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Old Jun 21, 2007, 8:35 PM   #1
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Hi,

One of my CF cards has become corrupted, and I urgently need to recover the images. The camera is reporting a 'CF Card Error', and is unusuable.

So far I've connected the card to my machine via a USB card reader, and used various file recovery applications - all to no avail - Windows does not recognise the card at all.

After a bit of research, I concluded that the error might be something to do with the MBR, so I tried to format the card in the camera itself, with the intention of recovering the images later. Unfortunately this fails as well with an 'Error 99' message.

After reading some info in this forum I tried to use the Windows 'Disk Admin' utility to recreate the MBR, but whilst windows sees the drive, it just hangs when trying to access the card.

I've now downloaded the Ultimate Boot CD, and am trying to use some of the FDisk utilities tocheck the card, unfortunately the USB card reader is recogised in DOS.

If anyone knows how to mount the USB card reader in DOS, or indeed has any other suggestions for recovering the images I'd be very grateful.

Thanks. :?
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 8:52 PM   #2
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That's probably a good thing (that you couldn't get fdisk to work).

If you've already got the Ultimate Boot Disk burned to CD, try this:

Boot into the CD and use the Ranish Partition Manager menu choice. It used to be under File Utilities (F3 key). I'm not sure if it's still there or not. It normally sees most USB card readers. I've got a Sandisk that works fine with it.

Press F5 and cycle through the drives until you see your CompactFlash Card. Make *sure* it's your CompactFlash card and not your hard drive (the default drive shown is probably your hard disk, so press that F5 key until the CompactFlash card info is on screen).

Highlight the MBR (first entry in the list you'll see after you have your CompactFlash card selected), press enter to edit it and change the Executable Code type to a Standard IPL (you'll see the choices where you can edit it near the bottom right hand side of the page). It will likely show an "Unknown IPL" to begin with. I'd change it to Standard IPL.

Then, delete all partitions you see on the card (highlight them and press delete).

Then, press the F2 key to save everything (updating your changes to the MBR, deleted partitions back to the drive).

Then, boot back into Windows XP and go into Disk Management Tools under Control Center, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Storage, Disk Management. Scroll down until you see the graphical representation of the card, right click on it and use the built in Wizard to create a partition and format it using a file system type of FAT (if it's under 2GB) or FAT32 if it's more than 2GB. Make sure to select the right file system from the drop down list you'll see. Then, try the recovery utilities.

You may want to see if a Linux distro can see the reader first. If so, you'd have less writing to the card before recovering the images, increasing your chances. You really don't want to write to it unless absolutely necessary. But, you'd probably need to install one of them to your hard drive, and then install testdisk to recover the images. If you're in the U.S., I'd be happy to talk you through it. Just send me a PM and I'll give you a phone#.


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Old Jun 21, 2007, 9:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info.

I tried Ranish, and when I press F5 it gives me an error message - 'Error getting hard disk parameters'.

Any ideas?
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 9:28 PM   #4
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That's not a good sign. Have you got another card that you could try to see if it's just the card giving you that error, or if it's something in the way your reader is being recognized? If it's just a reader problem, you may be able to get it working using a different one.

It would be unusual for Ranish not to see a drive at all if the reader works OK otherwise. So, the card may have a a component failure of some type.

There are other things you could try. But, they'd take a bit of time. For example, a Linux utility called ddrescue may be able to do a sector by sector copy of it, even with the MBR destroyed. Then, you could run recovery utilities after writing that image to another device. Most Linux distros don't have this utility preinstalled though, and it would take a bit of doing. I'm going to have to get some sleep now. I was up most of last night. lol But, if you'd like to try booting into a Linux distro to see if it can see the card, I'll check this thread in the A.M. and offer some suggestions.
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 9:29 PM   #5
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Sorry, here is a screenshot. You can see the hard disk drive partitions in the background.

Thanks
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 9:34 PM   #6
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That's not good if the reader works with other cards. See my previous post. Can you try another card to make sure it's not just a problem with it recognizing your reader?

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Old Jun 21, 2007, 9:37 PM   #7
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The card reader seems to work fine in XP, but I'll try it on a different computer. Failing that I have a copy of Knoppix which might have the utility you mention, so I'll give that a go as well.

Many thanks.
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Old Jun 22, 2007, 6:12 AM   #8
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It seems that one of your few remaining options is http://www.ontrack.com/media/
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Old Jun 22, 2007, 10:26 AM   #9
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Flasher wrote:
Quote:
The card reader seems to work fine in XP, but I'll try it on a different computer.
You're misunderstanding me. Do you have another card you can try in the same reader using Ranish?

If it works with the other card, we'll know that Ranish might have an issue with your card, not your reader. If that's the case, it's probably a bad component in the card.

If it's the reader that isn't being recognized by Ranish, then we can look at other solutions (you can find a different reader to use with Ranish, or perhaps try to read the card using a Linux distro that may be able to see it OK).

As for Knoppix, what version?

Here's the issue. Most Linux distros don't have NTFS-3G installed. I think one of the newer Knoppix releases might have an experimental beta installed. But, you'd have to use it at your own risk. Some distros have a stable version of this driver available now. You're going to need somewhere to write the recovered data to, and your PC probably only has an NTFS partition, right?

A driver like NTFS-3G is needed in order to write to NTFS partitions (most Linux distros won't by default without installing drivers that allow that). So, you're not only going to need a utility to try and copy the data from the card, you're going to need a way to write the data recovered to somewhere else that you have access to it. That could be another partition somewhere on your drive that's not NTFS, an external hard drive formatted as FAT32, etc. But, most won't write to NTFS by default. Some will, but they usually won't allow installation of recovery utilties from a Live CD (although there are some exceptions).

The easier way would be to actually install a Linux distro to your hard disk (resize your Windows partition to make room for one, create partitions for it, and install to the partiitions). That's the way my PC is setup. I've got XP Pro and more than one Linux distro installed. Then, you could install any needed utilities with a mouse click or two.

Boot into it a Knoppix live cd and see if it can see your card for starters. After it loads, open a console (you'll see a Konsole under the menus somewhere) with your card in the reader. Type this and post the results. That lets us know what disk devices/partitions it's seeing. If it sees the card in the reader, there are some approaches we can try to copy the information from it. It may or may not need root access to run the command. I don't recall with Knoppix, and I don't know if it's got a root password by default. See what this gives you.

su
fdisk -l

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Old Jun 22, 2007, 12:04 PM   #10
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Try this real quick first.

Boot into Knoppix, open Konsole, which is a terminal program you'll find in the menus and run testdisk. You can analyze the disks it finds for lost partitions, change their characteristics, change disk geometry and more. It also has a menu choice to rewrite the mbr. If Knoppix can see the card, testdisk should show it.

su
testdisk

I'm in sidux 2007-2 right this minute and it's got it preinstalled. I seem to think Knoppix having it preinstalled also. Some distros do. It may have photorec already on it, too (it's a recovery program that can copy files from damaged file systems).

If not, see if you can install them from a live CD. I think Knoppix is based on debian. So, this should do it if it lets you install to memory. They shouldn't take up too much.

su
apt-get update
apt-get install testdisk
apt-get install photorec

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