Digital Camera Repair: How to Extract from a Corrupted Memory Card

Recovering photographs from a corrupted memory card can help to save photographs that would otherwise be lost. Many people believe that flash memory cards will last forever. Unfortunately, this is not true. Flash memory cards will wear out after millions of writes. As your card gets older, all sorts of errors can affect your memory card.

If your memory card is corrupted, then it probably won't be possible to read the photos on your camera. You might also have problems reading them on your computer. There is, however, a way to recover and extract these corrupt memory cards so that you will be able to read the photographs.

Equipment Required

  • Memory Card Reader - Either SD, Compact Flash or Memory Stick Duo depending on your camera
  • Memory Card Recovery Software
  • Computer

Step 1: Finding Recovery Software

The first thing that you will need to do is spend time looking for recovery software. The recovery software should be used to scan through your memory card and identify any photographs which can be recovered. Most pieces of recovery software allow you to run a free trial scan so that you can check the right files will be recovered before needing to shell out.

Once you have chosen the recovery software you want to use, it's necessary to download it to your computer and then install it. When it's finally installed, you can then run it and use it to recover files.

Step 2: Preparing Memory Card

Pop the memory card into your card reader and put this into a free USB port on your computer. The computer will recognize that you've inserted a memory card and ask you if you want to open it to view the files. Cancel this prompt because windows won't be able to recover the software without some help.

Step 3: Scanning the Memory Card

Open the recovery software scanner and then use it to scan your memory card. Every piece of recovery software works differently and you will need to read the instructions if you don't know how to use it. Normally, you will need to set the software to scan the drive of the memory card.

Step 4: Recovering Files

A list of files which can be recovered will be displayed by the software. Double clicking each file should make it possible to open a preview in most applications. You can then check the files you want to recover and select where you want them saved to on your computer.

A wizard will then appear showing you how to recover the files. Decide where you want to save the recovered files on your computer. Never try to save the files back on the memory card itself because this will only result in errors.

Step 5: Preparing Memory Card

Once the memory card files have been recovered, you will then need to format it. Nine times out of ten, simply formatting it will help to resolve the problem. If you still experience problems with corrupt memory cards, then you will need to replace the card itself as it is likely to be a hardware error.