I have some jpg files on an old hard drive, and it appears they were corrupted somehow. When I try to open them it says it's an invalid file type in Windows. I first attempted a couple of repair programs, but they both said it's not a valid jpg file. I then attempted to use Gimp which gave me the error:

Not a JPEG file: starts with 0x8b 0x80

I then checked it in terminal, and it said the file type was "data file," not an image file. I'm guessing these pictures are lost forever, but wanted to throw it out there in the event someone else has seen this and been able to fix it.

  • There’s a good crew of tinkering types here. Can you provide an example image/not-image file that could be played with? – Hueco Dec 17 '18 at 19:24
  • I absolutely can! Is there a way to attach a file in here? I'm not seeing it... – Christopher Cass Dec 17 '18 at 19:46
  • There are lots of "JPEG repair" apps out there. – user31502 Dec 17 '18 at 19:49
  • There isn't a way to attach a file. The best options would be to create a github repository or to base64 encode / uuencode and upload a text representation to something like pastebin. – Peter Taylor Dec 17 '18 at 21:03
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    I've uploaded the image here... If anyone wants to tinker, tinker away! drive.google.com/file/d/1pazcRnk1e5v9g8TlGuPIEA-hrUIeHeio/… – Christopher Cass Dec 18 '18 at 1:26

Based on a brief examination of your sample file, I doubt you will be able to recover any usable image data from the corrupted files.

  • File identification tools (file, mimetype, mediainfo) are unable to identify the filetype of the sample file.

  • When viewed in a hex-editor, large portions, perhaps the entirety, of the sample file appear to have been affected. Some possible causes:

    • Sector or cluster level corruption on the hard drive?
    • Data corruption in RAM prior to being written to disk.
    • File-system inconsistency that resulted in file-level corruption during chkdsk.
    • Space was allocated but data never written (power loss, program crash, etc).
    • File-wiping program that neglected to complete the process by removing the file entry.
    • Ransom-ware.

If you can have someone look at the files in person, they may be able to spot something that isn't possible remotely. I'd also recommend checking that your equipment are operating properly, checking for other backups (other computers? or tablets? or phones?), and updating/creating backups.

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    That's kinda what I assumed, but was curious to see if anyone had a different conclusion. They were from a vacation my wife and I went on in 2008. Lucky for me, she printed a bunch of them, and I found them still on the store's website, so I was able to get a few of them. It was only about 10% of them, but it was at least the ones she thought worthy of printing back then... – Christopher Cass Dec 18 '18 at 14:25

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