as steeply-priced as this one- although, of course, price is relative- simply MUST support recovery from bootable media, especially to justify that price-tag. Thanks very much for this helpful review as well as for the useful links provided in it. Take care.