Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quick Tip #2 - What to after you've accidentally erased your memory card

This is just a follow up to the previous quick tip.  In the unlikely event that you do accidentally erase a memory card in the middle of a photoshoot, (yes, I have done it), here's what to do:

Immediately after you've erased the card (and I mean, IMMEDIATELY), turn off the camera and remove the erased card.  Screaming "oh sh!t oh sh!t oh sh!t"/pounding your head against a wall/slapping yourself is optional.

Quarantine the card - keep it separate from your other cards until you get back to your computer. This is very important - Do not record anything else to that card until after you have recovered your images from it.

Use file recovery software - there are a number of programs out there that can recover erased images.  We use the Sandisk Extreme brand of CompactFlash and SDXC cards, which come with a free file recovery program called Rescue Pro.

This software has saved my ass safely recovered lost images on several occasions.  You simply start up the program, insert the card into a card reader and tell the program where to save the recovered images (such as a folder on your hard drive.  Do not try to recover the images by re-saving them to your memory card).  Then let it go and do it's thing.  It will take a while, but you'd be surprised at what it can recover.

Formatting erases the catalog on the card that tells the computer where the images are on the card.  The images are still on the card until they are overwritten by another image.  As long as you do not record anything onto an accidentally formatted card, you stand a good chance of recovering what you lost.

1 comment:

mcgyver27 said...

Yes. Same with USB flash drives. The actual data is not gone, just the "table of contents"--the computer forgets where the data is located.