Data acquisition is the process of making a forensic image from computer media such as a hard drive, thumb drive, CDROM, removable hard drives, thumb drives, servers and other media that stores electronic data including gaming consoles and other devices.

The forensic image is made using specialized hardware that prevents any data from being written to the source media so it remains pristine.

The forensic image, not the original media, is used by the forensic examiner to conduct the examination.

The data acquisition process includes the recording of all serial numbers and other markings using a digital camera.

The forensic image is verified against the original to ensure the forensic image is an exact duplicate of the original media.