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Photo Recovery from a Deleted

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					Photo Recovery from a Deleted, Damaged or Formatted Digital Camera Memory
Card
Most consumer and professional digital photo cameras store images on memory cards, such as an Secure
Digital (SD) flash card or a CompactFlash card. While convenient, memory cards are often accidentally
formatted (e.g. when loading them into another device) or individual photos may be inadvertently deleted
by the camera or a computer. Furthermore, memory cards can become corrupted if they are ejected
improperly, rendering them unreadable. These accidents happen frequently, even to advanced digital
camera users. Luckily, recovering photos from digital camera memory cards - whether the photo was deleted
or the card was formatted or damaged - is relatively easy with R-Undelete.

When compared to recovering lost, damaged or deleted files from other media, such as a hard disk drive,
undeleting files from a memory card isn't much different. In fact, the chances for successfullyrecovering
files from digital camera memory cards is often higher due to three typical features: memory cards tend to
be smaller in capacity (32 GB or less); files on the card are usually not fragmented; and memory cards tend
to contain only photos and movies.

In this article, we’ll walk you through two of the most common scenarios. First, we'll show you how to use R-
Undelete to recover photos that were accidentally deleted from a memory card. We'll also show you how to
recover photos after a memory card has been formatted, or if the file system on the card has been
damaged. In most cases, files can even be recovered even if the card is unreadable by a computer or digital
camera.

Before You Begin
The first thing you should do after accidentally deleting photos or formatting a memory card is to stop using
it immediately. Writing to a card, and even reading from a card, can overwrite your salvageable data,
decreasing your chances for a successful recovery. Avoid using the card until your undelete efforts have been
exhausted.

If you haven't already, download, install and register a copy of R-Undelete. You can also use the Demo Mode
of R-Undelete for free in order to evaluate your chances for successful recovery of your photos. The Demo
Mode of R-Drive Image allows you to perform all the file recovery tasks available in the registered version;
the only limitation is that you cannot save files larger than 64 KB. If you aren't ready to purchase a license
yet, follow these steps using the Demo Mode to see if it will be possible for you to recover your deleted
photos from your memory card. If so, you can register on the fly without stopping file recovery.

Also, before we begin, it's worth knowing a bit about how digital photos are stored on memory cards. Your
digital camera will typically create an automatically generated file/folder structure. This varies from
camera-to-camera, but in general, it includes a number and the camera manufacturer. For example, here's a
screenshot of a file/folder structure created by a Canon digital camera:
Click image to enlarge

If the camera were a Nikon, the folders may be named something like 100NIKON, 200NIKON, etc. Recognizing
these patterns is one of the ways that R-Undelete increases your chances of recovering deleted photos.

Once you have R-Undelete installed on your machine, you can insert the card into a card reader connected
to your computer. You can use an external card reader that connects via USB, or use a built-in card reader
on your computer's tower (or on your laptop) or on your printer. Once inserted, your computer will recognize
the card and will display it as a disk on the R-Undelete panel.

Note: If the card's file system is damaged, it may not appear in the R-Undelete panel as a logical disk. In this
case file recovery may still be possible; skip down to the Recovering Photos from Damaged or Formatted
Memory Cards section for details.

Recovering Deleted Photos
Digital photos can be deleted by your computer or by the camera itself. In either case, deleted photos can
typically be recovered wholly intact. For this tutorial, we'll assume that nothing has been written to the card
since the accidental deletion occurred. While it may still be possible to recover photos after using the card
after a deletion, your chances are much greater if you attempt an undelete procedure as soon as possible.

1. Launch R-Undelete. In the Select Disk panel, choose your memory card's drive letter by checking the box
next to it. You can usually recognize a memory card by its size (~1 GB to 32 GB, rather than 80 GB or more,
like a hard drive) and the device it's listed under (e.g. SD/MMC). Click the Next button.




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2. Select “Fast search for lost files.” Click Next.




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3. Mark files for recovery
R-Undelete will show you a list of the existing and deleted files on your memory card. You can select only
the files you want to recover of select an entire folder by checking the box next to it in the left-hand panel.
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To preview the contents of a file, simply double-click it. This will show you a preview of the recovered file,
which helps you gauge your chances of a successful recovery.
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 File Mask and Filtering
 If you are recovering photos from a particularly large memory card, or if you are looking for a specific photo
 on your memory card, you may find the File Mask feature particularly helpful. This lets you narrow down the
 results that R-Undelete shows you so you can find certain photos quickly.

 For example, by default, R-Undelete shows existing and deleted photos. But you can limit it to showing you
 only deleted photos by following these steps:

1.   Click the File Mask button.




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2.   From the drop-down menu, choose "All Files:". Next, clear the "Existing files" and leave the "Deleted files"
     box checked. You can also clear "Show empty folders" option to hide folders that don't contain the types
     of files we are looking for (optional).
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3.   Click Ok. Now, R-Undelete shows us only deleted files. And if you mark the entire folder, only deleted
     files will be marked for recovery.




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 Sorting Files
 The "Sorted by:" toolbar along the bottom of the panel can also be helpful. For example, if you want to sort
 the photos by date taken, click the "Creation Time" tab.




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 This will sort your deleted files in ascending or descending order by date.




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 To restore the normal file/folder structure, click "Real" on the "Sorted by:" toolbar.

 Find/Mark
 You can also use the Find/Mark feature to systematically locate and preview deleted photos prior to marking
 them for recovery. Again, this is helpful for larger memory cards with hundreds of photos. To use this
 feature:

1.   Click the File Mask button.




     Click image to enlarge
2.   Select the parameters for the files you want R-Undelete to prompt you with. In this example, we'll set it
     up to scan all files on our memory card (F:\) and to show us only deleted files (see screenshot). Also, we'll
     have R-Undelete start with the first matched file and then move sequentially through them ("Find first
     matched file" under Find/Mark mode).




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3.   R-Undelete will start searching until it finds the first deleted file that matches our criteria. Preview the
     file and, if desired, mark it for recovery. To continue searching, click the Find Next button. To go back to
     a previous file, click Find Previous.


    Click image to enlarge
 This is just one way to use the Find/Mark feature. You can learn more about Find/Mark options on theR-
 Undelete online help.
Once you've marked all the files you want to recover using the methods outlined above, click Next to move
on to the next dialog box.

4. Specify Recover Options
Select the output folder for the recovered files. IMPORTANT: Do not try to save the recovered files onto the
same memory card from which you are recovering the files. This can cause recovery to fail permanently,
resulting in a complete loss of the deleted files. Instead, choose another disk, such as your hard drive, a
network drive or another memory card.




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The Advanced Recovery Options are optional. If you are not sure what they do, leave them blank. You can
learn more about Advanced Recovery Options on the R-Undelete online help.

Click Recover. In most cases where deleted files are being recovered, the "Broken File Name" dialog box will
appear at this point. This simply means that there are invalid characters in the filenames. Select "Change all
invalid symbols to:" and choose a character to replace the invalid characters (default is $). Click "Rename
All" and R-Undelete will fix all the broken file names.




Click image to enlarge

R-Undelete will start file recovery. You can see the progress of the overall procedure, as well as other
details, such as the number of files recovered, the current file being recovered and the outcome of each
operation.




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When the file recovery is completed, R-Undelete will show its results.




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Photo recovery is complete. To view your file, navigate to the output folder you selected in Step 4 and
attempt to open the recovered photos in Windows Explorer or another image viewer.

Recovering Photos from Damaged or Formatted Memory Cards
There are two ways for photos to be lost from a memory card: deleting them one by one, or by formatting
the memory card. Memory cards can be formatted by a computer or a camera, and is typically done to
prepare it for use by the device. Before formatting a memory card, you'll be warned that this will
completely erase the contents of the disk. But depending on the type of format you perform and how quickly
you act, you can still recover photos that were previously written to that card even after it has been
reformatted. Your chances of recovering deleted photos from a formatted memory card are greatest when a
quick format has been performed. A quick format does not alter the contents of the card - it merely clears
the file system to allow other devices or programs to overwrite your files. So, as long as no new data is
written to your card, you should be able to recover 100% of your old photos on a quick formatted memory
card. Likewise, if a file system is corrupted or damaged, rendering the card unreadable (e.g. due to unsafely
removing the disk while it was being accessed), you can recover the photos from it using R-Undelete, even
when Windows Explorer or The Finder can't recognize the card. Instead of relying on the card's file system to
locate photos, R-Undelete can perform a " raw file search" to scan for known file types. R-Undelete will
search for file signatures, which are like the fingerprint for certain types of files, and using these file
signatures will be able to recover intact files.

Note: While the chances for successful recovery are very high with quick formats and formats performed by
most cameras, full formats, secure formats and other advanced disk wiping processes may render the files
irrecoverable. Again, you can estimate your chances for recovery using the R-Undelete preview feature
before registering.

1. Select disk
Unlike above, where we selected the logical disk (F:\), we'll be selecting the card reader device itself
(SD/MMCCardReader1.00) for the raw file search. Your card reader may have a different name. Check the
box next to it and click Next.




Click image to enlarge

Note: If the memory card is damaged and cannot be detected, there will be no disk letter beneath your card
reader device. You can still select the card reader and click Next to proceed with the recovery process.

2. Select action
Select "Detailed scan for lost files." Check "Enable File Types:".
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Click the "Known File Types" button. For this tutorial, we'll only be looking for jpg files, since we know that
our camera saves photos in this format. By limiting our search to just jpg files, we can increase the speed
and accuracy of the scan.

Note: Most point-and-shoot digital cameras use the jpg format, but if you have a professional camera that
uses a RAW image file type, you should enable that option as well. Check your camera's settings or manual to
verify which file type you are looking for.

You can find the JPEG Image known file type by expanding the "Graphics, Picture" folder.




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Click image to enlarge

After selecting the JPEG image type, you'll likely be prompted with a message asking you if you'd like to
enable dependent definitions. Click Yes.




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Next, Click OK on the Known File Types dialog box to return to the Select Action window. Click Next.

3. Detailed scan for lost files
The scan will begin. You'll be able to see R-Undelete's progress as it searches for file signatures. This may
took a while, depending on the size of your card, the parameters you chose and the speed of your
computer.
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When the scan is complete, R-Studio will show the results. Review them and click Next.




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4. Mark files for recovery
Next, R-Undelete will show you the files that the scan found.
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Mark the files you wish to recover. You can use the same search techniques described in Step 3 of
theRecovering Deleted Photos section above. Again, you can preview a file by double-clicking it to estimate
the level of recovery you can achieve.
Click image to enlarge

If a file cannot be recovered, you won't see a preview. Instead, you'll see a message indicating that the file
is damaged or unsupported.




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In these cases, the file is usually damaged beyond recovery. Click Cancel to move on.

Before clicking Next, make sure to examine the "Extra Found Files" section by clicking it on the left. These
are the results of your scan for known file types procedure. Typically, the more damaged the card is, the
more files you'll find in the Extra Found Files Section.
When we need to look at the Extra Found Files section.




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As you will notice, the original file names of files recovered using scan for known file types cannot be
recovered. As such, R-Undelete will assign them new file names. Preview them to see if they are the photos
you are looking for.
Click image to enlarge

Note: It's worthwhile to pay attention to the file size of a photo. Many cameras will store thumbnails or
previews of the full quality images. They will show up with very small file sizes, usually around 6 KB. While
these may appear intact in the preview, these usually aren't worth recovering.

In most cases where a memory card was accidentally formatted, you'll want to recover all of the photos. So,
we'll go ahead and mark all of the files on the card for recovery.
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Click Next.

5. Specify recover options
Choose an output folder. Remember: avoid saving recovered files on the same card that you are recovering
them from. Leave the "Advanced recovery options" at their default settings and clickRecover.
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Click Next.

Once again, you may see the "Broken File Name" dialog box.
Select the "Change all invalid symbols to:" option and click Rename All.




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R-Undelete will start file recovery, showing its progress.




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When the file recovery is complete, R-Undelete will show its results.




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To view your recovered files, navigate to the output folder and attempt to open them using your default
image viewer.

Conclusion
It's all too easy to accidentally delete photos from a memory card, whether it's due to accidental deletion of
one or two files or an unintentional reformat. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to recover photos from a
memory card using R-Undelete. R-Undelete offers two powerful file recovery methodsthat are perfectly
tailored to these scenarios. The "fast search for lost files" lets you undelete photos before they are
overwritten, while the raw file search allows you to access photos even if the file system has been deleted
or damaged. So, before you panic, before you pay a technician hundreds of dollars, and above all, before
you begin writing new data to the card, run these scans on the card using R-Undelete to see if your lost
photos and videos can be recovered. You can even use the Demo Version for free to estimate your chances
of recovery before registering.

				
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