How to handle a memory card disaster and recover deleted photos

April 11, 2014

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Signpost along the road to recovery.Our eyes were drawn to an article by Scott Daveley on PetaPixel about his experience of recovering photos from a corrupted memory card. In the process Daveley discovered a program that while helping him save his corrupted pictures also recovered photos from the card that he had previously deleted on his camera. However, we’ll leave speculation here as to why a photographer may find this a useful feature and instead focus on the less legally grey function of the program which is the file recovery process that Daveley undertook.

Losing a set of pictures is a photog’s worst nightmare and rarely happens. But, the flood of panic Daveley had when he realized that a shoot may have been swallowed by a corrupted card apparently clouded his more rational judgement, and accidentally triggered him to take steps that made the situation worse, not better. In three short paragraphs Daveley passes on some nuggets of wisdom to give you the best chance of recovering some or all of the pictures and what lessons he learnt.

Daveley originally tried to recover the photos using a standard function called Repair Disk in Disk Utility that compressed the files so that they were smaller versions but still entirely unusable, and in his opinion this action rendered some of his pictures unrecoverable. With a solution to most things being a few Google searches away the trick is navigating the time wasting promises and testimonials and finding a reliable tutorial or well executed program. Like with most tech problems there are many useful and not so useful premium and free programs that promised a solution. Despite all the bold claims finding the right program is not easy but after several Google searches Daveley found Photorec. It’s free and it’s open source. Which is all you really need to know. Save the name and should you wander into a similar situation in the future head straight to the computer and download Photorec, since it seemed to work a treat for both Daveley and the commentators who responded to the article.

Have you used Photorec? Do you know if there are better programs out there?

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