Select Drive

Physical Drives

GetDataBack's first screen lists all available physical drives along with their characteristics.

Click on the drive you want to recover the lost data from. Red tiles represent physical drives. Each tile contains information about the drive, such as name and capacity. Typically, you would click on the second tile labeled DISK1.

Images and Virtual Images

You can also load an image file (.img) you had previously created. Click on the yellow tile and navigate to the image file. Once you click Open, the image is added as a yellow tile to the existing tiles. You can now select the image in the same way you would select a physical drive. You can also open virtual images (.vim), for example, representing a RAID array that you created previously with RAID Reconstructor.

Logical Drives

Usually, physical drives, images, or virtual images are all you need. If you wish to add logical drives (C:, D:, etc.) to the screen, you can do so by going to TOOLS->Settings->Miscellaneous and check Show logical drives. This checkbox adds a blue tile to the screen. Clicking on it adds all compatible logical drives as blue tiles. The second screenshot on the right side shows red tiles for physical drives, blue tiles for logical drives, and yellow tiles for images and virtual images.

Drive Info

Right-clicking a tile and selecting Drive info, or going to DRIVE->Drive info (Drive) displays valuable information about a particular drive.

Start the Recovery

After clicking on the drive you want to recover, or going to DRIVE->Recover drive->(drive), GetDataBack immediately begins its analysis, looking for file systems on the selected drive. GetDataBack knows 4 distinctive sophistication levels and automatically picks the appropriate level. Should the need arise, you can set the minimum level in TOOLS->Settings->Data Recovery->Data recovery->Initial level. Once the recovery process started, you can watch its course in the progress window. In the example above, we clicked on the 17 GB Virtual Image raid.vim.

The scan should take a couple of seconds up to a couple of minutes. If it takes significantly longer, there are three possible reasons:

  1. Your drive has physical problems. If the drive has a lot of bad sectors (damaged areas on the drive's platters that cannot be read anymore) or is otherwise damaged, the scan can take a long time if it is ever going to finish.
    If you get only an occasional bad sector message, but the scan is otherwise progressing, choose "Ignore" in the warning windows and let the scan finish.
    If you receive many read error messages, though, or the scan seems to stall or is taking forever, your best bet is to stop what you are doing and to make an image of your damaged drive first. By making an image, you reduce the stress on the drive (which, if physically damaged, can fail at any moment). Once you have created the image, you can perform the data recovery for the image instead of the drive - select the image you made in the Select drive screen (click on “Image Files...”). You can use GetDataBack to make an image; the only other thing you'll need is enough space on another drive to store the image.
  2. You are scanning an external drive through the USB port. Scanning a drive through USB takes longer than scanning a drive connected to the internal SATA cable of your computer. Consider taking the drive out of its casing and attaching it directly to the SATA cable.
  3. You are scanning with a high sophistication level. Look at the purple rectangle in the lower-left corner. A Level-4 (****) scan takes many hours to complete, as it reads every sector, which is usually not necessary for a quality recovery.

Load a Previous Recovery

GetDataBack's first screen is also the place where you would load a recovery you previously ran.

Create an Image of the Drive

At this point, you can create an image of a drive if you like. An image is a good idea, especially if a drive has bad sectors.

Change Settings

If you want to run GetDataBack with settings other than the default settings, you can do so in TOOLS->Settings. For example, you could limit the types of file systems to look for or change the sophistication level.

Status Line Information

At any given time, the status line contains information about GetDataBack's current status, memory consumption, etc.


See also: Drives, Scanning the drive, Create Image, Load recovery, Sophistication level