28 March 2013
Review of MunSoft Easy Drive Data Recovery
After a recent customer lost his data, I used MunSoft Easy Drive Data Recovery, amongst other recovery software applications, to attempt recovering most of his files. However, with a poor experience and even worse customer service, MunSoft invited me to review their software in exchange for a free “bonus registration key” to their online data recovery service. Hmm.
I had used various data recovery applications in the past but in this one particular instance, our customer had lost various personal files and was looking for an easy solution to recover the data. The customer also requested something simple that he could use himself in the future, should anything happen again.
Looking through the applications that I had previously used, I decided that none of them were quite user-friendly enough. I then stumbled across MunSoft Easy Drive Data Recovery from Google search results and, feeling adventurous, decided to give the software a try. The screenshots advertised the software as simple to use and intuitive, as well as having a high accuracy at recovering lost data. Perfect! Or so I thought at the time.
Try before you buy
I downloaded the free trial edition on to my customer’s computer. The download file was a small 8Mb and so downloaded pretty quick. The installation procedure was simple, straightforward and soon I had the application up and running. On first start-up, the software had a very simple and intuitive interface, if a bit dated looking. However, at the end of the day, I wasn’t particularly interested in how the application looked as much as I was concerned about how well it would perform. I selected the customer’s hard drive and the program quickly got on with searching the hard drive for the deleted files.
As I was using the free trial version at this moment in time, I decided to skip over the more intensive raw search to determine whether the application would actually find enough data to recover first. After about ten minutes, the program displayed its results of what it had found. Impressed so far with what it had been able to find, I decided to try the raw search and see what it could find any further. Upon starting the raw search, the application stopped responding. I decided to wait a few minutes before closing the application with the Windows Task Manager.
Once I had the application up and running again, I went through the motions of performing a quick search again and this time checked through the results. Whilst it appeared simple and intuitive to only list the found files by type, I couldn’t filter the results any further.
For instance, under Pictures and Images, Easy Data Recovery simply listed every image file that it found, including those that are saved from Internet cache, bundled with applications, program icons and various bitmaps that come pre-installed with Microsoft Windows. However, my customer was becoming concerned about his photographs that were lost and was happy to recover the full result of the images.
Unlock features to recover data
To do so, we had to purchase a licence key for Easy Data Recovery from Munsoft. On MunSoft’s own web site, Easy Data Recovery is advertised as $59.95. Notice the dollar symbol. At today’s exchange rates, this would equal approximately £39.51, which to be honest is a reasonable price for this type of software. The customer was happy to proceed and we went to purchase the licence key. As I went through the checkout process and completed my details (Berserk Computers were purchasing the licence on the customer’s behalf at this point), the web site refreshed and suddenly listed the product price as £59.95. MunSoft do not take into account currency rates, which massively irritates me when a British customer has to pay more for the same product as an international customer. Effectively, my 59.95 pounds is the equivalent of a US customer paying around $91. Yet, MunSoft will happily sell the same product via the same web site for only $60?
Reluctantly, I went ahead with this absurd purchase if it meant we would recover the customer’s data. We retrieved our licence key and activated the software, unlocking all its features.
Again, I attempted a raw search of the customer’s hard drive to attempt recovering as much information as possible. Success! Easy Data Recovery began performing an in-depth raw search of the hard disk – all 120Gb of it. It took forever at just under 2 hours and posted back the results in the same simplistic category view. However, it did find substantially more files worth recovering, so the wait could be justified.
Recover Pictures and Images
After being satisfied with recovering the Pictures and Images results only, yet again Easy Data Recovery stopped responding! I forced the application to exit for the second time with Windows Task Manager, rebooted the system and tried again. This time, Easy Data Recovery began to recover the data and I thought that was the end of the troubles!
Except, at 8% of recovery – blue screen of death and the system restarted automatically! So, once Windows 7 restarted, I yet again tried recovering the data. This time, at 3% there was another blue screen and the system again rebooted.
By this point, I gave up with MunSoft Easy Data Recovery and explained to the client that we would recover the data with other tried and tested tools. Whilst they may not be the most user-friendly for the customer to use himself, they would at least get the data back!
Fit for purpose?
After almost three hours of attempting to get MunSoft Easy Data Recovery to recover some photographs from a small hard drive, this application had cost us just under £60 and failed miserably. I e-mailed MunSoft to explain that their software simply would not work and to seek a refund, which they flatly denied and pointed to their terms and conditions. In their terms and conditions, MunSoft state:
We do not offer refunds on software where the registration key code has already been sent to the customer. Before deciding to purchase our software, please be sure to download, install, and test-drive the evaluation versions that we provide.
By placing an order for any of your software products and/or services you do confirm that:
1. You have downloaded and tested the trial version(s) of the software product(s) before.
2. You have checked our product(s) for system compatibility with your own PC system and configuration.
Well, we did download, install and test-drive the evaluation software. Yes, our customer’s computer was compatible with the system requirements. And still MunSoft’s software failed.
MunSoft further explained that they do not offer refunds to any customer because:
Unlike physical goods, electronically distributed software and software licenses can be duplicated. Once a license has been issued, it is unfortunately not possible for us to recall all copies.
We feel this policy is consistent with the major software retailers worldwide.
Hmm. Seems ironic considering the software was locked until I was issued with a specific licence to unlock it. When you compare this policy to a “major software retailer” like Microsoft, if the software does not work after purchasing it, you have 14 days to request a refund from Microsoft. As part of their policy, you should uninstall the software and they may ask you to confirm this by signing a Letter of Destruction, which is essentially an agreement that you have uninstalled the software and not made any copies of it. Does this not seem like a far more fairer and reasonable approach to customer care for those odd occasions when your product quite simply does not work by no fault of the customer?
The UK also has the Sale of Goods Act 1979, which clearly states that any product must be fit for purpose or the consumer is entitled to a refund. In this instance, clearly MunSoft Easy Drive Data Recovery was not fit for purpose as it failed to recover the data that it showed it could potentially recover. Unfortunately, for the consumer, digital software is not covered under this act, although there are proposals to include it, which would force an unfair developer like MunSoft to quite rightly honour their mistakes and refund their customers.
Conclusion and ‘bonus key’
So, in a verdict of MunSoft Easy Drive Data Recovery, I would score the application 2 out of 5 stars. It was quick to download the application from MunSoft’s web site, straightforward installation process and well, it looked promising. Too bad about everything else.
However, judging by MunSoft’s poor customer care and support, I would strongly advise against this software program. I did, a few days later, come across Piriform Recuva, which does the same task as Easy Drive Data Recovery. Except it’s lightning quick. And free! Co-incidentally, that same day, almost 48 hours after my original e-mail, MunSoft offered to provide technical support. Not much use 48 hours later, after I’ve uninstalled the buggy software and retrieved the data with other tools!
Now that I’ve written this review and MunSoft have kept my £60 for nothing, apparently I’m entitled to a free “bonus registration key” to their online data recovery service. I’ll keep you posted whether it comes in but somehow I doubt I’ll be using any products or services from MunSoft again!