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Digital image recovery


To recover digital images from storage (typically a memory card) you need to connect the storage to the PC, download, install, and start ZAR photo recovery software, then follow the step-by-step instructions below.
I recommend you use a card reader device, rather than to connect a digital camera to the computer.
Step 1 - Download, install, and start ZAR photo recovery software

Download ZAR demo. You do not need a paid version of ZAR to do photo recovery. This set of functions is provided free of charge. When you run it, ZAR displays the window like the one below:

Select image recovery mode

  1. Click "Image Recovery (Free)"
Step 2 - Select a device to recover images from

Select device for image recovery

  1. Select the device you need to recover images from. Note:
    • Use the device model and its listed capacity to identify your device.
    • If you are using a camera and it is not listed as the device available for recovery, you need to use a card reader device.
  2. Click "Next" to start the image recovery.
Step 3 - Image recovery run

This part is fully automatic. If you are using the camera to read the card and all the dots on the map are red, or if the scan is unacceptably slow (more than several minutes with no progress), discontinue the run, remove the card from the camera, then restart using a card reader device. Card readers tend to perform better.

Step 4 - Select the files to recover

  1. Mark photos to recover by clicking their corresponding checkboxes. To mark all photos at once, just mark the "ROOT" entry.
  2. Click "Next"
Step 5 - Copy photos

  1. Enter the name of the folder for the recovered photos.
  2. Click "Start copying" to start retrieval of recovered photos.
Miscellaneous information
The tutorial above describes the procedure used to recover photos stored on the digital camera memory card if
  • the images were deleted before copying to the PC
  • the card was accidentally formatted
  • some camera failure occured and the images are not accessible any longer

Current version (ZAR X) supports digital photo recovery for the following file formats: GIF, JPEG, TIFF, CRW (Canon RAW data), MOV, AVI movie, WAV, CR2 (Canon CR2 RAW format), ORF (Olympus RAW format) and most of the digital camera models.

As for Canon .CR2 raw format, the following is known thanks to Jeff of Jeff Berner Photography and Art:

ZA Digital Image Recovery recovers Canon .CR2 files as TIFF. To open recovered files, Jeff used Photoshop CS "Open With" feature, which allows to specify image format override.

If you get many broken images

If many of recovered images are missing bottom half, bottom parts of the images are distorted, you can try my other project, Klennet Carver.

Since 2002 or so, ZAR uses the simple header-footer algorithm to do its digital image recovery. This algorithm only recovers contigouos files; fragmented files are only recovered partially or come out distorted. I have developed some better algorithms to recover fragmented files. Because of the complexity, this led me to create a separate project, Klennet Carver, just to deal with fragmented images. ZAR still remains free, utilizing the same header-footer algorithm as always. If that happens to be not enough for you, take a look at Klennet Carver.

Learn more
For more information about the digital photo storage, for tips on how to prevent the loss of digital images, please visit Digital photo recovery guide.

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Copyright © 2001 - 2017 Alexey V. Gubin.