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SuperSuz Oct 16, 2005 11:38 AM

I have an Sandisk 512 card. I was clicking away all night long. All of a sudden a message comes up on my camera that says I need to format the card!

I put it in my reader on the computer and it told me the same thing.

I downloaded about 6 different recovery programs, no luck.

I found your forum and read where sometimes you have to format the card for a recovery system to recover anything.

So, against what I really wanted to do, I formatted the card, 1st in the camera. I ran all of the recovery programs. NO LUCK again.

So I formatted the card through the computer and ran all the different programs again, still no luck.

Can you help me?

Why did it all of a sudden do that?

After I formatted the card, It works fine, just can't recover the awesome pictures I took.

Also, I read that if you shut the camera off before the picture is finished writing to the card, that it could cause problems. Maybe I took a picture and immediatley shut the camera off. I don't know.

Would that cause this huge problem?

Please help me, I have been on the computer for 4 hours now trying to resolve this.

By the way, Awesome forum !!

JimC Oct 16, 2005 11:49 AM

Some cameras will overwrite the data on the card if you use the camera menus for formatting (so, if your model did this, you're out of luck). It's a good idea to test a camera's behavior with a different card before trying an in cameraformat when a problem occurs (take some photos, format, then see if they are recoverable). Most cameras won't overwrite anything except for the FAT, though.

With a PC, you'll want to make sure you select the correct File System Type (by default, Windows uses a 32 bit FAT, which is not compatible with most cameras). So, you need to select FAT as the File System type for most models. If you formatted it using a different file system type (i.e., the Windows Default), it may have messed it up where it's not recoverable, too.

What kind of camera is it? Were you shooting jpeg or raw?

What recovery programs did you try?

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

If that one doesn't work, try this one (it can recover some raw file types, too; and also has a "Physical Mode" that you may want to give a shot). It's not free, but they have a demo you can try to see if it works before you buy it. If you messed up the card by using thewrongfile system type with Windows, it might be able to find the photos if the datawasn't overwritten. If it doesn't work, I'd try a reformat with Windows again before giving up (making sure to select FAT as the File System Type).

Formatting a card is usually only needed as a last resort (card not readable by Windows without formatting), and then, you need to make sure the File System Type is the same as it was originally (which would be a 16 bit FAT on a card that size, which Windows refers to as FAT when you select a File System Type).

SuperSuz Oct 16, 2005 12:14 PM

Okay, I took 2 pictures, formatted the card on the computer and ran Rescue Pro Demo. It found the 2 files !

I ran that program FIRST in the very begining 5 hours ago and it didn't find crap.

Programs I used were: One that you had the link to, Rescue Pro, Image Recall, Digital Picture Recovery, Digital Image Recovery & Digital Photo Recovery.

I guess I am S.O.L ! If it only found the 2 that means the others are totally gone.

Why did it do that though to begin with?

When purchasing SD cards are you supposed to format them first. I took over 500 pictures on this card without pre-formatting and have had no problems at all.

Is it because I may have shut the camera off too soon?

I am very upset about losing those pictures.

I appreciate all of your advice.

SuperSuz Oct 16, 2005 12:16 PM

Also, how often are you supposed to format ?

SuperSuz Oct 16, 2005 12:18 PM

Sorry.............I forgot to answer a few of your questions too.

I have a Kodak C340 5.0 and when I ran the recovery program it listed the pictures as "RAW"

The numbers started with "0's" There was an error on it that said something about files that began with "0's"

JimC Oct 16, 2005 12:32 PM

SuperSuz wrote:

Okay, I took 2 pictures, formatted the card on the computer and ran Rescue Pro Demo. It found the 2 files !
It's never a good idea to take photos using the card you're having a problem with until you recover them, since that will overwritedata.

Your camera may also be overwriting the data on it (versus just recreating a new FAT) when you use it for formatting, and it sounds like that's probably the first thing you did (formatted it in the camera).

I'd test the camera format behavior using a Different Card to see how it works (not the one you're having problems with). If you used Windows to format it later, and used the default File System Type, that may have also destroyed the images.


I guess I am S.O.L ! If it only found the 2 that means the others are totally gone.
Probably. Always try to see if the card is readable using utilities first. If not, then format using a PC (unless you're sure your camera won't overwrite the images with a format, by testing it with another card), making *sure* to select the correct File System Type (FAT in the case of a card this size, since that's how it would have shipped from the factory).


Why did it do that though to begin with?

When purchasing SD cards are you supposed to format them first. I took over 500 pictures on this card without pre-formatting and have had no problems at all.
The most common cause is probably incomplete writes to media (removing a camera too soon from a USB connection, opening a memory card door before it's finished writing, etc.).

A lot of users "cut and paste" files with Windows, which writes to a card (a delete is still a write, and a cut deletes the files). Depending on how your driver is setup in Windows, you may need to use the "safely remove hardware" icon to make sure all buffers are flushed to a card. You can also set the driver to "optimize for quick removal".

Personally, I never write to a card using anything except for the camera (I never delete from a PC, etc.), just as an added safeguard. But, some users do this all the time.

I always (no exceptions), reformat my media with the camera menus, prior to every use. It's just as fast as deleting images anyway with most models, and insures that I start out with a fresh File Allocation table that's exactly the way the camera is expecting it (since it's doing the format).

But, some users never format a card. I won't risk using a card that I don't reformat prior to each use (just in case something did an incomplete write to the card corrupting the FAT).

JimC Oct 16, 2005 12:45 PM

Try the "Physical Mode" with PhotoRescue (versus it's defaults). Maybe you'll get lucky and get some of them back (but, it's unlikely)

SuperSuz Oct 16, 2005 1:53 PM

I had a feeling that I caused it by turning the camera off too soon. I didn't know that would have an affect until I read it online today. I thought the light was flashing because my battery was low. Duh......I feel so stupid. I am very computer and digitally literate! But I can't believe that would ruin ALL the pictures.

I tried the program you suggested again. I had tried that one earlier. I'm not kidding, there's probably 4 or 5 other programs that I tried that I didn't include in my previous message.

Live & Learn I guess.

I just bought a 512 ULTRA card off Ebay. My boyfriend says they write quicker. Where was he when I bought the first card ? HA HA

Anyway, you seem to be very smart and I really, really appreciate your time in addressing my issue. Learning things the hard way is the only way I learn.

Thank you for sharing your "smarts."

JimC Oct 16, 2005 2:04 PM

In your camera, it's unlikely that a fast card would give you any advantage (the interface to media is probably too slow to take advantage of a faster card).

In the future, pleasebe careful if you have a similar problem.

The idea is to try and read the images from a corrupted card before doing anything else to it, using a utility that's only reading from the card and not writing to it.

As soon as you write to the card, you are getting into higher risk operations that can destroy existing data (your images).

If image recovery utilities can't see the card, then one solution is to try and format it (some utility manufacturers even tell you to do this when the Operating System can't see it).

But, you have to make sure that the method you're using is only overwriting the FAT area of the card (and not any area containing your images). You also need to make sure that the format is using the same file system type it had to begin with (and Windows uses a 32 bit FAT by default, which is different that the File System type your card shipped with, so you have to change it from the defaults).

The only reason you do this (format a card using a known safe method) is so that the operating system can recognize the card so that Image Recovery utilities can read the data area, and you only do it as a last resort. Most of the time, it will work just fine using Windows, provided you select a File System Type of FAT if that's the way your card was formatted to begin with (and it would have been with a card of this size)..

But, you can't do anything else that writes to the card before you recover the images that way, or your risk overwriting important data (your images).

danger_boy_13 Oct 31, 2005 10:37 AM

You may want to try contacting Sandisk as well. If it is still under their warranty (I know the Ultras have a limited lifetime) and it stopped working, they will probably replace it.

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