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Recover Corrupted Digital Pictures from CF Memory Cards

This is a how-to procedure for recovering data from CF Memory Cards, CompactFlash Memory and other Memory Sticks, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Micro, MultiMediaCard (MMC), Reduced Size MMC (RS-MMC), Secure Digital (SD), miniSD, microSD (TransFlash), SmartMedia, and xD-Picture Cards. See: Memory cards: All your questions answered.

Some but not all of my pictures on a CF card for my digital camera are corrupted.

Know of any free software to try and recover the corrupted ones?

That was a question a friend sent me the other day.

Well, as is typically the case with technology issues today, it is called trial by fire learning.

Started off with finding the following page:
Recover Lost Digital Photos from Corrupt Memory Cards

ZAR Zero Assumption Digital Image RecoveryThis lead to ZAR Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery

ZAR 8.3 now includes the (freely available) mode to recover digital images. Generally, the program should work with any media type (e.g. CompactFlash, MemoryStick, SmartMedia and so on) accessible by means of the operating system. You need to use your camera or the appropriate card reader you normally use to transfer images from the camera to the PC.

Current version (ZAR 8.3) supports digital photo recovery for the following file formats:

  • GIF
  • JPEG
  • TIFF
  • CRW – Canon RAW data
  • MOV, AVI movie
  • WAV – Waveform audio
  • CR2 – Canon CR2 RAW format (see notes below).
  • ORF – Olympus RAW format

I also found the following open source software. The free digital file data recovery software is available for Windows, Apple Mac, Linux, and even DOS operating systems.

PhotoRecPhotoRec is a file data recovery software designed to recover lost files; including video, documents, and archives from Hard Disks and CDRoms, and lost pictures (thus, its ‘Photo Recovery’ name) from digital camera memory cards. PhotoRec ignores the filesystem and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media’s filesystem has been severely damaged or re-formatted.

PhotoRec is free. This open source multi-platform application is distributed under GNU Public License. PhotoRec is a companion program to TestDisk, an app for recovering lost partitions on a wide variety of filesystems and making non-bootable disks bootable again. You can download TestDisk & PhotoRec here.

For more safety, PhotoRec uses read-only access to handle the drive or memory support of the storage device you are about to recover lost data from. Important: As soon as a pic or file is accidentally deleted, or you discover any missing pictures, do NOT save any more pictures or files to that memory device or hard disk drive; otherwise you may overwrite your lost data. This means that even using PhotoRec, you must not choose to write the recovered files to the same partition they were stored on.

Good Luck on your data recovery.

Note: There may be something worse than corrupted images on a camera memory card when it comes to your business. You could be loosing a lot more sales for your business than you think, by not having a website that is search engine friendly. Is your business-to-business or business-to-consumer website search engine friendly? Find out today with a free Internet marketing and search engine optimization evaluation.

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Category: Hardware, Software
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  • Anonymous says:

    If the memory card is not recognized in the PC or it is impossible to access the data on it, the controller on the card is damaged. There is only one way to get the data back, unsolder memory chips and directly access their raw data with a programable chip reader. Software can’t help, that is a physical damage! Have a look at: CF xD SD card photo recovery

    March 16, 2009 at 1:59 AM

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