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pCloud cloud storage review
7:30 pm | March 26, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

We’ve tested some of the best cloud storage services out there, and no list would be complete without pCloud. The Swiss-based service has an impressive list of features at a price point that make it a very appealing choice for sharing large files with friends and family or to sync them across all your devices.

But how does a product released in 2013 fare in a market dominated by mature platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box and the rest of the field? 

pCloud: Pricing & plans 

One of the big draws for pCloud is the competitively priced plans. You can register for one of the best free cloud storage accounts, nabbing up to 10GB in the process. However, like Internxt, there are hoops you’ll need to jump through to maximize the free storage capacity.

When we activated a free account, we found 5GB waiting for us. If you choose "unlock more space", you're asked to invite more friends to sign up to pCloud. If they do so, you'll receive 1GB of extra free storage per friend. Sign ups from the same IP address are limited to 10 to prevent abuse. Signing up friends also enters you into a free competition where you can win 500GB free storage. On the free tier, you can also use the service to send files up to 5GB in size that can optionally be encrypted as well.

Broadly speaking there are two paid plans depending on the amount of data you need to share - the company also frequently runs deals and discounts, too. 

The Premium plan offers 500GB and costs $50 a year. The 2TB Premium Plus is priced at $100 a year.

Unlike most of its peers, pCloud offers a one-time payment plan that’s valid for 99 years. Premium and Premium Plus cost $200 and $400 respectively if you opt for the one-off cost over an on-going subscription. 

A Family plan, offering 2TB of shared storage space among up to five pCloud users, is available with a lifetime purchase only for $595.

Business users are limited to a subscription-based membership. This costs $10 a month or $96 per year, per user. A minimum of three users is required. Each user gets access to 1TB of storage and 180 days’ of file versioning, compared with the standard 30 days for personal plans.

All pCloud accounts, whether free or paid, offer the same set of features. However there are a couple of add-on services that you can subscribe to for added benefits. 

One is called Extended History. By default pCloud retains files you’ve deleted for 15 days in the Free plan and 30 days with the Premium plans. However you can extend this period to 360 days for $80 a year. pCloud Crypto, which adds client-side encryption to your account for $50. With this add-on you have the ability to encrypt your data in a dedicated 'crypto drive' folder using a multi-layered algorithm. 

pCloud cloud storage service in action showing different pricing plans

(Image credit: pCloud)

pCloud: Interface & experience 

If you’ve ever ambled down a typical street in Geneva or Zurich, you’ll immediately recognize the same regimented and refined air carried across the cloud storage app. Visiting the country, we were struck by how clean and tidy the whole place was, as it’s immaculate for the most part. The same can be said for pCloud.  

That’s not to say that this is the best designed cloud storage solution on the market. Frankly, the interface can sometimes feel a little aged. But we found the parallels irresistibly hard to ignore. 

To get started you can register with the service manually or use the single sign-on to log in with your Apple ID, Google or Facebook accounts. Out of the box, the service has a handful of folders with sample data to help you get started by exploring its sharing features.  These include some colorful pictures, music, a video and a PDF on getting started with pCloud. 

The service has impressive file manager features, letting you sort and search through shared files with relative ease. You can also search for files, then filter the results based on file types. It's all pretty much the same as using the same options as you get with the file manager in your operating system. 

For uploading, it’s just as simple. You’ll be dragging and dropping files from your desktop into the pCloud web app or using the upload manager. This option helps you keep an eye on the files as they are being uploaded into your pCloud account. 

To ensure you are using the service to the fullest, pDrive’s web interface has a six-step wizard at the top of the interface. For example, it’ll guide you to install the desktop and mobile apps. As an incentive, completing each step will unlock more storage space. 

The multi-platform desktop client is fairly intuitive, installing as a desktop applet in the status bar. It adds a virtual drive in your file manager, which is a mirror copy of your pCloud account, similar to how Dropbox operates. If you’re using an M1 Mac, you’ll likely need to reboot the device in a reduced security mode to allow the deeper integrations required by pCloud’s file syncing drive.

pCloud cloud storage service in action showing the website with the app displayed on a laptop and text encouraging downloads of the desktop app

(Image credit: pCloud)

Upon first install, we noticed that pCloud automatically created a network drive to install files. On our Windows 11 machine, appropriately enough it also assigned itself the drive letter 'P'.

Any files placed in this drive will automatically be synchronized with your pCloud account and can be accessed from anywhere using the web interface. They do not take up any space on your hard drive itself. 

There’s also an offline mode that makes the shared files available to you on your computer even when you aren’t connected to the internet. This allows you to work on the files while you are offline and then automatically sync the changes as soon as you're connected to the Internet. 

You have the option of directly sharing files with your friends and family from the pCloud virtual drive. To share a folder you can send email invitations using pCloud and select whether you want to allow them to edit the contents of the shared folder or just view its contents. pCloud lists two separate URLs if you want to share using links. There’s one that’ll allow the recipients to download the contents of the folder and another if you want them to be able to upload content into the folder as well.

The mobile app offers one additional option - a setting to upload videos and photos to pCloud directly from your phone. By default it’ll upload all photos and videos but you can tweak its settings to restrict uploads. 

Besides their desktop client, pCloud also offers browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. Once installed, you can use the extension to save audio, video and pictures straight from a web page to your pCloud account. You can also save a selection of text that’s automatically saved as a text file. 

When it comes to using the browser for accessing your files, the process should be easy for most with things laid out as you would expect. The desktop client is full of features. We value the bandwidth throttling control, which by default is set to unlimited. However, we were disappointed to see that it's not possible to maximize the window in order to lay out all the options as clearly as possible. 

If you choose to try out the client-side encrypted drive pCloud Crypto, this should mean everything remains protected even from pCloud workers thanks to zero-knowledge security. Consequently, you need to make a note of your secure key because not even pCloud can help you gain access to lost files.  

pCloud cloud storage service in action showing local folder syncing

(Image credit: pCloud)

pCloud: Features 

pCloud offers all the essential features you’d expect from a sharing and syncing service. In addition to an intuitive web interface, pCloud also has clients for all the major desktop operating systems including Windows, macOS, and Linux as well as apps for Android and iOS. 

The service makes it easy to share individual or groups of files and folders without much effort. There is also no restriction on the size of the files you share as long as they are within the storage limits of your subscription plan, and upload and download speeds are also free of any restrictions.

Beyond sharing, you can use the desktop app to sync any local folder from your desktop to your pCloud account. Be aware that any files deleted in pCloud will also get deleted from their primary location on your computer, and vice versa.

On top of it, the service does block level syncing. This means the transfers will be a lot faster as only parts of the files that have changed need to be synced.

pCloud: Media support 

You can share all kinds of files on pCloud - but its handling of media files deserves special mention. The web interface of the service includes audio and video players that enable you to play the shared media files straight from pCloud itself. While a web browser that can play media is hardly sensational, we noticed that during our tests that when we opened a file from an audiobook, the interface automatically created a playlist. There's also a dedicated audio section in the pCloud web interface where you can manage your albums and playlists. 

Then there’s the video player that lets you watch the videos in picture-in-picture mode to help you continue using your browser while watching the video. You can even create slideshows for any shared images. 

Social media backups are also one of pCloud’s specialties. We found that without much effort, you can connect the service to popular social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, then backup images and videos on your accounts directly into pCloud. There is added support for OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive backups, too.

pCloud cloud storage service in action showing the app's built-in media player

(Image credit: pCloud)

pCloud: Apps

We found a good range of flexibility when it came to platform availability. On desktop, you can use Windows and macOS, with a Linux version available in AppImage format. There are cloud storage apps for Android and iOS. And web access is great, with extra functionality with the browser add-ons. Overall, a good package. 

pCloud: Security 

In terms of security, all the file transfers are conducted over a TLS/SSL encrypted channel to ensure that your data remains secure. pCloud also claims to replicate your files in five different server locations to safeguard against data loss and ensure availability. The service also offers two-factor authentication (2FA) for added security. 

Encryption is secured during file transfer and storage, however for a more complete guarantee non-business users will want to pay extra for client-side encryption which means that content is fully encrypted end-to-end. 

In fact, pCloud is so confident of their security, they offered $100,000 as part of the 'pCloud Encryption Challenge' to anyone who could break their system. None of the 2,860 participants could do it, even after six months of trying.

As reassuring as this is, we do wonder if pCloud would be better off publicly releasing the source code for their client-side encryption feature so it can be constantly reviewed and updated by the community. 

The service is also good at data control, letting you choose where you store your data - either in Luxembourg, which is part of the European Union, or its data center in Texas, USA. Swiss privacy laws are extremely strict and the company claims to be fully GDPR-compliant.  

pCloud: Our tests 

We ran three core tests on pCloud, measuring sync speed, file recovery and versioning. Our tests were done on a Windows 11 virtual machine running the pClouddesktop client.  The VM was connected to the internet via fiber broadband via VPN server, which in our speed tests consistently showed an average upload speed of 70 Mbps  

  • Test 1 - Sync speed

Our very first test involved syncing a folder containing 22 files of assorted MP3s, images, metadata files, and a PDF. When we opened the desktop client we set it up as a 'sync' folder. The status bar in the client gave us a helpful readout of the remaining files and amount of data left to upload as well as an ETA. It took a little over 96 seconds to sync the 625MB contained in the 22 test files. This means pCloud measures very well against the likes of iDrive, Internxt, and  Apple iCloud

pCloud cloud storage service in action showing file recovery

(Image credit: pCloud)
  • Test 2 - File recovery

In this test we simply deleted the now uploaded folder from the application directory, removing it from the device. After confirming deletion, we checked if it was possible to recover them. 

With a local folder and pCloud synced, we deleted the folder from My Documents, mindful of the warning of the desktop client that files removed from our device would also be removed from the cloud. However, when we looked, the folder was still in the pCloud network drive. We went into the client and removed the sync for the folder in question. The client didn't alert us that it was unable to sync the folder. 

We finally deleted the test folder from the pCloud network drive. When we logged into the web interface we saw the Trash option, then opened it to view and restore our deleted files without issue. 

pCloud cloud storage service in action showing file versioning

(Image credit: pCloud)
  • Test 3 - Versioning

File versioning is especially important if you’re working on a larger project and don’t want to lose all the changes you make. This means if you change something you shouldn't have, you can just roll the file back to before this happened.

On testing pCloud, we placed a copy of the test Microsoft Word document in the pCloud network drive and allowed it to sync. We then opened it and removed all text except the introduction, then allowed the updated file to sync with pCloud again.

When we logged into the web interface, the Word document immediately appeared under 'Files'. We right clicked and under "Revisions" found both the current version of the document and the original. In just two clicks we restored the original undamaged document to the network drive.

This is also where we learned that the free version of pCloud only stores file revisions for up to 15 days. If you want to extend this, you'll need a paid plan. 

pCloud: Verdict

pCloud is a clinically clean application that does what most people want from a cloud storage service, and the current pricing plan structure is a bargain across the board but particularly when it comes to lifetime plans.

Our only reservation is that it isn’t as slick a product as some other alternatives. Nor is 2TB considered a lot of storage by today’s standards. Taken as a monthly cost, $4.99 isn't much to add client-side encryption, though we were surprised that it and the 'Extended File History' feature aren't bundled in the cost of all lifetime plans as a 'free' extra. 

Overall, thanks to its incredible value for money and extensive list of features available to all users, it’s easy for us to recommend pCloud as a secure cloud storage platform to both individuals and families, however business may want more flexibility.

CrashPlan review
7:33 pm | March 19, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

If you’re looking for the best data recovery software, it’s worth taking a close look at CrashPlan. This data recovery and backup platform is one of the simplest options for small businesses. There’s no limit on the number of computers or servers you can have on your account, and no storage limits for individual devices.

 CrashPlan: Plans and pricing

CrashPlan’s pricing is about as simple as it gets. After a one-month free trial, just pay $10 per month per computer you want to back up. We say 'computer' because at the time of writing, there's still no CrashPlan mobile app. 

The only downside to signing up for the free trial is that you'll need to provide a valid credit card number for sign up and remember to cancel via your online CrashPlan if you decide not to continue with the trial. 

We also found that using a disposable virtual credit card number provided by our bank didn't work for signup so we had to use a permanent number instead.

The CrashPlan pricing scheme as of 2023

 CrashPlan charges just $10 per computer on your account per month. (Image credit: Crashplan)

There are no data storage limits on the connected devices and no limit on the number of computers you can add. That makes CrashPlan a lot cheaper than many cloud storage providers, including iDrive, pCloud, and Box, that charge by capacity. But, paying monthly can make this software pricey as a data recovery solution. 

CrashPlan: Features

CrashPlan is a little different to most data recovery platforms. In fact, it’s a file backup tool first and foremost. But, thanks to the fact that backups are unlimited, it’s easy to use it as a way to recover deleted or corrupted files as well. 

CrashPlan review

You can customize your versioning settings to better recover after a ransomware attack.  (Image credit: CrashPlan)

CrashPlan comes with its own unlimited cloud storage space, which serves as the default launch point for file recovery. But, you can also back up files to multiple storage locations at the same time. That means you can create one or more physical recovery hard drives as well as keep a catalog of files for recovery in the cloud.

CrashPlan comes with unlimited cloud storage space, the interface for which serves as the default launch point for file recovery. You can also back up files to multiple storage locations at the same time.

That means you can create one or more physical recovery hard drives as well as keep a catalog of files for recovery in the cloud. The online web portal allows you to inspect individual devices and even end backups or remove them altogether.

With file versioning, you’re able to keep old versions of files indefinitely: a significant amount of control over your data in the cloud. That’s vital when recovering from file corruptions or ransomware, since you may need to go back a few versions to find a clean copy of your damaged files.

CrashPlan: Client and client setup

CrashPlan is available as a desktop platform for macOS, Windows, and Linux computers, or it can be installed on Linux servers. There’s also a web client that enables you to schedule backups.

The lack of a mobile app isn't so bad: you can, in a roundabout way, back up the contents of mobile devices to a computer that's then backed up with CrashPlan. But it's not ideal.

CrashPlan is truly cross-platform otherwise: there are both 32-Bit and 64-Bit versions available for Windows, and a macOS client. The Linux client will also run on any distro that's compatible with Red Hat or Ubuntu.

The CrashPlan file restore feature

CrashPlan’s file restore interface.  (Image credit: CrashPlan)

The software tags files by folder location rather than file type, which can be both good and bad. Making sure you’re backing up all your files to a recovery drive or your cloud space is straightforward, but it's also too easy to forget to tag a folder for backup.

CrashPlan: Performance 

For us, CrashPlan's upload performance was disappointing out of the box. The software took a full 20 minutes to upload a 1 GB file to the cloud on a 25 Mbps connection— about four times as long as expected. 

Turning off data deduplication in the program’s advanced settings made a huge difference - that same 1 GB file uploaded in under five minutes - but that's something to bear in mind.

The CrashPlan backup feature

With CrashPlan, you can to choose multiple data storage locations, including local drives.  (Image credit: Crashplan)

Downloading was much better from the start. We were able to download the 1 GB file in just under four minutes with a 44 Mbps connection.

Since CrashPlan mostly operates in the background, the occasional lengthy upload won’t be a huge issue for many users. On top of that, CrashPlan offers incremental transfers and block-level sync, so most file uploads shouldn’t be particularly large after your initial backup. 

Unfortunately, CrashPlan doesn't offer multi-threaded backup and recovery, so large recoveries may take a while.

CrashPlan: Efficiency 

One of the biggest advantages to CrashPlan is that not only can you set the software to continuously back up files from your computer to the cloud, but also schedule periodic transfers, seamlessly incorporating the application into your workflow.  

Crashplan's backup throttling settings

Usage settings allow you to throttle your backups to limit the amount of processing power used. (Image credit: CrashPlan)

It’s also worth noting that CrashPlan gives you the option to throttle your file transfers to save bandwidth. This setting is sensitive to when your computer is idle, so it’s easy to have the bulk of your uploads take place overnight. 

CrashPlan: Support 

Crashplan's dedicated support pledge - chat and email, Monday to Friday

CrashPlan support is available by chat, email, or phone during normal business hours. (Image credit: Crashplan)

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to recover deleted files, you can get in touch with CrashPlan’s support team by live chat, email, or phone. Phone and chat support are only available during normal US business hours Monday to Friday. 

Email help is available 24/7, although you may wait several hours for an answer if you send a request during the middle of the night in the US.

For questions about the software and data restoration, CrashPlan also has an extensive online documentation library. Most of the help articles come with walkthrough videos, which is helpful when you’re first learning the software.

CrashPlan: Final Verdict 

While CrashPlan is backup software first, it doubles nicely as a recovery tool that's incredibly easy to use and so perfect for small businesses to create their physical and cloud backups with.  

Our biggest gripe remains that the interface requires you to tag specific folders for storage and recovery, making setting up automated backups time-consuming.

CrashPlan: The Competition 

However, CrashPlan won’t help you get files off of a damaged or reformatted drive without an existing backup. If that’s what you need, check out Data Rescue 5 or OnTrack EasyRecovery.

As for hybrid backup and recovery solutions, Backblaze is the closest competitor to CrashPlan. It’s a bit cheaper, starting at just $5 per computer per month. But, you lose out on advanced file versioning options and the ability to back up to physical drives as well as the cloud. 

To see how CrashPlan performs against other data recovery software, read our Best data recovery software buying guide.

CrashPlan: how we tested

Our tests were done on a Windows 11 virtual machine running the CrashPlan desktop client. 

Our VM was connected to the internet via fiber broadband via VPN server, which in our speed tests consistently showed an average upload speed of 70 Mbps 

We ran a total of 3 tests measuring sync speed, file recovery and versioning.

Test 1 - Sync Speed

We ran a backup of our local 'Documents' folder, which contained a 650 MB folder of Sherlock Holmes audio books from the Internet Archive

We measured how quickly the desktop client was able to sync the files to the cloud. The folder contained 22 files including MP3s, images, metadata files, a PDF and a Word document.

Test 2 - File Recovery

We then deleted the audiobook folder and checked to see if the files had been removed from the cloud backup drive and if it was possible to recover them.

Test 3  - Versioning

If you're writing a long, important document, like a novel, the last thing you want is to make changes that you can't roll back.

Many cloud backup providers prevent this by regularly saving different versions of a file, so if you change something you shouldn't have, you can just revert a file back to how it was on a previous date.

To test this in CrashPlan, we copied a Microsoft Word (.docx) file of the public domain story 'The Purple Cloud' to the cloud application folder. Once it synced, we then deleted all the text except the introduction, then saved and closed. We then tried to restore the document back to its original form, complete with all chapters. 

We do our best to conduct tests fairly. However measuring metrics like upload speed are very difficult as it depends on a lot of factors including how many other people share your broadband connection, how busy your cloud providers servers are and naturally the speed of your own connection.

Sync software offered by cloud storage providers is also under constant development so by the time you read this, they may contain new features.

For this reason, you should use our test results as a guideline only. We always recommend trying out the 'free' tier for cloud storage providers to check if it's right for you before signing up.

How we tested CrashPlan's performance

Test 1 - Sync Speed

As we've discussed above, one of the areas in which CrashPlan fell short In our original 2020 tests was performance. 

However, in our most recent tests using an average upload speed of 17Mbps, the 'Documents' folder was able to sync in just over four and a half minutes. We'd usually have expected this amount of data to take at least 30 seconds longer, so were very impressed by CrashPlan's improvement in performance.

Test 2 - File Recovery

Once deleted, the 625MB of data in our test folder took only around 25 seconds to download back to the 'Documents' folder during the restore process.

Test 3 - Versioning

After modifying our word document, we ran a backup and found that we could once again choose "Restore Files", view the version history, and revert to the original.

CrashPlan: Security

According to CrashPlan's support pages, the client app encrypts all user data before it leaves endpoint devices for storage using AES 256-Bit encryption. Data is transit is also encrypted using TLS.

CrashPlan claim that no user data can be restored or decrypted without the owner's CrashPlan account name and password. However on the same page they also say that administrators with advanced console access can reset names and passwords, and decrypt and restore user data.

This means that if CrashPlan is hacked, your data is likely to be safe but your information might be at risk if a disgruntled employee tries to access it. 

Previously it seems it was possible for users to create their own custom encryption key but this is a legacy feature, only supported on accounts that originally had it. 

CrashPlan is closed-source, so it's impossible to verify how it implements encryption. If you're concerned about the privacy of your data, you may want to secure files with encryption software before backing up. 

We were pleased to see that CrashPlan Small Business accounts require 2FA (Two Factor Authentication). During setup, you'll need to use an authenticator app to scan a QR code and enter the six-digit code to continue creating your account. 

CrashPlan's competition

Backblaze is CrashPlan's closest competitor for a hybrid backup and recovery solutions, and It’s a bit cheaper, starting at just $5 per computer per month. However, you lose out on advanced file versioning options and the ability to back up to physical drives as well as the cloud. 

To see how CrashPlan performs against other data recovery software, read our Best data recovery software buying guide.

Ontrack EasyRecovery review
2:13 pm | March 17, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Ontrack EasyRecovery claims to be one of the best data recovery software applications available on the market. It was developed by a provider of file recovery services who has been in business for 35 years. 

The program touts itself as being both simple to use as well as powerful enough to help you recover from a wide variety of data loss situations. 

Ontrack EasyRecovery: Plans and pricing

Several plans are available with Ontrack EasyRecovery. The Free plan, although it comes at zero cost, only provides 1GB of data recovery, so it’s only really useful for one-off recoveries. There's also a limit of 25MB for files, which made it unsuitable for our tests as some files were larger than this. 

The Home and Professional plans, which cost $59.99 and $99.99 on Windows and $69.99 and $99.99 on macOS, come with more useful options, including recovery from virus-infected drives, data from CDs and DVDs, and information due to server corruption. 

Ontrack EasyRecovery review

Higher tier plans are more expensive, but the Home, Professional, Premium, and Technician plans are competitively priced. (Image credit: Ontrack)

If you need more advanced data recovery features, you can upgrade to the Premium or Technician packages, which cost $109.99 and $199 for either Windows or macOS. 

These plans allow you to repair corrupt photos and videos and make clones of your HDDs or SSDs. The Technician plan comes with a license for commercial use and enables you to recover data from advanced RAID volumes, which are fault-tolerant storage drives.

The Toolkit plan, which is only available on Windows, costs $299. It can perform all of the recovery functions possible with the other plans but works with devices of every kind and can recover corrupt Linux files as well.

All of the prices quoted are for a one year license. For testing purposes we selected Ontrack EasyRecovery Premium, which we felt provided the best balance between price and features. 

The paid versions of Ontrack EasyRecovery can be downloaded on a trial basis but users can only preview files inside the program. In other words recovered data can't be saved to the hard drive. Still, this does allow you to check whether the utility can recover your data before handing over your money. 

Ontrack EasyRecovery: Features

According to the developer's website, the key features of EasyRecovery are:

Comprehensive data recovery options

You can recover files lost via deletion, reformatting, and other data loss scenarios such as virus attacks and server corruption. With Ontrack EasyRecovery, you can recover data from both internal external drives, including SSDs, conventional hard drives, USB/flash drives, and optical media storage devices.

Ontrack EasyRecovery review

EasyRecovery’s comprehensive feature list makes it a top choice for your data recovery needs.  (Image credit: Ontrack)

Deep scans

The developers claim that you can effectively scan your deleted files to quickly recover them, or opt for a more detailed scan for files that may be more challenging to recover. During our tests (see below) we found that this feature was buggy, as the program stopped working each time we used it, on each of the three drives we tested. 

Easy data management

This application enables you to initiate and execute data integrity and recovery steps at your own pace. You can preplan your system scans, monitor the health of your drives, and rebuild corrupt, damaged, or deleted drives as and when you need to.

Ontrack EasyRecovery: Client and client setup

Apart from the Toolkit plan, which is only available for Windows, all of EasyRecovery’s plans work on Windows and MacOS. In order to get started you only need visit the Ontrack EasyRecovery web page and download your chosen version.

This will download a small installer, which will in turn download additional files. You're then asked to confirm the install location and your chosen language. 

Ontrack EasyRecovery review

Available on Windows and MacOS, EasyRecovery is a great all-in-one tool for home and business use.  (Image credit: Ontrack)

How we tested 

For our data recovery tests we used a virtual machine with a clean install of Windows 11. The only third-party tools installed besides Ontrack Data Recovery Premium were VLC Media Player and GIMP. 

Data files

The files we chose for recovery are an album of Mozart's Music available from the Internet Archive. 

We did this as we wanted to see how the utility performed with a wide variety of files.The album included 4 music files (2 in Mp3 and 2 in FLAC) format, 6 JPG image files of album covers (with thumbnails) and 4 PNG image files. The files also included 2 XML files, a torrent file and an 'SQLite' file containing details of the album. There were 25 files in total. 

We copied the files in the music album to a 512MB virtual NTFS-formatted hard drive, which was then attached to the Windows 11 virtual machine.

Data tests

The tests were performed one after the other on three separate virtual drives:

1. File deletion: the album files were simply deleted from the drive and the Recycle Bin emptied. No other data was copied to the drive. We then tried to recover the files. 

2. Delete & format: The files were deleted as outlined above and we also performed a 'Quick Format' using the 'Disk Management' utility built into Windows 11. We then tried to recover the files from the formatted partition. 

3. Recover corrupted files: We used the freeware program 'Victoria' to overwrite the volume header of the drive containing the files with zeroes. The drive didn't mount automatically in File Explorer and showed as being unpartitioned in Windows "Disk Management" utility. We then checked if the utility could see it and if so, recover the files. 

We do not believe that running data recovery tools in a virtual environment has a significant effect on how they function. Still, if you're considering buying software we encourage you to read all reviews thoroughly and make sure that the developer offers a refund policy.

Ontrack EasyRecovery: Performance

Upon first launch, Ontrack displays a window with a simple layout stating "Choose What to Recover". From here you can select any and all data or specify a certain type such as photos or e-mails. 

You're next taken to the "Recover From" window where you're asked to select a drive, partition or disk image from where data should be recovered. 

There's an option at the very bottom left to run a "Deep Scan". During our tests we tried to run this each time, only for the utility to become unresponsive once the scan reached 99% whilst trying to read a particularly nasty data cluster.

Regular scans on the other hand ran extremely fast. Our first test on the drive where the files had simply been deleted then emptied from the recycle bin Ontrack EasyRecovery recognized all 25 filenames. 

We were especially impressed with the quick summary once the scan was complete detailing exactly how many files had been recovered and how much data they constituted.

There's a built-in "Preview" feature which not only displays photos but can also play audio and video files. In our first test we found that all of the 25 original files had been restored and could be opened without issue. 

Ontrack EasyRecovery review

Choose the files or folders you want to scan, recover to a safe and secure drive, and scan and recover multiple file types.  (Image credit: Ontrack)

Our next test on the drive which had been formatted in addition to the files being deleted recovered 13 system files but none of the media files from our test folder.

Our final test was on a drive with a corrupted volume header. Ontrack EasyRecovery's "Recover From" has a "Can't Find Drive" option, which we clicked and the external hard drive was displayed immediately.

On the first scan, the utility was able to restore the lost partition in order for it to be scanned. (We noticed that it still didn't appear in File Explorer however).

We then tried to run a regular scan. Unfortunately this was the point at which the utility became unresponsive, simply saying 0% scanned. We left it this way for around 15 minutes before being forced to exit via Ctrl + Alt + Del.

Ontrack EasyRecovery: Efficiency

Forced quits aside, when it's running properly Ontrack EasyRecovery is light on the system and works very well with a 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM. 

Once installed, Ontrack EasyRecovery Premium's folder took up less than 320MB. This leaves plenty of additional storage space to save your recovered files and folders or create backups of your data. As always, it's wise to install data recovery tools on a different drive or partition to the one from which you're trying to recover files. This way there's less chance of your data being overwritten. 

Ontrack EasyRecovery review

Small .exe file size, quick installation, and auto-scan options make EasyRecovery an easy tool to use. (Image credit: Ontrack)

Paid versions of Ontrack EasyRecovery such as the Professional and Premium editions also enable you to set up automatic scans, which can use it to passively monitor the health of your hard drives. 

This means you can keep tabs on things without being directly involved in system or risk management. Indeed, regularly scanning to check your hard drive health and making backups using Ontrack EasyRecovery's built-in tools may mean that you don't have to use the data recovery features in future. 

Ontrack EasyRecovery: Support

Upon visiting the Ontrack website, we couldn't see a dedicated "Support" section. However, when we clicked "Contact" we were pleasantly surprised to see that they're happy to answer general questions via e-mail or the supplied contact form. 

Of all the data recovery specialists we've reviewed, Ontrack certainly is the most international with multiple offices across both the United States and Europe.

There's also a US telephone number offering 24/7 technical support. This is different to the 800 freefone number advertised on their marketing material and it's not clear if the cost of this is included in users' annual licenses or whether support is provided to users of the free version.

The sales page does answer some general FAQs about the software but there's nothing specific about how to perform operations like selecting lost partitions. The FAQs also detail the absolutely colossal number of file types supported by the utility. 

Ontrack EasyRecovery review

Support is available via dedicated lines, a comprehensive FAQ, and easy-to-use job tracking tools (Image credit: Ontrack)

Ontrack EasyRecovery: The competition

Arcserve UDP and MiniTool Data Recovery are two popular alternatives to Ontrack EasyRecovery. Both come with comprehensive file recovery options for events such as accidental deletion, virus attack, and disk failure. Arcserve is more geared toward business clients, and it is great at data recovery in environments that use large volumes of data. It is also very effective at minimizing data loss when it comes to cloud applications.

MiniTool is designed more for at-home or small-business use than it is for corporate settings, and the highest tier plan is, in fact, called Personal Ultimate, with a pricing scheme that changes with the duration of your license and not with any additional features or functionality.

Of the three, Arcserve is the best option for enterprise-grade data recovery, while MiniTool can only be used in private or home settings and EasyRecovery provides a great middle-ground for individuals and small or medium-sized businesses.

Ontrack EasyRecovery: Final verdict

Whether you are a home user, a small business, or a large corporation, Ontrack EasyRecovery can be used to retrieve lost data, recreate damaged or infected photos and videos, extract information from physically damaged devices, and perform deep scans of your system to extract data file by file and block by block. 

It’s easy to use, and the Home, Professional, and Premium plans are competitively priced. It provides a good mix of recovery tools and is an all-round winner in the hard drive data recovery and file recovery spaces.

We've listed the best data recovery service.

CareCloud Review: Pros & Cons, Features, Ratings, Pricing and more
9:00 pm | March 12, 2020

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

CareCloud focuses on cloud based practice management, serving doctors in fifty different specialties across the US. It started back in 2009, with a headquarters in Miami, Florida, and over 240 employees.  

Growth has been strong with a product entry into the remote area, and record bookings in 2022.E. It is currently used by over 40,000 medical providers, across 70+ specialties in all 50 states.


 CareCloud offers their medical practice management solution under the ‘Practice Management’ banner, designed from the ground up to provide automation from routine activities, which frees up the office manager to do more important things at the practice . While it does provide a medical billing solution which can produce ‘Cleaner claims,’ and also enhances the efficiency of the workflow. It also provides real time analytics to provide information on the productivity of the practice as a business.

It starts with a comprehensive scheduling module that has a simple to use online drag-and-drop interface for patient scheduling of appointments. Incorporated is a multi-view calendar, that is designed to handle the complexities of a modern practice’s workflow in a way that a venerable Day Runner could only dream of, such as insurance verification, automated patient reminders, confirmation of appointments across multiple practice locations, and streamlined check in and out of patients- all to enhance front office staff efficiency. The views are powerful, and flexible, making it simple to see a provider’s appointments- for today, the future, or for prior dates- by the day, week or month. Insurance eligibility can be checked prior to the scheduled appointment, including the details of deductibles, copays and coinsurance, to ensure cash flow to the practice remains steady.

A significant issue at any practice is the denial of claims, which then delays payments, and takes precious time for staff to resubmit. CareCloud incorporates in their CollectiveIQ module, a comprehensive set of advanced, automated billing rules, that ensures submitted claims are ‘Clean claims,’ making them far more likely to not get rejected. Even when claims do inevitably get rejected, CareCloud has your practice covered with collections, so the practice can get paid for its work. In the Collections app, each rejected claim gets listed for the reason of denial, and even claims that were submitted and no action was taken by the payer get listed here as a reminder to followup. By listing denied claims by payer, age, and reason, trends emerge into actionable intelligence to minimize further issues, such as seeing an insurance company that takes an excessive amount to pay, and a decision can be made by the practice to no longer participate when the contract expires.

The Financial workflow app also makes things simpler for the office staff. Claims can be submitted without needing to re enter all the information, as the patient’s demographic information is used to auto-populate fields, which significantly reduces the workload. In addition, there is the ability to lookup codes by both diagnosis and CPT. 


In terms of medical practice management, CareCloud does cover plenty of needs. One deficit is it lacks the ability to handle inventory management. The medical scheduling function is missing scheduling for on call providers, and has issues with setting up recurring appointments, such as for an annual physical.

User reviews list some issues, which can be frustrating. They include frequent downtimes, and when customer support is contacted they read off a script. Others complain that the analytic reports cannot be customized, that labs are not integrated, and that some feel stuck with a multi-year contract they feel that they were pushed into. 


Support for CareCloud is listed on their website via a single toll free number for phone support. The hours and days of operation are not listed anymore; it was previously business hours on weekdays  It is stated elsewhere that the tech support is US based.

Unfortunately, there is no listed option for an online portal or chat, which can be useful as options for communication is preferred without waiting on hold There is also an email, and a fax number. 


(Image credit: CareCloud)


CareCloud used to provide pricing for their solution, but that is no longer the case. There are no prices listed on the CareCloud website unfortunately, but rather a custom quote can be generated. While we can appreciate this stance, to customize the price to the solution, we still prefer some pricing upfront, with an idea of the tiers and the additional options available, but there is none to be found here.

The closest that we could find (and not on the website) is that for both the EMR and the Patient Experience Management the cost is $628 per month. While that may not be the current pricing, this still makes it a higher priced option than some other competing solutions.

Also realize that this is not a complete solution, with additional modules available to build this out, and that also will increase the cost. These include Telehealth, Revenue Cycle Management, and on demand remote workers via Workforce Extension.

Finally, keep in mind that it is a free demo, but there is no free tier or free trial to better test drive it prior to purchase.

Final verdict

For a medical practice management service, CareCloud ticks many of the right boxes, with robust scheduling, automated claims scrubbing, and upfront pricing. The higher price, lack of support hours and options, and user issues in reaching their support representative are some areas to be aware of. In summary, CareCloud overall is worthy of a close look, and the free demo is worth investigating how this can serve your practice’s needs.