Recovering pictures from a memory card

saint2esaint2e Registered User regular
As the resident tech expert for my friends and family I get a lot of questions about computers, and other devices. Well, today a friend told me about how her dad had put a bunch of memory cards in storage containing pictures of his trip to Hawaii. He dug them out recently and the computer isn't able to read any images on the cards.

I'm thinking the cards may be corrupted, but I'm hoping they can be recovered. Has anyone got experience with software or a service that recovers data from memory cards? I was thinking "Recuva" could possibly work but I'm not sure as this is a memory card, not a hard drive.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.



  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    A memory card is essentially just like a little SSD drive. They tend to still be FAT formatted drives. So some recovery software may work, but you might want to ask or look for a FAQ that explains if it would work. If the recovery software is specifically targeted to platter drives, it's either going to not work, or damage the card even further.

    Beyond that, it depends what went wrong with the card... they do have components on them that can fail in addition to just the storage portion. It may wind up being VERY costly to recover only a portion of what is on them.

    It may suck, but unless those pictures are worth several hundred to several thousand dollars to you, any recovery beyond "this trial/cheap software worked" is likely to be pretty expensive.

  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    For photos in specific, your absolute best bet is PhotoRec. Recuva would probably work, don't get me wrong (I'm a big fan of Piriform's stuff), but PhotoRec is widely regarded as THE best possible option for getting photos back. It definitely works just fine with memory cards. And it's free!

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    I've had luck in the past with both TestDisk and ddrescue for data recovery depending on the circumstances.

  • BeastGraphixBeastGraphix Registered User regular
    I cant recommend PhotoRec enough. Light on system needs, incredibly effective at finding most all common and industry file types. Gah I owe those guys so much, cause its a free utility.

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