Free Software to Recover Digital Photos from a Flash Card Error

So I’ve got a bunch of photos on my camera’s (It’s a Canon EOD 20D) compact flash card (a Kingston 4GB compact flash card).

These are old photos I didn’t delete (as a just-in-case measure) of a woman I photographed as well as photos from my recent trip to NYC for a WordPress Meetup and also photos I took of cooking Dr. Johns’ Chili and making homemade protein bars. A lot of stuff.

So I put the card into my computer’s card reader slot and it tells me the card is EMPTY and would I like to format it?

Uh… NO!

I put it back in the camera and the camera just said CF ERROR or whatever the little camera LCD readout equivalent of that is… I got the idea.


Oh don’t worry! I was able to recover the photos. Read on…

Around 11:30pm
Around 11:30pm?

Somehow I did the right google search that this was one of the first things I stumbled upon.

These people do data recovery services:

Their page goes into detail how if the card’s hardware is damaged, you (well, not YOU, but rather a trained expert with proper equipment) need to physically remove the memory chip from the card and hook it up to the proper thing to read it.

They were kind enough to point out that if the problem ISN’T hardware, then there is this nifty free software that can recover your data.

These are the kindly people that make that software and make it available for free:

These are the instructions for recovering digital photos off a memory card — and it did work EXACTLY like they said it would. It did take almost an hour to complete, but was well worth it.

They say the software will work in the following cases:

  • the images were deleted before copying to the PC
  • the card was accidentally formatted
  • some sort of the camera failure occurred and the images are not accessible any longer
  • Oddly, not only did I recover my recent photos — but also some VERY old photos that were still sitting on the card. (I guess deleted but not erased — keep that in mind if you ever take dirty pics with your camera, just deleting the pics off the card might not really remove them. I had used the camera’s FORMAT function a few times since taking those old photos, but it is a very quick FORMAT and probably doesn’t actually damage the data.)

    HUGE THANKS to ZAR Zero Assumption Recovery!

    Articles with the recipes (and photos!) to come soon.

    About 10PM ?
    About 10PM ?
    OK... It looks like liquid nitrogen being pumped underground... Why?
    OK... It looks like liquid nitrogen being pumped underground... Why?