The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

[Not Food Related] Busted Memory Card: Oh Crap, Now What?

Update: A friend has offered to take my card to a specialist who may be able to recover the photos. Thanks for your help!


Today I found an effective way to lose my appetite without inducing nausea: find out that my two-ish-year-old 16 GB CF card isn't readable on my camera or my computer. The illustration above shows how I felt on the inside. On the outside, I went ;_;.

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have photos on it that I wanted, but since I procrastinated I probably have two weeks of photos on it. Somewhere. Deep down in its...guts. Made of...FAIL.

Since y'all are smart with the brainmeats, I figure some of you may have advice on what to do before I resort to one of these data recovery places. If so, I would love to harness your smarts. Here's some more info about the problem that may or may not be helpful.

The card is a SanDisk Extreme CF 16 GB 60 MB/S UDMA card. My camera is a Canon 7D. One moment it was all fine, then the next, the camera would no longer read the card. Not like I dropped the card in a puddle, ran over it with a car, smothered it in peanut butter, took it out of the camera while it was being read, etc. I put a different CF card in my camera and it works fine.

The first time i tried to read the 16 GB card on my computer (iMac, OS X) it appeared in Finder, but when I tried to access it, Finder crashed. The card no longer appears in Finder after I connect it to my computer. So. Hm. Yeah. I know there are programs that can try to recover data, but as my computer doesn't even detect the card, I'm guessing that's not going to work.

Doobeedoo. [twiddles fingers]

Well. Yup. If anyone has advice, please let me know ( Thank you!


Alyssa / December 10, 2011 11:05 AM

I don't have any advice because I suck at all things technical, but I just wanted to say that I'd be really upset if that happened to me, so I'm sorry that happened to you. I hope someone shares some magical data recovery techniques that will rescue your photos from data purgatory!

roboppy / December 11, 2011 12:54 AM

Alyssa: Thanks for reading! One of my friends offered to take it to someone who can help, so we'll see if that goes anywhere [crosses fingers].

Kim / December 11, 2011 6:21 PM

If the card isn't damaged, a tech geek will have a pretty good shot at recovering your info from the card. They are wizards, those nerds! Good luck.

Jason / December 11, 2011 11:32 PM

Sorry it brokified! Flash memory sort of sucks the hard one sometime being all flashy and impermanent! Maybe photos have been lost to flash...

Patrick / December 13, 2011 4:18 PM

Ah that happened to me too except it was my external harddrive! I lost ALL my photos before moving to nyc... So its like my entire existence was wiped out :( All those services i looked at cost over $1000 to recover data from the hd! That is absurd!

roboppy / December 20, 2011 1:13 AM

Kim, Jason, Patrick: Thanks for your comments! An update is that..I...have not taken it anywhere yet (the first friend I gave it to couldn't make any progress) and it's still busted. I won't get to it until next year. Doh. What a procrastinator I am. ;_;

Kathy S / December 26, 2011 12:38 PM

I think if it's still good you can use an SDReader to access the data. They sell for about $20 at any electronics store. They might even let you try it out before you buy it. On the + side, once you buy it it'll work for ANY card!

Sharon / December 29, 2011 12:10 AM

Some SanDisks have a lifetime warranty so you might want to call them and see if they can help you, they might do the recovering for free. I've had them replace cards for me but never with photos on them. Also some of their cards come with data recovery software, I'm not sure if that would help you if the computer is not recognizing the card at all. I think the program is called Image Rescue. I have used it before and had everything recovered. I think if you google it you can do a free test run. Are you trying to connect to the computer through the camera or through a cardreader?

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