Can my friend of a friend's pictures be recovered?

I have a friend who knows If I don’t know how to do something computer related I know where to go. He has a friend who’s daughter just returned from Australia and tried to have a local shop print the pictures from her digital camera.

She was told the card was blank. I have been asked to see what I can do to recover the pictures.

It is a 2 GB SD Card

The camera used is a Casio Exilim EX-S600. The camera displays an error message when I have the questionable card installed. If I put the card in one of my many USB card readers the system does not detect a card is inserted.

Is there anything (short of mailing the card away) that I can do to recover the pictures?

Here’s a Mac product I’ve had good luck with:
There’s similar products for Windows, I’m sure.

Thank you for the link, the software they offer for Windows based computers failed to see the memory card

That probably means that the card is dead. I’ve had some fail on me. I don’t know of any service that will attempt to recover from a bad (not a soft fail) card.

Did you make sure that the metal contact surface on the card is clean?

I’ve had luck reformatting a card (but not doing a low-level format), so that the system would recognize a card is in the card reader. You’d then use a recovery utility to find the missing images. You can give that a shot. I’m guessing that a good portion of the data is still recoverable.

I have a memory stick that was in a camera that got immersed in water - Windows would sort of see the card - plugging it in wouldn’t do anything, but clicking on the drive letter would bring up an I/O error, or would cause an extended delay, followed by some other error, rather than just saying ‘insert a disk, dummy’.

I used the free photo recovery software from to successfully retrieve the contents. Some of the other solutions I had previously tried gave up too easily and just told me that there was no media in the drive, or that it was unreadable.

There are free programs out there that are for recovery of data from unreadable cards. They do a read of the data and ignore errors. Use whatever mangetout linked to or try one of these other free ones. Don’t format the card like has been suggested.

Try several different recovery programs before you give up. They use different methods and not all will work the same depending on what is corrupt on the card. Do Not take any more pictures with this card, or attempt to do so until this is resolved.

Formatting is a liast ditch effort, but it can work. One problematic card I had went like this: My friends took it to the photo place, and they said only five photos can be recovered. I ran it through three different recovery programs, and got the same results–only five photos. However, one of the recovery programs generated about 300 recovered images, although they were the same five images repeated over and over and over. One of the other ones, I noticed would seemingly jump from about 2% or 3% finished to 100% without all the points in between.

On a hunch, I decided to format the card. The recovery still issued the same problem. (A format doesn’t actually erase much info on the card itself–it just rearranges the directory so it tells the camera, computer, etc., that memory locations can be written over. ) I shot through about ten photos–past wherever the first five files would be stored, and ran it through the recovery program. Whammo. That did the trick. When I ran the recovery program, it found about 300 unique image files this time,

Another bad memory card that was having difficulty in the computer wouldn’t generate any results with the recovery programs until I formatted over it. I do photography for a living, and I’ve had three cards go bad on me. I’ve been able to recover about 99% of my photos (never lost an important photo) and in two of those three instances, the recovery actually involved a format of the card.

I mean, take it for what it’s worth. You’re free to not believe that formatting the card worked in my case, but it’s saved my ass twice.

Formatting can work as you describe, but I’d be inclined to try a few of the potentially less destructive methods first, then move on to formatting if that doesn’t work.

Either that. or take the card to a professional data recovery service and let the experts retrieve what they can.

I should add…the freeware program I recommend is Smart Recovery.

The commercial program I’ve had best luck with is Image Recall’s Don’t Panic.

…Which is the nature of my warning in my initial post. Formatting itself is not really destructive, it just sets up the directory table. Low-level formatting IS destructive and can totally hose you. You do have to know which one you’re doing, which is also why in my second post I clarify that it should be a last-ditch effort.

Fair enough - thanks for the explanation - I think we’re all on the same page.

For the record, when I put my memory stick through the recovery program, I didn’t just get the pictures that I knew to be on the card, I got a load of other ones from previous sessions too, that had been deleted (but of course not actually had their bits wiped, just their file names and locations forgotten away out of the FAT).

Are you sure the pictures are on the card and not on the camera’s own internal whatever? I have a Casio and I can store pictures either on the camera itself or on a removable card. I think I can set it to store to first one, then the other; or only on one or the other.

How you get them from one place OR the other, I am not sure. I know that before I installed my card, I took pictures with the camera. Then I installed the card and now as far as I know the pictures are ONLY on the card, but I can’t remember how I set that up.

Worth noting that the camera mentioned has 8.3 MB of internal storage. (Granted, not much) It may be worth using the camera’s USB to read the internal memory on your computer to see if there’s anything there.

If its the memory card that’s gone bad, a great recovery tool is getdataback, for the FAT version. I’ve recovered lots of deleted pictures that way. You put the card into your camera, and your camera comes up as an external hard drive. You then run getdataback, and have it recover data from that drive.

Thank you, that software found part of 1 picture but also thinks the card is 1gb and not 2gb. So I have hope the pictures can still be recovered.

The person who is the go-between did give me the camera but did not give me a cable. It does not look like a standard USB connector. However if I hit play with no card installed it says they are no files.