Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Lost and Found: SD Card Corruption
I have always enjoyed taking pictures. My father introduced me to SLR cameras years ago and I have many colour slides of people and of places I have visited. Film and developing had a cost attached so we were more careful in shooting as one had to pay for the good and bad pictures.
Digital cameras have changed that! I am able to shoot 100 pictures in a day and keep only 25 without cost concern. I have taken a couple of thousand pictures this year and had about 400 of them on the SD memory card in my camera. These were some of my favourite shots and while they had been downloaded to my computer, they were not yet backed up. On Saturday we spent much of the day at the market with my brother and his family and there were about fifty new pictures from this outing on the 2 GB card.
I proceeded to download my new pictures and received the message, "No images on card". Impossible! I knew there were hundreds of photos that had not been deleted. Melissa from Empress of Dirt wrote a timely post last week about some freeware that successfully found pictures she had accidentally deleted from her memory card. I downloaded the software but it would not run on my system. But thanks to her I knew a solution was possible.
The next stop was Walmart where I put the card in a photo machine. No images! The young clerk told me my card was corrupted and those pictures were lost.
He did not know me...I do not give up easily.
I bought a card reader, which I should have had in the first place, and searched the internet again for a solution. A program called PhotoRescue allowed me to download a trial version to search for my pictures and then required payment to retrieve them on my hard drive. Amazing! In 10 minutes it located 480 pictures and I happily paid $29 to keep the program. There was no loss of quality to the images.
Forensic experts have tools which can find files which have been deleted from hard drives, voice mail systems and memory devices. A while ago our voice mail system at work was upgraded and messages deleted months before reappeared on the new message box. Beware! Electronic evidence is not removed as easily as paper is shredded in a machine.
I hope I do not have to use my "forensic software" again, but have it ready if my SD card becomes corrupted again. I have reformatted it and also bought another card. This list of memory card do's and don'ts was on the internet at this site. I broke about half of these rules regularly but will change the way I use my memory devices in the future.
From the website Digital Inspiration:
Here are some tips that may prevent memory cards from getting corrupt and prolong their life as well:
» As far as possible, use brands recommended by the camera manufacturers.
» Never turn off the digital camera while photos are being transferred to the PC or vice versa.
» It is always advisable to reformat camera cards at regular intervals depending on how frequently you use the digital camera.
» Use the camera controls itself to reformat the memory card, don't do this via your computer.
» Do not switch to the View (or Play mode) while the picture is still being written to the disk.
» Do not shoot the next photograph while the previous one is still being written or saved to card's memory.
» Make sure your camera batteries are properly charged. Shooting images with a low battery may sometimes cause problems. If the camera batteries fail while the image is being written, your card may get corrupt.
» Weird but true - Don't delete files from the Memory card using Windows Explorer. Either use the Camera controls or the photo management software supplied by the Camera vendor.
» If the memory card is showing problems frequently, it's probably time to invest in a new memory card before disaster strikes (again).
» Never eject the memory card while the camera is till ON.
» Do not use the same memory card is different cameras.
PS: Memory cards in the story above refer to all storage media formats including Memory Stick, Secure Digital [SD Cards] or even CompactFlash.