Corrupt Images

Posted on 2006-05-18
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
  Hi there once again everyone, and thanks in advance. I had a customer with a raid-0 array on a XP Pro box. He had roughly 30 gigs of Extremely important pictures on the drive, Unfortunately he didn't recall them being there until a new OS was re-installed. That's when we got the machine. I've been able to recover roughly 75% of the pics through various recovery tools. Problem is that when I'm viewing these pics within a folder in thumbnail view they look fine (most anyway, some are jumbled, like the head on the feet of a person, and the sky on the bottom and the ocean on top) when i attempt to open the pics through ALL programs from coral to Adobe Photo I get an initial error of File is damaged, could be truncated or incomplete when using adobe photo shop, and pretty much the same thing within all the other programs. Another odity is that when these pics came back in the rocevery they came back within the Recovered Jpeg folder, but when actually recovering and copying to a folder windows states that they were GIF. I changed the files type from gif to JPEG and anything else i could think of with the same result, I did try PIXRECOVERY demo witch i believe it fixed 1 of about 15 i tried but the demo has a big black box in the middle. Whatcha think?
Question by:Bigred4
    1 Comment
    LVL 38

    Accepted Solution


    Tough problem. First of all, since you said Raid 0, you are retrieving data across a drive array, yes? Because RAID 0 is really no protection against failure, because there's no redundant data - it's just split into different drives in the array. So if you are trying to get all the data from a single drive, it may not all be there.

    The program I have had the best success with (even after others have failed) is PhotoRescue ( for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It can undelete, unerase, and recover lost or damaged image files from corrupted, erased, or damaged media, and repair corrupted images. I've occasionally had success with BadCopy Pro ( as well, and usually try one of these and then the other. Try to both repair your retrieved files and recover from your data source.

    You can also sometimes open corrupted file in applications like CorelDraw (which can sometimes import damaged JPGs. Once the file is imported into Draw it can be exported again as a new fresh JPG) or Photoshop (using RAW mode). For the latter, you need to know the size of the image in pixels. What you do in Photoshop is select File>Open As and in the dialog box choose RAW and then the file you want to open. Another dialog box will ask you to enter a size in pixels and the amount of channels (choose 3 here), leave the Header Size blank and click OK.

    * For the following items, always work on COPIES, not on your originals *

    Last, some times the file can be opened in a text editor or a Hex editor, and the data stream altered slightly, allowing them to be opened with a graphics program. However, if there is a lot of information missing from the files, it is impossible to fully recover the images. The basic procedure is something like the following:

    Open a working image files from the same source (same digital camera, etc.) as your corrupted files in a hex editor, and take a look at the flow of the files -  typically they should begin with FFD8, followed by a string of other characters. Get an idea of the flow.

    Then, open your corrupt file, and look through the file. You're looking for a place where there's an obvious change to the flow of the data. If you can spot it, you might be able to fix it - at least if the damage is obvious, like a erroneous character or blank line introduced into the file.

    Not to nag or say "I told you so" to your client, but remind them to ALWAYS have a backup plan and use it - one time recovering lost files, like this, can pay for it. And as I said, RAID 0 is not a protection mechanism, it simple allows for faster read/write operations by spreading demand across drives.

    Hope that helps,

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