[HOME] 7:28 AM May 24, 2015

Recovering Photos From A Corrupted SD Card

My nephew recently graduated from High School which meant a lot of pictures taken. Unfortunately the camera malfunctioned during the graduation ceremony and it seemed to of deleted all of the photos on the camera. His mother was devastated. She bought me the memory card from the camera to try to recover the photos. When I first got the card and inserted it into my computer a message popped up about the card being damaged and recommended a scan to repair damages.

I accepted without giving it a second thought, I had fixed one before using it. I had always considered the chkdsk command one of the more useful utilities built into Windows. But this time I was not so fortunate. The scan found and repaired the damage but left a bunch of .chk files that where totally unusable.

The last time I used this successfully all I had to do was rename salvaged files, usually named File001.CHK, File002.CHK and so on. I just changed the extension from .chk to .jpg and the pictures where once again viewable and intact. This time it didn't work. So I went online to see if these files could be salvaged any other way. I came across a web with some utilities that claimed to be able to recover these files, but so such luck -


I believe older versions of Windows I believe had an undo command. I was wondering if such an option still existed. If the scan changes could be undone. Nope.

So anyway I decided to try some different recovery programs to see if I could salvage the files.

  • TestDisk www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download was one and
  • Recuva www.piriform.com/recuva was another. I also tried a demo of
  • Recover My Files www.recovermyfiles.com/

    Nothing worked. The only good news was that the next day it was discovered they gave me the wrong memory card. So I put the second card in only to discover it was blank. The usual folder setup was there but still no pictures. Unlike the previous, the scan disk option did not pop up. It didn't matter because I had no intention of using it this time except as a last desparate resort. I decided to skip directly to Recuva.

    By walking through the wizard after install your first option is to chose which files you want to recover. Since I was only looking for pictures I checked pictures.

    Then I had to chose where I wanted to recover the files from.

    Then I checked the option for the deep Scan.

    This is what showed up next (actual screenshot from recovery operation). Just go through and check the files that you want to try to undelete.

    I switched to the advanced mode (sorry no screen shot available). It will prompt you for a location to save the recovered files after you click on the Recover... button down in the right hand corner. If the files haven't been overwritten yet there is a high chance of recovery.

    It's recommended that if you delete something accidentally and you plan to try to recover it, don't do anything else on your computer or in this case take any more pictures otherwise you risk those files being overwritten. When you delete a file it isn't deleted completely. It's simply marked for deletion by the operating system. The system treats the file as empty hard drive space that can be reused. That is why sometimes it's possible to recover deleted files.

    Eventually these files will be overwritten and impossible to recover. That is why companies and individuals interested in security and privacy use special software to completely erase these files called erasers or shredders. For this same reason you have to act quickly to recover these files and it's recommended to copy the recovered files to a different drive or storage device. Using Recuva I was able to salvage the graduation pictures. Crisis solved.

    Black Thumbnails Windows 8

    There was one small issue still. I burned of the pictures to a CD and the copied them over to there Windows 8 laptop. Some of the thumbnails started turning black. On my Windows 7 computer the pictures are perfectly normal.

    I converted the pictures that where in .jpg format to .bmp that led to some very large individual picture sizes. (I've used conversion before to solve picture issues). The individual files had a resolution of about 4288x3216. A ridiculous resolution far as I'm concerned since most pictures end up on Facebook or sent through emails. If printed up at it's original size it would be approx. 59inches by 44inches or 151cm by 113cm. And each file size was about 40MB in size (in .bmp).

    So I converted back to .jpg format. Problem still remained. After some fooling around with them I was convinced the images where not damaged. The Windows Explorer thumbnails and the built in Windows picture viewer where at fault.

    Using xnview www.xnview.com/en/ the pictures where perfect with no issues (I used this program for the conversions). They where OK when uploaded to Facebook as well. I just set up xnview as there default picture viewer.

    Goodbye Opera

    I've experimented and changed web browsers over the years. Started with IE, then Netscape, Opera and Firefox. Then Mozilla Suite which became Seamonkey. Then there's K-Melon, Otter, and Vivaldi and Chrome. Tried them all. Originally I settled on Mozilla Suite until Mozilla gave it up and it became Seamonkey.

    Not knowing what to expect I switched to Opera, not sure what version it was at the time but I've been fooling around with Opera since version 3. In version 3 it had big display add banner across the top that you had to pay for to get rid of. On a already, painfully slow, dial-up connection at the time that was a no-no. Anyway after switching to Opera (I still use Seamonkey as my email client and my secondary or backup browser) I stuck with it until version 15 when it became a ridiculous mess.

    They switched redering engines. It was now as some people referred to it as a Chrome clone. The worst thing everything stopped working. This new eyesore didn't even support bookmarks. I switched to Seamonkey but I missed the customization of the older versions of Opera. I still have Opera 12.16 that I still use.

    I keep experimenting with Opera to see how it developed. Eventually decided to give it another shot. I went online to figure out how to customize this to my liking. That wasn't to bad until along came version 29.

    My grudges:

  • First of all the bookmark manager still sucks.

  • And the lack of options in Speed dial. At first that stupid bar at the bottom was at the top and bearly visible but then then darkened it and jammed it at the bottom of the window with no option just to remove the damn thing. They gave you some options like setting the number of columns and reducing the size of the speed dials. You could set the columns at one time to 2 and make the dials small so your background theme could show through. Now you limited to 3 columns and you cannot adjust the size so what is the point of the themes anyway. Especially your own custom ones when everything is blocked by those damn dials.

  • The worse is the automatic updates, the real deal killer in my case. I don't use Chrome for the reason that they don't give me any easy control of the updates. I had set everything just the way I wanted on version 28 and the bloody thing updated to version 29 even though I disabled and deleted all the automatic update files. The only way I could get the version 28 look back was to delete version 29 and copy the files over from a backup.

    I deleted the autoupdate programs and the update task only to have that bloody thing still update on me. I don't go to about:config because I know that can trigger an update. Now I've discovered that just going to the settings can trigger an update. Thank you Opera for respecting me as a user.

    I finally found a way to control the updates, I just uninstalled Opera completely. I still use Opera 12.16 along with Seamonkey. Had to backtrack on a Seamonkey update because my main extensions stopped working. So I got two browsers I can't update. I will have to for security reasons eventually. Maybe Otter - http://otter-browser.org/ or Vivaldi - https://vivaldi.com/#Home may be next. They both claim to replace what Opera left behind. Only time will tell.