Whether you’re an avid photographer or a casual hobbyist, everyone is familiar with the heartache of losing their favourite digital images. From accidental deletions, and memory card reformats, to corrupted data, and physical damage, there’s a whole host of issues that can occur when you’re handling a fragile, portable device with small buttons.
According to InfoTrends’ 2016 global image capture forecast, digital camera users took an estimated 1.2 trillion pictures over 2017. Of course, the more photos you take the more chance of mishaps, which is why we always recommend backing up your camera’s SD card to an external device. However, even if you haven’t managed to backup your pictures, there are some critical actions which might help you make a full data recovery.
No More Pictures
The last thing you want to do is overwrite a deleted file with a new picture. Camera SD cards generally have lesser storage capacity than computers, so this is quite possible. If possible, you should remove the SD card altogether to prevent any further data additions. If you’re attempting a recovery from your phone, then try to use the device as minimally as possible until you’ve retrieved your photos.
Diagnose the Problem
- Did you corrupt your data files by removing the memory card from the camera as it was performing a read/write process? In such circumstances, your chances of data recovery are entirely dependent on the number of bad sectors created due to the corruption.
- Did you format the card without making an appropriate backup? When your SD card is formatted, the files aren’t erased from the device’s memory, instead, space they previously occupied is simply marked free for use. As long as you don’t add more images to the SD card, you can fully recover these pictures.
- Did viruses, transferred from a connected device, corrupt the files on your SD card?
- Has your SD card been physically damaged? If your card is actually broken, the chances of recovering your data are slim. You may have to rely on expert intervention to retrieve anything from the card.
- Is the SD card locked? Some SD cards have a physical lock on them. When the lock is on, users are denied access to the photos and videos stored inside.
- Can your computer not read the SD card? This likely indicates an issue with the computer rather than your SD card.
Remove and Replace
It’s the simplest fix available, once you’ve removed the SD card try placing it back in the camera slot and see if you can view the photos through your camera’s playback option. If this works then the problem was most likely due to the camera’s card reader, rather than your SD card. Your best bet at this stage would be to backup your photos and videos to prevent any future losses.
Try another Device
If the aforementioned step doesn’t work then try out your SD card on a different device. If you don’t have another digital camera or a compatible phone handy, then purchase an SD or Micro SD adapter and connect your card to your computer. Once again, if you do manage to access your files, then your first step should be to create a complete backup.
If your computer isn’t able to read your card, then this may not necessarily indicate a problem with the card (although it does seem more likely). Your SD card might simply be incompatible with the computer’s OS, in which case you’ll need to install some camera-specific hardware.
Try Repairing Bad Sectors with ChkDsk
If you’re getting memory card errors which prevent you from accessing files on your SD card, then you can try to resolve the issue using the Check Disk Tool on Windows computers. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Connect your memory card to the PC, either through your digital camera or through an adapter.
- A window will pop up asking you if you want to access the SD card folder, exit this screen.
- Open up My Computer and note down the drive letter assigned to your SD card.
- Click Start, in the Taskbar Search Tool type in “cmd”. Open the program that shows up in the results.
- In the command window, type “CHKDSK [driveletter] /r”. Insert the drive letter, which corresponds to your SD card in the “[driveletter]”
- Press Enter
- Once the tool has finished scanning your card, it will ask you whether you want to save lost chains. Click
- You’ll now be presented with a list of lost data files that have been repaired by the chkdsk tool.
Use a Data Recovery Software Tool
If all else fails, then you may have to put your faith in a data recovery tool. At Computer Fixperts we have a range of recommended file recovery tools that can help you recover lost data from your SD card any one of these free software applications can help you retrieve your files.
Note that different tools will offer different capabilities. While some will only be able to recover certain file formats, others may be able to recover all your data. Additionally, some of these programs may require you to purchase before you can initiate an actual data recovery. In each instance, we recommend you run a trial version of the software first to see whether your files are indeed recoverable, once you’ve figured this out then you can go ahead and pay the license fee.
Or Contact the Experts
At Computer Fixperts we know how important your photos and videos are to you. If you’re facing a data disaster and you don’t want to leave your data recovery up to chance then get in touch with our specialists. We operate data recovery labs in both Brisbane and Sydney and we’re dedicated to getting our customers the best results.