[Windows] Aidfile File Recovery lets you restore lost or deleted files

2013-08-23_230232Losing important files, documents, photos, etc. can be a bummer — especially if you have no backup. Indeed, people often may hundreds of dollars just for the chance of recovering important files. However, before you go out and give your hard earned cash to a professional, you can always type file recovery yourself. dotTech has a review on best free file recovery software for Windows which lists out excellent yet free file recovery software. If you don’t like the results provided to you by those programs, Aidfile File Recovery is yet another file recovery program. Let’s see if it is worth your time.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

As the name indicates, Aidfile File Recovery is a program that allows you to restore lost and deleted files.

Take note Aidfile File Recovery comes in three flavors, Aidfile File Recovery, Aidfile File Recovery Professional, and Aidfile File Recovery Free. The developer, unfortunately, is a bit coy as to the differences between the three versions. The only thing we know is Aidfile File Recovery Free is $0 and allows you to recover up to 1GB of files; the exact difference between Aidfile File Recovery and Aidfile File Recovery Professional is unknown — they both appear to have the same features and both cost $69.95.

Pros

  • Recover lost (files lost due to crash, format, etc.) and deleted (files deleted normally from within Windows) files of all types
  • Supports four scan modes: Undelete Quick, Unformat Quick, Full Scan, Recovery Partition Quick
  • Allows for preview of some file types before recover, such as text files and images
  • Can search for only specific file types
  • Allows you to save scan results for easy reuse later (i.e. you don’t need to rerun a scan later, if you don’t want to)
  • Works with all types of drives: internal, external, USB flash, cards, etc.
  • Relatively good performance

Cons

  • Shows existing files in scan results (aka files you don’t need to recover because they are not lost or deleted)
  • Scans slowly
  • Does not have the ability to run from outside Windows — cannot create bootable/recovery CD/DVD/USB
  • Doesn’t show recoverability of files
  • Cannot preview files in full screen, which can be annoying when trying to recover high resolution images
  • It may just be me but the program has a very “unprofessional” feel to it

Discussion

2013-08-23_232008Aidfile File Recovery has four scanning modes, Undelete Quick, Unformat Quick, Full Scan, and Partition Recovery Quick. The fastest and most basic of these four scans is Undelete Quick, which simple undeletes files deleted during your current Windows installation. Next is Unformat Quick, which looks to find and restore lost files due to format, crash, etc. in the situation where you did not modify partition size. Next is Partition Recovery Quick, which does the same thing as Unformat Quick except it is for situations where you don’t have the same size partition. Last is Full Scan, which does the most deep scan out of all them and is the most slow.

In terms of usage, all four scans work pretty much the same way. You select a drive or partition to scan, wait for the scan to finish, select the files you want to recover (with optional preview for some file types, like text and image files), and recover them. All scan types also have a feature I have fallen in love with, the ability to save and reuse scan results. This feature allows you to save scan results and reuse them later without having to rerun a scan. Very useful if you ever run a scan and then realize you don’t have the time to sift through the scan results to restore files immediately.

That being said, don’t let Aidfile File Recovery’s website and look of the program fool you — it isn’t just another file recovery program. As per my tests, Aidfile File Recovery is actually one of the better file recovery programs out there; it is slow but it finds quite an amount of deleted and lost files. In fact, it found more than I was expecting it to… so much so that I would have to say it performs relatively well.

However, that doesn’t mean Aidfile File Recovery is perfect. For example, it shows existing files in scan results when you view scan results by drive/partition. This is extremely annoying and there appears to be no way to turn off this behavior. On the same note, Aidfile File Recovery does not give us the recoverability of a file. In other words, Aidfile File Recovery does not tell us if found files can be successfully recovered or not — you have to try to recover them and hope for the best.

On top of that, Aidfile File Recovery’s biggest drawback is, without a doubt, the fact that it must be run from inside Windows — it doesn’t support bootable/recovery CD/DVD/USB.

You see, file recovery is best run from outside Windows due to how hard drives work. When you lose or delete a file, you can’t see the file because it still exists on your physical hard drive. The file stays on your physical hard drive until it is overwritten by another file. This is why it is so important to run file recovery from outside Windows: if you run file recovery from inside Windows, you risk overwriting the file(s) you want to recover. Running file recovery from outside Windows mitigates this problem because running file recovery from bootable/recovery CD/DVD/USB ensures nothing is written to your hard drive while recovering files; the same cannot be said when running file recovery from inside Windows.

This issue is compounded if your Windows crashes and you can’t get back inside; you would need to reinstall Windows in order to run a file recovery program that doesn’t run from outside Windows, even further risking that the file(s) you want to recover will be overwritten.

Because Aidfile File Recovery doesn’t support bootable/recovery CD/DVD/USB, it suffers from these problems.

Conclusion and download link

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of files Aidfile File Recovery is able to find. I was expecting it to be another crap file recovery program but it actually performs relatively well. If you want or need it, feel free to give Aidfile File Recovery a try. However, I don’t recommend it as first choice. Why? Simply because it lacks the ability to be run from outside Windows. As we have explained over and over and over, running file recovery from inside Windows is a terrible idea and can result in more loss of data than you realize. File recovery is best when run outside Windows from a bootable/recovery CD/DVD/USB and any file recovery program that can’t do this is one you can probably live without.

I suggest keeping Aidfile File Recovery as an option if other programs fail you — especially since it has an up-to-1GB-recovery free version you can always download and use on demand — but don’t use it as first choice. Instead, I suggest you check out dotTech’s review of best free file recovery software for Windows. In that review we point out excellent file recovery software, some of which support that critical feature of being able to be run from outside Windows.

Price: Free, $69.95

Version reviewed: 3.6.3.2

Supported OS: Windows 8/7/Vista/XP/2000

Download size: 4.8MB

VirusTotal malware scan results: 2/45

Is it portable? No

Aidfile File Recovery homepage

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