Runtime Software produces a range of data recovery tools aimed at both consumers and IT professionals. While the service has both RAID and NAS recovery programs, Runtime doesn’t produce Mac or mobile recovery tools. There is, however, a Windows recovery tool, GetDataBack Simple, which we’ll be looking at in this review.
Data recovery tools can be used to reclaim files that you’ve accidentally deleted or have been wiped out by a program, power outage or virus. Some tools, including GetDataBack Simple, can also be used to recover data from lost, formatted or corrupted partitions. The program can even be used to recover data from USB flash drives and external storage.
However, while it offers some good recovery options, GetDataBack Simple is just not as powerful or user-friendly as our other best data recovery software — especially when you consider it’s priced similarly to better options. Stick with us as we break down GetDataBack Simple point-by-point and help you decide if you’re better off looking elsewhere.
Alternatives for GetDataBack Simple
Pricing & Licensing
Runtime originally produced two separate data recovery tools for NTFS and FAT file systems — both are Windows file systems. Now, like most other recovery solution, Runtime combines recovery for both with its GetDataBack Simple tool.
Regardless of which you purchase, your license will be good for any of the three programs. So, if you prefer to use an application dedicated to NTFS or FAT, you can.
Beyond that, Runtime produces a few other data recovery tools for IT professionals. These include their RAID and NAS recovery application. However, they’re priced separately and expensively.
- : Basic file recovery for Windows and Linux file systems. Lifetime license.
- : Basic file recovery for FAT files systems only. Lifetime license.
- : Basic file recovery for NTFS files systems only. Lifetime license.
- : Recover data from RAID storage. Lifetime license.
- : Recover data from XFS- or EXT-formatted NAS devices. Lifetime license.
- : Includes GetDataBack, DiskExplorer, Disk Digger, RAID Reconstructor, Captain Nemo. Lifetime technicians license for commercial use.
Runtime doesn’t make recovery software for Mac or mobile devices. They do, however, offer discounts for multiple purchases if you run a business. They also offer a trial version, so you can play around with the software to see if it works for you.
GetDataBack Simple offers most of the basic features you’d expect from a data recovery service. Here’s a concise overview of what you get. To see more clearly how this feature set stacks up against the other data recovery tools, you’ll want to read our data recovery roundup.
|Save Scan Results|
|Sort by File Type|
|Scan by File Type|
|Add New File Types|
|Full Hard-Drive Scan|
|Deleted/Lost File Recovery|
|Corrupted Partition Recovery|
|Deleted Partition Recovery|
|Bootable USB Device||Sold separately|
|Recovery CD||Sold separately|
|External Drive Recovery|
|Removable Media Recovery|
|SD Card Recovery|
|Optical Storage Recovery|
|RAID Recovery||Sold separately|
Runtime Software also puts out a free cloning tool called DriveImage XML that you can use to clone your hard drive or a partition byte-by-byte. This can be used for recovery later, or to upgrade to a new hard drive.
The feature list is exhaustive, but there are several missing that competing solutions do offer, like SD and optical drive recovery, and live chat support. Paying extra for RAID recovery isn’t necessary either if you go with a tool like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard or Prosoft Engineering Data Rescue. Read our EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard review and Prosoft Engineering Data Rescue review for more on these two excellent solutions.
Another, bigger issue with Simple is that you can’t scan data based on file type or save scan results, which we’ll touch on more in our “process” segment. As far as supported file types, GetDataBack simple recognizes of the ones you’d expect, including:
- Documents: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF
- Images: JPEG, PNG, RAW, Photoshop, Illustrator
- Audio: MP3, WAV, AIFF, AAC, Ogg
- Videos: MPEG-4, QuickTime, AVI, WMV
- Archives: Zip, Gzip, RAR, Stuffit
Supported file systems include NTFS, FAT, exFAT (external drive) and EXT (Linux).
One of the first things that stands out about GetDataBack when you start it up is that it’s not very pretty. The application is blockish with contrasting colors, making it feel like something from the early 90s.
Some might argue that looks aren’t that important when it comes to diagnostic file tools. However, clunky design can be pretty distracting and slow users down, which is the case with GetDataBack. Drink some caffeine or take a cold shower, though, and getting a scan running is pretty straightforward.
Step one, either select a “drive” or choose the option for “image files.” The term “image files” in this case will be grossly misleading to most users. Image files doesn’t refer to photos, but rather .img files, which are binary files that store raw volume copies.
We wanted to work with our test computer’s drive, so we went with the first option. Doing so caused GetDataBack Simple to scan for file partitions and display them on screen. This information is pulled from the partition table, which doesn’t include drive names. So, you’ll need to guess which volume is the one you want to scan based on size.
One thing that jumped out is that GetDataBack Simple did list in these results a test partition we created and deleted. Not all data recovery tools let you scan for lost partitions like this, so credit where it’s due. We scanned the 518GB partition listed to illustrate the rest of the recovery process.
This partition is our computer’s designated “data” partition (drive “D”). Once selected, GetDataBack builds out a file tree by mounting the partition. This won’t be enough to reacquire deleted or lost files. To do that, you’ll want to run a scan that incorporates a recovery algorithm.
Most data recovery solutions split such scans into “quick” and “deep,” with quick scans being able to recover recently deleted files in most cases. GetDataBack Simple does this differently and offers four levels of scans. The problem with these added levels is that they just lead to confusion. Simple doesn’t do a good job of explaining their use, either, which is likely because the value here is thin at best.
You can make your selection by clicking the “level” button in the bottom-right corner of the tool. The level one scan is what we just did: a build out the partition’s file tree. It’s not generally valuable, though, unless you’re dealing with a non-mounting partition. For the deepest level of scan, you’ll want go with level four, which scours your drive, block by block, to reconstruct files based on file pattern.
Start any scan level and a log window will keep you apprised of the progress made and how much time the program anticipates remains before completion.
Once the scan completes, you can browse files by file tree. Files you’ve deleted should be in the “recycle bin” folder if successfully recovered.
We don’t like that you can’t browse recovered items by file type or search for files, making it hard to sort through data. You can preview a file by double clicking on it to make sure its what you’re looking for, though. That said, we’d like to be able to browse files by thumbnail previews.
When you find files you want to recover, you’ll need to right click on them and select “copy.” To recover multiple files, you’ll need to highlight them all first. A less clumsy solution to the process would be to have checkable boxes beside files and folders.
Another issue with the tool is that there’s no option to save your scan results like there is with some competing tools. So, if you find yourself not ready to recover your files, you’ll likely need to go through the whole scan process again later.
Overall, GetDataBack Simple isn’t hard to use, but doesn’t quite live up to its name when compared to more user-friendly and advanced tools like Stellar, despite being priced similarly read our Stellar Data Recovery review for the best on the market).
We put GetDataBack Simple through some data recovery paces on our test computer. We ran scans against a 518GB data partition. We also created and deleted a 10.76GB partition to see if it could recover that.
We ran level 2 and level 4 scans on our “D” partition. Before that, we created and deleted three test files to see if we could recover them: a Word doc, a .jpg image and a .mp4 video. Typically, we like to perform a full hard drive scan, also, but that’s not an option with Simple.
Here are the results of our tests:
|Quick (Lv2) Scan (500GB Partition)||Five minutes|
|Deep (Lv4) Scan (500 GB Partition)||3 hours, 15 minutes|
|Full HD Scan (1TB)||Not an option|
|Word Doc Recovered|
|Video File Recovered|
|Image File Recovered|
|Recovered Deleted Partition|
As far as speed, Simple performs adequately. Deep scan times aren’t as fast as EaseUS or Stellar Phoenix. But these times don’t lag too far behind CleverFiles (read our CleverFiles Disk Drill review), and beat most of the rest of the competition.
RunTime Software maintains a central support portal for all of their products. This portal includes software documentation, how-to guides and FAQs for GetDataBack Simple. The guides are well done and should be sufficient to walk you through most basic procedures.
The service also provides technical support by email with 24-hour response times and separate email addresses for U.S. and European customers. They have telephone contact numbers listed, too, but these are only available for sales inquiries.
No online chat or user forum options put Runtime behind other similarly priced data recovery services.
GetDataBack Simple gets the job done but that’s about it.
The wizard isn’t nearly as intuitive as some of the others we tested. Some options are hidden, the color scheme is distracting, the work flows aren’t natural, you can’t scan by specific file types, you can’t save scans … the list of misses goes on.
Our conclusion: If you’re spending good money on a data recovery tool, go with one that offers more features and a more efficient experience.
Have you used GetDataBack Simple? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below and thank you for reading.