Question of the Month

Question: I have accidentally deleted some photos from my memory card. How can I retrieve them?

Answer: Sometimes, all it takes to send you into a panic is one errant push of a button, such as pressing delete on a photo you want to keep on your digital camera. Although it is impossible to digitally recapture that moment in time, this accidental slip of your finger or presence of mind doesn’t equal despair. With quick action and the right tools, it may be possible to recover deleted precious photos from your memory card.

The first thing to do is to not take any more pictures, and remove the memory card from your digital camera. This inaction prevents any further damage before you have the chance to try and recover your deleted photos on your PC or Mac. When you are later at your computer, you can find out if your pics are really gone for good.

You may already have a recovery suite installed, but there are plenty of free options available for download, such as Recuva for Windows or PhotoRec for Mac. Open the recovery program of your choice on your computer and follow the appropriate prompts, referring to the Help menu if needed.

Use the program to scan for photos, and, once you have located your deleted pictures, press the Recover (or similarly named) button to restore them. Then, immediately back them up onto your computer in case your card is corrupted or you accidentally delete them again. For future reference, you can also use these programs to recover other types of files other than photos. If a free program doesn’t work, there may still be hope in the hands of a professional recovery service.