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Old Apr 26, 2012, 10:18 PM   #1
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Default Horizontal Blocking of Part of Image

When I finally got around to working on my images for the past several years, I was horrified to find that +- 5% of the images were partially covered, horrizontally or showed horrizontal lines. The blocking, if partial, is black. If full, it is one color. Lines are varying colors. I am shooting a D60 and a T3i, but I saw a few such instances when I was shooting a Tsi.

I tested all my cards by shooting 40-50 images and found no problem. I know I bounced the D60 on the concret in Mexico recently, but there is no sign of the problem with those images. I have sold a couple of cameras, so I suppose one of them could have had a problem card.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 7:05 AM   #2
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It sounds like you probably have corrupted image files. That could be caused by a corrupted file system on the card, or they may have become corrupted on the hard drive after transferring them.

Most of the time, they're already corrupted on the memory card when you take them because of a corrupted file system on it. You just don't notice it until looking at the full sizes images later because you're looking at the embedded thumbnails when browsing through them (as the thumbnails can be fine even though the full size images are corrupted).

It's a good idea to reformat your memory cards prior to every reuse using the camera's menu choice for format. That way, you always start out with a fresh File Allocation Table to reduce the chances you're using a card with unnoticed file system corruption. I *never* reuse a card after transferring images I've taken without formatting it again using the camera's menu choice for format before taking more photos using it, no exceptions.

But, they may have become corrupted after transferring them due to a failing hard drive, too. I'd make sure to test it for issues. If using a newer version of Windows, I'd open a command prompt (Start Button, type cmd in search box), then type this (substituting the correct drive letter for c: if that's not where your images are stored):

chkdsk c: /f

It will probably tell you that the drive is in use and ask if you want to schedule the check for the next time you reboot. Tell it yes, and when you restart Windows it will check the drive for errors and attempt to fix them (but, that probably won't help your already corrupted images).

You may also want to keep an eye on the drive with S.M.A.R.T. drive monitoring utilities to see if anything obvious is going on with it and if you may need to replace it before it totally fails (as you may have a failing hard drive and not realize it). Here's a free package that can do that for you if you're using windows:


More tools here:


More about some of the errors that drives can report via S.M.A.R.T. (and what is tracked and reported will vary by drive, and how that data is interpreted will vary by the tool you're using to check it):


But, if you do see any errors using chkdsk /f, I'd probably backup your drive and run the drive manufacturer's software on it to check it, and it would be a good idea to "zero fill" the drive at the same time (overwriting all data on it), letting the manufacturer's software map out any bad sectors. Then, reinstall windows and programs from scratch and restore your data to it.

Then, make sure to get a good "disk image" copy of the drive with everything installed on it. That way, if you do experience a problem or drive failure later, you can just restore the disk image backup with everything on it and be right back to where you were at the time you made the backup. There are many software packages that can do that for you (make a disk image backup of a drive), and a number of them are free.

Note that using file system utilities like chkdsk /f only mark bad blocks at the file system level, whereas the drive manufacturers utilities mark them in EEPROM instead, so that the "virtual" sectors being accessed by file systems are being remapped to spare sectors setup specifically for remapping bad sectors.

If it's a Seagate Drive, after you get a good backup, I'd run the Seatools for DOS (you can download a bootable CD with it on it):

http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.jsp?l ... 04090aRCRD

Or, if it's a WD drive, I'd use their Data Lifeguard Diagnostics for DOS. Pick a drive and you'll see the bootable CD for it in the download list:


Both should be able to zero fill a drive for you, and also have advanced diagnostics choices that can read all sectors on a drive and mark any with read errors as bad in the drive controller's EEPROM (and I'd zero fill them first so that all sectors are written to before using the advanced diagnostics routines). That way, when you run the extended diagnostics tests for read errors, you'll have made sure that all sectors have been written to recently in case of problems writing to some areas.

Then, see what the reports tell you, and if you decide to keep it, repartition the drives and reinstall everything from scratch, keeping an eye out for any further degradation using S.M.A.R.T monitoring tools.

But, if you're got a drive that you're having issues with, with more and more sector read errors (and I'd see what you get using chkdsk /f for starters), it's best to replace it before you have a failure that may be more difficult (if not impossible) to recover from. Disk drives are *very* inexpensive now, and it's best to schedule replacing a drive, than to have a failure so that you must replace it to be able to use your PC (and failures often happen at the most inconvenient times).

Have you got any older backups of the images somewhere? If so, you may want to check them and see if they're corrupted or not. That may give you an idea if the corruption is recent, or if they've been corrupted all along (probably due to file system corruption on the memory cards you used when you took the photos).

Chances are, file system corruption on the memory cards when you were using them is the culprit (and just reformatting the cards using the camera's menu choice for format will recreate the FAT and solve that for future use).

But, I wouldn't rule out that you have a failing hard drive causing the corruption, which is why I'd suggest checking it over for issues starting with chkdsk /f, and using S.M.A.R.T tools to look for any obvious problems (excessive sector read errors, lots of sectors being remapped in EEPROM by the drive's firmware, etc.)
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 9:48 AM   #3
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Were the images with the partial horizontal block taken with a flash by any chance?
Setting the shutter speed faster than the cameras flash sync speed will cause that effect.

So can damaged files as mentioned.

Imaging is all about light and your ability to sculpt it.
Equipment is just a secondary nuisance.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:17 PM   #4
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Thanks so much. Looks like I've got a lot of work to do. I have 13 SD cards and 4 external hard drives. At least I can rule out the flash issue. By far, the easiest and laziest way would be controlled experimentation: keep track of card and camera used, remote drives used, and stop transfering between drives. It's not as though many of my images are worth framing. I'll just hope the ones I lose are bad ones. Thanks again.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 12:45 PM   #5
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Again, personally, I always reformat a memory card prior to every reuse using the camera's menu choice for format. No exceptions.

That way, I always start out with a fresh FAT (File Allocation Table), just the way the camera expects it, since the camera is performing the format.

If you have a corrupted FAT (which is basically an index that keeps track of where all of the separate portions of a single file are located), then you can end up with pieces of a file that are missing when you copy it (because the OS and file manager utilities are relying on the FAT to be accurate as to where the separate pieces of a file are located on the media it's copying from).

If you're moving files between drives a lot (especially external drives), then you may have problems with your procedures for that, too.

You need to make sure to use the Operating System's "Safely Remove" features after doing any writes (and a delete is a write, too) to a USB attached memory card or drive before removing it (or turning it off if it's an external drive with a power switch). Otherwise, you may corrupt the file system, because the Operating System may be caching some of the write activity in memory, and if the drive is removed without using the Safely Remove features, the updates to it may not have been completed (even if you think the write activity is finished).

You can also click on "My Computer", then right click on a drive and use the Eject menu choice to accomplish the same thing. Basically, that flushes any pending writes in memory to the USB Attached hard drive or memory card and unmounts it's file system so that it can be safely removed (or turned off if you're just keeping your USB attached drives plugged in).

Otherwise (not using the Safely Remove or Eject Features with USB attached drives or Card Readers), you're asking for trouble in the way of file system corruption (which may not be obvious until you notice corrupted files and images later when viewing them).
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