Retrieve lost digital photos

Published Date
14 - Feb - 2007
| Last Updated
14 - Feb - 2007
Retrieve lost digital photos
And then there were none (of your photos on the card)

We've heard this story too many times to count: You took your digital camera on vacation, shot a zillion photos, and in a moment of distraction, deleted them all. Don't despair: even if you can't see any sign of all those great shots, there's a good chance you may be able to retrieve them. Just don't format your memory card or save any more photos on it until you've tried these solutions.

It would be a true nightmare if your photos were lost forever, but there's a good chance you can get them back--even if they don't seem to be on your memory card anymore.

1. Recover them with software. When you delete image files from your camera's flash memory card, they don't necessarily disappear. They're just not accessible anymore. Some, if not all of them, will still be stored on the card until you overwrite them with new files. So unless you have filled your card again with a new batch of photos after losing the first, there are ways to make them accessible again. Formatting your memory card--especially more than once--is a good way to really delete your photos. So don't do it until you've tried to recover your lost shots.

There are many software programs that recover lost image files, and they're all pretty affordable, if not free. Make sure that the one you try works with the type of memory card your camera uses. Try one of these downloadable image-recovery programs.

2. Send your card in for service. If you're uncomfortable trying to recover the lost files yourself, you can send your memory card to an image recovery service. If the service is able to recover your files, they'll be sent back to you on disc or made available for download. Although the fees for these services can be a little steep compared to the cost of image-recovery software, many services don't charge you if they can't recover your images. Here are a few services you can try:

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