Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I use camera Sony DSC-W630, and SD card of 8 gb, and I didn't have any problems so far. But now all my photos from a holiday in Italy are lost. Everything was ok and then, when I tried to transfer photos from camera to laptop, it just showed some error with memory card all my photos are lost. I tried to recover them with a Card recovery program and now all photos are here but they are corrupted. When I try to open any of them they are all black. But I can see them in folder as small pictures. I am desperate and don't know what to do. I am not expert in this, so if you need any more information to help please ask.

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Can you remember the error message? What card recovery software did you use? –  mattdm Jul 31 '13 at 15:12
    
It said sometning like camera can't recognize sd card, to remove and put it again. And i used program called Card recovery. I am now trying to scan all files with JPEG recovery. If you know any better program please help :( –  Nevena Jul 31 '13 at 15:19
    
I'm not sure that the duplicate is similar enough in intent to close this question. A good answer to the other one is "because the card is faulty, replace it". That wouldn't answer this question, which is about how to do the recovery in a way to best reassemble the fragmented images. –  thomasrutter Sep 2 '13 at 7:57
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2 Answers 2

First things first:

In any situation like this, Do not save any data to the card. This will significantly decrease your chance of recovering anything. Immediately flip the read-only tab on your memory card.

Okay, then, with that out of the way, don't panic yet. All though bad cards happen frequently, there are many things that could go wrong that aren't related to the card. See Why do images get "corrupted"? for more, but, basically: it could be your card reader or computer, or even the cable from the reader to computer. See if you can copy the photos off using a different system.

If that doesn't work, it's time to try data recovery tools. While How can I recover deleted photos from an SD Card? is about accidentally deleted files rather than a bad card, the same information all applies (although unfortunately your chances for success are lower.

You say you tried some software; it's possible that a different program will do better. I personally recommend PhotoRec, which is completely free. It has a kind of klunky user interface (DOS-era — not even really Linux-like), but it's not really hard, and the functionality itself is top-notch. It's unlikely that for-pay commercial software will get you anything this can't. However, if you find the UI too frustrating, some of the for-pay apps will do just fine (and often will tell you what they can recover before you have to pay, so you won't be out anything).

If that doesn't work, you might consider a professional recovery service — several are discussed in How to recover data from a damaged/chewed up SD card? These companies have specialized hardware and may even take the card apart and pull out the individual chips to look at a lower level. These places usually charge a flat fee if they recover even a small amount, and may waive the fee if they are unable to recover anything. This is likely to be very expensive, but if your holiday was once in a lifetime and the photos irreplaceable, you may find it to be worth it.

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I concur with the usage of PhotoRec however have you tried the most basic of using a different machine to see if the corruption is local specific? Also what are you opening the photos in? Do you have Photoshop or perhaps even GIMP to try and open them?

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