This is a review of GetDataBack, a Windows data recovery tool.
I’ve written hundreds of software reviews and how-tos for business users and offered IT training and support over several decades. I’ve taken an in-depth look at GetDataBack to let you know how likely it is to recover your lost data.
I found GetDataBack to be a little on the slow side and industry tests demonstrate that it’s not the most effective application on the market. As I result, I don’t recommend the software and list some better alternatives at the end of this article.
In this GetDataBack review, I’ll explore the types of data the application can restore, how long this is likely to take, and weigh up your chance of success. I’ll also list other features that are offered and whether it’s suitable for beginners or advanced users.
Let’s get started.
GetDataBack is a Windows application capable of recovering lost data from Windows, Mac, and Linux drives. It is a one-time purchase of $79 which includes free lifetime updates. A free trial will show you if your files can be recovered before you are required to pay.
How is data recovery possible? When a file is deleted, it is not removed from the directory or folder that lists your files, nor is its data removed from your drive. It is simply marked as being deleted.
But recovery is not guaranteed. In time, as you create new files, both the directory entry and data are likely to be overwritten.
Methods of data recovery offered:
- Level 1: Mount the file system, fastest
- Level 2: Intelligent file system scan and recovery, fast
- Level 3: Thorough file system scan and recovery
- Level 4: Complete drive scan, find any data, slow
Supported storage media: Supports all hard drives, SSD, flashcards, and USB drives, including very large drives.
Disclaimer: It is difficult to recover data from solid-state drives (SSDs). The TRIM technology that increases their efficiency also makes it impossible to recover your files once the trash has been emptied.
Supported file systems: Most commonly-used formats, including:
- Windows NTFS, FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT
- Apple HFS+, APFS
- Linux EXT, EXT2, EXT3, EXT4
Supported file types: Most popular image, music, document, video, archive, and email formats.
System Requirements: 4 GB RAM, Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10, Server 2008, 2012, 2016, 32 or 64 bit.
GetDataBack offers a number of additional features:
- Sorting and searching the files located to narrow down the results to a more manageable number
- Identifying duplicate files
- Bootable recovery drive
- Disk imaging
However, it lacks a few features offered by some other recovery applications:
- Pause and resume
- Saving scans for recovery at a later time
- Previewing located files
- Recovery Vault to store deleted files for guaranteed recovery
- File overwriting (secure delete)
- Other drive cleanup features
- SMART monitoring for early warning of failing hard drives
- Mail-in recovery service
GetDataBack’s interface looks a little dated and includes technical information. However, you’ll normally be able to scan for lost data with just a few clicks of the mouse. When going beyond what the software offers to do, I found the software unintuitive, but eventually found my way.
Scanning for lost files can be time-consuming. How fast is GetDataBack?
It scanned a 4 GB USB stick in just a few seconds. This was a quick scan (identified as Level 1), and I couldn’t immediately find a way to force it to do a Level 2 (deep) scan.
I discovered that when you click on “Level 1” a list of all of the levels is displayed. I clicked on Level 4 and scanned the drive again. This time it took 10 minutes and located a larger number of lost files.
This is a little slow. I tested 17 other data recovery apps on the same drive, and many took just four or five minutes. Just two apps were slower, one taking 14 minutes, and the other a very slow 47.
Data recovery can never be guaranteed. How successful was GetDataBack at recovering data in industry tests?
Data Recovery Digest does a comparative test of data recovery applications every year. In 2021 they removed GetDataBack from consideration due to poor results in 2020.  Its test results the previous year came in at last place.  It’s not all bad news, though. It attained the best result in data recovery from deleted partitions.
ThinkMobiles agrees. When they tested the software they gave it a restore efficiency of just 50%. This score came from mixed results. It was able to restore all 126 files that were deleted, but after formatting the drive, it was unable to restore any of them. 
Runtime Software’s Support page offers software documentation, how-to guides, FAQs, and policies.  The support team can be contacted by phone (the US and European numbers are listed) or email.
Is GetDataBack safe?
Yes, the software is read-only and will not attempt to fix or modify the drive you are scanning. Recovered data is saved to a different drive.
Is GetDataBack free?
No. You can scan for lost data with the free trial version, but data recovery requires you to purchase a license.
If GetDataBack isn’t right for you, here are some alternatives I recommend.
Stellar Data Recovery
Stellar Data Recovery is an easy-to-use application with a wide variety of features. It is a reliable and effective application, but its scans can be time-consuming. It’s available on both Windows and Mac.
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
EaseUS Data Recovery offers an easy-to-use wizard that will scan your drive quickly for lost files. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
R-Studio is an advanced tool suitable for data recovery professionals. It’s available for both Windows and Mac.
I don’t recommend GetDataBack. It’s a little slow, test results are inconsistent and not encouraging, and it costs around the same as more effective software tools.
Stellar Data Recovery and EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard are both easier to use and much more effective. EaseUS’s product scans the drives quicker, while Stellar is a more thorough application. They have both performed very well in comparative industry tests.
R-Studio is a third alternative but is not suitable for beginners. Designed for data recovery professionals, it offers the best chance of success if you’re willing to take the time to learn its intricacies.