Frequently Asked Questions

GetDataBack Pro — FAQ

Note In the FAQ list below, the icon "" represents links into the GetDataBack online help file. They open in a new Explorer window.

It depends. Fragmentation in NTFS should not affect the recovery results, as the MFT entry stores information about a file's allocation. However, in FAT file systems, the FAT stores this information, leaving the recovery program with only the data's entry point if that FAT is missing. Fragmentation can ruin the day here. EXT, HFS+, and APFS are not affected in the sense that if a file can be found, its allocation comes along with it. That means, if the file shows up in the Recovery Tree, it should be recoverable. If it does not contain the expected data, you should review your selection in the Select File System screen.

Yes, GetDataBack contains a build-in viewer, which lets you investigate the quality of your files. You can also open the files with their original application without having to buy the program.

No, GetDataBack recovers from hard drives, SSD drives, floppies, USB drives, SD cards, Flash drives, and Images, but it is not suitable for restoring optical media data.

No, if the BIOS does not recognize the hard drive, our software cannot perform a recovery. Please make sure that the connections, jumper settings, and controllers are ok. If the hard drive is still not recognized, try to connect it to another computer and see if it gets recognized there. If your drive is a USB drive, remove it from its enclosure and attach it directly to the internal SATA cable.

A disk error is a sign of a hardware problem. It might be better to make a disk image first, as every attempt to access data can increase corruption. After successfully creating an image, you can use the image file as an input for GetDataBack. It can also be appropriate to continue and ignore the error, especially if you scan the drive with a low sophistication level and intend to recover only a couple of files.

  1. The drive might be encrypted, thwarting any recovery attempts.
  2. It might be too damaged to read any valuable data from it.
  3. It contains a file system that is not supported.
  4. It contains a supported file system, but this file system is unchecked in the settings.
  • In the Select File System screen, be sure to choose the file system which contains the most applicable information about the partition you are trying to bring back. If none of the entries resemble that partition, increase the sophistication level. Please test enough files to ensure you are satisfied with the recovery results before you buy a license key.
  • If you are just concerned about some individual files, try checking "Duplicates" in the Recovery Tree. That might bring up different versions of the files.  
  • See also our comprehensive Checklist.

Do a "Search" for your files for a chance to find them even in some hidden subdirectory.

Check the recommendations in How can I optimize the quality of the recovery? as well as our comprehensive Checklist

There are two possible reasons for the inability to open the recovered file:

  1. New data overwrote your files. In this case, there is no way to retrieve the files.
  2. The second possible reason is that you have chosen the wrong file system entry in the Select File System screen. Be sure to select the file system that contains the most applicable information about the partition you want to recover. Try other entries from that list.

See also our comprehensive Checklist.

GetDataBack Pro supports all Windows file systems and most Apple and Linux file systems, so you can probably proceed. GetDataBack Pro automatically recognizes the file system.

As long as your drive does not have a physical problem, it is safe to use GetDataBack. The program does not change anything on the crashed drive, as it is a read-only software. Install the software on a working Windows computer and attach the hard drive, which contains the lost files, as a second hard drive to this computer. Make sure that the BIOS recognizes this hard drive.

If, however, GetDataBack reports read errors, you should pause and consider your options: One is to send the drive to a recovery lab. Another one is to create an image of the "bad drive" first and run GetDataBack for this image in the next step. Another option is to ignore the error and continue, which might be acceptable if you scan the drive with a low sophistication level and intend to recover only a handful of files.

One option is to remove the laptop's drive and connect it to the SATA cable of a desktop computer.

Another option is to create a WinPE boot medium and run the recovery software from there. You can find instructions on creating a boot CD or USB stick here. Keep in mind that you still need enough space on a different drive to copy the recovered files.

Yes, GetDataBack works on hard drives of any size. Keep in mind that your computer, BIOS, hard drive controller, and operating system (Windows) must support your drive's size too. This support might be a concern if you try to recover data from a modern large drive on a machine that is a couple of years old.

In the Recovery Tree screen, check the "Deleted" checkbox. Use the "Search" feature to find the files as they might be tucked away in some subdirectory. The outlook for a successful recovery of deleted files very much depends on the file system and the circumstances. It also matters how long you continued working with the drive after you deleted the files.

In Windows (NTFS, FAT), "Permanently deleted" files can be found in their original directory (if still available). Files from "emptied recycle bins" can be found below the RECYCLE directory. Note that these files have lost their original filenames, but still have their original extensions.

In Linux EXT and Apple HFS+ partitions, GetDataBack is not suitable for recovering deleted files, as the operating system removes the allocation information. Files can be undeleted using the file system journal, though, if enabled. Look out for un-deleters that examine the file system journal to recover deleted files.

Apple APFS makes the recovery of deleted files simple, as it regularly creates "checkpoints." In GetDataBack, you can access the APFS file system through these checkpoints and find deleted files.

Third-party software-encrypted drives behave transparently, once they have been unlocked. That means you can run GetDataBack on them as you would on a regular drive. It might be helpful first to image the unlocked volume, and later run GetDataBack for this image.

Some USB drives (WD) are hardware-encrypted with the encryptor build into the USB controller. The good news is, most of these controllers use the same key.

The short answer is you can't. By design, you can not recover encrypted files without knowledge of the decryption key. If you do know that key, however, recovery might be possible, depending on the file system and the circumstances, but is beyond the scope of GetDataBack.

If you can still access the RAID volume (this is the combined RAID, not the members), you can scan it like a regular drive. If the RAID is not accessible or broken, you need to "de-stripe" it first. Use RAID Reconstructor for this. It generates a VIM file (Virtual Image) that, together with the member drives, you can run GetDataBack on.

That is not possible directly. You must take the network drive offline and attach it physically to the machine running GetDataBack. It must be a single drive with a supported file system. If the network drive internally consists of several drives, see the next question.

You can not recover data from a NAS over the network. For GetDataBack to work, the drive or drives must be locally and physically present at the computer running GetDataBack. The file system on the NAS must be supported. If the NAS consists of more than one drive, you need to run RAID Reconstructor first to obtain a VIM file (Virtual Image).

Make sure the drive is connected correctly, and the BIOS detecting it. If it is a USB drive, attach it directly to the internal SATA cable.

Updates of GetDataBack are always free for licensed users. You can download the latest version on our website and activate it with your license key.

Yes, you can create Linux DD images that are compatible with GetDataBack. For example, the following command would create an image in the user's home directory:

dd if=/dev/hda of=~/hdadisk.img bs=4K conv=noerror,sync

Make sure you include the conv=noerror,sync options, so the image does not stop on read errors, and the offsets are preserved.

Yes, it does. You can recover files with names encoded in non-ASCII character sets. These include all Unicode character sets, such as Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Greek, etc.

Please map the network drive to a drive letter. If you still can not copy to the network drive, check this.

As it can not be trusted any longer, you should not, unless you know precisely your data loss was not caused by physical problems with this drive.

Another reason is, you might need to come back to the old drive, in case you miss some files in the recovery or the recovered files turn out to be corrupt.

Start a VM running Windows. Inside the VM, install GetDataBack Pro. Shut down the VM and attach the drive you want to recover data from in the VM control panel, as well as a drive to hold the recovered files. Then run GetDataBack within the Virtual Machine.

The status line gives you information about the ongoing data recovery. See legend.

The Sophistication Level is a unique feature of GetDataBack to balance the need to collect relevant information against the time it takes to do that. The concept allows for a measured approach to a drive. Our goal is to scan the "bad drive" for what is needed for the data recovery to work while ignoring uninteresting or unpromising areas on the drive.

There are four levels:

  1. * Mount file system, fastest
  2. ** Intelligent file system scan and recovery, fast
  3. *** Thorough file system scan and recovery
  4. **** Complete drive scan, find any data trace, slow

Captain Nemo mounts a drive as long as the file system structures are intact, while GetDataBack can reassemble damaged file systems.

Captain Nemo reads only the directory that is currently requested, while GetDataBack reads the entire directory structure. This makes Captain Nemo a lot faster than GetDataBack.

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