Un-deleting a picture from a digital camera's memory card: can I?
July 11, 2005 7:18 AM   Subscribe

ACK! I accidentally deleted a picture from my digital camera's memory card! The cam is newish and I'm not quite used to it yet; I mis-pressed a button while reviewing, and now I've lost an important, once-in-a-lifetime shot. Is there a way, ANY way for me to recover the accidentally deleted photo? Please please please tell me it's not impossible. Or at least tell me why it is. *tears hair out*
posted by furious blush to Technology (11 answers total)
Try this. Good luck.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:22 AM on July 11, 2005

It's just like a hard disc - the file isn't really "deleted" until you overwrite the memory locations it is stored on - just the directory entry to it has been deleted. If you don't use the card again (risk of overwriting it), there's tons of undelete utilities that will be able to retrieve it for you.
posted by matildaben at 8:18 AM on July 11, 2005

I've used PCI Smart Recovery to do just what you want.
posted by whatisish at 8:20 AM on July 11, 2005

I used Active Undelete when a card of mine decided it had no photos on. Worked like a charm. As matildaben said, there's nothing special about a memory card, it's just like a hard disc. (when it comes to undeleting photos)

Cost $39 which maybe a bit steep when I'm sure there are loads of free utils out there, but good value if you're in the UK :)

Good luck
posted by ModestyBCatt at 8:50 AM on July 11, 2005

Response by poster: Sorry, in my panic I forgot to specify: I use a Canon Powershot A95 with a CF card.

I'm not sure if it can let me mount the card as a logical drive.
Do I have to buy a CF card reader?

I haven't touched my camera since the accidental deletion, for fear of further mishaps.

Whew, though! Good to know I can get the picture back, somehow.
posted by furious blush at 9:57 AM on July 11, 2005

You can get an external card reader for less than $30. It's been a year or so, but when I looked I found lots of utilities that were free to try, they would show you that they could see your deleted file, but wouldn't actually undelete it for you until you coughed up $25 for them.
posted by matildaben at 10:04 AM on July 11, 2005

If you have a Fry's Electronics nearby, they've been advertising a 12-in-1 reader for 4.99 (no rebate!) for a while now. I got one, and I'm using it, and it works fine. It'll mount your CF card as a removable drive, and permit any number of disk utilities to undelete the file.

Does Win2K/XP still have the MS-DOS undelete program built in? I remember using it for undeleting files from floppies and hard drives in Win3.x and 9x, but that was ages ago.
posted by loquacious at 10:27 AM on July 11, 2005

Any of the CF 'repair' programs will work even though the card isn't damaged per se. There was an AskMe thread about it in the last month with some program names. I just took a quick look through a few of the linked programs and none of them will use the camera link it seems - you'll need that PCMCIA or USB gadget.
posted by phearlez at 10:55 AM on July 11, 2005

I've used VAIOSoft Recovery Manager for this very purpose many times. it's free, too.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:58 AM on July 11, 2005

I've used IOLO Search and Recover 2 with great success. It is available with a free trial. Some of the other included utilities are useful as well. As has been pointed out this will work if you haven't taken any more pictures.
posted by geekyguy at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2005

Let this be a warning to those of you who sell used flashcards and/or digital cameras with memory...better find a way to wipe them clean before your buyer finds your homemade ameteur sex videos made by you and your S.O.!
posted by catkins at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2005

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