Data Rescue 3.0, by Wildbits
Posted: 8-November-2001

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Wildbits Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: UTILITY

Data Rescue is a tool for recovering lost Macintosh volumes. It recovers files and folders from crashed hard disks, floppy disks, or removable cartridges.
Recovered data is saved to another medium, leaving the original disk untouched. Wildbits claim that Data Rescue will not only find your data in situations where other tools fail, but it will recover them in a much better condition, restoring icons, dates and even folder hierarchy.

Data Rescue is not a utility for retrieving files that you have deleted. In one test, I performed a scan of a volume, and then deleted a file and emptied the trash, and I was still able to recover the file. However, that is only because it had been scanned prior to the deletion, and the header information was available. In another test I deleted a file and emptied the trash, and then performed a scan, and the file was nowhere to be found.

Data Rescue presents you with a dialog containing all the volumes it could find on your system, and allows you to choose a volume for recovery. After clicking on a volume name, Data Rescue scans the volume to establish a file list. You have an option to perform a full scan or a fast scan, and you can choose HSF (standard file format) or HFS+ (extended file format). In my test, I choose a 19.5 gigabyte volume, HFS+, and fast scan. Data Rescue took 3 minutes to perform the first scan (getting the file list), and another 2 minutes to run the second scan (allocation scan). One problem I noticed during the second scan is that the timer was not working properly. The first scan provided a working timer that counted down from 3:30, but the second scan displayed 200:00, and bounced between 200:00 and 202:59 during the entire scan (fortunately, it only took 2 minutes, not 200 minutes).

Data Rescue then provides a list of all the root files and folders, and you can navigate through the folders just like in the Finder. Clicking on a file, folder, or group of files and folders, and then clicking on recover, grabs the data and places it on another volume of your choosing. You would most likely use this utility on a volume that is corrupted, so always choose a different volume to recover files to.

Because I choose "Fast Scan", after I clicked on the start button to being the initial scan, I was given a warning dialog indicating that some files may be skipped. Looking at the final results, I couldn't see any files that it missed, so I assume that a full scan does a more refined search when the volume is corrupted. Because my volume was not corrupted, there was no need for this level of detail.

Data Rescue also comes with some extras, such as reporting features from the Report menu, and Expert menu for changing preferences and block allocation layouts, and a Blocks menu for working with specific blocks of data. Version 3.0 has come along way from previous versions in terms of user interface. I found the user interface to be quite simple and Mac-like, yet very effective.

Data Rescue is not a replacement for Norton Utilities, but it is an excellent utility for recovering volumes, such as corrupted volumes and volumes that other utilities are unable to access properly. It has a streamlined user interface, with a enough features to categorize this utility as a great piece of shareware.


  • Simple & effective user interface
  • Recovers volumes fast and effectively
  • Commercial quality utility at a shareware price


  • Problems with the timer during the block allocation scan
  • This utility begs to be expanded to include recovering deleted files

Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice