How-to-Guides

Step-by-Step Solutions for Common Problems.

Performing a Data Recovery

When performing a data recovery with GetDataBack we recommend that you proceed as follows:

  1. Install GetDataBack on a healthy Windows machine without the drive attached you want to recover from. Make sure you have sufficient space on the "good drive" for storing the recovered data. You also can store the recovered data to a LAN if have access to one. The machine you are running GetDataBack Simple on can have any of the following operating systems: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8. Classic GetDataBack for FAT and GetDataBack for NTFS also run under Windows95/98/ME, Windows NT, and W2K.

  2. Shut down the computer and attach the drive you want to recover from ("bad drive") as a 2nd drive. Make sure it is recognized correctly by the BIOS when starting up the computer.

  3. Start GetDataBack and verify that DISK0 (HD128 in classic GetDataBack) is the "good drive" and DISK1 (HD129 in classic GetDataBack) is the "bad drive". Select the "bad drive" and let GetDataBack scan it.

  4. When the final step has completed and you are ready to copy the recovered files over to the "good drive", you need to purchase a license code if you have not already done so. Do not quit GetDataBack for purchasing or entering the license code, just enter the code and continue with copying the files. It is a good idea to start with the files you need most.

After copying all desired files shut down the computer and remove the "bad drive". Store the "bad drive"in a safe place.

It is recommended to build a brand new system now. Use components other than the "bad drive". Install the operating system. Install the programs from their installation CD-ROMs. Finally import the recovered data to the new drive.

Verify you got back all the data you need. Do not recycle the "bad drive" before you are absolutely sure about this. It is a good idea to wait 4 weeks before re-using the "bad drive". If the "bad drive" had any mechanical problems you definitely must not use it again.

If you notice any mechanical problems with the drive, such as bad sectors or unusual noise, you should stop the recovery and make a drive image first. When successfully created, you can recover from this drive image as you would recover from the original drive. A mechanically damaged drive can fail entirely every second. It must be your primary goal to pull all raw data off such a drive as fast as possible. Making an image also reduces the load on the drive because each sector is read only once. Professional data recovery companies always make an image of the drive before trying to retrieve any files.

If your drive has a physical problem and you're unable to obtain a usable drive image, we recommend that you contact a data recovery lab for data recovery service.

Please read our printable Step-by-Step guide.

If you divert from the process described above, always make sure you:
  • Never install GetDataBack on the "bad drive"
  • Never use the "bad drive" as the boot-up system drive (C:)
  • Do not have temporary files and folders use the "bad drive"
  • Never copy the recovered files to the "bad drive"
  • Make an image first if the "bad drive" has mechanical problems