Are my photos gone forever?

I have a Toshiba digital camera that uses a SmartMedia card. Every once in a while, I’ll be merrily shooting away, turn the camera off, and when I turn it back on, I get a “Card is not formatted” message.

In the past, I’ve been able to retrieve the images by taking the card out of the camera and using a card reader. This last time, however, even with the card reader, my computer (PowerBook G4 running OS 10.4.4) said the card was not readable.

I gave the card and reader to a colleague with a Windows machine, and she couldn’t read the card either.

Is there anything else I could try to recover the photos? It’s not a huge loss if I can’t – no Big Foot photos, just my son’s 11th birthday party – but if I can recover them, I’d like to.

There are recovery utilities that claim to be able to retrieve information even from formatted media; they might be able to do something with it.

Here is one such program:

Card Recovery worked great for me in recovering deleted files ofa wedding, and the free version will let you see if it recovered anything before you spring for the paid version.

Woo-hoo, Astro!!! I owe you the virtual libation of your choice!!

There didn’t seem to be a free trial version for the Mac, so I went ahead and plunked down the $39.95. I walked down the hall while it was doing it’s file recovery thing and ran into a faculty member who said, “Hey, do you know if there’s a way to recover photos off a bad memory card in a camera?”

So now I’m the local geek-heroine and have justified the expenditure.