When was the last time you had a Microsoft Office file failure on an important document? An everyday user may report that they’ve never encountered a corrupted Microsoft Office file, yet business users may state that it happens more often than they would like.

File corruption occurs when a file is repeatedly transferred to a new location. Data is copied and written each time the file is edited, moved, or deleted, and sometimes the copy and writing phases can fail, leaving you with a corrupted file.

While home users very rarely move files at a constant rate, the business user will often have heavy file transfer rates along with accidental corruption. As any Help Desk or IT department will know, many people seek out help when they notice their 1000 cell Excel document no longer opens and they mistakenly forgot to make a backup.

Although there are many data recovery programs on the World Wide Web, many of them only provide assistance with deleted files, not damaged ones. Cue the Kernel Data Recovery solution to repairing Microsoft Office files. With software offering a full file repair of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher files, people can forget the days of losing their most important data.

Welcome to my review of Kernel Data Recovery’s Office Recovery Suite. Throughout this review, I will be covering each program in the suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher recovery programs. My review will consist of the design and functionality of each product, then my final thoughts. I would like to thank Kernel Data Recovery for providing me with the software to review.

The Design

Only a few weeks ago, I took a look at Kernel’s Data Recovery software and mentioned how the software reminded me of Windows XP. When asked to review this Office suite, I had hopes that the design aspects would improved.

Unfortunately, the design of Kernel’s software hasn’t changed and it still reminds me of and acts like a Windows XP port-over to Windows 7.

Regardless, each program in the lineup offers a minimalistic design with flat colors, large buttons, and even helpful tool tips along the side menu. Along the top menu, you can find menus regarding File, Settings, Tools, View, or Help, depending on the program. Selecting these submenus does the opposite of what you’re used to, as they provide only one to two additional options, which, again, maintains that minimalistic look.

One item about the design that I found very useful was the detailed layout of the Help menu. By using the Windows help manual tool, Kernel has written a thorough guide on everything you may need to know. I found ways to uninstall, reinstall, run the software, what it’s about, and much more. Additionally, this was consistent throughout the programs.

When it comes to the design of the suite, I’m left with only the same thoughts I had previously and that is that it need a refresh. A new layout, new buttons, and better colors would make this software much more desirable. Perhaps with Windows 10 around the corner, the company is thinking about a new way of presenting their products.


Similar to the design, the process of each program is quite minimalistic. When opening the program you are greeted with the main page where you select your file and begin the recovery process. Something I found odd, was that in both the Word and Excel recovery programs, I was allowed the option to select multiple files to repair at once, while the remainder of the programs lacked this option.

Once hitting the recover button, a quick one to three minute process begins and attempts to recover your file(s). The differences begin to appear again, with some of the recovery programs offering a preview of what it was able to recover, while the rest just save the file.

Recovered files are placed in a location of your choice then put into a folder named “Rec”. Inside this folder are two copies of your files with a secondary folder holding recovered pictures.

I used a purpose built file corrupter from Corrupt-a-file.net to see if the corrupted files could be restored using the software. Unfortunately, the website was deemed too powerful as each tool failed to even complete its recovery process, so I decided to stick with corrupting the file myself.

As I quickly discovered, when recovering a file using this software, at times it became more of a hassle to do and unless the file was crucial I wouldn’t see myself trying this hard to restore the file. With what I thought was a fairly basic file corruption appeared to be quite challenging to the software.

On my Windows 7 Professional machine running Office 2010, the Word recovery would at times only provide me with random text and an empty Pictures folder.

Excel documents were lacking graphs, but at least the data were intact. Another Excel hiccup was that the recovered file was set to a massive worksheet spanning between 65536 rows and IV in width.

PowerPoint and Publisher worked okay and provided me with pictures from the documents as well as a working document. However, even this was a bit hit or miss on whether it could be saved. PowerPoint gave me the most headaches with warnings telling me to use a PC with Office 2007 when I had Office 2010 installed. More warnings appeared when I attempted to recover a file saved for a different version of Office, at that point the program refused to even recover.

All in all, I found that the recovery process was either a full recovery or nothing. It appeared to depend on the way the file was corrupted, but at least it had the ability to save some files.

My Final Thoughts

In the end, the Office Recovery Suite left me with a strange feeling towards it. Yes, it does work at times, and yes, it can be quite useful when you’re in a need of repair. The downside is that the software isn’t always perfect and it isn’t cheap either. Home users can expect to pay $49 per program and IT departments will be charged $99 per program. As a side note, the Access recovery program is $199 for home and $259 for enterprise. The software company does allow you to download a free trial to try before you buy.

If you’re the kind of user that happens to suffer from corrupting files, then perhaps this suite is for you. However, for those who can make backups and maybe move on when a corrupted file occurs, you’re best just doing that. This suite of tools is perhaps best suited to the Enterprise world.

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© 2015 Justin Vendette