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Old Oct 22, 2010, 7:40 PM   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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Hi Jim,

I just used the PC Inspector freeware you recommended (http://www.pcinspector.de/default.htm?language=1) to recover an accidentally deleted Canon IXUS movie file (.AVI) from my SD card. It was dead easy, and worked perfectly.

Thanks so much!
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Old May 31, 2014, 1:26 PM   #12
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Join Date: May 2014
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Default Eureka!

A friend somehow unknowingly deleted 26 Gb of .mov video files from his SD card. I offered to try & recover them. I tried virtually every undelete & recovery program mentioned in this forum...Pandora, Recuva, Remo, AVS, and more. Most all showed that vast majority of the files had already been overwritten. The files that weren't shown as overwritten, and were supposedly successfully recovered would not open on any media player I tried...quicktime, VLS, Windows, nor any other. I tried the suggestion of running these recovered files through a video converter to change format. Still wouldn't play.

Then, after many hours of pounding at this, I followed JimC's suggestion and gave PhotoRec a try (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step)
Friggin' amazing. That's a serious file recovery program. Took almost 2 hours of continuous processing time, but it recovered 26 Gb in 59 files. I was blown away...and every file played just fine in Quicktime.

Researching on the web I found that most of the file recovery programs are simpler programs with simpler algorithms built for small files where lost file data is assumed to still be in contiguous clusters on the storage media. If file data is not contiguous, these programs don't work. They may show a large file as recovered, but their algorithms did not completely find all pieces of the file. So, for example, the video file container headers that originally reported file size when video file was created & recorded, those are recovered at beginning of the file, but size data in those headers don't match the recovered file size, and the video players detect this reported vs. actual size inconsistency and conclude the file is corrupted or unknown format, and will not attempt playback. If saved files are large, and media has some amount of use prior to the lost files being originally written (prior use, as in writing & deleting files causing available space to no longer be all contiguous), then larger files (like pictures and especially video), were never stored contiguously in the first place, and all these less sophisticated file recovery programs won't work.

But that program from cgsecurity.org was magnificient. The user interface is pretty techkie, like a dos window w/ character based commands, but a little patience and you figure it out (along w/ help instructions on website). Like I said, my recovery session cranked away for 2 solid hours to reclaim those 59 files, some over 1.5 Gb. They all played back on Quicktime very first time I tried to play each one. That program terrific!!
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