Fix recovered gif or jpg images that show no preview available

Posted on 2005-04-06
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I have searched around this site to see if there is a way to fix recovered image files, I cant seem to find anything. I have recently used active@ undelete to recover image files off my hard drive. I have recovered the original files. Not files that were stored in caches or email programs. I have them saved to a different Hard drive. When i open the images with windows picture viewer i get no preview available. Help? Thank you!
Question by:csoup
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment


    First, just so you know, there's a Topic Area here on EE called Graphics General that would be an appropriate area for graphics questions.

    There are several things that may be going on. First of all, MS Picture Viewer is not the most robust program in the world. I would suggest trying another program to open your files - a great freeware program which will open a huge range of file types is Irfanview ( Irfanview is pretty robust, meaning it will do a good job of trying to open a file even if the header data is missing or damaged. Another good program is LView Pro (; again, a robust program which will open a lot of formats. It's not free, but you can download a 21-day trial version. Sometimes LView will open files other programs will not.

    As I briefly mentioned, the header data in your image files may be damaged. That header tells the viewer program information about the file type, decompression needed, etc. It can also include a stored thumbnail or preview of the image. If the programs listed above can open your images, you are probably OK. If not, it may be possible to "heal" some of the damaged files, so let us know how you progress.

    Oh, and Good Luck!

    Author Comment

    Well I did try the irfanview but no luck. It told me that it couldnt read file header. Heal? That would be great! What do you have in mind?
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    You could try the following

    Unfortunately it's only a demo and recovers the image with a large black square in it, but it should let you know if your images are recoverable - then maybe purchase the full version.

    Hope this helps

    LVL 38

    Accepted Solution


    Basically, what you want to try is a "header transplant." JPEG headers contains image-specific data, not just data generic to the jpeg filetype. So you'll want a header from a similar image (same compression, same resolution, etc). You'll need a hex editor like UltraEdit ( or or one of the others out there. The header of a file is at the top of the file. The basic process is to compare several known good JPEGs and then take a look at your damaged one. Once you see the pattern of the good headers, you often can repair or replace the damaged header. It might not be 100% correct, but if you can then get Irfanview to open it, you can re-save.

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