I write software reviews and how-tos for business users and offered IT training and support over several decades, and. I’ve taken an in-depth look at Zero Assumption Recovery to let you know how likely it is to recover your lost data.
Zero Assumption Recovery fills an interesting niche for Windows users. It’s not as easy to use or as fast as other data recovery applications, but its persistent scans continue looking for files after other applications have given up. It also offers quite a lot of functionality for free, though to get all of the features you need to purchase a license.
In this Zero Assumption Recovery 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.
Zero Assumption Recovery Overview
Zero Assumption Recovery is a suite of recovery software for Windows computers. It’s claimed to be more persistent than many other data recovery solutions, offering slow, persistent scanning on faulty hard drives that continue to find lost data.
Zero Assumption Recovery costs $69.96 for a single-user license and $199.95 for a site license for technicians. Those prices are in line with other Windows data recovery tools.
A free trial will show you if your lost data can be found and allows you to recover up to four folders. You can also use the digital image recovery feature without limits.
I tested Zero Assumption Recovery on iMac that has Windows 10 installed via Boot Camp. Unfortunately, while I was able to perform a digital image recovery scan, a normal data recovery scan would not run—it never got past the step of locating my drives. Unfortunately, I was unable to discover the source of the problem.
How is data recovery possible? A deleted file’s data isn’t actually removed from your drive, but in time it’s likely to be overwritten by new files. That means that data recovery is never guaranteed, and your chances of success are higher if you act promptly.
Methods of data recovery offered:
- Image recovery (free): recover digital images and videos from memory cards, thumb drives, and more
- Data recovery: recover lost or deleted data, including from missing partitions
- RAID recovery: reconstruct broken RAID arrays to recover data
Supported storage media: hard drives, disk image files, memory cards, USB flash drives, RAID arrays. A complete list of compatible digital cameras is maintained. 
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:
- FAT16 and FAT32
- ext2/3/4 and XFS (Linux formats commonly used in network-assisted storage devices)
- RAID0, RAID10, and RAID5
Apple file systems are not specifically supported, but the software also offers a “digital image recovery” feature that allows you to scan drives with any type of filesystem.
Supported file types: Popular image and video formats, and more.
Zero Assumption Recovery offers a number of additional features:
- Saving scans for recovery at a later time
- Sorting and searching the located files
- Previewing located files
- SMART monitoring for early warning of failing hard drives
However, it lacks a few features offered by some other recovery applications:
- Pause and resume
- Bootable recovery drive
- Recovery Vault to store deleted files for guaranteed recovery
- Imaging and cloning
- File overwriting (secure delete)
- Deleting duplicates and other cleanup features
- Mail-in recovery service
This program is more technical than many other data recovery applications I have tested. It is not the best choice for beginners, but there are plenty of options for technical users to work with.
Scanning for lost files can be time-consuming. How fast is Zero Assumption Recovery? To find out, I scanned a 4 GB USB flash drive for lost images. The scan took around 20 minutes.
That’s a little slow. I tested 17 other Windows data recovery applications, and all but one were faster, taking as little as four minutes.
But this application is about persistence, not speed. It will continue scanning long after other applications have given up to give you the greatest chance of locating your lost files.
Data recovery can never be guaranteed. How successful was Zero Assumption Recovery at recovering data in industry tests?
TechRepublic was able to test the application on a 60 GB drive that had been accidentally formatted. The user had been working on an important spreadsheet for three weeks and had forgotten to back it up. Zero Assumption Recovery successfully recovered the spreadsheet along with several other documents. 
User satisfaction is high. CNET gave the application a high rating of 4.1 stars based on 38 user votes.  The first user review I read on that page states, “it works where others failed,” and this sentiment is repeated a number of times by other users.
The Zero Assumption Recovery Tech Support page  offers a FAQ and a number of tips. Tutorials, a manual, and more are available in the sidebar. The support team can be contacted via an online ticketing system.
Is Zero Assumption Recovery safe?
Yes, scanning for lost data will not overwrite any of your existing files, and you are able to save any recovered files onto a different drive.
Is Zero Assumption Recovery free?
Yes and no. The free trial version places no limits on the number of images you can recover for free but limits you to four folders of general data.
If Zero Assumption Recovery isn’t right for you, here are some alternatives I recommend.
R-Studio is another advanced tool suitable for data recovery professionals and offers faster scans and a high chance of data recovery. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
Stellar Data Recovery is a reliable and easy-to-use application, but, like Zero Assumption Recovery, its scans can be time-consuming. It’s available on both Windows and Mac.
EaseUS Data Recovery is both easy-to-use and fast. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
I recommend Zero Assumption Recovery to technical Windows users. If other data recovery tools fail to locate your lost files, its more persistent scans may succeed.
R-Studio is another tool for technical users and also runs on Macs. According to industry tests it can achieve success in a range of scenarios where other applications fail and it is ideal for data recovery specialists.
If you’d prefer an easier-to-use tool, or are a Mac user, consider the other alternatives listed above. Stellar Data Recovery and EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard offer a good chance of successful data recovery without requiring any technical knowledge.