Stellar Data Recovery Review

Our top pick for data recovery, Stellar offers a user-friendly interface, fast and thorough scans and a wide range of options. You can't go wrong with choosing this solution, though your mileage may vary as to its results.

By Joseph Gildred
— Last Updated:
Starts from $ 417 per month
Best data recovery software

The Stellar brand stands as one of the most reputable IT software brands today thanks to a broad range of data utilities designed to bail users out of tough situations. During this review, we’ll be looking at the company’s data recovery solution, called Data Recovery Professional, which works for both Mac and Windows OSes.

Stellar Data Recovery can be used to resurrect files that you, an application, your OS or a virus have deleted. It can also be used to recover data from crashed or corrupted hard drives, or deleted, RAW or non-mounting partitions.

Perks that we love include the ability to recover data from external hard drives, USB flash drives and damaged CDs or DVDs. The tool also supports cloning, which can be used to copy your entire file system or a volume onto a new hard drive in case yours is failing.

To top it off, Stellar works efficiently and has one of the most feature-rich wizards of any data recovery tool we tested, with options to scan by file type, scan specific folders and preview files while your scan is still in progress.

We were so impressed with Stellar after putting it through our testing regime that we named it our top data recovery tool for PC in our best data recovery software roundup. Read on to find out the full scope of its capabilities, plus where it falls a little short.

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Pricing & Licensing

75 % – Good

A typical Stellar license applies to a single device and is good for life. For IT professionals, there are toolkit licenses available, which let you use the software on any computer and any operating system, whether Windows, Mac or Linux.

The cost for Data Recovery isn’t cheap but are in line with other top solutions like EaseUS (read our EaseUS Date Recovery Wizard review) and Prosoft (Prosoft Engineering Data Rescue review). We like there’s a cheaper “home” edition, but its inability to recover files from RAW storage means it won’t help you out with one of the most common data loss scenarios.

For a cheaper alternative, check out our CleverFiles Disk Drill review.


95 % – Excellent

Here’s a brief overview of the primary features of Stellar Data Recovery Professional. We highlighted this software package because it offers RAW partition recovery, an important feature for any data recovery software.

Features not offered include both server and RAID storage recovery, however, Piriform offers these if it’s important to you. Read our Piriform Recuva Pro review for more on this.

Both of these are included in the more expensive “technician” edition of Stellar Data Recovery. Also, unlike some other tools (like Data Rescue PC4), if you want startup disk recovery, you’ll need to pay $20 extra. A startup disk lets you recover data from a computer that won’t boot due to a corrupted boot partition.

Stellar supports recovery of most file types. The list includes:

  • Documents: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF
  • Images: JPEG, PNG, RAW, Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Audio: MP3, WAV, AIFF, AAC, Ogg
  • Videos: MPEG-4, QuickTime, AVI, WMV
  • Archives: Zip, Gzip, RAR, Stuffit

In the rare event that a file type isn’t supported, the software allows you define new file types if you have five samples that it can use to learn from.

Stellar also supports the common file systems used by Windows and Mac:

  1. Windows: FAT, NTFS
  2. Mac: HFS, HFS+
  3. Removable Storage: ExFat

Recovery Process

95 % – Excellent

During this segment, we look at the basic recovery process for Stellar Data Recovery. The steps we cover represent the two of the most common procedures users will run with Stellar. We won’t examine some of the additional processes, like how to add new file types or how to clone a partition in this space.

Once you’ve installed and started Data Recovery Professional, the wizard first asks you to pick the type of file you want to scan for. Being able to select a specific file type is a nice inclusion since it reduces scan time.

Next, you’ll need to pick a location.

You can pick a specific partition to scan, or even a folder, another nice time saver. There’s also an option under “other locations” called “can’t find drive.” Using this, you can recover data from RAW partitions with relative ease.

If you select this option, on the next screen you can run a quick scan that will pull partition information from you computer and display what it finds. Doing so doesn’t return drive letters but it does show drive information like size. This should let you pick and scan deleted or otherwise lost partitions so long as they haven’t been overwritten with new data.

Whether you select a lettered drive, specific folder or a lost partition, once you hit “scan,” Data Recovery Professional automatically initiates a quick scan, first.

This is a departure from how many other data recovery applications work, which let you pick either a quick or deep scan. However, since a quick scan should be your first attempt to recover data and only takes a couple of minutes with Stellar, the difference in approach shouldn’t be a concern.

Whether you’re running the initial quick scan or have moved on to a deep scan, Data Recovery Pro provides on-screen data to let you know how much of the scan has been completed, how much time has elapsed and how much more time the scan should take.

Once your scan completes, you can review recovered data by:

  • File type: sorts content into file categories
  • Tree view: displays content based on directory structure
  • Deleted list: only shows deleted and lost files

We appreciated having all three options, which you won’t get with most other software. There’s also a search option.

Viewing by the deleted list option segments content into a “recycle bin” folder and a “raw data” folder. The recycle bin folder contains data you’ve personally deleted from your hard drive, while the raw data folder contains otherwise lost content.

When you click on a file, if possible, Data Recovery Professional will show you a preview of its contents. This helps you determine if a given file is what you’re looking for before you recover it. As the filenames of deleted content aren’t recoverable, the preview capability is essential. This is a limitation of all recovery software.

Overall, searching for files is pretty simple with more options than other recovery tools we vetted. Our only real criticism is that there’s no thumbnail preview available like there is with EaseUS.

Mark any folder or file for recovery by checking the box beside its name. When you’re ready, click the “recover” button. You’ll be asked to select a recovery destination, which must be different from the partition you’re recovering from.

If you’re not ready to recover, you can save your scan results for later.


80 % – Good

During the testing process, we measured both Stellar’s quick and deep scan capabilities for comparison against similar products.

Our test computer had a one-terabyte hard drive. We tested deep and quick scan capabilities against a 518GB partition with 379GB of used space. During this testing, we were looking to recover three deleted test files: a Word doc, a .jpg file and a .mp4 file.

We also ran a scan against our entire hard drive to see if we could recover a test partition that we created, loaded with content, then deleted.

Here are the results:

Stellar Data Recovery did everything we wanted, cementing it as not only a very user friendly, feature-rich tool, but one that provides efficient scanning capabilities.

Customer Support

80 % – Good

Stellar provides sales and technical support via a support portal. You’ll find a searchable knowledge-base and FAQs. Overall, the knowledge base seems a little skimpy and itself reads more like an FAQ resource. More detailed tutorials, including video, would be nice.

If you find the support portal as insufficient as we did, Stellar does provide direct support options. We exchanged several emails with Stellar during the course of our testing and received responses within 24 hours every time. You can also speak with a liver support technician over telephone or chat during business hours.

We spent some time communicating with Stellar over live chat and found help friendly, knowledgeable and fast.

Final Thoughts

Over the course of reviewing nearly thirty data recovery solutions, no brand impressed us more than Stellar Data Recovery. The brand’s data recovery tool is packed with options, very user friendly and runs a snappy, thorough scan. True, it doesn’t have the most budget-friendly pricing, but when you’re shopping data recovery solutions, you tend to get what you pay for.

Whether you’re a consumer who’s found themselves dealing with a catastrophic data loss situation or an IT professional looking to arm yourself with superior tools, Data Recovery Professional is the best choice you can make.

Of course, as always, prevention is the best measure to ensuring you don’t lose your files, so be sure and backup your hard drive if you aren’t already. Thanks for reading and please let us know if you have any thoughts on Stellar in the comments below!

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11 thoughts on “Stellar Data Recovery”

  1. The Software is actually very nice as it helps me in recovering my lost data very quickly.

  2. I lost photos yesterday, but ONLY for recent dates in March and maybe April. The total # of images is no more than 200 images. I have a MacBook Pro High Sierra. Stupidly, I deleted the orig JPG photos off the SD camera card, AND emptied the Trash on my Mac laptop, and I did not back up w/ Apple’s Time Machine. I only want to restore those particular photos, so can your Stellar product dig into the dates the photos were shot and recover those?

  3. This is a complete rip off. I paid over $120; it tied up my laptop for 9 days solid; it then could not out a date next to a file and it could not retrieve in a usable data format one Excel file I had accidentally deleted the day before.
    It is not as easy to use as stated in various on-line videos and I am completely underwhelmed with their customer help and the complete lack of attention to my request for money back as it did not work!

  4. TOTAL RIP OFF! I tried this to recover an ACCESS database. It recovered all the damaged data, even showed it to me. I then had to pay $130 to save it. Then I got a warning that the path was unstable, so I had to purchase another version of MS ACCESS for another $130. That still didn’t resolve the probelm!

  5. Actual e-mail I sent the company as follows:
    I ran the program many times with the same results. The program will not work at all. This is a totally useless program. The program will not work on anything I tried to recovery. So far I have not received any answers to my problems. It seems to me in many E-mails I sent you; you do not know not how to answer any of my problems. You could give me answers to look for to fix the problems. This recovery program appears to be a scam to defraud the public. It seems to me that you did not read any of the many e-mails I sent you. All you have to do is answer the problems. You have my e-mail address what is your problem. I have wasted many days trying to get the program to work. I did not get any answers to the problems and still waiting for answers. Only message I get is “Subject: Re: Stellar Case #xxxxxxxx: -CLOSED [] []”. If you cannot answer the all the problem, then I want a total refund for $163.24 for the totally useless program!!!!!

    These are the problem which are numbered that I need resolved. They problems are as follows:

    1. I received the backup CD which has Windows Data Recovery Professional (not Platinum) and a Windows Data Recovery Boot Disc CD what it is used is questionable.

    There was not listed any of the following I expected to see on a CD which I paid $163.24. The programs I thought would be listed were not listed as follows:

    Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional –Platinum,

    Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional – Platinum,

    Stellar Phoenix Password Recovery v7.0-Windows,

    Stellar Insta backup Gold v3.0 and Password Recovery.

    I never thrusted down loaded program for many error and viruses that are in download programs. That is why I clicked the CD box, but got the download version that did not work and the computer could not find the links for the other programs.

    2. The downloaded version “StellarInstabackupGold.exe” was installed in the compute. However the icon displayed show one half of the icons in the display box and the other half displayed out of the box (Not good)! The outer half of the icons that are displayed on the desktop are very hard to read.

    3. I wanted to backup “C:/ drive” into (I:/ drive) and the backup put the “C drive” into “C drive”, not a good idea. The programs to put the download drives into were not very clear directions. I do not know if the program will work, if I need it later. Your programs are questionable.

    4. Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional does not work on CD/DVD that was not finalized. I tried the program on several interrupted DVD’s that had errors at the end of the burn. The program did not work again! The program did list no files in 4 directories. What good is that? I know there were files on the DVD’s. As far as I can tell Recovery Professional does not work on any CD/DVD’s!

    5. Recovery does not work on 32GB SD cards. To test your recovery program, I delated my 32GBcard, that had videos and photos on it. The program did not work at all in deep scan mode, no files found.

    6. Once the deep scan is completed, the recovery program will not recover any programs. The computer goes into a black screen without notice when recovery started. Nothing happens and nothing will work! I thought I lost the whole computer in the process.

    This is how I ran the program for many days.

    I am going to try to Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional on a quick formatted external 1.5 TB Hard driver next. I have doubts if $163.24 recovery program will work, because some of the files have long filenames. I do not know what file name length the Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional program can handle. Some of the other programs bought before could not handle the long file names, but at least I recover most of the files. You claim to be the best, I will soon find out.

    I started Friday morning 06 15 2018 for the first time. Hard drive recovery took 55 hours (Scanning completed successfully) in deep scan and ended up with 295,465 files found in 13,198 folders in 2,928,902,136 clusters. Sunday 12:30 pm, I marked 2,569.04 GB in 295,450 files in 13,198 folders to be recovered. The tree directories looked OK. When running the recovery program, a little while later the computer screen went blank and locked up. Nothing seemed to work to turn the computer back on. The computer looked as if it went to sleep. After ½ hours later I held the power button in and turned the computer off. I started up the PC and found only one parcel recovered Raw Data Folder and nothing else in the recovery hard drive.

    I started Deep Scan again Second time and received a message “cannot find file EKC3200.dll”. So I started deep scan again with no programs running and 55 hours later Scanning completed successfully. The tree display looked OK with the long file names, which is good. Then the problem came, (no recovery) only a black computer screen a short time later.

    Started recovery data program to external hard drive again, Tuesday 9:12 pm by Wed. 06 20 2018 at11:30 am deep scan completed. I cannot get PC screen to wake up from a black screen. This is the second time recovering data to a hard drive. In the hard drive directory #Root folder/Raw Data Folder recovered only 416 GB of data with numbers for file names. Not good in my book! So far, I wasted 5 day trying to get the recovery program to work. Your “Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional” has many bugs in the program! Your “Stellar Instabackup Gold” keeps popping up on the screen many times a day. Maybe this program is messing up there covering program.

    I started deep scan again a third time Wed. 8:45 pm. 06 20 2018. On Friday 06 22 2018 deep Scan was “Completed with 295,465 files in 13,198 folders 2,569.51 GB of Data Recov…”. “Software comment: Deep scan results will report all data found”. I tried the recovery again a third time and within 5 minutes the PC screen went black again. The computer locked up again or went into a deep sleep mode. The screen, computer, and monitor mode was setup to stay on all the time. The only way to get the computer back on was to hold the power button in for many seconds until the computer turned off. This Stellar Phoenix Windows Data Recovery Professional program does not work in recovering programs. It may find programs, but it is very terrible at recovering programs to a spare hard drive!!!!! I have been working every day for over a week with no results saved. Normally I can get programs to work. When a PC crashes without notice it is hardtop trouble shoots programs. My computer was running straight for over 7 days without resting.

    The downloaded version “Password Recovery” I did not it tryout, because the other programs I tried did not work very well.

    So far I have not received any answer tithe E-mail problems. Only answers I received were.

    “Subject: Re: Stellar Case # xxxxxxxx: – CLOSED [] [ ]”

    What kind of answer is that to the listed problems! You have my E-mail address. I do not know if you read my E-mail I sent you. It appears as if I am wasting my time sending you E-mails and not getting answers back.
    Many E-mails sent and not one reply to fix the problems!

  6. Stellar Phoenix the software is quite good. Stellar Phoenix the company is terrible.

    I reached out to support for the first time recently about an issue I had with the recovery software I purchased, and they’re answer was an immediate: You need to buy the newest version. As far as the specs and OS on my computer, they are supposedly fully compatible with the previous version of the software that I own, but no. Buy the new version.

  7. SCAM!
    Stellar products have same issue with activation. Google issues and you will find lots of pissed off victims. Support is very weak – they’re using templates as answers propably without even reading your emails… DO NOT BUY ANY THEIR SOFTWARE – EVER

  8. Rip off. Did not work to recover deleted photos off an Android phone. Don’t waste your money.

  9. I regret not reading this before putting my money down. Paid for the software but did not receive any activation code. Its been 5 hours now and still no answer. The answer generated to my first email seems like its auto generated. Since the first email i have sent 2 more with no reply. This feels like a rip off.

  10. Oh, I totally agree with Michał Gut as they stole money from me. The app did not do what I needed it to do but they went ahead and charged me over $100 the next year. I told them to no don’t charge me as I don’t use the app at all (it’s uninstalled) but they did. Then they asked me a review…….. ha! The review was horrible. So they contacted me and said YES we did refund the money. THEY LIE! The bank proved that! I now need to tell the bank if they try again to stop them.

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