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Old Oct 9, 2005, 1:12 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 166

It's my fault, I was taking pictures with Canon A80 with almost dead battery (you know he best composition is the last one)

After recharging batteries I put them back and the camera does not recognize CF anymore. Just " Memory card error" I cannot even format it!

Putting the card into Rebel didn't helped either.

What to do?

Are the pictures/card salvageable ?

Thanks a lot.
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Old Oct 9, 2005, 12:50 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,367

driliagor wrote:
Are the pictures/card salvageable ?


Chances are, it's only a corrupted FAT (File Allocation Table).

You're probably going to need a card reader if the camera is giving you errors. These arerelatively inexpensive (around $20 for a USB 2.0 reader at many office supply, electronics stores, etc.). There are no guarantees that it will work.But, it's a good idea to have one anyway (much faster transfer times from a card compared to a USB attached camera).

You'll want to use a utility that's only reading from it (not trying to "fix" anything on it).

There are many utilities that can read files from corrupted media, as long as the card is not totally "dead".

Try Digital Image Recovery (it's free). You can download it using this link:


See if your card is being recognized under "My Computer". If so, make note of the drive letter for it and run the Digital Image Recovery Program.

You then select English as the languge (when it starts it will ask), andselectthe source drive letter your want it to read from (the drive letter for your card).

You then browse for a folder for it to copy recovered images to on your hard disk drive and press the start button (just leave everything else at the defaults).

It's simple to use.

If Windowsprompts you that it needs formatting when you insert the card in a reader, cancel out to make sure it's not going to format it using the Windows defaults (which will write with a different file system type than you were using). You'll want to pick the format menu choice when you right click on the drive instead, then change the File System Type to FAT (more later on this, but try another product I'm mentioning first.).

Here is another product designed to recover images (not free, but they have a demo version you can try to see if it works). They also have a "Physical Mode" that you can try if the PC doesn't see it.


If it's not readable using one of these two utilities, you'll probably need to try and format it first (with a card reader using Windows).

But, you don't want to use the default File System Type. Instead, make *sure* to format it with a File System type of FAT (you'll see an option for File System Type when you "right click" on the drive letter associated with your card reader under "My Computer" and select the Format menu choice.

Then, run the free Digital Image Recovery program against the formatted card in the reader.

I'd practice using another card first, so that you understand how to do it (take some photos, format the card, recover the images), and are comfortable using this technique.

After you recover your images, I'd suggest formatting the memory card using the camera's menus (not via your PC) before using it again.

There is no guarantee that the above will work and always do these types of things at your own risk.

But, chances are it will work, given the circumstances you're describing. It's probably just a corrupted FAT due to an incomplete write to media versus a dead card.

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