Posted on 2004-08-30
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I accidentally formatted my canon S410's compact flash (type I) memory card using the camera's built-in formatter. There were a number of picture on it which I wanted. How can I recover those file? Bear in mind that the only two ways I have available to read off my CF card are through a direct camera - computer connection or through the multiple card reader on my Epson R300 printer, i.e. I do not have an external card reader which provides the greatest flexibility in reading off memory cards (not mediated - direct access). If need be, I will buy one, as they are cheap (<$20). However, tell me if there is a method using what is already available to me. If needed, please try to suggest free or cheap software.
Question by:rampage44
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
Comment Utility
they are usually formatted as FAT32 try one of these

**********Freeware Recovery Tools**********

Deleted File Analysis

PC Inspector
(FAT 12/16/32 NTFS)

(Also have a Netware version - NOT FREE)

**********TrialWare Recovery Tools**********

Undelete 3.0 (30 Day trial available)
(NT/2K/XP) - Can run direct from the CD

File Recover

(FAT12/16/32 NTFS NTFS5 and Ext2FS)

Recover My Files

**********Shareware Recovery Tools**********

File Scavenger
(NT/2K/XP) - Supports Reformatted Volumes -Limited to 32Kb file size!

GetDataBack for FAT
(FAT) Works Even After FDisk and Format, Can run Over the network.

GetDataBack for NTFS
(NTFS) Works Even After FDisk and Format, Can run Over the network.

(FAT 12/16/32 NTFS) Runs From MMC Console

(FAT 12/16/32 NTFS) Runs from DOS Bootdisk

FinalData Plus

************Commercial Products************

File Restore ($39.00)

HDR Data Recovery ($485.00) Trail available

**********Good Link to More Info***********

Author Comment

Comment Utility
Can you tell me which ones of these are you sure works with a printer or direct camera-computer connection only (as opposed to needing an external reader, which I don't have). For more information, read the above.
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
Comment Utility
You will probably need to get a card reader - but they are very cheap :) unless docking the camera comes up as another drive. In your case Id use
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

Comment Utility
I agree with Pete - PC Inspector seems to have dedicated support for flash cards.  The link for this feature is actually here:

Expert Comment

Comment Utility
Made by convar a EU company free for personal use
A well known data recovery set of tools
I think you use the Smart recovery tool for what you want to do if not one of the others should support what you want in some fashion or another
but im fairly sure smart recovery will do the job

Accepted Solution

rampage44 earned 0 total points
Comment Utility
Sorry for the delay Pete. I was very busy the last two days. Also, it took some time testing these programs (it's a long list you must agree).

BTW, Pete, you say: "they are usually formatted as FAT32". While doing some research about this, I found out that no memory cards are currently formatted in FAT32. On "", it says:

"At the card level : implementation varies a bit from vendor to vendor and type of media to type of media. The cards usually use FAT-12 (up to 64MB) and FAT-16 (above 64MB). In the future, as card capacity grows, they'll probably start using FAT-32. ".

Unfortunately, I was able to solve the problem without following any of your advice.

I tried the first three free programs. PC Inspector kept crashing while scanning the drive and wasn't efficient (in that it showed literally hundreds of files stored on the card ages ago (many of which are traces of files or incomplete files). With all of them given random numbers for names, it would take ages to find the ten or so photos I needed. Deleted file analysis seems to be just a tool for checking for lost files without actually recovering them and requires you to fill out long forms and register with them to try it so I did not go through this. The data recovery program from Ontrack is limited Trialware not actually freeware.

As for the other non-free software, I tried a few before giving up. The few programs I tried had problems ranging from not recognising a CF card drive created by the printer, to being too expensive (I am trying not to spend a lot on this).

You advised me to buy an external card reader. I thought I might try one last thing before doing that. All the programs you gave me are generic data recovery programs created with hard drive data recovery in mind, not catering specifically for memory card drives. So I did a quick search on the internet for a photo recovery program for CF cards, and found a cheap program called PhotoRescue by the company  DataRescue. It read printer drives and did a good job recovering my photos, so I bought it. It also showed thumbnails of recoverable photos for the user to select exactly what they need.

This way I was able to save myself buying an external card reader plus a generic (likely expensive) data recovery program.

TheTinkeringToad sorry I only read your comment now, a lot after I was done with this problem. However the program you suggest seems interesting and I might try it sometime later when I have some free time (if I ever do!).

I am glad this problem was solved. I did not award points because I all of the work that led to the solution was done on my part. I posted a link to this on the community service section for the moderator to view this. Anyways, I hope we have all learnt a thing or two from this session.

Author Comment

Comment Utility
Here is the link on the community service section:

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