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recovering data from CF card?

Sue Deva , Aug 14, 2003; 02:10 p.m.

I accidentally selected "Format" on my Canon S230 and erased all the pictures on the CF card. I have Mac OSX and I was wondering if there are any programs on Mac or on anything else (but preferably on Mac) that can be used to recover such data. (Is there a drive recovery option built into the system software?) Any other suggestions?


Jon Austin , Aug 14, 2003; 03:31 p.m.

Sadly, your data is gone, forever. Flash memory devices, such as CF cards, do NOT work like disk storage. Once a file is erased (or the device is formatted), the data cannot be recovered. There is no way to undelete files or unformat the card.

Mark Pav , Aug 14, 2003; 03:38 p.m.

Uh-oh. I don't like your chances, dude. Here are a couple of links that may help, though:

* MediaRecover

* Digital Picture Recovery

Rick Stare , Aug 14, 2003; 04:27 p.m.

The new Lexar CF cards come with a program called Image Rescue (may not be remembering the name exactly right) that is supposed to be able to recover images after you format. Check out their web site, and good luck?

Chris Combs , Aug 14, 2003; 07:48 p.m.

Jon Austin is incorrect. CF storage, like any other FAT volume, "erases" files by replacing the first letter of the filename with an invalid character in the file allocation table; its space is marked as free, and new files will eventually overwrite the space which was used by the deleted files. To recover your photographs, use any FAT16/32 undeletion tool. On a Windows machine, R-Studio FAT is an excellent solution that combines drive imaging with low-level recovery; I'm very happy with it.

Formatting the volume is a little messier, but most recovery tools can deal pretty well - FAT partitions contain (IIRC) four copies of the file allocation table, and usually enough information survives a "quick" format - i.e., non-zeroing - to reconstruct the partition's directory. Good luck.

Beau Hooker , Aug 14, 2003; 09:49 p.m.

>Sadly, your data is gone, forever. Flash memory devices, such as CF cards, do NOT work like disk storage

Sadly, this is not correct!! Well, maybe from Rafil's point of view, it's not so sad. CF cards work pretty much exactly the same as hard disks - both have FAT tables, can usually be formatted, (and unformatted, assuming nothing's been overwritten), deleted and undeleted. I wouldn't be surprised if good ol' Norton Utilities wouldn't do it. There are numerous products and services for recovering data from CF cards. I keyed "compact flash data recovery" in Google and got these links from the first page only - and there were a LOT more pages:

http://www.eprovided.com/memory-stick-recovery-data-recovery-service.html http://www.datarescue.com/laboratory/smartflash.htm http://www.recallusa.com/camera_card_recovery.html http://www.free-data-recovery-software-hard-drive-repair-services.com/ .../compact_flash_data_recovery_service.htm http://www.flashcardfix.com/ http://www.siliconrex.com/ compact_flash_memory_recovery_software.html

When in doubt, Google!! :) Good luck and best wishes . . .

Shawn Kearney , Aug 15, 2003; 03:35 a.m.

You just did the equivalent of opening the door on the back of the camera while it's loaded! Some things will never change ;)

Bill Swersey , Jan 26, 2004; 09:11 p.m.

Last night I was transfering pictures from my Canon Powershot G2 to iPhoto and as usual I checked "delete photos from camera after transfer." Unfortunately, for the first time ever, after the transfer was finished the photos were not in iPhoto or in the camera. I was pretty sure the images were still on the CF card, so I Googled for a while and found a few applications that promised to help me recover them. Two were demos which would let me see that the photos were there, but would only allow recovery if I paid a registration fee. I kept searching and finally found Exif Untrasher 1.2, a great shareware utility that quickly and easily did the trick! I got all my images back.

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