Select File System

File System List

You see a list of the possible file systems GetDataBack has found on the left-hand side of the screen. Don't confuse the file system entries with the list of files and directories you are hoping to recover - you see those in the next step of the software.

Each tile (red in this example) represents a (possible) partition on the drive. If you had more than one partition on the drive you need to recover (for example, logical drives C:\ and D:\), you probably have to go back and forth and select the corresponding entries separately to recover all files.

If there are no entries at all, or entries are missing, there are four possible reasons:

  1. Your drive is physically damaged, and GetDataBack cannot read enough sectors on the drive to gather the required information. If you were getting many read error messages during the scan or already know that your drive has a physical problem, it might be too damaged for you to recover your data with software. You might have to send your drive to a data recovery lab. Please contact our technical support - they can help you determine if this is the case.
  2. You are scanning an external drive through USB. Since there is only limited error checking when scanning through USB, possible errors while reading the drive are not reported to GetDataBack. It can then happen that the software is unable to collect enough information to come up with a file system entry. It is best (and much quicker) to attach the drive directly to the internal SATA cable.
  3. The drive is hardware encrypted, as it is the case with some Western Digital USB drives. Encryption and decryption are handled by the USB controller of the drive's enclosure. If this is the case, you must use the drive with its original USB enclosure.
  4. The sophistication level was too low. If you do not see an entry resembling the file system you are looking for, click on the purple “Level” rectangle in the lower-left corner. Here you can increase the thoroughness with which the drive is scanned. Possible are levels * up to ****

Interpreting Individual Tiles

GetDataBack generates the file system entries using the information it has collected during the scan. By default, the most accurate file system entry is automatically on top of the list. In the example to the left, GetDataBack found two NTFS partitions, one with 14.9 GB and one with 2 GB. The third line of information in each tile indicates the size and position of that partition relative to the containing drive. As we had chosen the 17 GB drive in the first step, you can read the tiles like this:

  • 14.9 GB NTFS partition covering 88% of the 17 GB drive and beginning at 11%
  • 2 GB NTFS partition covering 11% of the 17 GB drive and beginning at 0% (start of drive)
  • We see, there is a 2 GB partition, followed by a 14.9 GB partition. In its list, GetDataBack gives preference to the larger one.

    Sometimes the file system list can contain a confusing number of entries. If the first entry does not produce what you are looking for, you need to examine the entries in greater detail. Look for a file system that comes closest to the type, size, and position of the partition you lost. If the desired file system is not in the list, try to increase the sophistication level by clicking on the purple tile in the left bottom corner.

    Supported File Systems

    Windows Windows Windows Windows Linux Apple Mac Apple Mac

    More File System Information

    Right-click a file system tile or click on FILE SYSTEM->File system info (file system) to obtain a detailed description of the found file system. Our tech support staff primarily uses this information.

    Recovery Information

    As soon as a recovery has begun, you can view the recovery info by clicking on FILE SYSTEM->Recovery info.

    Start Building the Recovery Tree

    In our example, we click on the first entry in the list. GetDataBack now begins collecting files and directories for the Recovery Tree. You can follow the progress in the progress window.

    This operation can take a couple of seconds, up to many hours, so you need to be patient. Do not stop this process unless you have to.

    If the selected file system is an APFS, the program prompts you to include old file system states.


    Use the small left and right arrows in the top left corner for going back and forth between the screens. Pressing the left arrow brings you back to the Select Drive screen. Press the right arrow, and you move forward to the next screen. You can navigate between the screens without losing the progress. If a process needs to unload a current recovery, it warns you beforehand.


    Save the Recovery

    At this point, you can save the recovery as it has progressed until now and continue later.

    Sophistication Level

    The purple tile in the left bottom shows the current sophistication level. Possible values are 1 (*) to 4 (****). The higher the level, the more file systems GetDataBack might find. You can increase the level by clicking on the purple tile. If you change the level, it is effective going forward. At the same time, the already completed scan between the Select Drive screen and this screen is elevated to the higher level by repeating the scan with the increased level.

    See also: Scan, Save recovery, Recovery info, Sophistication level, File System Details, Checklist