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DEALING WITH A BAD MEMORY CARD
By JB Burke


Q. I just got back from a family reunion, and suddenly my camera says there is an error on the memory card and no photos. My computer can't even see the card when I put it in the SD slot. Is there anything I can do to save these photos? I'll never be able to take them again.

A. This is not an uncommon problem with camera memory cards. The problem is likely a damaged or corrupted file system on the SD card. There is no telling how it occurs, but it is scary, especially when you have photos that may be irreplaceable on that card. There may be a solution however. If you were to do a Google search (as I have) for "how to recover photos from a damaged memory card", you will find many programs available. Some are free, some cost money. Some don't work. One that I have found, and used, is called ZAR (Zero Assumption Recovery), and it can be found here.

ZAR 9.1 normally costs $59.95, but you can use it as freeware when you are just trying to recover lost photos from a camera memory card. This is very nice of the people who created ZAR as it appears to be a very capable program. I've used it twice now, once for one of my own memory cards that became corrupted on the way out of a major concert in Phoenix, and again when I assisted a friend to recover photos from a trip to the Grand Canyon. It worked great both times.

A very nice tutorial on how to use the program can be found here. If you carefully follow the steps shown, odds are you will recover some, if not all, of your precious photos. There is never a guarantee when working with messed-up electronic devices like memory cards, so keep your fingers crossed. Good luck!

Published: Courier 8/19/12 - Page 4C