A disappointing tool that seems to have been produced for Windows 7 and has outstayed its welcome. Suitable only for mountable disks, Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery is cheap enough but slows to a crawl when recovering larger files.
Easy to use
Plenty of filter options
Looks and performs like software intended for an older operating system
Preview doesn't work on the free version
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
If you're looking for data recovery software, one of the first things you'll have to consider is the impact of price. Do you feel the price matches your requirements? Is the data worth the money you are being expected to pay? Do you even have a budget?
Some software is free; some offer trials; others are affordable. Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery falls in the latter category, but does it recover the lost data you're looking for?
- We've also highlighted the best backup software solutions
Plans and pricing
One of the key divisions between data recovery utilities is the challenge of free vs. premium. Offering a free trial that does no actual recovery until an expensive license is paid isn't friendly. You can download and use Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery without paying for the software. However, you won't be able to recover anything until a license is purchased.
Systweak claims that "Over 10 million people have already chosen Advanced Disk Recovery" which if accurate suggests its payment model works. Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery is $59.95 and comes with a 60-day money back guarantee. At the time of writing, the software seems to be locked into a perpetual special download price of $39.95 (£29.95) while bundling photo software into the deal. How many people are considering photo tweaking software with a usual sale price of $49.95 (£44.95) while looking desperately for recovery software, though?
Key recovery features
Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery is designed to let you recover deleted data – such as photos, videos, and office documents – as easily as possible. Multiple file formats across these data types are also supported, with internal and external drives available for recovery. This includes external memory cards, USB devices, SSDs, and hard disk drives, and photos from camera memory cards.
Typically for data recovery tools, Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery also boasts dual scanning types: quick scan and deep scan. Meanwhile, filters are offered to help you locate and restore files based on size, date created, and other parameters.
Finding lost files with Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery
We set up a Windows 10 laptop (Dell 5505) with a 16GB SanDisk Cruzer Blade USB thumb drive for recovery. The drive has been made unmountable in Windows but has enough deleted and current data on it to be recovered.
Connecting this to the laptop while Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery was running resulted in the drive remaining undetected. Restarting the recovery software with the USB connected had the same effect – no detection.
Moving onto the internal drives, we used Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery to check the 256GB NVMe system drive for recoverable data.
Results can be browsed using the directory structure, while the filter tool helps you to determine recoverable files, search by file size, and specify file names and wildcard searches. To recover a file or folder, select it by checking the box then click Recover. After selecting the destination folder, the data will be recovered.
You can preview files beforehand to ensure completion. Note, however, that both preview and recovery options do not work in the evaluation version. Given that a working preview feature on locked software can convince a buyer to part with their money, this seems an unusual omission.
The standard scan completed within a minute, whereas the "Deep Scan" lasted around 10 minutes. Recovery is also efficient, although sluggish with large media files.
Overall, the appearance of the Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery application is pleasing enough but it appears to have been intended for Windows 7. While it works fine in Windows 10, the full screen view option does not. Fortunately, this view can be exited by switching to timeline view on the Windows desktop and clicking X in the invisible full screen window. Doing so reverts the app to the standard windowed view.
If you run into difficulty using Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery, two email addresses are provided that can be used to get online support to help you work through the issue. Systweak does not offer a paid support option, live chat, or even an FAQ page or knowledge base. There isn't even detailed documentation, or a Reddit.
Publishing disk utility software without at least a detailed FAQ is unforgivable. Given the many difficulties users running different recovery processes across the varied supported media will have faced and raised with Systweak over the years, an FAQ should be the minimum provision.
Investigation into Systweak online reveals several dissatisfied customers highlighting issues with the sales technique (no recovery until you pay) and regular upselling of other software. To Systweak's credit they take the time to respond to complainants and reimburse.
Despite a polished website, Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery looks out of place running on a modern Windows system. It's compatible with Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista and XP, and frankly it shows. The cross-generational support is trapped behind a clunky user interface that is low on features.
Our unmountable test USB device, for example, has been detected and read by countless alternatives, free and paid. Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery might scan disks relatively quickly, but it certainly struggles to recover large files, to the point of causing the system to hang.
Overall, this is average software that is let down by the incredible lack of a trial option. There is no capped recovery, no limit on files or file types, and even the preview option doesn't work unless you cough up. Buying the product is confusing, with multiple options to buy the same software for different prices, and a further discount if you uninstall before buying.
Cynical marketing practices aside, there are plenty of superior file recovery alternatives to Systweak Advanced Disk Recovery.
- Also check out our complete list of the best data recovery software
Christian Cawley is the editor responsible for Linux, Security, Programming, and DIY content at MakeUseOf.com, where he also regularly contribute articles and video reviews. With over 10 years' experience writing in the consumer electronics, IT and entertainment media, Christian has been fortunate to work with some of the best websites and print publications in these fields.