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Old Dec 20, 2003, 8:34 AM   #1
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Default SD card corrupt, now what?

Hi, new to this forum, and already in trouble!
My mate has bought a Kodak CX6330 and a PNY technologies 128MB SD card with it. (main reason, the birth of his first kid, a girl)
With no usb port on his PC he decided to just "fill" the SD card and have it read and printed at a Photo store.
Meanwhile he was taking pictures, deleting some, showing his pics on TV, making more pics, deleting some etc. with about 60 useful pics on the card the camera suddenly comes with:


not knowing what to do he came to me, I put the card in a reader and get "this card is not formatted etc." (Windows XP)

Is there any known way to retrieve any information from a card in this condition? I would like to salvage (some off) his pictures.

Normally I would not bother, but it contains the first 60 pictures of his kid from birth to 3 weeks old, itīs worth an effort I think.

So, come on, make me (him actually) happy please!


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Old Dec 20, 2003, 9:05 AM   #2
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There are businesses that do data recovery, so hang in there. Someone here probably knows where you can locate such places.
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Old Dec 20, 2003, 2:07 PM   #3
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Any help here?
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Old Dec 20, 2003, 3:51 PM   #4
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This is going to sound nuts, and do it at your own risk! There are recovery specialists that do this for a living, but they'd probably charge a LOT more than you'd be willing to pay.

TEST THIS FIRST USING A DIFFERENT MEMORY CARD, so that you are comfortable with doing it this way.

Go ahead and do a full format of the card using the card reader so that it is readable. Make sure you're using FAT16 (select FAT for the file system type in Windows), and do NOT run Scandisk when you're finished.

I say to use the card reader, because some cameras actually do the equivalent of a low level format. Most cameras don't, but my Konica does. I can perform a "full format" of a memory card with the PC, then use this recovery program and recover all the files on the memory card.

However, if I format it with the camera, no files will be found (because my camera is doing the equivalent of a low level format on the card).

After formatting the card in the reader, use this recovery program to read the formatted card, recovering any images that have not been overwritten to any directory you want on the PC's hard disk (you'll see a drop down browse list).

The web page is in German, but the installation will allow you to select English as the Language.


Here is the same page (translated into English by Google):


You will see a download link for "Digital Image Recovery: on the page. If you have trouble finding it, here is the direct download link to the software:


The download is compressed (.zip file), so you will need pkunzip.exe or winzip (or another utility capable of extracting the installation .exe file to install it. You can download an eval copy of winzip here:


The install will let you choose English as a language.

Again, if you have any doubts about this procedure, go ahead and test it using a different memory card first (take some photos, format the card, and test recovering the images).
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Old Dec 23, 2003, 4:23 PM   #5
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Thank you all for replying.
I tried Jimīs suggestion to format the corrupted card in a cardreader (FAT16, indicated by Win XP as just "FAT") and run that freeware picture recovery program (see link in post above).

Tried it on a Compactflash testcard first with success, then proceeded with my friendīs corrupted SD card. Recovery program could not be simpler and worked a treat. Was able to recover all pics, much to the joy of this "fresh dad" and daughter Britt:

He says Thanks!


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Old Dec 23, 2003, 4:37 PM   #6
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Dad looks like he has been rode hard and put away wet. Baby looks great. A good friend is always there in time of need. Congradualtions
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Old Dec 23, 2003, 7:52 PM   #7
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I am glad it worked (and I'm sure the father is, too -- and for your help in recovering his images). It would have been a shame to lose those precious first photos of the father and baby!

No doubt you were both very nervous about using a Format Command (which most people would assume would destroy the data). In most cases, only the FAT is damaged. So, recreating a new FAT (of the same type over the damaged one) allows a good recovery program to read the data from the sectors on the media (which are left intact by most Operating Systems).

Thank goodness for people like Alexander Grau (the Digital Recovery programs author).

Happy Holidays!
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Old Oct 8, 2007, 3:05 PM   #8
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These posts seem to run high in a Google search for low level SD card format. Just to mention the Panasonic link:


is still good with Vista supported utility. Sadly, my SD card looks like toast. It formats but then any time it's mounted (carmera or PC) it wants to be formatted again.
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