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Old Nov 13, 2010, 7:11 AM   #1
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Default Unreadable or corrupt jpeg file?


I hope this is the right category for this type of post, I looked at all the forum titles and there was not one that was specifically for image problems.

The problem I have is with quite a few jpg images that i was moving from an SD memory card to a laptop when the laptop battery died. Upon restarting the computer the images from the card had been moved to the laptop but there was no thumbnail and they could not be opened (with the message not a valid jpg file). Unfortunately the memory card was not mine and it was formatted and is now in my brothers camera.

I didn't think it would be this difficult to repair the jpegs as they are all around 400kb so there is obviously some data there, but there is no image information in the windows file properties and not one recovery program can repair or recognise the jpeg data. I have tried nearly every application I could find (jpeg recovery, pixrecovery, zarrecovery, unjpeg and a lot more) to no avail. I am guessing that the header is corrupt or there is no header at all? The camera was a casio exilim.

I am hoping someone may have an alternative application for me to try or could provide some advice as this is my last resort before forgetting about the images.

I tried to attach one of the files to this thread but the file size is bigger than maximum allowed so I uploaded one to rapidshare and here is the link:

Thank you in advance for any advice or assistance, it will be greatly appreciated.


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Old Nov 13, 2010, 7:28 AM   #2
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Your best bet is to get the card back from your brother and use a recovery program to retrieve the images that haven't been overwritten yet. See this thread for details:

Recovering Images or Video from Memory Cards

For future reference, IMO, it's usually a bad idea to move the images (i.e., delete them as you copy them from a memory card like a cut and paste would do). For one thing, you increase the chance of corrupting the file allocation table on the card if you're not careful to use the "safely remove" icon in your system tray. You can also go to "My Computer" and right click on the icon for a card, then use "eject". That makes sure any pending writes still in the operating system's disk cache are written to the card (and a delete is a write). But, I'd suggest avoiding any writes to a card from a PC entirely.

Personally, I never delete images using a PC. Instead, I always reformat a memory card prior to every reuse usiing the camera's menu choice for format (not a PC). That's usually just as fast or faster than deleting the images anyway (since a format isn't usually overwriting the contents of the card -- instead only recreating the File Allocation Table). That insures you start out with a fresh FAT each time, just the way the camera expects it, since the camera is performing the format.

But, since your laptop's battery died, that could have created more than one issue, with pending disk writes to the hard drive lost, and pending disk writes to your memory card lost, with possible corruption of the file systems on both devices. Some drivers for USB storage are setup for fast removal and don't try to cache disk writes. But, that's not always the case. A number of things can cause problems if you're writing to a card from a PC or Laptop (like a loose cable, battery failure, operating system crash, USB driver problem, etc.).

Again, your best bet is probably to get the card back from your brother. Just because it's been formatted doesn't mean the images are not still on it, depending on the format tool you used. Usually, a good recovery program like photorec (see link above for more info) can retrieve any images that haven't been overwritten yet. It looks for image specific headers to retrieve the images, even though the FAT has been overwriten by a format (it can ignore the file system entirely and go after the data on it).
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 7:39 AM   #3
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It's also possible that a number of the images were written completely to disk, and you just lost the file system updates at the time the battery failed. So, a recovery program might be able to find uncorrupted copies of them on the drive if they're in areas the OS hasn't reused for more files yet and the files are contiguous versus highly fragmented (with pieces of a given image stored in different locations). But, the problem is that if you use a recovery program designed to ignore the underlying file system entirely (like photorec can do) on a larger drive, you can end up with a *lot* of images that can be difficult to sort through (since they won't have the original folders, filenames and attributes when the file system is not being used for recovery, and they'll all be dumped into the same folders on the destination drive). You'd also need another drive (USB attached, etc.) capable of storing all images on the hard drive it finds (you can't save images to the same drive you're recovering them from using that kind of software).

So, again, I'd suggest getting the card back from your brother and hope he hasn't take a lot of photos using it yet (since you can probably recover the ones that haven't been overwritten yet).
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