Ontrack EasyRecovery Review
A great data recovery service with a wonderful interface, Ontrack EasyRecovery falls short in the advanced features department. That said, it's a great alternative for home users.
Whether due to user error, a virus or a faulty hard drive, losing data can be a disastrous experience. Data recovery tools like Ontrack EasyRecovery are designed to bail you out by recovering both accidentally deleted data and data stuck on an lost or inaccessible partition.
Ontrack’s data recovery solution provides a thorough scan and very user-friendly experience. While it’s missing a few recovery features found with industry leaders like Stellar and EaseUS, it also has a couple of perks those tools don’t have. These include options to permanently wipe data from your hard drive and disk diagnostics capabilities (read our Stellar Data Recovery review or EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard review for more on these two).
For a full look at how this tool stacks up to the competition, check out our best data recovery software roundup. Otherwise, read on for a detailed accounting of EasyRecovery pricing, features, processes and customer service.
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Pricing & Licensing
Ontrack EasyRecovery software comes in both Windows and Mac versions. The home version of EasyRecovery lets you use the software for one year. That’s a big limitation, since other data recovery solutions like EaseUS and Stellar provided lifetime licensing.
A home license can also only be used on one computer at a time. Also, unlike some other options, you don’t get a lifetime license. Within the year term of your license, though, you can export that license to another computer as often as you need. All licenses are for both Windows and MacOS.
- Basic recovery.
- Enhanced recovery. Includes cloning tools, block diagnostics, SMART.
- Enterprise license with RAID systems and VMWare support.
- Enterprise software for commercial use.
Prior to purchasing, you can try a free trial of any software package. The trial version will let you check and see if your data is recoverable, but not actually recover the data.
EasyRecovery provides most of the basic features you’ll need to recover accidentally deleted or otherwise lost data. Here’s a general overview of what you get with a license:
|Save Scan Results|
|Sort by File Type|
|Scan by File Type|
|Add New File Types|
|Full Hard-Drive Scan|
|Deleted/Lost File Recovery|
|Corrupted Partition Recovery|
|Deleted Partition Recovery|
|Bootable USB Device|
|Cloning||Requires pro license|
|External Drive Recovery|
|Removable Media Recovery|
|SD Card Recovery|
|Optical Storage Recovery|
|RAID Recovery||Requires enterprise license|
The feature set for EasyRecovery ranks well against the competition, particularly with inclusions like optical media, Windows Server and Linux recovery. RAID storage recovery can also be performed, but only with an expensive enterprise license (check out our Prosoft Engineering Data Rescue review for a cheaper option).
We do wish that EasyRecovery would include the ability to clone hard drives and partitions in its basic package though rather than forcing the user to by the much more expensive professional edition.
A bigger miss is that EasyRecovery doesn’t let you create a startup disk to access data on non-booting computers. Should that be the case for you, to get that data you’d have to remove the problem hard drive from your computer and connect to it as an external drive from a working computer.
Perhaps worse of all, Ontrack doesn’t let you save scan results for later recovery. If you want these features included in your data recovery solution, consider Stellar Data Recovery. EasyRecovery supports all common file types.
Among others, this includes:
- Documents: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF
- Images: JPEG, PNG, RAW, Photoshop, Illustrator
- Audio: MP3, WAV, AIFF, AAC, Ogg
- Videos: MPEG-4, QuickTime, AVI, WMV
- Archives: Zip, Gzip, RAR, Stuffit
If a file type isn’t supported, there’s no option to define and add new file types like you can with Stellar Data Recovery and Prosoft Engineering Data Rescue 4.
File system support includes:
- Windows: FAT, NTFS
- MacOS: HFS, HFS+
- Linux: EXT2, EXT3
- Optical Media: ISO9660
Once you’ve downloaded and installed EasyRecovery, on startup you’ll be asked to pick the location of the files you want to recover.
Choices include hard drive, memory device, optical media and multimedia/mobile device. Note that while “RAID” is presented as an option, it’s not available without an enterprise license. For our tests, we picked hard drive.
After making our selection and hitting continue, you’ll next have to pick a volume to scan. You can choose the entire drive or a partition or a folder.
EasyRecovery pulls data from the partition table, too, and displays any partitions that have been deleted. In some cases, your lost partition may not show up here. If that happens, you’ll need to run a scan against your entire hard drive to try and see if you can recover it.
After you select a partition and hit “continue,” EasyRecovery takes the unusual step of asking what kind of recovery scenario you’re dealing with. Most recovery programs usually just ask if you want to run a quick or deep scan. We appreciate the more user-friendly approach of Ontrack’s wizard.
EasyRecovery’s “deleted file recovery” is the faster scan, analogous to a quick recovery procedure. The scan called “formatted media recovery” provides a more intense, block-by-block scan. You can see our performance results in the next section.
Other options include one to permanently delete data and diagnostics to detect bad blocks. Make your pick and hit the “continue” button. During the scanning process, EasyRecovery keeps you updated on progress and estimated time remaining.
Unlike some other data recovery solutions, you can’t browse and preview found data while the scan runs. Disappointing, but not a deal breaker.
Once your scan finishes, you can search for your lost content by folder. Several folders contain content of a specific type (audio, documents, images, videos, etc.). There’s also a folder called “data” that lets you search for content by your file system structure. Look for files you’ve accidentally deleted in the “recycle bin” folder.
A search bar will let you find specific content. However, it does not work with file extensions (.txt, .jpg, .mp4), which would have been handy. Another option we found missing is that there’s no option to save scan results for recovery later. That means you’re not ready to recover once the scan finishes, you’ll have to run it again when you are.
Most other data recovery services let you save scans. One thing we absolutely loved, though, is that EasyRecovery lets you preview files by thumbnail. Many competing tools make you preview files one file at a time.
To recover any item, double click on it. EasyRecovery forces you to recover one item at time for some reason. This strange design flaw makes EasyRecovery a bad choice for recovery large amounts of data at once and we recommend you check out our CleverFiles Disk Drill review, instead.
We benchmarked EasyRecovery by testing its capabilities on the same test computer we used to test over two dozen competing services. Test include a scan run against our entire 1TB hard drive and scans against a 518GB partition. During our testing, we were looking to recover both a deleted 10GB partition and three test files deleted from our 518GB data partition.
Here are the results:
|Quick Scan (500GB Partition)||5 seconds|
|Deep Scan (500 GB Partition)||4 hours, 15 minutes|
|Full HD Scan (1TB)||6 hours, 30 minutes|
|Word Doc Recovered|
|Video File Recovered|
|Image File Recovered|
|Recycling Bin Files Found (Self-deleted Content)||7|
|Recovered Deleted Partition|
EasyRecovery did everything we needed it to. It’s a bit slower than data recovery tools put out by Stellar, EaseUS and CleverFiles, but not terribly so.
Ontrack provides live chat support for all of its products, including EasyRecovery. Live chat can be accessed during business hours only, but that’s typical of software vendors. Our bigger concern is that it took 45-minutes to get in touch with a representative, despite repeated messages that someone would be available in 30 seconds.
If you prefer, you can also reach Ontrack by phone during business hours and by email 24/7.
Ontrack’s support page includes an FAQ and “quick tip” download but otherwise is pretty shallow. We’d have liked to see more detailed tutorials, videos and a user forum. The absence of better resources somewhat offsets the usability of the service’s well-designed recovery wizard.
Probably what stands out the most about Ontrack EasyRecovery is its beautifully designed wizard. The user experience is straightforward with lots of options for customizing your scan and friendly features like thumbnail previewing. It even does a few things that other vendors make you pay extra for, like permanent file recovery and drive diagnostics.
At the same time, some missing features keep EasyRecovery from matching up with top shelf data recovery tools. These include an inability to recover data from non-booting machines with a startup disc, save multiple files at once, save scan results and clone partitions.
An underdeveloped customer support center also caught our eye. Limited, one-year licensing is also disappointing given that many other tools now give you a free lifetime upgrade. Our recommendation: have a look at Stellar, instead. It costs a little more, but it’s worth twice as much.
Have you used Ontrack? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for reading.