How to recover permanently deleted photos. (No need to fear)

April 14, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

If your photographs have been permanently deleted from your Secure Digital (SD) Card, there may be a way to recover them.

I wrote a blog post and created a Youtube video about how to recover deleted photos using a free version of Recuva software. I made that video to help a friend in our photography club who accidentally deleted over 1,000 photos. This can be an emotional experience when you believe you've just lost photos with sentimental or monetary value.

You can find that blog post here and the corresponding video here. Make sure to check them out. Spoiler alert: We are able to recover deleted photos.

I received a peer review with a question: What if you permanently deleted your photos by formatting your SD card?

I went back to my camera to test again.  In this test, I used the same SD card from two weeks ago where I recovered over 1,000 photos. This SD card is now empty, so I took a few photos and then formatted the SD card to simulate a permanent deletion.  What happened next is not what I expected.

To my surprise, not only did it recover the few new photos I just took, but it also recovered the over 1,000 deleted photos prior to formatting. There was only one difference in the steps to recover the photos. When I selected recover, I was presented with a message that the software could not find any photos and asked if I wanted to do a deeper scan. Of course, I accepted the deeper scan and let the software do its work.

After several minutes, the software presented me with the option to recover over 1,000 photos. I selected this option and it worked. This impressed me that a free version of the software had this feature available. Recuva has a paid version and it's inexpensive. If you need to recover photos I'd give this free program a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend purchasing the paid version as a way of thanking the developers. At the time of writing this post, the lowest price for the paid version is just over nineteen dollars. That is a fair price for the benefit of recovering valuable photos (or files).

I hope you never need to recover deleted photos, but don't panic if you do.  There is hope.


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