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TestDisk Data Recovery Review: Is TestDisk Safe to Use?

Updated on Wednesday, April 24, 2024

iBoysoft author Jessica Shee

Written by

Jessica Shee


TestDisk 7 Review: Features, Performance, Pros & Cons

Summary: This article is a full review of a free data recovery software called TestDisk. It answers your question "Is TestDisk safe to use?" You can also learn its main features, performance, pros & cons, and best TestDisk alternative - iBoysoft Data Recovery. 

is TestDisk safe to use

Your life has been closely intertwined with storage devices such as SSDs, HHDs, SD cards, and USB flash drives for data storage, backup, and sharing. Unfortunately, no matter what precautions you have taken to safeguard your important data, there are still occasions that are out of your control and cause data loss, such as abrupt system crashes, disk wear, file system errors, and human mistakes.

All operating systems essentially only support file restoration from systems or file backups. You need to utilize external data recovery software to restore lost files that hadn't been backed up. There are a lot of data recovery programs available, both free and commercial. TestDisk should be one of the free data recovery software that is widely discussed.

This article will provide a TestDisk data recovery review. Read below to find out if TeskDisk is safe to use.

What is TestDisk?

TestDisk is a free and open-source software that is primarily designed to recover lost or deleted partitions and fix non-booting disks. It can be used as data recovery software to undelete files and recover lost files by fixing corrupted file systems. TestDisk can recover a wide variety of file types. It also supports a wide range of file systems and operating systems. 

TestDisk is a command-line tool, which means it requires some technical knowledge and understanding of the command-line interface to operate effectively. However, it comes with clear instructions for how to use it. 

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TestDisk specifications review

The specifications correspond to TestDisk's most recent stable version 7.1, which was released on July 7, 2019. 

Multiple operating systems supportOS (either real or in a Windows 9x DOS-box) 
Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003 
FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD 
Various file systems supportBeFS ( BeOS ) 
BSD disklabel 
CramFS, Compressed File System 
DOS/Windows FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32 
Windows exFAT 
HFS, HFS+ and HFSX, Hierarchical File System 
JFS, IBM's Journaled File System 
Linux btrfs 
Linux ext2, ext3 and ext4 
Linux GFS2 
Linux LUKS encrypted partition 
Linux RAID md 0.9/1.0/1.1/1.2 
Linux Swap (versions 1 and 2) 
LVM and LVM2, Linux Logical Volume Manager 
Mac partition map 
Novell Storage Services NSS 
NTFS ( Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 ) 
ReiserFS 3.5, 3.6 and 4 
Sun Solaris i386 disklabel 
Unix File System UFS and UFS2 (Sun/BSD/...) 
XFS, SGI's Journaled File System 
Supported file types550+ including documents, archives, images, videos, audios, email, database, HTML, web, word doc, pdf, and more
Supported storage devicesHDDs, SSDs, USB flash drives, memory cards, RAID, digital cameras, DVD/CD, camcorders, virtual disk images and others
Multi-language supportCGSecurity TestDisk website is accessible in 15 languages and support forums are available in various languages such as English, French, and German
Latest Version7.1, 7.2(beta)

Is TeskDisk safe to use?

TestDisk is more of a partition table repair tool than a data recovery tool, so, unlike other specialized data recovery tools that perform read-only operations to your volumes, TestDisk might cause further damage to the partition and overwrite some data while it is fixing a partition table, rebuilding file system boot sector, and fixing MFT.

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TestDisk Features

TestDisk has 3 primary features that make it a unique and useful partition recovery tool. 

Partition recovery

TestDisk can read the sectors on the storage device and analyze the disk structure to determine if the partition table requires repair. Once the partition table is successfully restored, the deleted or damaged partition can become accessible again.

Filesystem recovery

TestDisk includes the capability to fix common filesystem errors, including 
rebuilding the boot sector and repairing Master File Table (MFT) and directories. However, the boot sector restoration only works for FAT12/FAT16/FAT32/NTFS/ EXT2/EXT3/EXT4 file systems.

File Recovery

TestDisk can retrieve inaccessible files from a damaged, deleted, or lost partition. Additionally, it can undelete files from FAT, exFAT, NTFS, and EXT2/34 filesystems. However, the file undeletion feature of TestDisk is very basic because it can only recover files that were simply deleted through the operating system's deletion commands. It is not suitable at all for drives with filesystem damage, or files that were not extremely recently deleted.

Pros and Cons of TestDisk

Here are some quick takeaways from the TeskDisk review:

  • Pros:
  • Completely free and opensource application
  • Recover files from most file system types, including NTFS and FAT
  • It supports many operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS
  • It supports RAID recovery
  • Effective deleted partition recovery
  • No data recovery limit
  • Cons:
  • It can't fix a severely damaged partition table
  • File undeletion capability is limited
  • The initial setup is difficult
  • Its strictly command-line interface is not friendly to a tech novice
  • The macOS version that is compatible with Apple silicon needs Homebrew installation.

TestDisk Data Recovery Review: How to use TestDisk

Using TeskDisk to perform NTFS partition recovery or file recovery can be a lengthy process. Follow the illustration below to know the correct steps to recover files with TestDisk.

Step 1. Download TestDisk on your device from this webpage.

TestDisk offers various downloads for different operating systems. You should download the correct version based on your system. This article shows how to use TeskDisk on Windows.

Download TestDisk on Windows

Step 2. Extract the zipped file.

Find the downloaded compressed file, right-click it, and extract it to a folder. The Desktop folder is recommended for convenience. The unzipped folder will be named after the software version you downloaded - testdisk-7.2.

Step 3. Open the TestDisk app.

Open the folder and find the testdisk_win.exe app. Double-click it to launch it and you will see a window that looks like Windows Command Prompt.

Run TestDisk

Step 4.  Create a new log file.

Use the arrow keys to highlight Create and press Enter key. Then TestDisk software will start to scan your PC for connected storage devices.

Create a new log file in TestDisk

Step 5. Select the drive you want to recover.

In the list of available devices, use the arrow keys again to highlight the drive for further scan and press Enter.

Select drive to scan

Step 6. Select the partition table type.

If TestDisk has detected the partition table, it will select the partition table for you. If not, you can use the arrow keys to highlight the Intel option in this case and press Enter.

Select the partition table type in TestDisk

Step 7. Analyze the selected drive.

Highlight Analyse and press Enter to let the software check the disk structure.

Analyze the drive on TestDisk

Step 8. Search for any missing partitions. 

Select the Quick Search and press Enter. The software will search and display found partitions. If the Quick Search was unsuccessful, select Continue and perform Deeper Search.

Step 9. Recover the partition and files.

Select the partition to be recovered and press Enter. Then navigate down to the Write option. Then follow the prompts with the recovery process. 

Recover lost partition

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Best TestDisk alternative - iBoysoft Data Recovery

If you are a user who favors a more graphical user experience, it is recommended that you use professional data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery.

Advantages over TeskDisk:

  • Easy to use. iBoysoft Data Recovery has a graphical user interface with easy-to-understand buttons.
  • Risk-free. iBoysoft Data Recovery is absolutely read-only, so it will never overwrite your data or corrupt your drive.
  • Powerful data recovery capabilities. iBoysoft Data Recovery can be used in various data loss scenarios, including deleted/lost/corrupted partitions, formatted drives, and accidental deletion.
  • High success rate. The advanced disk scanning algorithms iBoysoft Data Recovery uses can dig out files deleted a long time ago so it finds and recover as many as possible. 
  • More supported file types. iBoysoft Data Recovery can recognize and recover over 1000+ file types. 

How to use iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows

Step 1. Download iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows and double-click the download file to install it on your PC. 

Step 2. Open the software and select the Data Recovery module. 

TestDisk alternative

Step 3. Select the troubling hard drive in the drive list and click Next.

Step 4. Double-click a file to preview, select the wanted files, and click Recover.

Recover files on Windows


Overall, TestDisk is a tool that is worth a try if you are looking for a partition repair solution and prefer a cost-free program. If you are not confident of using a Terminal-like interface, TeskDisk may be not suitable for you. Instead, use a data recovery program that has a modern window like iBoysoft Data Recovery.