It’s no secret that data storage mediums are susceptible to information loss, whether it’s through accidental deletion, device malfunction, operating system issues, or other scenarios. To combat this, software companies have developed all kinds of data recovery software that can help get your files back with varying degrees of effectiveness.
We regularly test out data recovery apps and this time we’re taking a closer look at iCare Data Recovery. It’s a long-running data retrieval program that does a decent – albeit slightly limited – job of rescuing lost files.
TL;DR: iCare Data Recovery is a capable program that won’t hog much of your resources and is exceedingly simple to use. Its free version is especially attractive for people who aren’t willing to shell out money for a data recovery program. While its recovery rate is passable, its user interface is unsightly and could use a lot of work and its scanning speed is a little on the slow side. Missteps aside, it’s a great option when picked up as a free tool.
iCare Data Recovery: Main Features
iCare Data Recovery isn’t exactly one of the more renowned data rescue solutions around, but it does boast a solid free version that’s sure to entice users who are not looking to pay to get their files back. The program was developed by iCareALL – a software company that’s been around since 2009.
It made its start creating and maintaining its sole data recovery program that was built to recover deleted files from SD cards and other storage mediums or information lost as a result of other unforeseen situations. But the company has since moved on to other tools, such as file converters and editors.
iCare Data Recovery’s most recent update is version 8.3 which was rolled out back in late 2020. This means that it has been more than a year since the software was last improved which isn’t exactly ideal. Now let’s dive into the program’s highlight features.
☑️ Data Recovery
iCare Data Recovery doesn’t have the highest retrieval rate amongst its peers, but it does get the job done for the most part. It’s capable of recovering more than 600 different file types, includes videos, pictures, audio files, and varying office document extensions, and it works on a wide variety of storage mediums. The app offers two types of free versions – iCare Recovery Free and iCare Pro Free. The former offers limitless data recovery but you don’t get a deep scan and RAW/deleted drive recovery which is a bummer. iCare Pro Free, on the other hand, allows those kinds of recoveries but you only get a limit of 1 GB before having to invest in the paid version.
☑️ Portable Version
Don’t feel like going through the hassle of installing the program only to uninstall it after you’re done? iCare Data Recovery has a low-profile portable version that’s essentially a ZIP file that you can utilize right after unzipping. You can easily copy it onto a USB so you can use it at any time without having to go through the installation wizard time and time again. But for those who prefer an installer, there is one available for download as well.
☑️ File Preview
When you get to the results screen, you’re given the ability to preview potentially recoverable files to see if it’s the one you are looking for. This saves you the trouble of having to retrieve the file first before finding out if it’s something you need or not. It is worth noting, however, that the file types that can be previewed are fairly limited, which is generally the case for most recovery programs. Furthermore, the retrievable files in the results screen show up in a thumbnail view, making it easier to distinguish image files that you’re trying to rescue.
☑️ Save Session
The scanning process in data recovery programs can sometimes take a fairly long time, especially if you’re looking through a particularly large storage medium with a relatively low read speed. Luckily enough, with iCare Data Recovery, you won’t have to repeat the scan every time you want to rescue files. The app has a session save feature that lets you save your scanning progress so you can continue it at a later date, saving you a lot of what would otherwise be wasted time.
iCare Data Recovery: File Recovery Process
For the purposes of this review, we downloaded the iCare Data Recovery Free version and we selected the portable kind to avoid having to install the software. It’s a pretty straightforward program so we don’t imagine most people would have trouble navigating it, but we prepared a step-by-step guide on how to use it just in case. All you have to do is follow the instructions below and you’ll be recovering files in no time.
- Download the installable or portable version of iCare Data Recovery from the official website.
- Unzip the downloaded file to a folder of your choosing or run the setup file and follow the on-screen instructions until the program is properly installed.
- Since we downloaded the portable version, there’s no shortcut to the app on the desktop. Instead, you’ll have to navigate to the folder you unzipped and run the iCare-Free.exe file.
- Once launched, you’ll have two options to choose from – Deleted File Recovery and Advanced File Recovery. As its name suggests, the former option allows you to retrieve accidentally or prematurely deleted files in your Windows operating system that were wiped from your Recycle Bin. The latter option is a deeper scan that encompasses a wider range of data loss situations.
- We went with the Advanced File Recovery option which takes you to another screen where you’ll have to choose the storage medium that you want to scan. Once you’ve decided, highlight the drive and click the Next button.
- The program will begin scanning. How long this takes depends on the size of the storage medium you’re recovering files from as well as its read speed. We scanned and recovered deleted files from a flash drive that’s 64GB and it took around 30 minutes which is a pretty long time.
- After the scan is completed, you’ll need to choose the partition for recovery and then hit the Next button.
- On this screen, you just need to find the files you want to recover, highlight them, then click the Recover button. It’s laid out in a Windows Explorer-style view so it’s pretty easy to navigate and you have the option to preview files and search them by file name and various other criteria.
- A pop-up window will appear asking you to choose the location where you want to store the recovered file. Keep in mind that this location needs to be on a different storage medium than the one you’re recovering files from. Once you’ve selected a folder, click the OK button to proceed.
- The program will now retrieve the selected files and will automatically open a window to where the recovered files are located. You can also click the output link to head to the recovery location manually.
iCare Data Recovery is fairly simple as recovery programs go and it’s intuitive enough that even newbies can figure out how to rescue their lost files without getting lost. The visuals, however, look decidedly dated and feel like they haven’t been updated in the past decade. The scanning process is also relatively slow so strap in for a long wait.
iCare Data Recovery Pricing
iCare Data Recovery offers four different editions to choose from – iCare Recovery Free, iCare Pro Free, iCare Pro Home, and iCare Pro Workstation. Here are the main differences between the four:
- iCare Recovery Free: This includes basic recovery features, though you don’t get free tech support or Windows Server functionality. On the plus side, you can recover as much data as you want, as this edition has no recovery cap.
- iCare Pro Free: This variant lets you try out the deeper scans, RAW/deleted drive recovery, and Windows Server support, though you still don’t get free tech support and you’re limited to one gigabyte’s worth of data recovery.
- iCare Pro Home: This nets you everything the previous edition has along with tech support and no recovery limit. It retails for an annual $69 recurring fee.
- iCare Pro Workstation: The last edition gets you all the possible features and it’s available for commercial use. You only get one code per workstation and it comes at a yearly $89 fee.
iCare Data Recovery has its upsides and downsides, some of which are echoed by critics from various websites. Here are a few excerpts from some of the reviews we looked up across the web:
iCare Data Recovery works well as an alternative to expensive data recovery services. Everything is explained simply, the interface is immediately accessible and scans run fairly quickly. While more experienced users may find it a little oversimplified, it is a great option for occasional use to deal with emergency storage errors. (Softonic)
The UI indeed felt oversimplified to a certain extent, making it seem as though the program was designed more towards casual users rather than seasoned tech enthusiasts. Less tech-savvy users, however, will find a lot to like about that fact.
iCare Data Recovery Free is worth a try, it is 100% free and does good on recovering some deleted documents, such as PDF, Word, Excel, etc. But if your files are lost for other reasons (not deletion), or if you want to find and recover more lost files, you should turn to iCare Data Recovery Pro. (Connie Wisley, Cisdem)
While iCare Data Recovery Pro is the better pick for deeper scans and more varied data loss scenarios, its 1 GB retrieval cap can be pretty restrictive, especially if you plan on recovering large amounts of data.
Is iCare data recovery worth it? I’d say yes, it’s a useful tool worthy to keep in your digital rescue toolbox just in case. If not, there are other options to try including professional data recovery services. Bear in mind that iCare Data Recovery works for Windows PCs only, and there are plenty of other data recovery tools out there. Some are free, some paid. (Andreas Louis, AnySoftwareTools)
iCare Data Recovery is worth keeping around, particularly if you’re looking for a free recovery solution. It’s a Windows-only program, though, so fans of other operating systems will have to look elsewhere.
This software is underrated, there’s no doubt about it. Luckily, we are almost sure is due to its design, forcing people not to take it seriously. If that were to be fixed, we’re certain the popularity of the software would skyrocket. The search might not be as thorough as some of its competitors, that’s true. But it is good enough for the average user. Plus, the software offers more than the competitors offer when it comes to restoring files for free. (Milan, Data Recovery Pit)
The UI aesthetic is definitely one of iCare Data Recovery’s biggest disadvantages, as it looks bland and very outdated. Moreover, its search effectiveness is decent but there are some better alternatives out there when it comes to that characteristic.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
iCare Data Recovery’s major highlights are the fact that it offers a limitless free version and it’s incredibly easy to use even for complete newbies. As far as the recovery success rate is concerned, it’s okay but there are a lot of better ones out there. What it really needs to work on is its dreadfully dated interface that’s in dire need of an update. But if a totally free data recovery solution is what you’re after, then this program is certainly worth a look.
Emma Collins is a Content Writer at Handy Recovery. She used to work as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in Hokkaido, Japan before she finally changed careers and focused on digital marketing, content writing, and copywriting. For 5 years, she has already written thousands of articles and web pages on different niches, such as fashion, finance, digital marketing, and technology— particularly android, iOS, Windows, social media, and more.
Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor for Handy Recovery. Andrey is a software engineer expert with extensive expertise in data recovery, computer forensics, and data litigation. Andrey brings over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair to the team.