Please help me save years of digicam pics!
January 14, 2008 12:15 PM   Subscribe

How can I save my digicam pics (retrieved from various old CDs and DVDs) and not spend weeks on it? Currently many of them crash (Windows) Explorer.

So this weekend I finally went through all my old backup CDs and DVDs and tried to salvage as many of my digicam pics as possible (starting from 2001) by copying them back onto HDD. This went ok, more of the discs worked than I'd expected (even if many were slow and intermittent).

But now Explorer keeps crashing when I try to access some of the folders (I admit I had Explorer set to "thumbnails" while doing this). I assume this is because some files are damaged. Is there any way for me to weed these out without opening each one and manually deleting the ones that crash Explorer?

Is there perhaps some way (program or other) of scanning them and "marking" or discarding the damaged ones? Or perhaps even something that can... make sense of the data that normal Explorer can't?

(I'm aware of companies that could restore the data from the original discs but considering I can probably save 90% of my pics if I just spend some 50hrs on this I'm not quite willing to waste $2000 on this)
posted by ClarissaWAM to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would try a program like XNView and see if you can do a batch conversion, to convert them all to a similar format in a new folder. I experienced a similar program on my Mac - one graphics program had written some metadata to the files and OSX couldn't read it. I used Graphic Converter to do a batch conversion and selected the option to strip all Metadata and EXIF data, and it worked like a charm.
posted by kdern at 12:45 PM on January 14, 2008

Response by poster: Wow, This does indeed work! (I've just tried it with Irfanview)
I've even done a batch conversion keeping the EXIF data and it still didn't crash Explorer.

So while this is still going to be a kinda laborious task with over 16,000 files and 228 folders, it will make it much much easier.

THANK YOU!! You are my Saviour and I kiss you!!

(of course if anyone has an even more magical solution, feel free to share! you'll get some fairy dust from me too!)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 1:12 PM on January 14, 2008

Not much help, but explorer may be crashing due to partially unreadable media. I'd try to rip to an ISO with a program like Alcohol ( or another program that has some sort of recovery)
posted by mphuie at 1:35 PM on January 14, 2008

Here is someone who had this problem and used a solution like kdern's but with a different program.
posted by DarkForest at 1:38 PM on January 14, 2008

Sounds like whatever handler is associated with that file type is having an issue with it.

Here's a discussion of a similar crash issue with AVI files, but the solution is likely the same: changing that property handler in the registry.

I certainly wouldn't delete the troublesome files. I probably wouldn't run a batch conversion (and lose some quality to recompression) either.
posted by phearlez at 2:45 PM on January 14, 2008

I probably wouldn't run a batch conversion

Right. You want to keep the original files. You just want to find out which ones are bad. The point of running the converter as a batch is just to quickly find out which files are corrupt, via error messages, so you can weed them out. That's what they were doing in the link I posted earlier.
posted by DarkForest at 6:04 PM on January 14, 2008

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