Stellar Photo Recovery is a data recovery tool designed primarily for photographers & other truyền thông media professionals. It can scan a range of tệp tin system types of varying sizes for deleted files, & supports scanning of large volumes over 2TB in size. Unfortunately, the actual recovery of files is inconsistent, as some files that are scanned và detected bởi not get recovered properly. It works adequately if you just need a very basic undelete function, but it’s not designed for more complex recovery situations. As you can see from the scenario testing below, only one recovery kiểm tra out of three was successful. However, data recovery is often hit or miss. We thus suggest you try out free data recovery software lượt thích PhotoRec và Recuva first. If they fail khổng lồ retrieve your files, go for Stellar Photo Recovery, but be sure to lớn start with the trial before making any purchase.

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What I Like: support recovering a wide range of truyền thông media types. Preview truyền thông media files before recovery (JPEG, PNG, MP4, MOV, MP3). The free trial allows scanning for deleted files.What I Don’t Like: Several major issues with file recovery. The user interface needs work. Inconsistent scanning process.

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What does Stellar Photo Recovery do?

The software is designed for restoring truyền thông files that have been deleted, whether through a simple accidental delete command or a formatting process. It can recover a wide range of truyền thông media types, including photos, audio, and clip files, but does not provide other file recovery options.

It is absolutely safe to use, as the only time it interacts with your tệp tin system is when it scans your storage media and writes recovered files khổng lồ the disk. It doesn’t have any capabilities lớn delete files or otherwise edit your file system, so you can use it safely in all situations.

The installer file and the program files themselves all pass checks from both Microsoft Security Essentials và Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. The installation process is simple and transparent, và doesn’t attempt to lớn install any unwanted third-party software or adware.

The full features of the software are not free, although you can download the software and scan your storage media for deleted files before deciding whether or not lớn purchase it. In order to lớn recover any files that you find, you have khổng lồ purchase a registration key. See the latest pricing here.


Due to the nature of data recovery, the length of the scan typically depends on how large the storage media is và how badly corrupted the data is. An 8GB memory thẻ can be scanned a lot faster than a 500GB hard drive, even if it’s a solid-state drive (SSD) like the one I use in my testing computer. Scanning a standard platter-based 500GB hard disk drive (HDD) would be much slower, but only because the hard disk’s data read tốc độ is also slower.

Scanning my Class 10 8GB memory card (FAT32) connected through a USB 2.0 card reader took an average of 9 minutes, although this varied by a minute or two depending on the tệp tin types that it scanned for. Scanning my 500GB Kingston SSD (NTFS) for all possible file types took 55 minutes, while scanning a 16GB removable USB thumb drive (FAT32) connected lớn a USB 3.0 port for the same tệp tin types took less than 5 minutes.

Why Trust Me for This Review

My name is Thomas Boldt. I have been working with various types of digital truyền thông for over 10 years in my career as a digital graphic designer & as a photographer, & I’ve been actively interested in computers for over đôi mươi years.

I’ve had unfortunate issues with data loss in the past, and I’ve experimented with a number of different file recovery options khổng lồ save my lost data. Sometimes these efforts were successful & sometimes they weren’t, but the process has given me a thorough understanding of computer file systems, both when they’re working properly & when they develop data storage & loss issues.

I have not received any kind of special consideration or compensation from Stellar Data Recovery to lớn write this review, và they have not had any influence over the outcome of the tests or the contents of the review.

Meanwhile, JP tested Stellar Photo Recovery for Mac on his macbook Pro. He’ll giới thiệu his findings on the Mac version, including his experience contacting the Stellar Phoenix tư vấn team via phone, live chat, & email.

In addition, to chạy thử how effective Stellar Photo Recovery is at recovering files found during the free trial scan, we purchased a registration key và activated the full version khổng lồ evaluate tệp tin recovery quality (which turned out lớn be a bit disappointing). Here’s the receipt:


A Closer Look at Stellar Photo Recovery

At first glance, the photo recovery software looks like a modern, well-designed program that pays attention lớn the user interface. There are a few simple choices that cover the main functions of the program, & helpful tooltips that explain each option when you hover the cursor over each button.


Things start khổng lồ get a bit more confusing when you actually start working with the software. In the các mục of drives shown below, the differentiation between Local Disk and Physical Disk indicates the type of scan that will be conducted – one based on the existing tệp tin structure (Local Disk) or a sector-by-sector scan of the drive (Physical Disk) – although it’s not immediately clear which is which.

This confusion is compounded by the fact that Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery seems to think that I have an (Untitled) 750GB hard drive, as listed in the Physical Disk section – but I don’t have one installed, & I’ve never even owned a drive of that specific size.


Even more bafflingly, it actually let me scan the mystery drive, & it found images that I know belong to me! I built this computer myself, and I know there is no such drive installed, but there’s a photo I took of a Horned Grebe in the scan results.


This is not exactly the best beginning, but let’s go through the testing process lớn see how well it performs during recovery operations on real storage media.

Stellar Photo Recovery: Our demo Results

Fortunately for me & my data, I’m usually pretty careful with how I handle my tệp tin storage and backups. It took a hard lesson for me to lớn appreciate the value of backups, but you only let something lượt thích that happen khổng lồ you once.

So in order to replicate some of the scenarios where you’d want to use Photo Recovery, I’ve put together three different tests:

A half-filled camera memory card that had previously been formatted;A thư mục full of media that was deleted from an external USB thumb drive;And a similar thư mục deleted from my computer’s internal drive.

Test 1: Overwritten Camera Memory Card

Working with many different but similar-looking memory cards can make it easy to accidentally reformat và start shooting with the wrong one. This is the most difficult demo of data recovery software, because it requires searching more than just supposedly empty storage space.

I used an 8GB memory card from my old Nikon D80 DSLR that had 427 photos on it, using roughly half of its available storage space. Before this latest round of usage, the card has been filled with photos which I transferred to lớn my computer, và then it was re-formatted using the camera’s on-screen menus.


Simply popping the card into my Kingston card reader was all it took for Stellar Photo Recovery lớn identify it and present me with the option khổng lồ start scanning.

Stellar Photo Recovery managed to lớn find a total of 850 files, although that is counting the 427 that are currently supposed khổng lồ be on the card. Scanning through the supposedly empty storage space found the remaining 423 files, some of which were from the over of last year. It appears that none of the storage space that was overwritten by new photos could have older data extracted from it, although more powerful recovery software might be able to vị so.


One issue that I found when sorting through the scan results was that there was no way lớn select multiple files at once, even though I could restore everything on the card by selecting the entire folder on the left. If I wanted khổng lồ restore only 300 of the 423 deleted files I would have had khổng lồ select each one individually, which would quickly become annoying.


So far, things were looking good. It scanned my media, found files that could be recovered, & the recovery process was relatively fast. However, things started to lớn go wrong as soon as I opened the folder where I saved the recovered files. I had only selected a few .NEF files (Nikon-specific RAW image files) to test the recovery process, & here’s what I found in the destination thư mục instead:


Whenever I take photos with my DSLR, I shoot in RAW mode. As most photographers will know, RAW files are a straight dump of the digital information from the camera’s sensor, and allow much more flexibility in the editing process when compared to lớn shooting in JPEG.

As a result, I never shoot in JPEG mode, but the folder had more JPEG files in it than RAW files. No JPEG files were listed in the scan & recovery process, and yet they appeared in the folder. Eventually, I realized that Stellar Photo Recovery was actually extracting the JPEG preview files that are embedded within the NEF files, even though I have no use for them and they are typically inaccessible.

Despite being able to lớn accurately determine the Nikon-specific RAW format during the scan process, none of the recovered files were usable. When trying to xuất hiện the recovered NEF files, Photoshop displayed an error message và wouldn’t continue.


The JPEG files also could not be opened with Windows Photo Viewer.


When I tried to open the JPEG files in Photoshop, they still wouldn’t work.


Needless to lớn say, this was a pretty disappointing result, even for someone lượt thích me who knows that data recovery can be an emotional rollercoaster ride. Fortunately, this is just a test và I wasn’t in any actual danger of losing my data, so I was able lớn approach the situation with a calm mind và do a little bit of research to figure out what might be causing these problems.

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After a bit of digging on the Stellar website, I found out that it’s possible to lớn teach the software how to recognize new tệp tin types by showing it enough functional examples. Even though it seemed to lớn have no trouble recognizing my Nikon-specific RAW files during the scanning phase, I decided khổng lồ give it a try và see if it would help.

This process is handled in the Preferences section of the program, & has a couple of options.


If you are a dedicated data recovery technician, you might be able to lớn use the ‘I know how to địa chỉ cửa hàng header’ section, but I could make no sense of it.


Instead, I decided to lớn use the “I don’t know” option, và gave it 10 different working .NEF files to lớn see what would happen, estimated the average tệp tin size, & clicked “Add Header.”


I chose “Add New Header Anyway.”


I went to check the file format list, and for some reason, I don’t understand, all of the file types that were built into the software listed “exact size”, despite the fact that none of them would ever be a fixed size. Perhaps that’s some nuance of the software that I don’t understand, or perhaps an error because my added NEF entry was in the danh mục with the average file size that I had specified instead of “exact size”.


I performed the scanning process on the same memory card all over again, except I started by using the drive các mục instead of the autoplay scanning option. This change was necessary so that I could access the Advanced Settings section in order to set it khổng lồ only search for files with the tệp tin type that I just created. Oddly, this time the scan took longer, despite the fact that it was only looking for a single tệp tin type, but that might have been due khổng lồ scanning for the custom file type that I added.


Unfortunately, this was no more successful than the previous attempt. I was presented with 423 files of 32KB each – the right number of files identified during my first scan, but the file kích cỡ was far too small và consistent to lớn be correct.


But after the surprising results of the first recovery attempt, it was worth testing lớn see what the software would actually output in Windows when I recovered them. Equally surprisingly, the output turned out lớn be exactly what was shown in the scan results, but none of the files were usable và gave the same error message in Photoshop as before.

In the interest of thoroughness, I went back và performed the same steps again, but this time choosing the Local Disk entry for the memory card instead of the Removable Disk entry. For some reason, this gave me a slightly different scan process. This time it correctly identified the existing files on the memory card, as you’ll note in the difference between the two screenshots in the ‘Items Found’ row.


Unfortunately, despite the slightly different interface & launch method, this scan was no more successful than the first one. Instead, it simply found the same useless 32KB .NEF files from the previous attempt in addition to the existing files.

In the end, I am forced to conclude that Stellar Photo Recovery isn’t very good for restoring formatted memory cards.

JP’s note:It’s definitely disappointing khổng lồ see that Photo Recovery 7 suffers in this performance test. In fact, I read a few other genuine reviews of Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery (mostly older versions), and many of them also point out that the program isn’t good at recovering vector images và camera RAW files. Spencer Cox reviewed the program inPhotographyLife, stating that an older version of Stellar Photo Recovery failed miserably in recovering images from his Nikon D800e. He then updated his nhận xét recently, stating that the 7.0 version resolved the issue và it now works well. From the screenshots he posted, it seems he was using the Mac version of Photo Recovery 7, which leads me to believe that the Windows version is yet lớn improve.

Test 2: Deleted thư mục on External USB Drive

This thử nghiệm was a comparatively simple one. This 16GB thumb drive has been in use for a while now, & I added a test thư mục with a few JPEG photos, some NEF RAW image files, và a couple of videos of my cát Juniper.


I “accidentally” deleted it, và ran the same testing protocol as in the first test. The drive was detected properly once I plugged it in, and made the scan easy khổng lồ start.

Everything seemed khổng lồ perform properly, và it found every single one of the files that I included in my test folder during the scan process – as well as several extra mystery NEF files.


Checking the results of the recovery process showed me a similar phối of extracted JPEG previews in the NEF folder, although this time all of the files except one could be opened & read by Photoshop.


The đoạn phim files worked properly without issue. Overall, that’s a pretty good success rate, và infinitely better than the overwritten memory card test. Now onto the final test!

JP’s note:I’m actually not so surprised that Stellar Photo Recovery passed your testing . Because if it didn’t, there is no reason at all for the company lớn make the program commercial. There are dozens of undelete tools out there in the market that can do the job, often for free. One of the merits Stellar Phoenix shows, in my humble opinion, is its superior capability lớn preview found files, especially video and audio files — which would make the tệp tin identification process relatively easy. I haven’t found any free programs able to lớn achieve this, so far.

Test 3: Deleted folder on Internal Drive

After the success of the USB thumb drive test, I had high hopes for the results of this final recovery process. Scanning the entire 500GB drive for all file types is a slow process, despite the fact that I have a solid state drive that is essentially a high-capacity thumb drive. It is subject khổng lồ a lot more random reads & writes, however, which could cause a situation closer khổng lồ the failed memory card test.

Unfortunately, while it’s possible to scan specific parts of the drive based on their sector number, there’s no way to simply ask the program to kiểm tra for the most recently deleted files, so I had khổng lồ scan the entire drive. This generated a lot of unhelpful results, such as images from around the website that was in my temporary mạng internet files & are regularly deleted without my input.


This scanning method also doesn’t provide an estimated completion time, although that may simply be due to lớn the fact that this drive is the largest one I scanned.


Sorting through the results took some time, but I was eventually able to find the files that I wanted to save by using the ‘Lost Folders’ area of ‘Deleted List’ section. Every file that I had deleted was listed, but none of them could be properly recovered. Bizarrely, some of the JPEG files seemed to have been replaced by other files from my mạng internet temp files.

After a second unsuccessful test, I’m forced khổng lồ conclude that Photo Recovery 7 is best used as a simple ‘undelete’ function in an extremely limited phối of circumstances, rather than as a complete data recovery solution.

JP’s note:I have the same conclusion after testing Stellar Photo Recovery on Mac. First of all, unlike other recovery programs that offer a quick scan mode, Stellar Phoenix only has one scan mode i.e. Deep Scan. Therefore, it’s a pain simply waiting for the scanning to lớn complete. For example, on my 500GB SSD-based Mac, it would take 5 hours lớn finish the scan (screenshot below). My Mac could burn out running the program for that long, because the CPU has been way over-used by the app. & yes, my macbook phiên bản pro is overheating. So, I aborted the scan in advance hoping khổng lồ get a quick overview of its performance. The first impression I have is that lots of junk images are found and listed, making it very hard to lớn locate the ones I wanted to lớn see and recover (though I did find some). Also, I noticed all tệp tin names had been reset lớn be random digits.

Testing the Mac version on my laptop apple macbook Pro, only 11% scanned after half an hour
Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery is over-consuming my Mac’s system resources
The photo recovery software actually found some images I deleted.

Reasons Behind My reviews Ratings

Effectiveness: 3.5/5

As an extremely basic “undelete” function for removable drives, this program is adequate. I was able to recover recently deleted files during just one of my three tests, & it was the simplest one. I was unable to restore media files from a formatted memory thẻ during the first test, & the final chạy thử of a primary usage drive also failed lớn restore files that I had deleted only an hour before.

Price: 3/5

At $49.99 USD per year, Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery isn’t the most expensive data recovery program on the market, but it’s also not the cheapest. It has a very limited use case, & you can definitely find better value for your money in a program that recovers all types of data, not just truyền thông media files.

Ease of Use: 3/5

As long as you’re performing a simple undelete function on an external storage device, the process is relatively smooth và simple. But if you find yourself in a more complicated situation, as I did with the memory thẻ test, you’ll need some strong computer literacy và problem-solving skills to properly understand the situation.

Support: 3.5/5

Support within the program is located a basic help file, but it’s limited to simply describing the functions of each aspect of the program and not to lớn actual troubleshooting. Checking the Stellar Data Recovery site for more information provided me with a phối of poorly-written articles that were often out of date. Additional knowledge base articles weren’t very helpful.

JP also reached out to their support team via phone, thư điện tử and live chat. He called two numbers listed on the Stellar Phoenix website. He found that the +1 877 number located on the upper right corner is actually for data recovery services,


and the real tư vấn number can be found on the support webpage.


All three tư vấn channels responded to lớn JP’s queries, but their helpfulness needs further evaluation as he’s still waiting for the thư điện tử reply.


Alternatives khổng lồ Stellar Photo Recovery

Recuva Pro (Windows only)

For $19.95 USD, Recuva Pro does everything that Stellar Photo Recovery can bởi – and more. You’re not restricted lớn only recovering media files, & you can deep scan your storage truyền thông media for traces of files that have already been overwritten. You’re still not guaranteed success in your recovery, & the user interface definitely leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s worth a look. There’s also a slightly more limited không lấy phí option that might get your files back!

Uneraser (Windows only)

I haven’t had a chance to personally use this software, but it looks lượt thích it’s worth a try. Hilariously enough, it even supports the ancient DOS command line interface, although it also supports the latest versions of Windows. There’s a freeware version & a Pro version for $39.99, although the freeware version only lets you scan và recover a single file per session.

R-Studio for Mac

R-Studio Mac provides a more comprehensive và user-friendly phối of tools for working with damaged drives and deleted files. It’s more expensive than Stellar Photo Recovery, but it allows you khổng lồ recover any type of file và has a lot of không tính tiền extra disk and data management tools bundled in with your purchase.

Find more không tính phí or paid alternatives in our roundup reviews here:


If you’re looking for a robust truyền thông recovery solution, Stellar Photo Recovery isn’t the best option available. If you’re looking for a simple ‘undelete’ function that will allow you khổng lồ restore files that you deleted from your external devices accidentally, then this software will vày the job – provided that you prevent your device from writing any more data before you get a chance lớn use it.

It has no monitoring system that keeps track of your recently deleted files, which can make recovering even just a few files a lengthy process on large volumes. If you’re only interested in working with small external storage volumes, this is a fast & functional solution, but there are other recovery programs that provide more comprehensive features.

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