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Recovering Data From Your Memory Card

Friday, December 14th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

Recovering Data From Your Memory Card

It seems like everyone has a digital camera these days. More and more people are using them to record the wonderful moments of their lives. But, it also seems as if digital pictures are easier to lose over traditional film, because digital cameras have a useful, yet dangerous Delete button feature. A simple mistake could instantly delete one or all of your pictures. When that happens, do you think your valuable pictures are lost for good? Well, they aren’t! There are a few things you can do to recover them in most cases.

Digital cameras store the pictures you take as separate files on a flash memory card (also known as “digital film”). Memory cards have many different types as well. For example, SD, CF, xD Picture Card, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, MMC Card and more. Each card type also has a different brand, including Sandisk, Lexar and others. They have different sizes, capacity and appearance, but they are all the same when acting as a storage device to hold your pictures. When you delete a picture from your camera, your camera locates the picture’s file on your memory card, marks it as “deleted” and then frees up the space it was using. In most cases though, cameras don’t delete the picture’s file body, which makes it possible to retrieve them back after deletion!

Okay, let’s begin! To recover a deleted picture, you need to connect your camera to your computer (usually via a USB cable). If your camera doesn’t appear as a drive letter under your My Computer icon, an external USB card reader is necessary. You can find those at local computer stores and they’re very cheap. They’re very useful not only for data recovery, but also for photo retrieval. When you insert your memory card into the card reader and connect the card reader to your computer, it will appear as a drive letter under My Computer, which will allow the software tool to access the data on your memory card.

Once you have your camera or card reader connected, you may download the picture recovery software, CardRecovery, right here.

It’s a small download and you may get it in less than two minutes. Run the downloaded executable file and follow the instructions to install it on your computer. Then simply launch it. It has a wizard style interface and it’s very easy to use.

Click Next on the welcome window and it will bring you to step 1. In step 1, you may specify the drive letter of your camera or card reader, as well as other options, including the file type to retrieve, the location of where to save the recovered pictures and so on. Click Next to go to step 2 and the scan will start. Depending on the capacity of your card, it may take several minutes for the software to fully scan your memory card. When it’s done, the found pictures will be listed for you. You may preview the detected pictures as thumbnails in step 3 and you can then choose the deleted pictures you need to save. After that, click Next again and the CardRecovery program will save the selected pictures to the location you specified in step 1.

Your deleted pictures are now recovered and back again. It can’t be easier or faster to do!

More Tips

1.) Don’t take more pictures on your memory card if you find you have deleted a picture by mistake. Otherwise, it may cause overwriting and make them unrecoverable.

2.) Use a USB 2.0 connection if available to connect your camera or card reader to your computer. It may make the scan go a lot faster than a USB 1.x connection.

3.) CardRecovery’s evaluation version can scan your media and find your lost files for free. On the other hand, the internal preview feature allows you to view and check the recovered photos before you purchase the software. The software can be unlocked to a full version on the fly after purchasing it (it usually costs $45). You don’t need to exit or reinstall the program to get the other versions. Keep in mind though that the free version will do most of what you need.

Happy picture saving!

~ Zahid H. Javali

One Response to “Recovering Data From Your Memory Card”

  1. Greg Pietrowski says:

    Not sure what program will open these files now….

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