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-   -   Corrupted a-data 8GB SD card / Partition ? (

tribalwind Aug 10, 2008 1:50 PM

i'm desperately trying to recover 3 weeks worth of beautiful shots taken around asheville NC/Appalachians .

i'm not a professional photographer,as indicated by this maneuver i did to transfer my pictures....its how i've always doen it without a problem.

i Cut and pasted to my pc, not realizing the battery life was low,and that i'd grabbed some large video files which were makign things take a lot longer to x-fer.
the batt died during the transfer and screwed up my card somehow,im guessing because of the Stupid cut/paste, but sheesh i'd think thered be some protection inherent in the card or pc to not messup partition from that common of a task???

now i get "no card" messages, card not formatted, partition not found etc...
been trying various data recover applications. some worked at getting soem things,but the jpgs arent viewable in windows or anything, and they also turned the MOV files into still jpg's ?plus theres all of a sudden a bunch of exe's and swf files which never existed?maybe were hidden or osmething,part of cards formatting?

for now on i'll definitely use a card-reader that doesnt require a battery..,,im slightly annoyed that my camera (waterproof/submersible" Pentax optio w30") doesnt charge thru the usb like my old olympus camedia did i think..

if anyone has soem suggestions PLEASE do speak up,
in the mean time i'll continue searching the archives on this forum, seems like a great resource! ,jsut getting stircrazy/punchy from allt he reading,installing,uninstalling,failed attempts etc etc etc the past 2 full days.

JimC Aug 10, 2008 4:16 PM

It's usually a bad idea to use cut and paste, since the "cut" part writes to the card (when you delete, it has to update the file allocation table entries).

So, that can lead to a corrupted card if you remove one before any cached writes in the operating system's memory have been written to the card (which can happen if you don't use the eject or safely remove features before removing a card from a reader, or removing your camera from a USB connection).

If you're using your camera for a reader, and the battery dies before the writes to the card from your deletes (the cut part) complete, that can also lead to corruption.

I never write to a card using a PC unless absolutely necessary (and when you delete images, or use "cut and paste", which does the same thing, you're writing to the card, which can lead to corruption if something goes wrong).

Instead, I just copy the files from a card. Then, I format the card using a camera's menu choice for format (not a PC), prior to every reuse --- no exceptions. That's the way I delete my images. That approach also insures that the card always starts out with a fresh File Allocation Table, just the way the camera expects it (since it's performing the format). Formatting is usually faster than deleting images anyway, since it's only recreating the FAT (File Allocation Table), versus updating entries for each deleted file separately.

Anyway, to recover your images, 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.

Use a card reader (and you'll have to make sure the one you use is SDHC compliant with an 8GB Card), and select your memory card from the list of media it finds (hard drives, 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).

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

It doesn't care about the file system at all, so any FAT (File Allocation Table) problems won't matter if you got any contiguous images saved before your FAT was corrupted (the most likely issue).

After recovering your images, make sure to format the card again using your camera's menu choice for format (not your PC). I do that every time I reuse a memory card. Before formatting the card, make sure you can see the full size images, not just the thumbnails. If it won't format in the camera, try using a PC with a card reader, and select FAT32 as the file system type with Windows. Then, reformat it using the camera's menus before using it again.

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

There are some other free programs around that do a pretty good job in most cases., too. Here's one example (and it also has a nice Graphical User Interface). I usually prefer photorec. But, if you're not comfortable with a text based interface, you may want to try this one first instead.

Photo 5 Aug 11, 2008 9:23 AM

JimC wrote:

It's usually a bad idea to use cut and paste, since the "cut" part writes to the card (when you delete, it has to update the file allocation table entries).

So, that can lead to a corrupted card if you remove one before any cached writes in the operating system's memory have been written to the card (which can happen if you don't use the eject or safely remove features before removing a card from a reader, or removing your camera from a USB connection).

If you're using your camera for a reader, and the battery dies before the writes to the card from your deletes (the cut part) complete, that can also lead to corruption.
If you are forced to use the camera in order to download your images from the camera to the computer and like Jim I always tell people use a card reader.... do a select all command and then drag the images over to your computers hard drive from the camera that way your not deleting the images on the memory card but cutting rhem and pasting them.


tribalwind Aug 11, 2008 11:38 AM

thanks Jim !
i have seen that photorec someplace, when i tried it it was in DOS,even though i'd selected to download the windows version..ill try it out agian..

yes first i need to find a reader that''ll actually read my 8gb card. i have 1 that reads my 4gb but not the 8. i got 1 at bestbuy yesterday and had to return it,no sdhc....ill try pc richard and a few other local stores before settling for haivng to order one online and wait for it..

photo 5, i think doing a drag is same as copying/pasting,not cutting like i did(which would also be dragging while pressing CTRL), that is probably why it would be a better option..
i realized right after it happened that the "cut" was abad choice, lesson learned. ill be formatting my cards after every use now,i had no idea they could eb this unstable as its my first time having this problem.

but yea right now i can only use the camera to read my 8gb,it does stink.

ok off to hunt for a reader~

tribalwind Sep 13, 2008 6:33 PM

Wanted to write back and thank you agian for the info you provided.

i was able to recover all my photos.

Photorec got most of them.

the PC inspector got ones the other didnt. although ithad to do a deep-scan and took about 1.5 full days i think to complete.!!

sadly however ..neither of them properly recovered allt he quicktime MOV videos..
some were found but all came out corrupt/unplayable...some stills were pulled form some of hte videos and that was it...and some erroneous txt files and EXE files were found/created,which i deleted..

i still havent formatted the hopes i might find some way to save those videos.
i'll just buy another card,still have a 4gb im using now which is more than enough,90% of the time... need an 8gm for recording my performances/gigs is all ...

anyhow. many many thanks! i may upload them to Picasa,and will share from there~!

JimC Sep 15, 2008 8:50 AM

Try to find someone that's Linux savvy and try to get a copy of the card using ddrescue.

If it took that long to try and find the image files on it, you probably have a damaged card with hard errors on it.

ddrescue can make multiple passes if you use a log file, only retrying areas that haven't been copied OK yet. So, you can let the card cool off in between passes (and sometimes they work better hot, sometimes you get more cold). It's not unusual to see a failing card read OK in some places on one pass, and have errors on another pass.

Basically, you'd be making a disk image file of the card using this utility (ddrescue). Then, you can either copy the image to a new card, or just run recovery programs like photorec against the disk image file (which is the way I do it). Using that technique, the recovery programs don't need to deal with any hard read errors (they'd only need to deal with normal corruption type issues).

See my posts on this page to get an idea of how that works:

PhotoRyan Apr 20, 2009 1:13 AM

Hi everyone,

I am having a very similar problem, and I stumbled upon your excellent posts. Thanks.

I have a Transcend SDHC 8GB Class 6 card . . . loaded with Joshua Tree NP pictures. I put it into my card reader and plugged it into my girlfriend's computer. At that point, her computer froze and we eventually pulled the card out. :mad:

So my problem is similar in that I can't get to the pictures and it says "Card Not Formatted for this Camera" if I put the card back into the camera. However, when I plug the card into my computer, it never comes up under the device list (I run Mac OS X). Also, when I run PhotoRec, only my computer hard drive is listed as a potential place to recover files from, even though the card is plugged in.

So my question is: what is the best way to enable PhotoRec to see my card? Will Ddrescue help even if I can't "see" the card on my computer? If not, does anybody have any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

JimC Apr 20, 2009 8:21 AM

Ryan, welcome to the forums.

Do you know if your card reader is SDHC compatible (does it work with another SDHC card)?

Many Secure Digital card readers are *not* able to read SDHC cards. You'll need a reader that specifically supports SDHC (not just SD).

If you're using a card reader that is known to work with other SDHC cards, then the card could have failed in a way that prevents it from being seen.

PhotoRyan Apr 21, 2009 3:05 AM

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the welcome and your help.

To see what card reader I use, search amazon for "Transcend 8 GB SDHC Class 6 Flash Memory Card with Card Reader TS8GSDHC6-S5W".

I have ruled out the card reader as being the problem because:
1) I have used this card with the card reader in the past.
2) I have another identical card and I took a picture, plugged it into the card reader, and everything worked properly on the computer.

So it is definitely the card. Interestingly, I plugged the card into a Vista machine at work this morning and the message showed up at the bottom right of the screen that "New Hardware has been found". When I go to Computer, a new drive is present (F: Removable Disk), but when I double click it, it cannot see the card and it gives the message "Please insert disk into Removable Disk (F:)". By the way, this is not just because I plugged the card reader in because plugging the card reader into the computer without the card does nothing. This gives me some hope of running PhotoRec on the Windows computer. But I have still yet to give this a try.

So I agree with your assessment that the formatting on the card was damaged to the point where it cannot be recognized. I guess that the only questions I have at this point are:
1) Do all recovery programs, especially ddrescue and PhotoRec, require the card to be able to be "seen" on the computer?
2) If so, do you know of a way to get the computer to recognize my card? A friend of mine at work mentioned that I may be able to type something on the UNIX command line to tell the machine to mount the drive.


JimC Apr 21, 2009 7:59 AM

Try photorec from Vista and see if it can recover your files for you. Just because the file system is corrupt and the operating system can't mount the card, doesn't mean that it isn't being seen as a block device. Photorec ignores the underlying file system.

If you can't recover the images that way and they're important to you, I'd suggest that you download SimplyMEPIS 8.0 (a free Linux distribution), burn it to CD using a tool that knows how to burn an iso image, and boot into it (the operating system can run from a CD). Download the 32 bit version for best compatibility. The username will be guest and the password is guest when running from a Live CD. It's got recovery tools like ddrescue (which can make a copy of a failing card, even if it has hard errors) and photorec preinstalled.

Then, plug in your card reader and card, open a terminal (Start Menu>System>Terminal Program (Konsole) and let me know what this tells you (copy and paste the output to a post here). You'll see an icon for Firefox you can use for internet access. You'll need to enter the password for root when prompted for it (and the password will be root running from a live CD).

fdisk -l

That will show any drives/partitions that are detected. If it's detected, I can give you some commands to make a copy of the card. Then, we can see if photorec can recover your images from the copy (which is just an image file that contains an exact replica of the original card). If you're in the U.S., send me a PM with your phone number and I'll be glad to call you and talk you through it.

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