Recovering images on an SD card

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Recovering images on an SD card
Recovering images on an SD card
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Have you accidentally deleted some files from your SD card, or have you lost files because the SD card is damaged? If you act quickly and stop using the card, you may still be able to recover the files using data recovery software. There are a few free options available for each operating system to do this, as well as paid programs that may be easier to use.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: PhotoRec (any OS)

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 1

Step 1. Stop using the SD card

If the files have been deleted, there is a chance that the data is still there, but is set to be overwritten by new data. By no longer accessing the SD card, you increase the chance that the data will not be overwritten.

Until you try to recover the files, it is best to remove the SD card from the device you are using it in

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 2

Step 2. Download PhotoRec

PhotoRec is a free, open source data recovery program that runs on Windows, OS X, and Linux.

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 3

Step 3. Extract the program

PhotoRec does not need to be installed. Just extract the photorec_os file from the ZIP file. The OS will be replaced by your operating system. For example, the Windows version is photorec_win

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Step 4. Insert your SD card

Insert your SD card into your computer using an SD card reader, or into your camera and connect it via USB.

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 5

Step 5. Launch PhotoRec

PhotoRec starts in a command window. You use your arrow keys to navigate through the program.

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 6

Step 6. Select your station

Select your SD card from the list of available drives and press ↵ Enter.

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Step 7. Select partition

Chances are, your SD card only has one partition. Select it with the arrow keys.

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Step 8. Select the File Opt menu

This menu option can be found at the bottom of the window.

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Step 9. Deselect files you are not looking for

You can significantly speed up the search by only searching for a few file types. Try to save your images, then select only JPG, JPEG, RAW, CR2, PNG, TIFF, GIF, BMP, SR2, and DNG.

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 10

Step 10. Select the Search menu option to continue

This will open the file menu.

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Step 11. Select the file type

If you want to recover files from SD card, select Other.

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Step 12. Select which space on the drive to analyze

If you want to recover deleted files, select Free. To recover files from a damaged card, select Whole.

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Step 13. Choose a directory to save your recovered files

Create a new location if you need a map that you need easy access to.

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Step 14. Wait for the files to be recovered

This process can take quite a long time. The number of recovered files is displayed in real time.

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Step 15. Browse your recovered files

File names will be corrupted, so you will have to manually search through the recovered files to find the files you are looking for. If you can't find the images you're looking for, try another data recovery option.

Method 2 of 3: ZAR (Windows)

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 16

Step 1. Stop using the SD card

If the files have been deleted, there is a chance that the data is still there, but is set to be overwritten by new data. By no longer accessing the SD card, you increase the chance that the data will not be overwritten.

Until you try to recover the files, it is best to remove the SD card from the device you are using it in

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 17

Step 2. Download and install ZAR (Zero Assumption Recovery)

You will have to purchase the full version of ZAR, and the demo version allows you to recover only images. Download ZAR only from the developer's website.

On the ZAR website, click on the 'image recovery' link at the bottom of the page. This will allow you to install the free demo for image recovery

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 18

Step 3. Insert your SD card

Insert your SD card into your computer using an SD card reader, or into your camera and connect it via USB.

Your computer may ask to format the SD card or indicate that the card is unreadable. Don't do this, so don't format, as this may overwrite the location on the map where your images are

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Step 4. Open the Image Recovery tool in ZAR

Launch ZAR and click Image Recovery (Free). In other programs you will have a similar button. Some programs may skip this step.

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Step 5. Select your SD card

In 'Disks and partitions', select the SD card. This should be labeled as an SD card. Click Next to start the recovery scan.

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Step 6. Choose which files you want to recover

You will be presented with a list of images that the software has found on your SD card. Select the images you want to recover, or choose 'All' to recover all lost images. You may not see a preview of it, and the file names may have been lost.

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Step 7. Choose where to save the recovered files

If your SD card is damaged, do not save the recovered files on that card. You can create a folder or specify a location on your computer to save the images. This will save your images should something go wrong with the SD card again.

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Step 8. Copy the files

Click Start copying the selected files to restore the images. The selected files will be saved to the location you specified.

Some images may not be fully recovered. Even though the thumbnail looks okay, the image itself may be partially or completely damaged

Method 3 of 3: Data Rescue 3 (Mac)

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 24

Step 1. Stop using the SD card

If the files have been deleted, there is a chance that the data is still there, but is set to be overwritten by new data. By no longer accessing the SD card, you increase the chance that the data will not be overwritten.

Until you try to recover the files, it is best to remove the SD card from the device you are using it in

Recover Pictures from SD Card Step 25

Step 2. Download and install Data Rescue 3

Data Rescue 3 is not free, but is one of the more powerful data recovery programs available for OS X. You can purchase Data Recovery 3 from the developer's website or the Mac App Store.

If you prefer a free option, try PhotoRec

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Step 3. Insert your SD card

Insert the SD card into your Mac. If you don't have an SD card slot, you can also connect an external USB card reader or put the card in a camera and connect it to your computer.

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Step 4. Launch Data Rescue 3

You can find this program in the 'Applications' folder after installation. Select 'Start New Scan' from the main menu.

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Step 5. Select your SD card

A list of drives appears in the Data Rescue window. Select your SD card from the list.

You may also be asked to select a partition. Most SD cards will only have one partition, but if there are more, select the entire SD card

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Step 6. Choose your scanning method

First choose 'Deleted Files Scan'. This will search the free space for files deleted from the SD card. If this method does not yield any results, you can proceed with a 'Quick Scan' followed by a 'Deep Scan'. Click Start after selecting a scan type.

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Step 7. Wait for the scan to complete

This process can take a while, especially with a Deep Scan. If you want to pause the scan, you can click the Suspend button.

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Step 8. Select the files you want to recover

After the scan is complete, you will be presented with a list of possible files to recover. Check the box next to each file or folder you want to recover.

  • If you have done a Quick or Deep Scan, you will find the files in the 'Found Files' section of the results.
  • If you have performed a Deleted Files or Deep Scan, you will find the files in the 'Reconstructed Files' section of the results. File names are usually irrecoverable.
  • You can preview the files by selecting them from the list and clicking 'Preview'. Not all file types can be previewed.
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Step 9. Restore the files

Once you have finished selecting the files, click Recover and select a location on your computer to save the files. Click Open when you have found a suitable location.

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