Question How to attempt recovery of corrupt photos/videos

safesite

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I am filing this entry under "Apps and Software" for lack of anything better but still hope, that it will be deemed acceptable.

Here is my problem...

Wayyyyy back in time, I used to have a laptop running Windows XP. Due to some specific circumstances, there came a time where I needed to do a new install of the newest Windows OS on said laptop. As such, I made a manual backup of all my personal and important files to an external harddrive (drag-and-drop) and thought, that I had covered all the important files needed. I then proceeded to initiate the process of formatting and installing the new Windows OS on said laptop. However, after a short while I recalled to my horror, that I had missed an important folder which held my personal photos/videos taken with my digital camera at the time. I immediately ended the process and shut down the laptop and proceeded, to reboot the OS which was still operational. I then found the folder in question, moved it to my external harddrive and restarted the process of installing the Windows OS on the laptop.

After checking the photos/videos on the external harddrive, I found that some of them had been damaged and couldn't be read anymore. Since I was so frustrated with myself and annoyed (these were all originals in high resolution) I simply put off trying to fix this mess. I have to admit with shame, that this is now about 12 years ago. Today, I finally pulled myself together and addressed the issue. To my joy, I found that out of all the photos/videos, only about 15-20% are unreadable/corrupted. Still, I wanted to see if I could repair or recover the damaged part somehow.

I remembered back then that I had seen Piriform's "Recuva" which I thought, could do the trick. However, I realized today that this type of recovery software seems to be designed to be used on the actual harddrive which held the originally damaged files and not a copy of the folder with those files, that I moved to my harddrive.

So my question is now (and I might be in the wrong place here since it is very well possible, that I should have asked the above in a photography forum)..., is there any way that some specific software exists that is tailored to suit my needs of fixing the mess I am in?

I stumbled upon this site...

https://www.easeus.com/file-recovery/files-corrupted-after-data-recovery.html

...which touts the software 'EaseUS' and a nice list of alternatives below, should their software fail but I am unsure if this might just mess up the files more as it isn't exactly what should be used or is needed for this type of recovery.

Any input, big or small, is most welcome.

Thanks in advance.
 
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USAFRet

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If the format or whatever process you did overwrote some or all of a file...it is gone.
Even if the recovery tools show the file name, that does NOT mean the actual file is viable.

Showing the file name is like looking at the table of contents for a book.
Just because the TOC says something is on page 83, does not mean page 83 exists.
 
The problem that thread starter describe is a symptom of not partitioning and save personal files on another partition than the system partition. Sadly that's the default setup by most laptop manufacturers.

Storing files on the same partition that windows is installed, always posses some risk to the files, either to windows update bugs or the fact everything inside the partition probably get lost when reinstalling windows.
 

safesite

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@USAFRet


Hi and thanks for your reply!

I read your post with great interest and wanted to ask you some questions in response.

You mentioned, that maybe recover deleted files but don't fix corrupted. To the best of my assessment, I got both problems.

I checked the filesize for the unreadable files again after the comment in your second post regarding overwritten files and the TOC issue as this gave me an idea. If figured that if the files would be of a similar filesize as the previously taken working photos/videos in the same folder, they'd most likely only be corrupted, whereas if they would have very small filesizes in relation to the working photos/videos taken before and after them, they'd be - as you stated - basically only the indices of the permanently lost and deleted file back on the original harddrive on the laptop.

It turns out that this is the case. Some files are having low values whereas some are having similar higher values in kB to the preceding or subsequent files. As such, I am thinking whereas the latter are - sadly - a goner, the former ought to be better candidates for recovery.

So to return to my initial question..., are there any programs that you know of that could have the potential to maybe work on those files (not considering the probability of success that is)?

Somebody else just recommended to try out this tool in the current situation...

https://www.z-a-recovery.com/download.aspx

The only thing I am unsure of and worry about is if every single recovery tool out there is using a process of recovery which requires to be used on the original harddrive where the files resided or if there actually is some tool that could save partially corrupted files as the one's that I am trying to salvage now.

Thanks in advance for any reply.
 

safesite

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@Grobe

Yes, I agree. The way the partitioning was done back then was senseless.

However and as described earlier, this was 12 years back in time and Operating Systems and technology has - luckily - improved by a great deal.

So, we can easily agree on that it used to be quite messy at the time but the damage is done and I am now merely trying to see if there is a way and a tool to rectify things.

If you got any ideas into that direction I'd appreciate any input or help on this matter.

Thanks.
 

USAFRet

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However, I realized today that this type of recovery software seems to be designed to be used on the actual harddrive which held the originally damaged files and not a copy of the folder with those files, that I moved to my harddrive.
Right.
A copy of that folder with incomplete or damaged files is useless in the context of recovery software.

One of the problems is, especially with things like pictures and video...you really need the entire thing for it to be usable.
The Mona Lisa with the top 1/3 gone is...just trash on canvas.
A jpg of the Mona Lisa with the first 1/3 gone may not even be readable as a jpg. Recovery tools might just bring back a series of tiny .txt files.

Other software to try:
Autopsy You WILL need some other storage space to recover to.
 

safesite

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@USAFRet

Thanks for the tip on that Open Source Program.

I'll give this a try and turn back here with the results.

MIght take some time, but I think I'll be able to address this within the coming weeks days/weeks.

By the way..., I guess your answer implies that the recovery tools are completely out of the question in this case. Correct me if I am wrong here.
 
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hang-the-9

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Some of the image files and also movie files can still partially function as a file, but with missing information. The issue is that missing information is likely impossible to recover, especially to a computer without some good AI work. If you give a person a picture of half a dog, it may be able to draw the other half. Give a computer a picture of half a dog and it will have no idea what it is without AI learning, and even then how will it know exaclty what the missing part looked like. It may know what a poodle looks like, but can it possibly know that your poodle had a blue collar on it or how it's face looked like? You may have a picture of you next to Mr T where the part of the picture you are in is corrupted and black or just garbled. It can see Mr T, but how will the computer know what you look like to restore the image?

One thing I hope you did learn from this, as most people do but too late, is that any files you have now are going to be backed up properly and checked, and backed up in more than one spot.
 

safesite

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@USAFRet

Actually, I already finished doing a regular and a deep scan with "Recuva".

https://www.ccleaner.com/recuva/download

None of those scans was able to find any files according to its rules. And since I assume that the other recovery programs work similar, I reckon that these type of progs can be counted out.

But as mentioned before, I'll try again with your Open Source link in the near future.
 

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