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Problems: Need help with free version to recover files from SD card

Big Swifty

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I'm having all kinds of problems lately with two different (SanDisk) SD cards. I shoot photos in .RAW and then put the card in my PC's card reader and up until recently never had a problem. Now Windows gives me a message that I need to format the card before I can use it. Not doing that (yet) as I'm hoping to recover my day's photoshoot and I'm not sure if formatting will make that impossible or much more difficult.

I started off the day, pre-shoot, by reformatting the card in camera. When I move the card to my wife's laptop same thing. This happens on two different SanDisk cards, so both suddenly becoming corrupted at the same time suggests to me it might not be corruption, but some other cause I don't know about.

I'm a CCleaner user and came across Recuva. Since this is the first time I've ever had to recover data I downloaded the free version. None of any video or text turorials I've come across show the same UI. Maybe those are for the paid version?

First problem using Recuva: I select the drive to scan, select "Pictures" in the third field ("All Files" is not shown as an option like in the tutorials), click the arrow for the second field (Scan) and am given two options. First option is 'Scan Files.' When selected I get the "Failed to sacn the following drives J:: Unable to determine file system type." Second option is 'Scan Contents.' When selected I can not continue without entering a Search String. Checked around online and I'm guessing I need to put in the type of file I'm looking to recover - in my case *.raw* That's how I entered it, with the asterisk at front and back. I get the same "...Unable to determine file system type" message I get with the first option.

What am I doing wrong or neglecting to do in order to get this to work?

Recuva error message.PNG

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Unfortunately, "Failed to scan the following drives J:: Unable to determine file system type." means that Recuva cannot be used on the device.

Basically, what that means is that the device is not using a partition format that Recuva can recognize. I'd think maybe your camera was using a proprietary format of some sort, except that you mentioned that previously being able to put them in a card reader and go. As such, they should be using a standard partition type (FAT32 or NTFS would be my guess)... which unfortunately suggests that something has gone Very Wrong with the media in question if Recuva then can't recognize it.

It is possible that reformatting the media, then setting Scan for non-deleted files in Options > Actions might allow the data to be recovered in Recuva - the process has a fairly high chance of destroying some or all of it, however, particularly on Flash-based media. Otherwise, Recuva will not be able to be used in this case.

Re: the interface, you're using the Advanced interface (described here: https://support.piriform.com/hc/en-us/articles/360045234532 ) whereas most help is written for the standard interface, which I believe is the cause of the discrepancy. 

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