How to recover digital photos and video from a corrupted or deleted memory chip or PC
Photo and video recovery
For many home users, the most important information stored on hard disk drives, CDs or DVDs is their collection of photos. Application programs can be reloaded, but a wedding, holiday, birthday party can not be re-run. Unfortunately, memory chips can be accidentally deleted or reformatted, and also they can ‘hiccup’ when removed from camera, resulting in loss of photos
CnW photo recovery software has simple tools, wizards, to recover all digital photos, and AVIs, AVCHDs, MP4s from disk drives, CDs and memory chips.
Digital photo recovery is probably the most tolerant type of data to be recovered from a disk for several reasons.
- Most files are JPEG, or TIFF
- Files are relatively short, ie less than 2-3MB
- The file name is often not very important
- They are easy to test - ie they display or they don’t.
- A single missing picture does not affect viewing the rest of the photos
- A fragmented AVI can be reconstructed
- A fragmented MP4 3GP file can be reconstructed
- A fragmented or deleted AVCHD file can be reconstructed
- Deleted GoPro video with low and high resolution
The quickest way to recover photos, is to make use of the CnW Wizard. On running, it will analyse the disk and indicate the number of images found. It will also display certain images as a thumb nail preview, even on the free Demo program. Within minutes of loading the software, it will be possible to see missing images from corrupted, or deleted memory chips, as well as damaged CDs and DVDs. If there are major problems with the media, other approaches will be indicated, all to ensure that as many photos as possible are recovered.
Many memory chips apparently fail due to losing the boot sector, or FAT details. The camera, and other PC software will not see the files, and often suggest reformatting the chip. CnW software will guide the user through such recovery, and also give the option of simple raw recovery. If the data is still on the chip, CnW Recovery will recover it.
Most cameras will not overwrite the chip when formatting, but some do. If a chip has been accidentally formatted with a camera that blanks the chip, then there is no recovery possible. To determine if this is the case, use CnW Recovery software to view sectors, starting at say 200, and trying every few hundred. If each sector is a fixed value, such as 0x00, or 0xFF, then one is out of luck. If many sectors are filled with what looks like random numbers, then data is still intact.
Memory chips do sometimes fail in a way that it is not possible to recover with software alone. The memory chips have to be unsoldered and read in special equipment. CnW Recovery can offer this as a service.
If a Raw recovery has to be performed to access photos, then all original filenames are lost. Files will be recovered called in a format ‘recover109.jpg’ For a memory chip this is probably OK, but when a hard drive is scanned, there are often thousands of jpeg files which are part of the operating system, or other program files. To help sort out the correct files, CnW Recovery software tries to determine the date of the file and the camera used. There is meta data normally, but not always stored in the file header, and this information is decoded. Thus a file may be named
recover10.2005_12_25.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA.jpg
It is then much easier to select just the photos and ignore all other jpegs. Even the file date will be set correctly.
With a camera memory chip, the majority of files are stored sequentially. If digital photos have been deleted, and the memory chip is fairly full, then several photos may be stored in multiple sequences, ie are fragmented. When viewed, such a photo will start correctly, but then be just a grey area of the photo. Most recovery programs will just recover the first segment, but CnW photo recovery software will do extra processing to automatically join these fragments together. This routine has recently been enhanced to increase the number of successful recoveries from fragmented disks.
FAT32 deleted files.
There are many programs that claim to recovery photos, but a large number fail on FAT32 chips. File names will be displayed, but the actual photos will not open as the recovery routine is flawed. CnW overcomes this FAT32 deleted file problem and so has an extremely high success rate.
Fake memory chips
Some memory chips (eg sD cards) have been sold stating there were 32GB memory, but actually only contain a 4GB memory chip inside. When used, everything looks fine until the 4GB has been used up. At this point the data is typically rolled into the final few hundred MBs of data area, overwriting itself. Becuase the directory is normally stored at the start of the chip everything looks OK until one tries to recover the files. The first files, and maybe the last few files work, but the large area in the middle are lost for ever. The CnW startup tests will now determine if this has occurred on a memory chip and advise - however, recovery is not possible. There also a new tool (under development) that will allow a user to test a new memory chip.
Some recovery software will claim to recover video files, but then they will not play. This link explains why, and the CnW solution to the problem.
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