Eliminating the “Oops” – Undelete 4

by Mary T. Jordan

UndeleteEarly on we thought two programs simply worked magic. One, by Peter Norton, was a program to recover deleted files and the other, Partition Magic, enabled us to change the size of individual hard drive partitions at will. But computer life has become more sophisticated and we now need more sophisticated tools. Undelete 4 is one of them and it comes in three flavors: Home Edition, Professional and Server.

Deleting files can be cumbersome, often requiring us to peruse long lists of deleted files that look the same, trying to remember the first few letters of the file's name. Fortunately, those days are gone. Executive Software has made it more convenient than ever to restore deleted files.

It works with Windows NT, 2000 and XP (not ME or Win9x - but does work with FAT 16/32 files) and Undelete replaces the common Windows Recycle Bin with a Recovery Bin. There are other great file-recovery products but Undelete seems to be a bit less intrusive than most.

Key features include:

  1. Recover files that have been deleted from the Windows File Manager, have bypassed the recycle bin or have been deleted using the command prompt.
  2. You can recover any file deleted from the Recovery Bin that hasn't been overwritten.
  3. Files can be deleted permanently using SecureDelete.
  4. Search for files by creation date, the name of the file owner, the account the file was deleted from or files deleted within a specific number of days.
  5. Files can be restored remotely over a network. (Did you read this one Network Admins?)

A couple of features I found especially helpful:

First. Undelete’sExclusion List specifies the drives, directories (including subfolders, filenames and file types) you want Undelete to ignore as files are deleted.

Second. The Emergency Undelete from the CD. When you unintentionally delete a file, there’s a tendency to continue to use your computer. DON’T. Place the CD in the player and turn it off immediately. When the system boots up, you’ll have a non-intrusive method to recover files that have not been overwritten. Although not a technical term, it’s now time to say, yea!

You can install an Undelete recovery bin on all drives or just the ones you pick and define “bin” size for each partition. You can also choose whether to auto purge the bin when it becomes full (older than a certain number of days) and whether to save zero-length files. A few computer users don't know they're supposed to delete files periodically.

Undelete includes a feature that stops computer viruses from truncating and thus damaging the file names of deleted files saved in the recovery bin. Second, for security-conscious users, Undelete can completely erase files using SecureDelete option that overwrites the file with a DoD standard protocol. Then it is deleted. After using SecureDelete there is NO second chance.

Undelete is the most efficient and feature rich program I’ve come across, plus it is easily navigated. It is light years ahead of the one that comes with Windows. The User’s Guide is rather skimpy and not very informative, but the context sensitive help is adequate. Call 800-829-6468 or go to www.execsoft.com for info and updates.

Mary T. Jordan is a HAL-PC family member and computer educator.