• Features: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Recovery Capabilities: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Recovery Speed: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Ease of Use: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Pricing: ★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Customer Service: ★★★★★ 5/5

2022's Stellar Data Recovery Review

Fact-checked
  • Features: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Recovery Capabilities: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Recovery Speed: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Ease of Use: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Pricing: ★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Customer Service: ★★★★★ 5/5

Best For

Best for retrieving deleted or lost files from a hard drive or other storage device

STRENGTHS

  • Stellar Data Recovery has many advanced features
  • Scans are relatively fast and efficient
  • Supports a large number of files, storage systems, and recovery options

WEAKNESSES

  • Licensing options can be confusing with many price-locked features
  • The yearly pricing options are expensive

Considering how much we use our computers today and how much information we handle on a daily basis, losing important data or files is all too common. However, a tool like Stellar Data Recovery (formerly Stellar Phoenix) means your files don’t have to be lost for good. To help you understand what this tool can do, we prepared this in-depth Stellar Data Recovery review, which will cover:

  • How does Stellar Data Recovery work?
  • Features
  • Ease of use
  • Pricing
  • Customer support
  • Alternatives
  • Pros and cons
  • FAQs, and more.

What Is Stellar Data Recovery and How Does It Work?

Stellar Data Recovery is a recovery utility available on Windows and Mac. First starting as a service provider, Stellar Data Recovery launched a consumer-oriented software in the year 2000, which was for Windows systems only.

Over the years, the software has grown into one of the leading data recovery tools in the world used by over 3 million customers in 190 different countries, supporting a wider variety of operating systems, data types, storage volumes, etc.

NOTE: If you’re looking for Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery reviews, you’re in the right place—the software used to be called Stellar Phoenix for Windows/MacOS until it was rebranded to just Stellar Data Recovery.

Main Features

We were quickly impressed by the huge range of features Stellar Data Recovery provides.

As you’ll see below, there are many recovery options for different types of files or storage systems as well as individual or business users.

The main problem we agree on with other Stellar recovery reviews is that many of its features are limited to specific plans. To ensure you get the recovery options you need, you’ll need to carefully review the different packages.
Some features are also only for some devices—for example, Stellar offers a data backup product, but if you’re looking for an iPhone backup tool, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

File System and File Type Support

The Stellar Data Recovery software supports a surprisingly wide range of systems and files. It’s available on both Windows and Mac, but can be used to restore data from a huge number of connected devices, such as cameras, USB drives, etc.

The data recovery tool itself works on nearly any type of file, including all Microsoft Office documents (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.) as well as PDFs, images, videos, ZIP, RAR, HTML, and PHP files.

With roughly 200 supported file types, situations, where Stellar can’t be used, are really rare.

Recovery Capabilities

For starters, Stellar can repair a whole host of potential issues with your files and data, from repairing corrupted/damaged/unavailable files to restoring files that are entirely lost or have been accidentally deleted, or files from formatted drives.

As many Stellar recovery reviews will tell you, it has some of the most advanced recovery options around.

You can use the software to browse specific folders/files you want to scan for recovery, make a quick or deep scan of an entire hard drive or partition, and even recover or repair entire partitions, virtual environments, or crashed systems.

We’ll dig deeper into some of these individual recovery capabilities below.

User Interface

The Stellar Data Recovery software has a streamlined and intuitive user dashboard with a modern and minimalist design. The software allows you to immediately jump into the process of scanning and recovering files without any extra configuration or setup.

What’s more, storage volumes, file types, etc. are illustrated using large, user-friendly icons, so you know exactly what you’re looking at. So, it’s no surprise most user reviews of Stellar Data Recovery tools are highly positive.

Corrupted Video Repair

Among other types of data, Stellar is particularly adept at recovering corrupted video files, which is a problem that often occurs when the process of editing or exporting videos gets interrupted.

Some such problems Stellar can fix include not being able to play a video at all due to ‘error loading media file could not be played’ errors, or fixing grainy, choppy, or frozen clips.

Stellar offers a specialized tool for recovering video files that supports 17 different file types, including the most common formats, such as MP4, MOV, AVI, and MKV.

The tool is available on Windows systems for versions 7–11 as well as on MacOS. You can also use the PC software to recover video data from connected cameras or external storage devices. The tool is also capable of scanning multiple high-res videos simultaneously.

If you’re wondering “is Stellar Data Recovery free?” the good news is that yes, the video repair tool is totally free, the only limitation being you can only preview 20% of the video file.

Recovery Speed

The scanning and repair tools are quite good at processing files in a short amount of time as is, but the tool also comes with a number of settings to make it more efficient.

For example, you can run a quick scan if you’re strapped for time, which may not pick up all recoverable files but will take much less time to complete than a full scan. You can even filter what type of files you want to scan for—fewer file types = shorter scans.

In our test, it took less than 2 minutes to quick-scan a 300GB hard drive. The recovery speed depends largely on how many files you have to recover, the file type, and what’s wrong with them. However, most Stellar Data Recovery software reviews agree that it’s faster than the average.

Corrupted Photo Repair

The Stellar Data recovery software is capable of recovering deleted photos, even with a free license. However, the Repair for Video tool’s professional license also comes with this feature.

If you want to try and repair corrupted photo files, you’ll need at least the Premium license of the software or the professional Repair for Video license.

The software works on all image file types, including JPG, PNG, WEBP, etc. Stellar also gives you a preview of what the recovered file may potentially look like before you kickstart the repair process.

Corrupted Photo Repair

The Stellar Data recovery software is capable of recovering deleted photos, even with a free license. However, the Repair for Video tool’s professional license also comes with this feature.

If you want to try and repair corrupted photo files, you’ll need at least the Premium license of the software or the professional Repair for Video license.

The software works on all image file types, including JPG, PNG, WEBP, etc. Stellar also gives you a preview of what the recovered file may potentially look like before you kickstart the repair process.

Cloning

The SMART Drive Monitor tool provides a number of features to prevent data loss. For example, you can check the temperature, health, and performance of your drive for any signs of failure.

However, as Stellar Data Recovery software reviews point out, you’ll need at least the Professional package to unlock this feature.

You can then use the tool to create a clone of your hard drive and store it somewhere else for safekeeping. If anything should happen to your main drive, you can recover the data from the clone using the same tool.

It’s a simple and effective data backup method for your entire environment.

Recovery From Crashed Systems

Sometimes your PC or system crashes so badly you can’t even start it up in order to try and fix it. As a solution, the Stellar Data Recovery tool actually allows you to create a recovery drive from a portable USB.

This is only available for Windows and MacOS systems, so if you’re looking for Stellar Data Recovery for iPhone reviews, keep in mind it can’t be used to restore crashed iPhone devices.

All you need to do is to insert the USB stick, select it from within the software, and then select the “Create Recovery Drive” option from the menu in the software dashboard.

You can then follow the instructions in this step-by-step guide to recover your crashed PC, but it basically involves inserting the USB, opening the boot menu, and selecting it as the recoverable drive.

You can then scan and choose what files to recover from the Stellar Data software interface, which looks similar to the normal desktop software.

Encrypted Drive Recovery

If you thought the answer to “what is Stellar Data Recovery?” was just another file recovery tool, you’d be wrong—it supports more advanced recovery options as well, such as encrypted information.

BitLocker is a built-in encryption feature that used to come with the Windows operating system before 11, which means those using Windows 11 can no longer decrypt their encrypted files using BitLocker.

The Stellar software can be used to decrypt and recover all your encrypted files and data, as long as you have your BitLocker key.

Recovery From Missing Partition

Another advanced feature found in our Stellar Data Recovery review is the ability to recover missing partitions. Using the Stellar software, you can recover separate files from a partition, or the partition as a whole.

Unfortunately, you need a Professional or Premium license to unlock the ability to recover data from a lost partition. The software supports storage partitions in the NTFS, FAT16, FAT32, and exFAT formats.

Advanced RAID Recovery

RAID is a popular storage format for redundant data. As such, RAID virtual disks usually hold very important information that shouldn’t be lost.

The Technician and Toolkit editions of the Stellar software have the ability to recover lost data from RAID 0, 5, and 6 systems in the same way they can recover lost data from other types of storage and file systems.

This is a rare feature, and one of the software’s highlights according to Stellar Data Recovery reviews.

Both tools can also be used to create virtual RAID storage devices so you can safely and securely store your important information in a redundant file system.

Features Rating
File System and File Type Support ★★★★★ 5/5
Recovery Capabilities ★★★★★ 5/5
User Interface ★★★★★ 5/5
Corrupted Photo Repair ★★★★☆ 4/5
Corrupted Video Repair ★★★★☆ 4/5
Recovery Speed ★★★★☆ 4/5
Cloning ★★★★★ 5/5
Recovery From Crashed Systems ★★★★★ 5/5
Encrypted Drive Recovery ★★★★★ 5/5
Recovery From Missing Partition ★★★★★ 5/5
Advanced RAID Recovery ★★★★★ 5/5

Ease of Use

Below, we did a hands-on review of Stellar Data Recovery in terms of how easy it is to get started with:

1. Go to the Stellar website and choose a product to download. Most products have free versions, so you can test them out without any commitment:

Stellar product download

2. Run the installer file on your computer. You can continue to click “Next” through the first few steps:

Stellar installation

3. The installer will then download the rest of the file and start the installation process:

Stellar installation process

4. You’ll see a message when the installation is complete, along with the option to run the Stellar Data Recovery software right away:

Stellar setup

5. Now, you’ll see the user-friendly dashboard that’s praised so highly in many Stellar Data Recovery reviews. If you want to recover your data, you can immediately start selecting/deselecting file types here and click “Next” to proceed:

Stellar dashboard

6. Next, you’ll see all the possible storage volumes, partitions, etc. that can be scanned for recoverable files. Once again, simply select/deselect the items you want to scan and click “Scan” to initiate the process:

Stellar storage volumes

7. The scan tool will show you the progress as well as previews (if applicable) of the files in real-time:

Stellar scan tool

8. Once the scan is complete, Stellar will provide you with the results in the form of a file explorer so you can look through the folders and files and see which can be recovered. Files like photos and videos will show a preview, making it easy to know exactly what the file is and whether you want to recover it or not:

Stellar file explorer

When comparing Stellar Data Recovery vs EaseUS, this preview feature is really one of the standout features. Often images and videos don’t have descriptive names, which makes it hard to know whether they need to be recovered or not.

9. When you click “Recover,” you’ll get the option to choose the destination folder for the recovered file:

Stellar destination folder

Once you’ve chosen a destination folder, you can just click the “Start Saving” button and Stellar will attempt to recover the file. You’ll then be able to find all the recovered data in the destination folder.

As you can see, it’s so simple anyone can do it. We were impressed with how straightforward the process was in that you never felt lost or unsure what to do next—the interface always intuitively guides you to the next step.

Pricing

So, exactly how much does Stellar Data Recovery cost? Below, we’ve broken down the most important pricing and features:

Plan Recover Data Price
Free -Recover up to 1 GB of data
-Recover deleted photos, videos, and other critical files
Free
Standard -Recover unlimited amount of data -$59.99/year
-$99/lifetime license
Professional -Recover files from lost partition
-Unbootable system recovery
-Optical media recovery (CD, DVD, HDDVD, Blu-Ray Disc)
-Creates disk image
-Monitors hard drive health (SMART) & HDD cloning
-$89.99/year
-$149/lifetime license
Premium -Repairs corrupt or distorted videos or photos
-Repair multiple videos or photos simultaneously
-Extracts thumbnails of images
-$99.99/year
-$199/lifetime
Technician -RAID 0, 5 & 6 data recovery
-Supports creation of virtual RAID
-$199/year
Toolkit -Virtual drive recovery
-Recovers data from Linux and Mac drives (HFS, HFS+, ext2, ext3, ext4)
-$299/year

If you were wondering “is Stellar Data Recovery free?” you might be happy to see it does offer a free plan. However, as you can also see, the “Free” software is technically just a trial, as you can only recover up to 1GB of files.

Stellar’s lifetime licenses are also much more affordable than the yearly options in the long run, so it’s probably best to try the free version and then sign up for a lifetime license if you’re happy with it.

Obviously, it’s important to know how much does Stellar Data Recovery cost in the context of which license is best for you. The answer mostly depends on what type of files you work with, as most everyday users won’t need the RAID or virtual drive tools that are only available with the Technician and Toolkit plans. However, they may be worth it to professional software developers or IT tech support, even though they come at a higher cost.

Nevertheless, compared with how much data recovery services cost, the DIY software is way cheaper.

Customer Support

Stellar Data Recovery’s technical support team is available on a 24/5 basis Monday through Friday, with limited availability on the weekends. They can be reached via phone, email, or live chat support during this time. With offices located in India, the US, and the Netherlands, Stellar customer support is able to operate across time zones. Generally, customer reviews of Stellar Data Recovery are excellent, with a 4.8/5-star rating on Trustpilot.

Alternatives

Win Lose Best for
EaseUS

See our in-depth review of EaseUS for more details.

Stellar Data Recovery is generally more affordable, with better business licensing options. EaseUS has a better free version, allowing up to 2GB of recovery with more advanced features. EaseUs supports the largest variety of file types (over 1,000).
Disk Drill Stellar has much better technical support availability than Disk Drill. Disk Drill provides up to 3 devices licenses with its paid plans. Disk Drill is best as a simple and effective data recovery tool for individuals or small families.
PhotoRec Stellar has much more advanced data recovery options for a wider variety of storage media and files. PhotoRec is a completely free and open-source data recovery tool. PhotoRec is one of the best free data recovery tools with unlimited usage.

As you can see from this comparison we made during our review of Stellar Data Recovery, there are pros and cons to consider when comparing Stellar with certain aspects of its competitors.

Stellar offers a wider variety of pricing plans and licensing options than most, allowing you to choose the option that’s best for you. However, it can also be somewhat confusing, especially as some competitors offer simpler, all-in-one alternatives.

That being said, Stellar has two clear advantages. Firstly, it has some of the most advanced features and wide-ranging support for both different file types and storage media. Secondly, it has one of the most intuitive and user-friendly interfaces.

Stellar Data Recovery Review: Conclusion

Stellar Data Recovery manages to pack advanced features and wide-ranging file and system support in a beginner-friendly package. Its large catalog of licensing options has something to offer to everyone, from casual individual users to businesses. What’s more, it can keep up with the best in terms of speed and effectiveness.

FAQ

Is Stellar Data Recovery really free?

Stellar does offer a completely free plan, but it’s restricted to basic recovery options for various types of files only. You’ll also be limited to 1GB of recoverable data.

Can I activate the Stellar Data Recovery offline?

Yes, you can get the license number for the software when you purchase it and save it for safekeeping. Should you have difficulty activating your license online, you can do so offline in the software itself.

How does Stellar Data Recovery work?

We detailed exactly how the software works above in our Stellar Data Recovery review. However, you basically scan storage volumes for recoverable files. Stellar will show you these files, which you can then select one by one to restore to a location of your choice.

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