I have an external hard drive which is no longer being picked up/read by Windows (although it appears in Device Manager). It contains mostly media files (.jpg, .mov, .mp4).

I downloaded a trial version of some EaseUS recovery software which ran a deep scan. The results bring up a series of very large .swf files. I'm reluctant to purchase the full version of the EaseUS software without knowing if I can convert the .swf files somehow, and if so, how.

I'm a total novice when it comes to data recovery so it is tempting to pay someone else to do it. But based on a quote I just got from someone in Sydney, Australia (where I live), that looks like it could set me back A$175-600.

The hard drive is valuable to me (backed up photos and family movies - made more valuable my laptop having died a few weeks ago too) but that seems a lot of money. Any ideas on what the options are for doing the recovery myself? I appreciate that may not be an easy question to answer without more information- happy to provide any relevant info I have missed!

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    There are tons of free alternatives to EaseUS, software that uses extremely questionable practices, including spamming us here at Superuser. However, questions seeking software recommendations, are not within scope here at Superuser. There are better ways to spend $175, for instance, paying professional data recovery services that (only charge you if they believe data recovery will be successful). Again, won’t be recommending specific services, out of scope. – Ramhound Jan 4 '18 at 2:19
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    Unless I'm misunderstanding something, .SWF typically refers files in a format which can have either video or interactive data (such as games). In the case of video data, you can convert these to a different video format/container (e.g. .MP4) with programs such as ffmpeg. Interactive data won't typically convert to anything useful. Regarding recovery, there are a large number of free options, such as Recuva and PhotoRec/TestDisk. The biggest difference between paid and free software is (possibly) the non-free software may recover a bit more, but this isn't guaranteed. – Anaksunaman Jan 4 '18 at 4:54
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    The SWF files are most likely false positives. If you lose MP4 files, you do not recover SWF files and then magically convert them to MP4. Disks have not developed the ability to convert between file formats on their own. ;) Please check this answer (and the included linked answers as well) before deciding: superuser.com/a/1144489/278831 (These directions apply to unreadable partitions as well) – Andrea Lazzarotto Jan 4 '18 at 11:07

protected by Community Jul 5 at 17:50

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