Digital photographs are fragile. It can be really upsetting to find your photos or videos have gotten deleted, corrupted, or become un-viewable. No matter you are a beginner or experienced photographer, you probably have encountered the issue once (or several times).
That's why we decide to create a list of photo recovery tools we've used to successfully resolve the issues. Our goal is to help you recover your lost or inaccessible photographs.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links — that means if you decide to purchase, we will receive a commission for the sale that is at no additional cost to you. Nonetheless, we have either used or purchased the tools listed below and recommend them because they are useful.
If you accidentally deleted some photos (or videos and audio files) from your digital camera, or the files are inaccessible due to memory card corruption, try the tools below. Note: to increase chances of recovery, do not write more data to the card until your files are recovered.
It's primarily developed to recover deleted or lost media files from a variety of storage devices including camera memory cards. What we like most about the software is the ease of use, and the trial version allows you to scan and preview found items. The downside is the scanning process can be a bit time-consuming, depending on your card capacity though. You can speed up the scan by specifying file type.
Remo is also great at recovering lost files from digital camera media cards. The recovery process is quite simple: scan, preview and recover. The program supports recovery of many media file types. The downside is its user interface is a bit confusing with several clickable buttons the screen: "Recover Deleted Photos" or "Recover Lost Photos." We suggest you read the explanation under each option before moving to the next step.
If you find your pictures start to act up, for example, they do not open via Windows Photo Viewer (PC) or Preview (Mac). Often they are split into chunks. If so, try the following image repair software. Note: due to complexities of image elements, your repair efforts may not be successful all the time — but it's worth a try.
As the name indicates, the program can be used to repair JPEG/JPG images. It's pretty straightforward. This program has two sub-functions: "Repair JPEG" and "Extract Thumbnail" (as shown on the main interface). Try the repair option first. If it doesn't work out, try the latter. Note: The thumbnails extracted are not likely to be high resolution, but it may worth keeping them.
Another nice tool to fix broken images. In addition to JPEGs, it also supports Adobe PSD files. All recovered files will be saved into BMP format after repair. The only downside about this tool is for PC users only. If you use a Mac, you'll have to try another alternative. Quick tip: before you start, make a copy of your original files just in case.
If you use a camcorder, or an action camera like GoPro. Chances are the video files can become damaged or unable to be played on a computer, due to SD card corruption/error. The tools below can be of help.
Don't be fooled by its name — the software is actually capable of repairing MP4 videos as well. Simply choose a reference file (i.e. any working video with the same settings in your camera; optional), then open your corrupted .mp4 or .mov file and hit "Repair." Pro tip: once the repair process is complete, preview the video before recovery.
Another great tool made by Stellar Phoenix. Besides MP4 and MOV files, it also fixes problematic M4V, M4A, and F4V videos. Stellar claims the app is capable of repairing videos damaged due to memory card error and header corruption. You can preview fixed videos to check quality, but are limited to files up to 10MB — which is a bit disappointing though.
The page was last updated on Jan. 13, 2017