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Recovering “Lost” Media

Posted by Andrea Keating on May 16, 2011

Ever find yourself with a media card that was “accidentally” formatted? How about a card that had an error caused by the camera overheating or running out of battery?

Don’t pull out your hair thinking all your hard work is lost. There’s a chance your footage or stills can be saved, at least the ones that haven’t been overwritten.

The key lies in how media is saved on a digital card. When you take a photograph, your camera creates an image file that is written to the media card. This image file’s location is logged in a table of contents on the card. As long as the table of contents is preserved, any file saved on the card can be located. Usually when you erase a file from your card, you are actually just removing the file’s entry in the table. Sooner or later, this unlisted file gets written over by a new photo.

So when you format your card (unless you do something called a “low-level format”), you are just throwing away the location of your files. The photographs and videos are still there. Photo recovery software can find the original photographs and copy them to your computer for you.

You can use a number of software programs to recover your files. I use this one on my Mac. Any suggestions for PC users?

Guest post by Snehal Patel

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