This holiday season, or any time of year when taking photos, there is a chance for deleting photos that matter. If you delete one or more photos from your digital camera and its SD Card (or with a smartphone where you backup to a micro SD card), here are a few methods to recover those special images.
This SD card recovery post is for those who have photos on a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera with a SD card as the main storage. However, if you are using a smartphone for all or almost all of your photography, simply make sure to link it to Apple iCloud or Google Photos so that everything is automatically backed up (of course there are other backup services, but these two work for most phones).
Most of the time, recovery methods will require a full Mac or PC be used, or at least will make it easier to work with the SD card. The good news is that if you have a file glitch, the data is often still there, as long as you stop using the card immediately. Not always, but quite often the corrupted data exists, but access is limited and when you stop using the card or camera, you avoid overwriting the data you are trying to save. For both of the tools I suggest here, there is a free, limited version and then the upgraded, paid version.
One of the best-known Windows OS recovery tools is Recuva, owned by Piriform which also makes CCleaner software to keep your computer running fast and without bloatware. The free version of Recuva is a bit older (2016) than the paid version, but it still works and lets you find lost files. The premium version is $19.95 for one year, or $34.95 for the CCleaner package that includes Recuva and a couple of other tools for three computers. Prices may vary with discounts and holiday pricing. It is super fast and allows me to scan almost any hard drive (cards and USB included). I am testing if I can run a scan on my Android phone and will update this post after that. As you can see above, the results come in a standard file manager user interface, so you can simply select the files that need recovering.
The second tool I tested is EaseUS, which has PC, Mac, and mobile tools available, with its free data recovery tool allowing up to 2GB to be recovered. EaseUS is highly rated on TrustPilot and has a 30-day guarantee for its paid versions. It is $69.95 for one PC for one month and $89.95 for Mac. Not inexpensive, but for those important images or files, probably worth the cost for a month. The MobiSaver app is available for iOS and Android.
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I have to say that I found the EaseUS interface easier to use and search. It allowed me to drill down into the file folders and by types of files. That is helpful and handy. But, once I recovered a file it became clear that there is some fine print worth knowing — you can recover up to 500MB even though it says 2GB on the free page, which has a popup (if you click it) that you can recover 2GB, IF you share it on social media. So, the tool works, but the slightly unclear on-page message leaves one a bit confused, or dissatisfied. Still, the tool works great and will let you recover data. Note to users: You can select which folders or drives get scanned, potentially saving your 500MB of recoverability for what you really want to keep. Click carefully.
I will close with a digital backup story that makes my son laugh: I had a mid-range digital cam for work use. I had not backed up in a while due to travel and we just finished a great mountain bike adventure where I captured some terrific footage. My setup allowed the main files to go to a built-in 64GB memory chip, then I automatically set it to backup to a 64GB SD Card simultaneously. Pretty nifty.
We got to the car and as I was confirming everything was backed up before shutting down, the camera screen flashes blue and words appeared: “Data Failure: Do you want to try again or give up.” Seriously, that was the message. I lost it and yelled at the camera: “Give up? Of course I don’t want to give up. What is wrong with you?” It has been a while, but I think the SD card backup saved the day.
Overall, if you are snapping loads of photos this holiday season or anytime of year, these tools can save your photos or files and let you restore them to your machine. Given all the other challenges the world has faced this year (and last), you can at least recover those special memories with EaseUS or Recuva. Hopefully, you will not receive a message like mine and be forced to have a conversation with your device.