Need to recover lost or deleted files, including photos and images? Then you should check out dotTech’s review of best free file recovery software for Windows. Don’t like any of the software we mention in our review? Then Ashampoo GetBack Photo wants your business. Let’s see if it is worth your time and money.
What Is It and What Does It Do
Ashampoo GetBack Photo allows you to recover lost or deleted photos and images from your internal drives, external drives, and external devices (such as smartphones, tablets, cameras, etc.).
- Recovers deleted (i.e. photos/images deleted normally, either on purpose or accident) and lost (i.e. photos/images lost due to corruption, format, crash, etc.) photos and images
- Supports recovery of major image formats: JPG, PNG, BMP, PSD, TIF, GIF, HDP, APCDOC, PCD and “many current RAW formats”
- Supports all internal and external drives (USB flash drive, external hard drive, etc.), devices of any operating system (smartphones, tablets, cameras, etc.), and cards (microSD, etc.). Anything that is mounted in Windows as a storage device can be scanned by Ashampoo GetBack Photo.
- Is able to find and recover photos/images embedded in PDF and Word files
- Recovers EXIF and IPTC metadata
- Provides a preview of photos/images prior to you actually recovering them
- Tells you the size (resolution) of photos/images prior to you actually recovering them
- Allows you to recover photos/images in batch, meaning you don’t have to recover them one by one
- Gives you the ability to select if you want to do a “quick” scan which only looks for JPG, PNG, BMP, and GIF images or a “complex” scan which looks for all supported image formats, including JPG/PNG/BMP/GIF, PSD, and RAW. (By default Ashampoo GetBack Photo is set to do a quick scan. You can change to complex scan via Configuration -> Settings.)
- Not computer resources intensive while scanning: uses less than 20% CPU and less than 30 MB RAM while scanning. (I tested it on Win7 with a dual-core i5 processor that supports hyper-threading and 4GB RAM.)
- Is very easy to use and fairly effective — will find thousands of photos/images
- Doesn’t recover file names. It is understandable that Ashampoo GetBack Photo is unable to recover file names for images/photos lost due to corruption, format, crash, etc. but it is inexcusable that Ashampoo GetBack Photo is unable to recover file names for deleted images/photos.
- Shows preview of images that can be recovered but doesn’t allow you to view preview in full size — previews are shown as thumbnails in less than 200×150 in size
- Allows you to select a specific partition on a drive (internal or external) to scan but then scans the whole drive instead of the specific partition you selected
- Won’t detect external devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) if they are loaded into Windows as a Portable Media Player as opposed to simply being loaded into Windows as a regular storage device
- Didn’t show thumbnail previews of found images when I used Ashampoo GetBack Photo on my Android smartphone (Samsung Nexus S) but did show thumbnail previews when I used Ashampoo GetBack Photo on my internal hard drive. This leads me to believe thumbnail previews are only shown when scanning internal drives but are not shown when scanning external drives/devices. Because the developer doesn’t specifically mention thumbnail previews are only for internal devices, I’m chalking this one up as a bug.
- Doesn’t always properly recover photos/images it shows as recoverable. For example, some photos/images are still corrupted and only parts of the “recovered” image as oppose to it all. I realize that not all photos/images are properly recoverable (due to how drives work — once a file has been written over it is near impossible to recover) but if a photo/image is not able to be properly recovered, why is Ashampoo GetBack Photo showing it as recoverable?
- Is not intelligent enough to differentiate between photos that have been lost or accidentally deleted and photos/images that were purposefully deleted (i.e. junk photos/images you don’t want to recover). More specifically, recovers photos/images from the temporary files of internet browsers instead of ignoring them because those photos/images were, 99 out of 100 times, purposefully deleted. The program should at least give users the option to disable recovering purposefully deleted photos/images (such as the just-mentioned photos/images in temp files).
- Is not computer resources intensive while scanning but Ashampoo GetBack Photo is computer resource intensive while recovering images/photos — uses roughly 60-85% CPU and RAM usage constantly increases as photos/images are being recovered — it ended up at over 1,000 MB RAM for me by the time it was done recovering roughly 15,000 photos/images. (I tested it on Win7 with a dual-core i5 processor that supports hyper-threading and 4GB RAM.)
- Is very slow. Took roughly 73 minutes to scan a 13.3 GB drive, and over an hour to actually recover roughly 15,000 photos/images that were found. And this was while using the quick scan feature. Imagine how slow it would be with complex scan.
- NOTE: The slow speed of this program is directly related to the fact that it uses relatively few computer resources while scanning. However, I’m not sure why it takes so long to actually recover images/photos after Ashampoo GetBack Photo finds them.
- Must be run from within Windows — does not support the ability to boot from CD/DVD/USB recoverable/rescue media from outside Windows
- Hasn’t been updated since April 2012, meaning development of Ashampoo GetBack Photo is either dead or very slow. Whatever the case maybe, you don’t want to shell out $19.95 for a program with dead or slow development.
- Only works with photos/images. I realize that this program is specifically designed for just photos/images but if I were to pay for a shareware file recovery program, I’d want to pay for one that does photos/images plus other files. It should be mentioned, however, Ashampoo GetBack Photo is just $19.95, which is not a very high price for a file recovery program… so the fact that it only supports photos/images is not a deal-breaker but still deserves being mentioned.
- Ashampoo GetBack Photo only works inside Windows. It is unable to run from bootable/recovery CD/DVD/USB and recover/undelete files from outside Windows. This is a non-issue if you intend on using Ashampoo GetBack Photo on an external drive (USB flash, external hard drive, etc.), external device (smartphone, tablet, camera, etc.), or external card (microSD, etc.). However, this is a major issue if you intend on using Ashampoo GetBack Photo on your internal hard drive. Confused? Let me explain.
- Ashampoo GetBack Photo — which is currently v1.0.1 at the time of this writing — was last updated on April 6, 2012. That means it hasn’t been updated for over a year. It still works today but I would never pay money for a shareware program, nor would I recommend you pay money for a shareware program, that is either no longer being updated or updates are very slow — especially not for a program that provides features found in dozens upon dozens of other shareware and freeware programs.
When I first came across Ashampoo GetBack Photo, I initially thought it only recovered deleted photos and images and not lost photos/images. However, then, after a bit more research, I learned it recovers both lost and deleted photos and images and I was overjoyed, because Ashampoo typically makes great programs. That means Ashampoo GetBack Photo is a great program, too, right? Wrong, unfortunately.
On the surface, Ashampoo GetBack Photo looks like a winner. It is easy to use, is able to recover major images formats, supports internal and external drives, devices such as smartphones/tablets/cameras, and cards, and is relatively cheap for a file recovery program — just $19.95. However, when you get beneath the surface, there are way too many drawbacks to this program.
The first thing I noticed when testing Ashampoo GetBack Photo is it is not able to recover file names of found photos/images. Not recovering file names is a known issue when recovering files that have been lost (i.e. files lost due to crash, format, corruption, etc.) so you can’t fault Ashampoo GetBack Photo for that. However, recovering file names for regularly deleted files (i.e. files that were deleted normally and were not deleted due to crash, format, corruption, etc.) is extremely poor programming on Ashampoo’s part; all the good file recovery programs are able to recover file names for files that have been undeleted.
After I got past the annoyance of not having file names, I found another irk: Ashampoo GetBack Photo provides thumbnail previews of all recoverable photos/images but the previews are just that — thumbnails. You cannot view image previews in full size, which makes it extremely difficult to find only the specific photos/images that you are looking for.
Finally, when I actually restored photos/images Ashampoo GetBack Photo told me were recoverable, I noticed some “recoverable” photos and images were actually not recoverable — they were corrupted and didn’t show the whole image/photo. I can’t fault Ashampoo GetBack Photo for not properly recovering all lost/deleted images/photos because that is simply the nature of file recovery. However, I do have an issue with Ashampoo GetBack Photo showing me corrupted images/photos are being recoverable; if they can’t be properly recovered, then don’t show them to me.
Aside from that, there are plenty of other issues with Ashampoo GetBack Photo. I won’t readdress all the major issues in this Discussion section because you can read about them in the Cons list above, but I do want to mention two things:
You see when a file is deleted or lost, it still exists on a physical sector on your hard drive until new data is written over that sector — you just can’t see the file in your file table on Windows because it has been deleted/lost. So when you want to recover lost photos, images, files, etc. it is essential to not use the computer/drive/device from which you want to recover files because whenever you use the computer/drive/device, there is a chance the files you want to recover will be overwritten and thus be unrecoverable.
This is easy to do with external drives/devices/cards because you can simply stop using them, plug them into your computer, and use Ashampoo GetBack Photo (or any other file recovery program that you have) on them. However, this is extremely hard to do with internal hard drives because Ashampoo GetBack Photo because only runs from within Windows. In other words, not only would you have to run Windows to use Ashampoo GetBack Photo but you would have to install it if you don’t have it installed already; in the case of your Windows installation being corrupted or having crashed, you will have to reinstall Windows, install Ashampoo GetBack Photo, and then run it.
All these situations lead to a high chance that the photos/images you want to recover will be overwritten and be unrecoverable. If Ashampoo GetBack Photo was able to run from outside Windows using bootable/recovery CD/DVD/USB, this wouldn’t be an issue in any of the situations I just mentioned.
It is almost like Ashampoo had a junior programmer create Ashampoo GetBack Photo and it turned out to be so bad that they decided to ditch the program altogether and stop updating it instead of wasting money trying to fix it. Except that they are still trying to sell it to people.
Conclusion and Download Link
Typically, Ashampoo programs are of high quality and many people are fans of Ashampoo. However, Ashampoo GetBack Photo is the exception to the rule. Sure it is able to recover tens of thousands of lost/deleted photos and images but it is buggy, does not perform intelligent recovery, does not recover file names, and is slow. To top it off, Ashampoo GetBack Photo must be run from within Windows (which is a terrible idea for anyone wanting to recover photos/images on the computer that Ashampoo GetBack Photo is installed on) and it hasn’t been updated in over one year. I recommend skipping this program.
Instead of Ashampoo GetBack Photo, you should check out dotTech’s review of best free file recovery programs for Windows. Not only do the programs in our review recover lost/deleted photos and images but they also support other file formats. Check them out.
Version reviewed: 1.0.1
Supported OS: Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Download size: 7.7 MB
VirusTotal malware scan results: 1/45
Is it portable? No