Data acquisition is the process of making a forensic image of computer media such as a hard drive, thumb drive, CD-ROM, removable hard drives, thumb drives, servers and any other media that stores electronic data including gaming consoles, printers 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 and admissible to the courts.

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

The data acquisition process includes completion of a chain of custody document and recording all of the serial numbers and any other markings using a digital camera.