is Stellar Photo Recovery safe reddit

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Published date: 15 December 2022
4 January 2023 on 11:46 am

Examining Stellar Photo Recovery in More Detail
The photo recovery software appears to be a cutting-edge, carefully built program that pays attention to the user interface at first glance. The program’s primary functions are covered by a small number of straightforward options, and when you hover your cursor over each button, helpful tooltips appear that describe each alternative.
When you really begin utilizing the software, things start to become a little bit more perplexing. The distinction between Local Disk and Physical Disk in the list of drives below indicates the type of scan that will be performed—either one based on the drive’s current file structure (Local Disk) or one that scans it sector by sector (Physical Disk), though it’s not immediately clear which is which.
The fact that Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery appears to believe that I have a (Untitled) 750GB hard disk, as shown in the Physical Disk section, just serves to further confuse matters because I don’t actually have one installed and have never even possessed a drive of that precise capacity.
Even more puzzlingly, it allowed me to scan the unknown disk and discovered photographs that I am positive are mine! Although I know there is no such disc installed because I built the computer myself, the scan results do contain a picture of a Horned Grebe that I took.
Let’s move through the testing procedure to observe how it works during recovery operations on actual storage media. This is not exactly the best start.

Stellar Photo Recovery: The Findings of Our Tests
Fortunately for me and my data, I take good care of my file storage and backup procedures. I had to learn the hard way how important backups are, but you can only allow something like that happen to you once.
So I’ve created three different tests to recreate some of the situations when you might wish to use Photo Recovery:
3. A comparable folder erased from my computer’s internal drive. 1. A partially filled camera memory card that had previously been formatted. 2. A folder full of media that was deleted from an external USB flash drive.
Overwritten camera memory card test one
Working with numerous different memory cards that have a similar appearance can make it simple to unintentionally reformat and start shooting with the incorrect one. The hardest test for data recovery software is this one since it looks for data in places other than simply purportedly vacant storage space.
My old Nikon D80 DSLR had an 8GB memory card with 427 photographs on it, and I used around half of the card’s storage capacity. The card was previously loaded with pictures, which I then downloaded to my computer and re-formatted using the camera’s on-screen settings.
Stellar Photo Recovery recognized the card after I only inserted it into my Kingston card reader, giving me the choice to begin scanning.

Although that number includes the 427 files that are now supposed to be on the card, Stellar Photo Recovery was able to locate a total of 850 files. The remaining 423 files, some of which were dated the end of the previous year, were discovered after searching through the ostensibly empty storage area. Although more capable recovery tools might be able to, it appears that none of the storage space that was overwritten by new images could have older data recovered from it.
While looking through the scan results, I saw that while I could restore everything on the card by selecting the full folder on the left, there was no way to pick several files at once. It would have been tedious to have to choose each deleted file one at a time if I had only wished to restore 300 of the 423 destroyed files.
Things were looking well so far. My media was scanned, files that could be retrieved were discovered, and the recovery procedure went quite quickly. However, as soon as I accessed the folder where I had saved the recovered files, everything started to go awry. To test the recovery procedure, I had just chosen a few.NEF files (RAW image files unique to Nikon), but what I discovered in the final folder was as follows:
I always shoot in RAW mode when using my DSLR to capture images. As most photographers are aware, shooting in RAW gives you much more editing options than shooting in JPEG because RAW files are simply a dump of the digital data from the camera’s sensor.

I seldom shoot in JPEG mode as a result, however there were more JPEG files in the folder than RAW files. The scan and recovery method did not reveal any JPEG files, yet they were still found in the folder. Over time, I came to understand that Stellar Photo Recovery was actually extracting the JPEG preview files that were embedded within the NEF files, despite the fact that I have no use for them and that they are normally unreachable.
None of the recovered files were viable despite being able to precisely identify the RAW format particular to the Nikon camera during the scanning procedure. Photoshop failed to continue after displaying an error warning when attempting to access the recovered NEF files.

Windows Photo Viewer was unable to open the JPEG files either.
The JPEG files will not open in Photoshop even after repeated attempts.
Needless to say, even for someone like myself who is aware that data recovery may be an emotional rollercoaster ride, this was a really depressing outcome. Since this is simply a test and I wasn’t really in danger of losing my data, I was able to remain composed and perform a little amount of research to identify the potential causes of these issues.
After doing some research on the Stellar website, I learned that by providing the program with enough useful samples, it may be trained to detect new file types. I chose to give it a shot and see if it would assist, even though it appeared to have no issue identifying my Nikon-specific RAW files throughout the scanning phase.
There are a few alternatives for this process under the program’s Preferences section.
The “I know how to add header” section might be useful if you are a committed data recovery specialist, but I had no idea what it meant.

I chose the “I don’t know” option instead and gave it 10 different answers.
I clicked “Add Header” after estimating the typical file size for NEF files to see what would happen.
I proceeded to look at the list of file formats, and for some reason—I don’t know why—every file type that was pre-built into the program was described as “precise size,” even though none of them would ever be a definite size. Maybe there’s a feature of the software I’m not aware of, or maybe there was a mistake because my added NEF entry was listed with the average file size I had chosen rather than “precise size.”
I repeated the scanning procedure on the same memory card, this time beginning with the drive list rather than the autoplay scanning option. This modification was required so that I could enter the Advanced Settings area and restrict the search to only look for files that have the newly formed file type. Oddly, despite only searching for one file type, the scan took longer this time. However, that could have been because it was searching for the custom file type that I added.
Unfortunately, this failed to be any more effective than the earlier attempt. The correct number of files from my initial scan were given to me as 423 files of 32 KB each, but the size of the files was much too little and constant to be accurate.
However, in light of the unexpected outcomes of the initial recovery effort, it was worthwhile to test to see what the software would truly produce in Windows when I recovered them. Unexpectedly, the output matched the scan results completely, yet none of the files were viable and continued to give the same incorrect notice in Photoshop.
I repeated the process so order to be thorough, but this time I chose the Local Disk entry for the memory card rather than the Removable Disk entry. This offered me a somewhat different scan process for some reason. As you can see from the difference between the two screenshots in the ‘Items Found’ row, this time it successfully identified the files that were already there on the memory card.

Sadly, despite the somewhat altered launch mechanism and UI, this scan was not any more effective than the last one. Instead, it merely found the existing files together with the same meaningless 32KB.NEF files from the prior try.
Ultimately, I am compelled to draw the conclusion that Stellar Photo Recovery isn’t very effective at recovering data from formatted memory cards.

JP’s comment It’s sad to see Photo Recovery 7 perform poorly in this performance evaluation. In reality, I have read a few other honest reviews of Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery, most of which were for older versions, and many of them also mention how ineffective the tool is at recovering vector graphics and camera RAW data. In his evaluation of the software for PhotographyLife, Spencer Cox claimed that an earlier version of Stellar Photo Recovery had utterly failed to retrieve any photographs from his Nikon D800e. Then, he recently updated his review, noting that the 7.0 version fixed the problem and it is now functional. I assume that the Windows version of Photo Recovery 7 has yet to advance since based on the screenshots he supplied, it appears that he was using the Mac version of the program.
Deleted Folder on an External USB Drive (Test 2)
This test was rather straightforward. This 16GB thumb drive has been in use for a long, and I included a test folder containing a few Juniper films, JPEG pictures, and NEF RAW image files.
The same testing procedure as in the previous test was followed after I “accidentally” erased it. Once I inserted the disk in, it was successfully detected, making it simple to launch the scan.
Everything looked to work as it should, and throughout the scanning process, it discovered numerous additional unknown NEF files in addition to all of the files I had placed in my test folder.
When I checked the recovery process’s outcomes, I discovered a similar collection of extracted JPEG previews in the NEF folder, but this time all but one of the files could be accessed by Photoshop.
The video files operated without a hitch. That’s a far better success rate overall than the overwritten memory card test, in my opinion. On to the last exam now!
Note from JP: I’m not really shocked that Stellar Photo Recovery passed your tests. Because the firm would have no motivation at all to make the show commercial if it didn’t. Numerous undelete solutions are available on the market and may complete the task, frequently at no cost. In my humble opinion, one of Stellar Phoenix’s strengths is its superior capacity to preview detected files, particularly video and audio files, which would make the process of identifying files pretty simple. So far, I haven’t discovered any free apps that can do this.
Deleted Folder on Internal Drive (Test 3)
I had great expectations for the outcomes of this final recovery step after the USB thumb drive test’s success. Despite the fact that I have a solid state drive that is essentially a high-capacity thumb drive, scanning the full 500GB drive for all file kinds is a time-consuming operation. But because it is more vulnerable to random reads and writes, it can behave more like the memory card that failed the test.
I had to scan the entire drive because, regrettably, there is no way to only tell the application to check for the most recent deleted data. Instead, I had to scan certain areas of the disk based on their sector numbers. Many useless results were produced by this, including photographs from the internet that I had saved in my temporary internet files and that were routinely erased without my knowledge.
The lack of an expected completion time for this scanning method may simply be because this drive was the largest one I scanned.

It took some time to sort through the results, but using the ‘Lost Folders’ section of the ‘Deleted List’ section, I was able to locate the files that I needed to save. There was a list of all the files I had erased, but there was no way to fully retrieve any of them. Strangely, it appeared that some of the JPEG files were replaced by other files from my internet temporary folders.
After a second failed test, I’m compelled to draw the conclusion that Photo Recovery 7 is better utilized as a straightforward “undelete” feature in a very small number of situations rather than as an all-inclusive data recovery solution.
Note from JP: After evaluating Stellar Photo Recovery on a Mac, I came at the same result. First off, Stellar Phoenix only has one scan option, called Deep Scan, in contrast to other recovery tools that provide a rapid scan mode. So, just waiting for the scanning to be finished is a pain. For instance, the scan would take five hours on my Mac with a 500GB SSD (screenshot below). Given how much the app has consumed the CPU, running it for that long could do damage to my Mac. My MacBook Pro is indeed overheated. In an effort to acquire a quick evaluation of the scan’s performance, I thus aborted the scan beforehand. My initial opinion is that a lot of garbage photographs are discovered and listed, making it difficult to search and retrieve the ones I wanted to see (though I did find some). Additionally, I saw that all file names had been changed to random digits.
Reasons for My Review’s Ratings Effectiveness: This tool works well as a very simple “undelete” feature for portable disks. Only one of my three checks yielded recently deleted data, and that test was the simplest. During the first test, I was unable to recover media files from a formatted memory card, and during the last test of a primary usage drive, I was unable to recover files that I had erased just an hour before.

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery isn’t the priciest data recovery tool on the market, but it’s also not the cheapest, costing $49.99 USD per year. It only recovers media files, therefore a tool that recovers all kinds of data—not just those—would offer better value for your money and have a wider range of applications.
Ease of Use: The technique is really easy to use as long as you’re just conducting a straightforward undelete function on an external storage device. However, you’ll need good computer literacy and problem-solving abilities if you find yourself in a more complex situation, like I did with the memory card exam, in order to fully comprehend the circumstance.

Support: The program contains a basic help file for support, however it is only able to describe each component’s functions and not actually troubleshoot problems. When I went to the Stellar Data Recovery website to find out more, I saw a collection of papers that were frequently outdated and badly written. Additional knowledge base articles offered little assistance.
JP also contacted their customer service department through phone, email, and live chat. On the Stellar Phoenix website, he dialed two numbers. The real help number can be found on the support webpage, he discovered, and the +1 877 number in the top right corner is actually for data recovery services.
JP received answers to his questions from all three support avenues, but as he is still awaiting an email response, it is necessary to further assess how useful they were.
Stellar Photo Recovery alternatives
Recovery Pro (Windows only)
Recuva Pro offers more features for $19.95 USD than Stellar Photo Recovery. You are not limited to merely recovering media files; you can also deep analyze your storage media for remnants of previously overwritten files. Even if you’re still not guaranteed to be successful in your recovery and the user interface could need some work, it’s still worth a look. There’s also a free option that’s a little bit more constrained and might recover your stuff!
[email protected] Uneraser (Windows only)
Although I haven’t had a chance to use it myself, it seems like the software is worthwhile. Surprisingly, it also supports the most recent Windows versions in addition to the antiquated DOS command line interface. Although the freemium version only allows you to scan and recover one file each session, the Pro edition costs $39.99.

macOS R-Studio
A more complete and user-friendly set of tools are available for working with corrupted discs and erased files using R-Studio Mac. It costs more than Stellar Photo Recovery, but it recovers any kind of file and comes with a ton of free disk and data management utilities as part of the package.
In our roundup reviews, you can find more complimentary or compensated options:
• Top Windows Data Recovery Programs • Top Mac Data Recovery Programs
Stellar Photo Recovery isn’t your best choice if you’re seeking for a reliable media recovery service. This software will work if you need a straightforward “undelete” feature to enable you to recover files that you unintentionally deleted from your external devices, so long as you don’t let your device start writing new data before you get a chance to utilize it.
It lacks a monitoring mechanism that tracks recently deleted files, which can make recovering even a small number of files on big volumes time-consuming. This is a quick and efficient solution if you only need to work with tiny external storage volumes, but there are other recovery apps that offer more in-depth functions.

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