Product Reviews

Nice Recovery!

Executive Software's Undelete compliments your backups with another layer of file protection.

As a network administrator, I've had many people ask me to retrieve an important file they've accidentally deleted. The first thing I usually ask them is if that person checked the Recycle bin on his or her computer. If the file isn't there, I can easily ascertain that the file was deleted over the network and, therefore, won't show up in the Recycle bin. In fact, the file won't show up anywhere—all of the changes made to that document since the last good backup will have been lost forever. That is, unless Executive Software's Undelete for Windows NT has been installed.

Undelete comes in Workstation and Server flavors, both of which provide the same basic functionality: replacing the Recycle bin as a protection from accidental deletion. As a replacement to the Recycle bin, every file that's deleted is placed in the Undelete recycle bin. Undelete can be configured with filters, so that some file types, such as temporary files, are never stored in it. You can also have it empty itself when it reaches a specified capacity, either completely or partially, so that you have room to play with.

The Server version comes with a feature for connecting an Undelete recycle bin over the network. You guessed it: You can use it to remotely search another machine's Undelete recycle bin. But here's the crème de la crème: The server version is capable of protecting files deleted over a network. If your client accidentally deletes a file from a network server protected by Undelete, you can pull it right back out. This alone makes it a valuable product, but there’s more.

Not only can Undelete protect your files by preventing them from being erased, it can even recover them after they have been erased. The Recover From Disk option can be used on files that are excluded from the Recycle bin protection or even files that have been emptied out of the Recycle bin altogether.

I suspect that many admins don’t buy a product like this until it’s too late. But fear not; this comes with a tool to help you out: Emergency Undelete. If you've deleted a file before installing Undelete, then the process of installing Undelete might accidentally overwrite the file you need to get back. Emergency Undelete has the same Recover From Disk option as the Undelete recycle bin, except that it doesn't install to disk, so there is no danger of overwriting the file you need. (These guys thought of everything!)

There is one caveat, though. Undelete doesn't recover files on the FAT12 file system, so you can't use Recover From Disk on a FAT drive that's less than 16MB. This means you also can't use that option on floppy disks.

Executive Software Undelete includes an Emergency Undelete option, for recovering files from remote machines and network drives even before you've ever thought of installing Undelete.

There is one small problem to be aware of, dealing with NTFS. There are four types of files in NTFS: small, large, huge and extremely huge. Small and large size files have only one record in the Master File Table to state their location on disk and other poertinent information. Huge and extremely huge files have more than one record in the MFT and, therefore, can not be recovered with the Recover From Disk feature. Don’t let this frighten you, though, since all files are eligible for recovery from the Recycle bin.

All told, Execsoft promises us —- and delivers -— a replacement for the Recylce bin that can work over the network and protect files on server. If you worry about users constantly being careless with files deletions anywhere on the network, get Undelete and set you mind at ease.

About the Author

Joseph L. Jorden, MCSE, MCT, CCNA, CCDA is Chief Technical Officer for Dugger & Associates ( He was one of the first 100 people to achieve the MCSE+I and one of the first 2,000 to become an MCSE under Windows 2000. Joseph frequently contributes to books from Sybex and various periodicals.

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