Storage

Get Data Back: The Right Tool for the Job?

Identify The Patient

All hard disk drives fail. The only question is when. While numerous recovery utilities exist, Get Data Back from Runtime Software proves to be the Right Tool for simplifying the process. Here's how it works.

You may click here to download a free demo version of the software.

Data recovery begins with identifying a failed disk requiring rescue. Here you can see a failed hard disk connected to this Windows XP system registers as the H drive (although it's not immediately evident this hard disk is experiencing trouble).

Keep in mind that any software-based recovery tool (such as Get Data Back) requires that the hard drive's physical properties remain intact. In other words, a hard disk must still be able to power up, spin and read data to enable recovery using software-based tools.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

87 comments
Minion
Minion

Would it recover a previous version of a .pst? User deleted emails that he wants to recover. his .pst is fine, just missing some of the mssgs he wants. -corey

computerlogic
computerlogic

Actually, the easiest way is 1) Buy one of those USB to IDE conversion kits from eBay ($10.00). 2) Hook the drive up to one of your USB ports, browse to it and if the FAT is still intact, start copying files. If the drive is "Unreadable" then use "RecoverMyFiles" or a similar program to go in and start the file recovery process. I generally do this while the drive is sitting on a block of chemical ice. That way, if heat was the original problem it won't interfere with the recovery process.

sharithmk
sharithmk

yes good software i allso try this one

gen.sicaeros
gen.sicaeros

It is the best policy to make regular backups. Today, only fools make the mistake of not backing up, or if not fools, then people who understand the risk of not backing up and are ok with spending the kind of money required to do data recovery sercivices.

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

Ah there is nothing like a good backup and restore system for your stand alone PC. Keep your data in a safe place like off the stand alone PC and off of SATA drives which from my experience only last between two and three years. Now if only someone would allow a windows PC to mirror a disk and no, not ghost; a real hardware/or software mirror. Spend all of your hard earned cash on application, services and such to get your data off a hard drive when we should be putting our money on the root issue of having a second and reliable (not SATA) drive in our systems. I guess one day we'll have a realiable system.

RightPaddock
RightPaddock

If the data's critical enough to warrant the effort required to recover it from a crash using GetBackData and the like, then it might be better to keep it on a raid 5 array. Nothing can beat hot swapping a disk for a fresh one, the user experiences zero down time. BTW - Will GDB restore ALL the streams on an NTFS drive.

TonyKl
TonyKl

Best recovery tool I've used. Fixes NTFS, FAT, Novell, linux. With some rigging it can also fix Mac and Tivo drives. www.grc.com/spinrite

tony.taylor
tony.taylor

Does this work well with CRC (cyclic redundancy check) errors?

mmccole
mmccole

This is a files system level recovery tool, there are many utilities that do the same thing as this one does. If your drive is hosed to the point where the files system is unreadable, this tool can not help you. In my opinion, the absolute best software tool for rescuing failed hard drives is Spin Rite. It is file system independent and can rescue drives running any flavor of OS: Windows, Unix, Linux, Be OS etc. If your hard drive has experienced head crash or electronic failure, no software tool will help.

HaroldH
HaroldH

http://www.selkierescue.com/ The other big problem is that the OS has failed and you can't get to the drive. Like the blue screen of death. Boot your dead computer using a Selkie Rescue CD and you can then copy all your files from one machine to another through a network or crossover cable. Easy as pie.

twiga
twiga

The hard drive on my Mac was acting up, and then just crashed completely. Most of the data had been backed up previously, but there were those wayward files not included in the backup set. My sister-in-law suggested the freezing technique. So I replaced the drive, mounted the faulty one in an aluminum enclosure, wrapped it in a plastic bag with a firewire cable protuding and tossed it in -20 degree C freezer for 8 hours. I was stunned to recover the contents of the entire drive! No fooling--it really worked. A week later an acquaintance had a similar problem, and repeating the process achieved the same result. So definitely worth a try.

t91
t91

Why pay $80 for something less when Ubuntu (Linex) is free? And Ubuntu works w/ a dead Computer if the disk drive is accessible? t91

fernlyn
fernlyn

what about a knoppix disk? there is so much softwear out there that is free .. PhotoRec is free, this open source multi-platform application is distributed under GNU Public License. PhotoRec ignores the filesystem and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media's filesystem has been severely damaged or re-formatted...F:)

pcbman
pcbman

I use ZAR (Zero Assumption Recovery). Unless its a mechanical failure, it usually does the job. It even recovered a botched "partition magic" operation where the data had been moved but the MFT had not been updated. Downside is it has to be on a bootable PC but you can use a USB drive adapter to access the drive your working on. Hasn't let me down yet unless its a mechanical failure. my 2cts. Rregards. Jim

tim
tim

Knoppix (google it) works better then anything on a dead hard drive. And it is free.

flamarionalmeida
flamarionalmeida

Well, I need to recover data from a RAID Zero pair of disks due to motherboard fatal failure. Please, does it help me? Of course, if a purchase a brand new Asus P4P800 SE? Any help will be very much appreciated! Flamarion Almeida

peterm0
peterm0

If the hard drive spins up and reads data correctly from its platters, then it hasn't failed! Am I missing something here??

wrv
wrv

Get Data Back looks like a great tool to recover files that were deleted or lost during a format. If the disk has "physical" errors, I always run SpinRight to see if I can recover the bad sectors and get ALL the data back. And running SpinRight once a month accesses every sector of your hard drive, so the automatic sector relocation can take place. It looks like running Get Data Back might accomplish that same task. That is, run it on a working drive, just to have every sector inspected. The hard drive's internal software will relocate blocks that are failing.

bogsibogs_102002
bogsibogs_102002

Hi guys, I have a USB hard disk 120 GB then I accidentally drop it about 2-3 feet high. Result is my hard disk did not work already but computer can still make a drive letter for it the problem is I want to retrieve my files can you help me to do this. what shall I do?

cquirke
cquirke

It's helpful if such tools can run off bootable mOS CDRs such as WinPE or Bart. Also, I'd want to know how this handles corrupted NTFS structure, and/or provides tools for manual editing to repair this.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

Use this wild card>*.* An example would be START>SEARCH>All files and folders>All or part of the file name>In the box type the file type then the wild card>c_*.*>Where c_ is the file type.

pf1681
pf1681

Does it work with recovering data off of a corrupt DVD??? I have a Sony camera that writes directly to a DVD. I have about 300 pic on the DVD. Droped the camera and now can not access the pics.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

It's in 'System Tools'.For 'Restore' I use 'Advanced Mode' and replace all files.If you want to erase the drive and restore you need the floppy that is made and the XP CD.Press F2 at the prompt and you're in.However,it doesn't work with a DVD,unless---.I made my back up file right on the desktop and copied it to a DVD.At the prompt put the DVD in,then copy/paste the file to the 'User' desktop because the restore program won't recognize the DVD.Click 'My Computer' then 'Desktop' to get the 'Backup' file to appear,'Finish' and it reboots to a clean install.Some DVD cases may be different,R/W DVD and so on.

ralphb
ralphb

I can confirm that this product works well - with Raid Reconstructor I managed to rebuild a broken Raid O array and get all the data back for a client who just never backs up - excellent program!

cbader
cbader

I use a program called File Scavenger that works really well. http://quetek.com/prod02.htm Another program that works really well is Recovery Expert Deluxe from Acronis. It can recover a deleted partition with all of your data in just a couple of minutes.

sveldkamp
sveldkamp

The Linux System Rescue CD (sysresccd.org) comes with a tool called dd-rescue which I've used successfully. You'll want to be a little comfortable with Linux, but even reading the man page on dd-rescue and learning how to mount the partition to recover to is worth having a (basically) identical image of your data, minus the unreadable bits.

kyle
kyle

GetDataBack is very useful with trying to recover files. It is slow, but tends to do a great job finding stuff. I still remember using it back in Windows 98 to recover files from my corrupt floppies in high school. Dang you screwed up school floppy drives (certain computers always bombed floppies it seems). In theory you can run it off a Windows live CD, but I've never tested it.

joseph.stanczak
joseph.stanczak

What about for laptops? Will this work from a WinPE/BartPE bootable CD?

ozi Eagle
ozi Eagle

Hi, My systen uses two external (ide) hard drives in NDAS boxes from Ximeta, configured as RAID 1 mirrored drives. They connect via ethernet to my LAN and I have access to all my data from any of my computers that have the Ximeta software installed. Its a bit slow sometimes calling up data, but in general I find it great. I backup 3 times a day to another HDD in my computer. Herb

sain.david
sain.david

Mirroring is and has been available for many years. I was running RAID drives under NT 10 years ago and it wasn't new then. Hardware mirroring doesn't care if you run Windoze, *nux, or whatever, as long as there are drivers for the OS. I think Windoze will do some sort of software mirror from XP on, but I've never looked into it as I never put my trust in Microsoft. My MOBO from Asus has two RAID controllers built in that work with windows, and I've got over a TB in disks mirrored. Works beautifully. And if your having failures with your SATA drives, perhaps you should look at a different model or manufacturer. My WD drives have been on for years working like fine Swiss clockwork (I seldom power off this machine though - that could be part of my success).

dlauer
dlauer

I have to agree Spinrite does a great job in many cases. Just remember that Spinrite is modifing/marking sectors of the drive bad.(After recovering the Data) so windows can read the rest of the disk. This can also cause problems when the motor is failing. The program rocks but be patient! Let it run for the days or weeks it wants. You may get the data back. The main thing to remember is that there are many tools, each made for different problems. Some seem to work better than others for different issues. Practice and play on your old drives so you know what to do when you need to fix a real problem. Dave

mdsock
mdsock

Walmart sells something from Reynolds (as in Reynolds Wrap) to vacuum freeze food. It's a very small pump for $9 that draws air out of a bag using a one way valve(special bags are needed - of course ? but the pump comes with 3 of the 1 quart size). It isn't too hard to modify a bag to run data and power cables out and then seal it. That way you can pull all the air out and the moisture with it, so you don't have to worry about frost. Pull the drive out of the freezer, wrap it in some kind of insulation, hook it up and cross your fingers.

garylgilbert
garylgilbert

if PC INSPECTOR will not recover it i have also had good luck using r-studio and bad copy pro.

mmccole
mmccole

Spin Rite will recover all the data if there is any possibility of getting the data from the drive without opeing it up. If the drive is goofed up due to data errors, as opposed to someone screwing the drive up manually, Spin Rite is the best tool.

t.rohner
t.rohner

the name of the program is SpinRite. It helped me quite a couple of times. It's not OS specific anymore in its latest version. If someone doesn't have it already, you can find it on grc.com with lots of other interesting and useful stuff. (no affiliation whatsoever)

subscribe
subscribe

Try using software called MediaRecover for damaged image files. You see it at allume.com but I got mine with a Paperport upgrade

wescrook
wescrook

I have also used Active File Recovery on many drives and it has performed flawlessly. Also, the makers of CCleaner have a utility called Recuva (pronounced Recover) that is FREE and does the same thing. I have yet to fully test it, however. As for those people suggesting hooking up the drive as a slave, why not get a USB to Sata/IDE converter? Bytecc makes them, get it off Newegg, they are a LIFESAVER. No messing with jumpers, cables, etc. Just plug the device into the drive, plug in the power, then plug the USB into a good computer and away you go. Unplug the drive when you're done.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I would recommend purchasing a USB hard drive enclosure that will allow you to attach a 2nd hard drive to the laptop. This will give you the same capability to work on the HD as a desktop system. Bill

a.southern
a.southern

I've had similar problems with a DVD that went fubar, it has no boot sector so microsnot won't recognise the drive yet alone the data on it. most DVD recoveries only work on data it knows is there. -AS

ozi Eagle
ozi Eagle

Hi, One reason that I prefer to connect this sus drive as a slave to my "play" computer to recover data is that I have had instances where the drive connected via USB is not recognized or the system sees it as corrupted. Plugging it into my computer as a slave and booting causes windows to recognize that there is a problem with the drive and then runs scandisk and restores the drive to functionality, at least long enough to rip any dta off it. NOTE this is not a data recovery process and only works with intermittent drives that fail after a period of use. Herb

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I am looking to purchase one of these for laptop sized hard drives. Would be really helpful for desktops also now that you mentioned it. I wouldn't need to tear into the machine as much that way. From the quick search I did it looks like these aren't very expensive either. Bill

ecooper12
ecooper12

I prefer an adapter. Blackbox and others sell these for $30-60, they have a USB to IDE/SATA interface, the IDE side fits a notebook drive and has an adapter for the larger desktop drives - they're great...

dleippe
dleippe

Iso buster works well to recover data from optical media...