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Recovering Photos from a corrupt or un-formatted SD Card

I happened to buy a new camera, and it came with a brand new SD card. In all the excitement I just popped the battery and the memory card in and started shooting pictures. I was so intrigued with the new toy and the amazing pictures I could shoot, that it never occurred to me that I might have to format the card at least once before using it to its full capacity.

Then this is the order of events that ended in an undetected file format:

1. Inserted the un-formatted  yet all filled up card into a card reader. Folders showed alright. But a lot of files with odd looking characters as names appeared alongside.

2. Total size of the folders altogether was reported as 27GB while the card itself was a 16GB.

3. Copied a folder that read 4GB. A few files reported errors and I tried ‘Retry’ and then ‘Skip’ options.

4. Attempted to delete the folder I just copied, just to make space for a few more photos I wanted to shoot.

5. Shutdown the computer without ejecting the card.

6. Moved the card to the camera. Camera says the card isnt formateed and format it before proceeding.

7. Turned the computer back up and inserted the card. Same error message that the card isnt formatted.

After fussing  a lot, I used another microSD card with an adapter for the camera and shot more photos, all the while thinking what if I lost all the photos from the trip because of  a corrupt memory card. Friends consoled saying there could be ways to recover stuff from SD Cards that went cross.

So I came home and read around, downloaded a lot of the software that promise a complete recovery.

Here’s a list sdCardRevoceryPro, RemoRecover, Undelte etc. Most of them take a long time to crawl the card and present a list of all the files that can be recovered. Some give you an option to select the file types to search etc. But at the end when you get to the point where you’ve found files and ready to copy them, most of these software asked for a ‘licence’ or said ‘purchase to use’.

Then I came across photoRec. The name might suggest that it can only recover files but it claims to recover over 300 types of files. Pretty much everything I guess.

While the other S/W had fancy looking interfaces, and they first searched and listed all the files that could be brought back, this one has a minimal interface you could operate without needing the mouse.

1. Select the drive you need recovered



2. Select the partition


3. Select the file system from where to recover


4. And finally select the output folder.


Lo there you got all your files in several folders. No fuss, just pure data.

Please share your thoughts