I’m a tech guy and have offered IT training and support over several decades. I’ve also written software reviews and how-tos for business users including many data recovery applications. I’ve taken an in-depth look at Prosoft Data Rescue to let you know whether you can trust it to get crucial data back.
I found Prosoft Data Rescue to be easy to use and quite fast. I found it effective with simple data recovery problems, but other apps are more suitable for advanced scenarios.
In this Prosoft Data Rescue review, I’ll explore the types of data the application can restore, how long this is likely to take, and weigh up your chance of success. I’ll also list other features that are offered and whether it’s suitable for beginners or advanced users.
Let’s get started.
Prosoft Data Rescue Overview
Prosoft Data Rescue recovers important files you accidentally lost or deleted as well as drives you accidentally formatted. It can clone a failing drive onto one that works. It rescues your data.
Prosoft offers three versions of Data Rescue:
- Data Rescue (Mac)
- Data Rescue (Windows)
- Data Rescue Professional
The Professional version has a license designed for IT professionals rather than end-users. It offers unlimited system activations and data recovery and is a subscription service that costs $399.96/year.
In this review, we’ll focus on the standard versions for Mac and Windows. The software is a free download that scans for your lost files free of charge. You only pay for the files you want to recover, and this can be as low as $19. The official website doesn’t offer more specific information on the pricing.
Prosoft Data Rescue is worth using. Its interface is easy to navigate and each step is clearly explained. It successfully recovered the data I had deleted, and you only pay for recovered data, which sounds affordable. However, it’s not the best tool for advanced users and complex recovery situations.
How is data recovery possible? When a file is deleted, it’s not actually removed from the folder or drive, it is simply marked as being deleted, an operation that Prosoft Data Rescue can undo. But recovery is not guaranteed. In time, the directory entry and data are likely to be overwritten by new files.
Methods of data recovery offered:
- A quick scan of the directory structure for deleted files and can recover the original filenames. It’s fast and should be tried first.
- A deep scan of the entire drive for lost files and file fragments no longer listed in the directory structure. This takes much longer and will not recover the filenames.
Supported storage media: Internal drives of Mac and PC desktops and laptops, hard disk drives, external drives, solid-state drives, SD cards, CF cards, Thunderbolt drives, FireWire drives, RAIDs.
Disclaimer: It is difficult to recover data from solid-state drives (SSDs). The TRIM technology that increases their efficiency also makes it impossible to recover your files once the trash has been emptied.
Supported file systems: Prosoft doesn’t offer a list but does mention that recent versions support Apple’s new APFS file system. All typical Mac and Windows file systems seem to be supported.
Supported file types: Prosoft doesn’t offer a list but states “Our data recovery software can retrieve those priceless photos or videos and important business or school documents for you with a few simple steps.”  The app’s Preferences lists applications, archives, audio, documents, images, mail, misc, movies, and text.
Prosoft Data Rescue offers a number of additional features:
- Saving scans for recovery at a later time
- Sorting and searching the files located to narrow down the results to a more manageable number
- Previewing located files to make sure you recover the right ones
- Bootable recovery drive for scanning your computer’s internal drive
- Cloning hard drives so you can continue to retrieve lost data if the drive fails
However, it lacks a few features offed by some other recovery applications:
- Pause and resume
- Recovery Vault to store deleted files for guaranteed recovery
- File overwriting (secure delete)
- Deleting duplicates and other cleanup features
- Prosoft normally offers a mail-in hard drive recovery service, but this has been discontinued due to Covid-19 until further notice
- SMART monitoring for early warning of failing hard drives, though Prosoft’s other product, Drive Genius, does offer this
Prosoft Data Rescue is easy to install, set up, and use. At each step, the interface displays clear and helpful descriptions of each feature. Two modes are available, one focused on ease-of-use for regular users, and the other designed for advanced users.
Scanning for lost files can be time-consuming.
How fast is Prosoft Data Rescue? The app estimates that a quick scan will normally just take a few minutes and a deep scan usually takes three minutes per gigabyte.
To confirm this, I copied a folder containing 10 files to an empty 4 GB USB stick then deleted it. Scanning the drive with the Mac version took five minutes, which was faster than the three minutes per gigabyte estimate. The Windows version took 6 minutes 19 seconds.
Those times are at the faster end of the spectrum, though there were apps that were faster. On Mac, the fastest scan was 4 minutes and the slowest, 10. On Windows, the fastest was 3:58 and the slowest, 47:25.
Other comparative tests have been performed on data recovery apps, including one by DigiLab Inc that tested five Windows apps.  Here are Data Rescue’s scan times for a number of tests:
- Quick scan: less than a second, the same as the other apps
- Deep scan on 5 GB HDD: 53 seconds, similar to the other apps, though one took just 35 seconds
- Deep scan on 32 GB SD card: 35 minutes, slightly slower than other apps except one that took 1 hour 6 minutes
- Deep scan on reformatted 32 GB SD card: 11 minutes 4 seconds—other apps took 7:42, 8:29, 31:01, and 36:58.
Scanning larger drives will be slower and can take many hours or even days.
Data recovery can never be guaranteed. How successful was Prosoft Data Recovery at recovering data?
In my own test, it was able to recover all ten deleted files, including PDFs, a Word document, and MP3s. It works well for simple recovery jobs like restoring recently deleted files. What about more complex problems?
DigiLab Inc ran a wide assortment of tests , and here’s how Data Rescue did with the more difficult cases:
- Recovering a large 7.5 GB file failed, and only one of its competitors succeeded.
- Recovering data from a formatted drive identified 51 files, including file names, but couldn’t locate all files. Only one competitor recovered them all.
- Recovering data from a deleted partition succeeded, as did the other apps.
- Recovering data from a corrupted Windows file system restored the files but not the folders. Only one app recovered both.
- Recovering data from a corrupted Mac file system restored the files but not the file names or folders. No other app recovered everything.
Prosoft Data Rescue was helpful in most of these scenarios but was outperformed by one other recovery app every time. That app is R-Studio, which is an advanced tool and I listed it in the Alternatives section below.
The Prosoft Support Page  offers a FAQ and searchable how-tos and guides. The support team can be contacted Monday-Friday 8 am – 5 pm PST via live chat. They can also be contacted via email and responses are normally given within 1-2 business days.
Is Prosoft Data Rescue safe?
Yes, I ran it without incident on my MacBook Air and found no viruses or malicious code when I scanned it with Bitdefender. Prosoft warns that running Data Rescue while on battery power may lead to corruption and recommend using mains power.
Are the Mac and Windows versions the same?
The Mac and Windows versions have only minor differences. For example, the Mac version features FileIQ which allows it to learn new file types that aren’t currently supported.
If Prosoft Data Rescue isn’t right for you, here are some alternatives I recommend.
Stellar Data Recovery is an easy-to-use recovery application with a wide variety of features. It’s reliable and effective but its scans can be time-consuming. It’s available on both Windows and Mac.
Data Recovery offers an easy-to-use wizard that will scan your drive quickly for lost files. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
R-Studio is an advanced tool suitable for data recovery professionals. It outperformed the other data recovery tools in more complex scenarios. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
I recommend Prosoft Data Rescue to anyone who has inadvertently lost important information on their Mac or PC. I can’t tell you in advance how much it will cost, but once you have located your lost files you’ll be given a price to recover them. The app is straightforward and easy to use, and certainly worth a try.
However, if you’re an advanced user and find yourself trying to rescue important data in difficult situations, such as a corrupted hard disk partition, there are better tools. I recommend R-Studio which has a better track record than its competitors and is perfect for IT professionals.