What’s The Best Way to Recover Deleted Photos?

If you accidentally delete some photos of your memory card or hard drive, all is not lost, even if you used the “Format card” command. A lot of people don’t realize that when files are deleted, all that is destroyed is the “map” that tells your computer (or camera) where to find the data for the photos. File recovery software can perform scans of your drives or memory cards and rebuild that “map”, essentially bringing the files back from the dead. Yes, even if they have been removed from your trash!

One thing to note about this process is that obviously there is a finite amount of space on a disk or card. Once a file has been deleted, it’s possible that new file can then be written over that old data. In other words, if you have accidentally deleted something, you’ll want to perform the recovery ASAP, or at very least, stop using the card or drive until you have time to run the software.

What is the Best Photo Recovery Software?

The best software I have tested for this is Stellar Photo Recovery. It does an incredible job of recovering and repairing old JPEG and RAW files.

I ran a test recently on a 128GB compact flash card that I had formatted. Stellar Photo Recovery was able to get back over 3300 photos from the card, in both JPEG and RAW format. Some of the photos it recovered were from over a year ago!

For comparison, I also tested the same card recovery with another piece of software called Disk Drill. Disk Drill is a fairly popular and well regarded application, garnering good reviews from leading websites like MacRumors.com. Disk Drill did manage to recover the same number of photos, but the software is over twice the price ($89 vs $40). Disk Drill will get the job done, but I’d only recommend that one if you really want all the other features that it offers because you have to pay do much more for the same result. To be honest, none of these additional features seemed very compelling to me so I’ll be sticking to Stellar Photo Recovery.

Anyway, I was pretty blown away by this test and I wanted to let you guys know that all is not lost if you have been a bit overzealous with the delete button on your camera!

Stellar Photo Recovery is available for just $40, and I’m sure that’s worth it if you have accidentally deleted some photos.

Photo of author

Dan Carr

Founder of Shutter Muse, full time photographer and creative educator. Dan lives in the Canadian Yukon, but his wanderlust often sends him in search of images all around the world to meet the needs of clients and readers alike.

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