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Old Apr 24, 2009, 7:28 PM   #1
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Hi,

I'm new to this forum - my dad told me about it when I told him my problem. Sorry if this is the wrong section to post on, but I'm kinda freaking out.

Important Info:
I used a 256 MB SD card
I have a Nikon 4600 Coolpix Camera
I have a Macbook w/Intel, OS X (Tiger - bought a year and a half ago)

My dance major friends and I spent 3 hours today taking photos for our upcoming dance production on my camera - 160 total. When I put the SD card into my card reader and into my Mac and went to copy them onto my hard disk, I got the error message that said: Couldn't open the file. It may be corrupt or a file format that Preview doesn't recognize. It only said that for 60 of the photos - mostly the first 50 on the card, and then another random 10 throughout the photoshoot.

I also tried loading them with iphoto, and the same thing happened when I tried to import them...those 60 photos wouldn't import. However, in both finder and iphoto, the thumbnails of the images were fine. I also could open some of those "corrupted" jpgs, but only a small portion of the photo would load and the rest would be a large gray block.

When I put the card back in the camera to look, the pics were there but they would say "data file missing" on some, but then the image would load anyway.

I tried to load them on my roommate's PC, and it wouldn't work. I also tried using her card reader and got the same error, only this time no thumbnails appeared. Then I tried it again w/my card reader, and the thumbnail images would no longer show up. I put it back in my camera, and when I went to scroll through the images, they were now just blank black screens. HOwever, it does think there is a file there, because when I zoom out so I can see 9 thumbnails at once on the camera, the black squares have numbers in order...the image itself is just missing, but there is a slot for it.

I've looked all over the internet. I ran repair disk on the card reader with no repairs needed, and a virus scan. I also tried opening textedit to look at the header on the image, and the missing data files and the ones that work fine both seem the same. However, there is no JFIF tag...instead it says EFIF. I don't know if that makes a difference - it seems like everyone online is big on JFIF.

I have tried downloading Salvage and JPEG-JFIF repair for Mac, but neither will run. They say I don't have the proper software support, which is weird because I have the newest versions of Applescript and other programs.

I also just looked at the "get info" on the images, and they all say they're zero bites, except for two thumbnails that are still showing up and giving me an error, which say 16. The fullsized images say 780 or so KB. But the icon for the jpeg and the filename are still there.

Any suggestions? These pictures are really important to us and I need to get them onto a computer - any computer.

**This may be important, but I did a quick format of the card this morning prior to the photoshoot. My roommate and I had taken some other photos this morning, and after successfully uploading them onto my computer, I decided to reformat the whole card in the camera so it would erase all the pics and be sure to work for the photoshoot. In the past my card has randomly stopped working when I've tried to take pics and had a bunch of photos already on the card, but reformating it always seemed to work.



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Old Apr 24, 2009, 7:40 PM   #2
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I'd suggest that you download and install this software for the operating system you're using (Windows, Mac, Linux). It's free. You'll see a download menu choice on the left side of the main page. Then, just click on the desired operating system to download it.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

Use a card reader if possible, and select your memory card from the list of media it finds (hard drives, memory cards, etc.), and give it a place to save the photos to on your hard disk when you are asked Where to Save Recovered Files (it defaults to saving recovered files in subfolders under Photorec, where the software is installed on your hard drive, but you can change it to something else if desired). Note that this product does not retain the original file names (but, you may not care about that), since it ignores the file allocation table entirely.

Don't worry about changing any of the other options. Just leave everything else at the defaults (Partition type, file types to recover, etc.) and it will try to recover any files that haven't been overwritten yet (and don't try to do anything like take more photos or you may overwrite some of them).

Here's a page showing you how to use this software:

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step

After you recover your images (and make sure you can see the larger images, not just the thumbnails), I'd make sure you format the card again before using it, using the camera's menu choice for format (not your PC).

I do that every time I reuse a card (format it again using the camera's menu choice for format). That way, the card always starts out with a fresh FAT (File Allocation Table), just the way the camera expects it, since the camera is performing the format.

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Old Apr 24, 2009, 7:54 PM   #3
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Citygirl3487 wrote:
Quote:
I ran repair disk on the card reader with no repairs needed, and a virus scan....
I'd suggest that you *never* run utilities that write to a card until *after* you recover your images.


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Old Apr 24, 2009, 8:28 PM   #4
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Thank you so much! That worked! I also got "Disk Doctors" to work, but it was just a demo so I'd have to pay $70 to save the files.

Thanks again!
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Old Apr 24, 2009, 8:38 PM   #5
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No problem. I'm glad that worked for you. I'd send the author of photorec a thanks for making this software available at no charge. ;-)

Again, I'd make sure you reformat the card using your camera's menu choice for format (not your PC) before using it again. But, make sure you can see the full size images first (as the thumbnails are separate files that are embedded inside of the larger images, and may look OK when the full size image has problems).

Chances are, you're corrupting the file allocation table by using your MAC to delete images from it (or even when you formatted it). If you're not using the "safely remove/eject" features with some operating systems and drivers, you can end up with incomplete writes that are still in the operating systems cache (RAM) at the time you remove a card, leading to corruption.

A better way is to always reformat a card using the camera's menu choice for format prior to each reuse.

You'll find a format choice in your camera's setup menu:



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Old Apr 24, 2009, 9:03 PM   #6
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Will do!

And I did reformat it in my camera this morning, which is why it's weird it got screwed up. I did the quick format option though - next time I'll try the full.

Thanks again!
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