Memory cards are vital to digital cameras as an essential storage media. Without one your equipment will almost be useless.
However, regardless of the quality and type of storage cards you are using in your cameras, they remain vulnerable media. The photos and videos saved in memory cards can get lost down to corruption or a virus infection. Sometimes, you may even delete or format them by mistake.
Moreover, all types of memory cards have a limited life span. Their durability depends upon usage. Though typically, the most SD cards manufacturers provide are 5-10 years warranty, that’s under ideal conditions and usage, which can sometimes be rarely obtained. Thus, the harsh truth is, irrespective of the brand, capacity and type of microSD cards, SDHC, SDXC, CF card, or M2 card, you use in your camera, they are prone to data loss at any time.
How to recover photos from a memory card:
There are various methods to recover lost photos from your camera memory card. These methods may depend upon a case-to-case basis.
Below are four ways to complete photo recovery from memory cards. You can try them, based on your loss case scenario:
- Recover lost photos by a recovery software
- Assign a new drive letter
- Reinstall the driver
- Perform Chkdsk in command prompt
After realising your photos are lost, it’s very important that you don’t do anything else with the memory card. Meaning you should remove it from the camera and make sure you don’t shoot any more photos on the card.
Method 1: Recover lost photos by a recovery software
A good memory card photo recovery software works in various loss cases, such as deletion, formatting, virus infection, and corruption, among others. There are several photo recovery software available, which you can use to restore the lost photos from the memory card.
However, while choosing one, ensure it is safe to download and free from malware. The recovery software should also support your memory card type and the photo file formats that you want to restore.
You may choose software like Stellar Photo Recovery, that not only works with all kinds of memory cards, SDXC, SDHC, microSD cards, CF cards, memory sticks etc. but also recovers RAW file formats of photos from the camera. The software supports RAW file format of popular DSLR’s like Canon, Nikon and Sony, as well as supporting action cameras like GoPro.
Whether you are using a recovery software for Mac or Windows, it is wise to choose the software with a wide range of support for different types of cameras and memory cards, as you never know which device you might experience the loss of photos from in the future.
Method 2: Assign a new drive letter
Sometimes the photos on your memory card are not accessible because your computer does not detect the card. You don’t see the drive letter of the camera card in the connected drives list. You might also get the message ‘Please insert the disk into drive E:’.
In such situations, you can assign a new drive letter to the memory card by following the below steps:
- Use Windows+R to open Run dialogue box, type diskmgmt.msc
- Tap OK to open Disk Management window
- Look for the memory card and right-click on it
- Select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’ and apply the changes
- Restart PC and connect your memory card again
Method 3: Reinstall the driver
Sometimes the outdated or corrupt computer drivers do not detect the memory card and you are unable to access the photos on it. You can try to reinstall the drivers on your Windows PC.
Follow the below steps to reinstall the PC drivers:
- Go to My Computer/ This PC and right-click on it
- Click on Manage > Device Manager on the left pane
- Double-click Disk Drives from the list
- Right-click on the memory card
- Click Uninstall
- Click Ok
Method 4: Perform Chkdsk in command prompt
If you receive an error message that asks to format the camera memory card to open it, then perform Chkdsk in command prompt. You should be able to access the SD card and view the photos on it.
Follow the below steps to perform Chkdsk in command:
- In the Windows Start option, type cmd in the Search box
- Right-click cmd and select the Run as Administrator
- Type chkdsk < SD card drive letter>:/f (e.g., chkdsk E: /f)
- Press Enter
How to avoid photo loss from your memory card:
There’s nothing worse than turning your camera on and realising your memory card is empty and all the photos you’ve hours shooting are lost. So as it is said, precaution is better than cure, here we suggest what best you can do to protect the photos and videos stored on your memory card:
- Maintain multiple backups
- Format the memory card before fresh use
- Properly insert/ remove the memory card from camera or computer
- Take out the memory card only after switching off the camera
- Don’t remove the card from the camera/computer, while its photos are open or being transferred
- Don’t continue to shoot, when you see, ‘memory card full’ message
- Perhaps use multiple SD cards of small capacities than one large capacity card in your DSLR
Whenever your memory card isn’t working to its full potential and you don’t find your treasured photos saved on it, try the above methods to get your pictures back.
If you can’t access the memory card on your device, ways like assigning a new drive letter to the camera card or updating your Windows driver often help.
However, the most common photo loss scenarios like deletion, formatting, or virus infection are well-tackled with the help of a professional photo recovery software for memory cards. A smart and secure memory card recovery tool can restore all kinds of image file formats from digital camera SD cards.
Nevertheless, always follow the best practices to protect your photos and avoid the unfortunate incidents of files becoming lost from the memory card.