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My Experience With Photo Recovery Freeware

Updated on April 18, 2018
RuthCoffee profile image

I've been researching and writing about consumer electronics for over 12 years.


Need to Recover Deleted Photos from Your Memory Card? Try Photo Recovery Freeware.

It finally happened. I guess it happens to everyone at least once. I accidentally deleted 224 photos I took on a short trip that I wouldn't be repeating soon. Luckily, although it took a bit of time and research, I was able to recover those deleted photos.

On this page I will tell you how I did it. The best part of the story is that I was able to find photo recovery freeware that not only did the job but cost me absolutely nothing.

I have no interest in the specific product I mention here, I gain nothing financially if you choose to use it. It is a download which can be scary, but it worked for me. Nonetheless, this is an experience that I hope others can either avoid or fix a readily as I did.

How I Accidentally Deleted Photos From My Memory Card

In order to avoid repeating my mistake, I needed to think through what happened and how I managed to lose all of those photos in the blink of an eye. Quite simply, I owe it to using photo software that I was unfamiliar with and simply being in a hurry.

The software I typically use had expired and I had some back up software on my computer that was new to me. I was excited to see my new photos so I inserted my memory card and started downloading. Unfortunately, during the process I clicked on the box that said delete, thinking that like my old software it was asking if I wanted to delete the photos from my memory card after downloading. I always do this because it's the fastest and most energy efficient way of clearing my memory card for further use.

The new software simply deleted the photos, not asking a second time. In less than 2 seconds, it informed me they were deleted. In a panic, I tried to download again, and it told me there were no files to download. Still insistent that they were there, I put the memory card back in my camera to check. No, the camera recognized no images.

Denial began to fade away to ugly reality.

What to Do and Not Do

Once I accepted that the photos were deleted and had searched my computer to be sure they didn't somehow sneak on to it somewhere, I forced myself to actually think. I thought, there is no way the photos could have been truly deleted so quickly. Then I realized they might still be there, just not easily read or detected by my camera or computer. So, I began to search for answers online where I learned that indeed, those photos were probably still there.

Here's what you have to do/not do:

  • Set the memory card aside Do not use or format the memory card.New images would potentially be written over the old ones.
  • Find some photo recovery software to restore those photos.There are paid software programs as well as photo recovery freeware available.

Photo Recovery Software Options

Clearly, there are many photo recovery software products available. However, I wanted to do it free if possible. Here is what I learned when searching for photo recovery freeware.

The majority of photo recovery software options are paid. There are also many recovery programs that lure you in with a free download. You'll spend a few seconds downloading the free software, 45 minutes or more searching for your deleted photos, and they will be successfully recovered. However, when you go to restore the photos, you will be required to pay a fee or your photos are held "hostage". Nice.

There are two primary kinds of photo recovery software you'll find online. Some require you to download the software, which might be acceptable but you do face the risk of running into spyware, viruses, and so forth. Others run off of a file and require no downloading, which is better for those of us who are risk aversive. You need to read the instructions about compatibility. If your operating system isn't supported, the program won't run successfully. There are a few photo recovery freeware options out there but you may have to search long and hard.

The Photo Recovery Freeware That Worked For Me

Ok, here is what worked for me. Now, I get nothing for saying this. This is my disclaimer, I know nothing about the people behind this freeware and benefit in no way if you use it. I'm just passing it along because it may help you in a pinch.

I used Recuva. It offers a free photo recovery option among many other things. I experienced no problems with spyware, viruses, and so forth. It was simple to run and, better than any of the four or five paid options I unwittingly tried, it took only 5 minutes or so to discover and recover my photos. The best part of course, is that true to their word, there was no charge for the service and I recovered 100% of my photos.

I was a happy customer.

© 2010 Ruth Coffee

Have You Used Any Photo Recovery Freeware That Worked?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      kindly share some photo recovery that is easy to use ,. whos site is that is it not needed to put some key number ,. thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for suggesting this tool. However, I have been using Yesterdata, and it always done the job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you so much! I deleted photos for my job and this saved my butt!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you for recommending Recuva. It worked very quickly and it was truly free! I will be recommending it to my friends!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Can Recuva recover accidentally deleted photos from my cell phone, a Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      THANK YOU! I have been trying to find a program thats free and would help me get all my photos back! Every program I tried all ended up saying free download.. and then asked me to pay in order to get my own photos. Thanks to you and Recuva I actually got everything back in less than a minute! Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Bailifei 6 years ago

      @rebeccahiatt: Data recovery software must be easy-to-use, when I lost my documents and photos, I really have no patience to study the software for more than ten minutes, I want my data back as soon as possible.

      I've tried one data recovery software once, it's EaseUS Mac Data Recoverty Wizard, it;s easy to use and it's small software, it supports all types of files recovery, last time, I format one partition on my Mac, I use it to restore one folder with contains my family photos very successfully. Besides that, it seems that it can recovery data under many other occasions.

      And, after that, i found it has one free photo recovery software, it can only recover limited photo types, it's a great deal but I didn't know it at that moment, so here i want to mention you that if you only want to recover photos, you don;t have to cost your dollars to purchase the full version, just download the free version.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 6 years ago

      i try recuva

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Tried recuva and have to say fantastic. Much quicker than all of the hidden promises of the so called 'free' software that will only tell you what you have lost before charging you to recover it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      And here's one more to Google PhotoRec by

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      There are many excellent freeware options for recovering photos. As mentioned, the problem is finding them. I'll save you some of that trouble. As this site doesn't allow links, just copy the following listing of freeware recovery software and paste it into Google to find them:

      MiniTool, VAIOSoft, PC Inspector, Recuva, Pandora, SoftPerfect

    • profile image

      AigulErali 6 years ago

      I'm sure this will come in handy sometime!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Excellent contribution!!! Your info was right on and Recuva worked beautifully. Thank you for taking the time to write such a clear explanation.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Good info. I used one to recover images that I deleted to satisfy those saying I was shooting something I should not. Got home and boom, I still have my pics without any further harassment and time wasted.

    • profile image

      LensSeller 7 years ago

      I'm glad to hear you managed to recover your photographs. Thanks for sharing a very useful piece of software, I'll download a copy right now, "just in case"

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 7 years ago

      i hope u found the pictures back! i once had a similar experience, it was awful. cheers

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 7 years ago

      I've never used any recovery software, but good to know it's available. I nearly panicked when I thought I'd lost all my photos when my hard drive crashed, so now I backup everything on multiple drives.

    • rebeccahiatt profile image

      rebeccahiatt 8 years ago

      Fortunately, I have never lost my photos from my memory card before downloading. I more often lose the photos after downloading. "Where the heck did those darn things go?"