How To: Recover lost photos

Have you lost the only copies of irreplaceable digital photos? Recovering photos from CDs, hard drives, memory cards, digital cameras and iPods is one of the most common data recovery tasks. Digital storage media are quite fragile compared to photographic prints and people often don't make backup copies of their valuable photos. This results in tragedy when the original is lost or damaged and cannot be read.

If some of your precious photos seem to be lost, don't panic! There is still a good chance that you can get them back using photo recovery software. It costs nothing to try. The main thing is not to write to the disc or memory card any more until you have given the recovery software a chance. recommends this photo recovery software:

There are many different photo recovery tools and general data recovery tools available. The ones we recommend have been chosen because we have found that overall they are most effective at recovering lost photos and are also easy to use.

Recover photos from memory cards, cameras and hard drives

Whether you are recovering photos from a hard disk, a camera or a memory card the process is the same. Photo recovery software accesses a camera or a memory card just as if it was a hard drive. If you are using Windows and your digital camera appears in Windows Explorer by the name of the camera rather than as a drive letter, you may need to take the memory card out of the camera and put it in a USB memory card reader before you can start the recovery.

Recover photos from CD or DVD

If you have archived your photos to CD or DVD and then find that the disc can no longer be read, then it is still possible to get the pictures back. A CD or DVD can become unreadable when multi-session writing is used to burn batches of images to a disc. Either the disc was written in a form that is unreadable by a new computer or new software or else the software somehow corrupts the file system making it unreadable during the process of adding a batch. It's best to burn a full disc of images at a time.

Data is stored on CDs and DVDs using a different format or file system to that used for memory cards and hard disks so you cannot use the same photo recovery software. To recover lost photos from CD or DVD media under Windows:

To avoid this problem when creating photo archives on CD in future: