Pictures won't open

sharpapproach used Ask the Experts™
I need some assistance with pictures.

I have a camera that the pictures copied to my drive fine.  (see picture #1 from Explorer)

However, whenever I open them, I get the top of them and a gray curtain. (see picture #2)

I tried it on both my desktop and laptop.

Help!  What happened?????  There all 900 pictures of the summer with my kids.  PRICELESS....

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Try opening the pictures in a different applicaiton.  For example, try to open them with Internet Explorer.
Try clearing out your temporary folder.

First close all relevant programs and then from the command line execute the following commands:

rd %temp% /s/q

md %temp%

To get to the command line press the Windows + R key, type cmd, click OK.
Try installing IrfanView. It's a wonderful program and I use it a lot. Its batch mode is great, especially for things like shrinking photos to email size. Download Irfanview from

If it works, make sure you set it to always open your pictures, instead of the useless Windows Picture Viewer.
You may have to use file recovery software for your camera memory card. From your picture2.gif only part of the image is being disolayed.
But, Explorer can see the whole picture, otherwise it could not create icons for them. So I'm hoping there are no problems with the files or the card.
check to make sure your video card drivers are up to date
"But, Explorer can see the whole picture, otherwise it could not create icons for them."
Wrong!  Windows Explorer uses a "thumbnail extractor" function and the "icons" shown in Windows Explorer are only an indication that the thumbnail data embedded in the image files are intact.

What is shown is a classic case of image corruption.  Many people are not aware that the images are corrupt until they actually try to view the full image in a viewer/editor, as has been demonstrated.

A *.JPG image stores the main image data, the thumbnail data, tables, and loads of "metadata" such as settings from the camera, etc.  The places where this data should be is defined by "markers", and the absence of, or misplacement of, a start or end marker for the main image data is quite common.


Due to the number and sentimental nature of the images I would urge you to have your camera inspected by a data recovery expert, however that doesn't come cheap.

You have attached *.GIF screenshots of the Windows Explorer view and of one image opened the Windows Photo Viewer.  Your Windows Explorer setting is not to show file extensions, so we can only assume that the image files are *.JPG as that is the standard file type If the content is not too personal in the photos, could you please attach one or two of your actual JPG images, not screenshots of them.

There are free utilities (eg. JPEGsnoop by Calvin Hass - that can help to ascertain where in the JPG images the corruption has occurred, but we will only be able to check this if you can attach a few of the image files.

Some basic DOs and DON'Ts here, but don't necessarily go by the Google Ad for recovery software:

When a file is stored on a drive it usually has to take up quite a few separate fixed size chunks of storage which may or may not be located next to each other, so one image file could be scattered over a number of distant spaces on the drive.  When the file is deleted the file's fragments are still on the drive, but the space occupied by the pieces is freed up for more files to be saved there.  Data recovery applications not only have to find the bits of data, but pull them together so that you can save out the recovered files complete.  This is the reason that you MUST NOT take any more photos on that camera meantime.

The most important questions we need to know answers for:

1. Are the image files still on the camera's storage card, ie. were they COPIED from camera to PC or MOVED?

Set your Windows Explorer View settings to "Details View" and tell it to show file extensions, then browse to the connected camera which should show as a "Removable Drive".  If you see image files (usually will be *.jpg files) then copy and paste them into a new folder somewhere, then browse away from the removable drive and switch off the camera to disconnect it.  The less you mess with it the less likelihood that anything will be written to the card, but you need to see if the images are there.

2. What process copied or moved them?  The built-in Windows transfer function, or a software application that came with the camera?

There are some data recovery applications that purportedly are better for recovering deleted image files or recovering deleted content from "flash storage cards" as opposed to regular hard drive storage, but I would say that there will be no harm in installing the FAT version of GetDataBack on your computer and scanning the camera's storage card to see what it finds.
You need to purchase a licence to actually copy out recovered files to your hard drive if it finds them at the last step of the "trial" mode:

There is also a free application named Recuva which might work:

Let us know the answer to the things I have asked about and we might be able to help.

I see that you previously asked about recovering deleted images from the same or different camera:
and that TestDisk or PhotoRec apparently worked for you on that occasion:

I have tried neither of these, and so cannot comment.
Perhaps you should also add the "Digital Forensics" Zone to your question:
The experts who frequent that zone are obviously the people who are best equipped to know the best methods of this type of data recovery, because that's how many of the top people there make a living.

Here's a file recovery utility that is easy to use: MiniTool Power Data Recovery
Do you have any feedback sharpapproach?


My apologies for the delay.  I had a family emergency that has kept me away.  


Recuva worked perfectly!!!!!  
Thank you BILL!
Wow! That really IS good news.

I assume that you have verified the integrity of the images by opening them all (I know it's a laborious task) in an image viewer, not just seeing them in Recuva's "preview" window?  Just making sure, because "previews" usually use the embedded thumbnail rather than the main image data to display in much the same way as the Windows Explorer thumbnail view is really just a preview.

Clearly something has gone wrong either during the transfer of the images from camera storage card to computer hard drive, or something has later corrupted the images whilst on the hard drive.

To try and eliminate possible corruption during file transfer, I think you should consider setting whatever software that performed the transfer to COPY the images and NOT to delete them from the camera until after you have verified that the copied images are intact.  Maybe also buy a new camera storage card and use the camera's menu options to format it prior to use, just to eliminate the possibility that the storage medium corrupted the images.

I also suggest that you back up your documents and images to a good storage medium like a 2nd hard drive or even burn to CDs or DVDs, and then run the Windows Disk Error Checking utility.  Right-Click C:\ Drive > Properties > Tools > Error Checking.


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