Step-by-Step Solutions for Common Problems.

Performing a Data Recovery

Below we describe the steps of a typical data recovery with GetDataBack Pro:

Steps of a Typical Data Recovery

  • 1. Install —

    GetDataBack Pro installer

    Install: Gdbprosetup.exe installing GetDataBack Pro

    Install GetDataBack on a healthy Windows machine without the drive attached that you want to recover data from ("bad drive").

  • 2. Verify free space —

    Drive properties

    Verify disk space: "Good drive" C:\ with over 50 GB free space

    Make sure you have sufficient space on the "good drive" for storing the recovered data. You also can copy the recovered data to a LAN if you have access to one. The machine you are running GetDataBack on can have any of the following operating systems: Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, 32-bit or 64-bit.

  • 3. Attach "bad drive" —

    Hard drive attached to SATA cable

    "Bad drive": 2nd drive attached as DISK1 to SATA

    SD card in laptop

    "Bad drive": SD card attached as DISK1 to USB

    Shut down the computer and connect the drive you want to recover from ("bad drive") as a 2nd drive. If it is an internal drive, attach it to the internal SATA cable and make sure it is recognized correctly by the BIOS when starting up the computer. If it is a USB drive, start up the computer and attach it to a USB port. Make sure the USB device is recognized, and the drive shows up in Windows Disk Management.

  • 4. Select the "bad drive" to recover 

    Select drive screen

    GetDataBack: Working on DISK0, recovering data from DISK1

    Start GetDataBack and verify that DISK0 is the "good drive", and DISK1 is the "bad drive". Select the "bad drive" DISK1.

  • 5. Select File System and Recovery Tree 

    Recovery Tree

    Recovery Tree: Recovered files and directories

    In the Select File System screen, select the first file system, an exFAT with 183 GB. GetDataBack will then show the Recovery Tree for this file system.

  • 6. Enter license key 

    License dialog in GetDataBack

    Enter license key: In Help—>License enter name and license key

    Buy license key at

    Buy license key: Go to

    Once you see the Recovery Tree and are ready to copy the recovered files over to the "good drive", you need to purchase a license key, if you have not already done so. Do not quit GetDataBack for purchasing or entering the license code; just enter the code and copy the files. 

  • 7. Copy the files 

    Copy progress

    Copy the files: GetDataBack displays the copy progress

    Copy dialog

    Copy the files: Copying all recovered data from [EXFAT] to C:\recovery

    Copy the recovered files. It is a good idea to start with the files you need most. Then copy all other data.

  • 8. Put the "bad drive" aside 

    After the recovery: Store the "bad drive" at a safe location

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

  • 9. Build a new system 

    Windows install screen

    Build a new system: Do not re-use the "bad drive".

    We suggest to build a brand new Windows installation 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.

  • 10. Check the recovered files 

    List of recovered pictures.

    Check the recovered files: Look into pictures.

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

Drive Errors

If you notice any mechanical problems during the recovery with the drive, such as bad sectors or unusual noise, you might want to make an image of the drive 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 any second, and you should pull the data off such a drive as fast as possible. Making an image can reduce the load on the drive, because this reads each sector only once.

On the other hand, scanning the drive with a low sophistication level () might leave broad areas untouched, thus actually reducing the stress compared to creating an image. That holds especially true if you are looking to recover only a couple of files. You might also consider to stop the recovery attempt altogether and ship the drive to a lab. 

Warning Don'ts

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 directories use the "bad drive".

  • Never copy the recovered files to the "bad drive".

More Information

Check out the GetDataBack Step-by-Step Guide, the online Help File, the FAQ, How-To's, and other Support options.

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