To retrieve lost photos, you’ll need image recovery software. We reviewed several such products in our recent Utility Guide ( http://go.pcmag.com/recovery ). Nearly all let you recover from the most common situations of erasure and data corruption for JPEGs. Two good tools are ImageRecall, our Editors’ Choice (FlashFixers, $39.95 direct, www.flashfixers.com ), and PhotoRescue ($29 direct, DataRescue sa/nv, www.datarescue.com ).
Download and install a recovery tool, select the location (or drive letter) of the flash card, and run a scan. You may be offered a standard or a deep scan. For accidentally deleted files, standard may be enough. It will list files, or show thumbnails of potentially recoverable files. Pick the ones you want to recover—”All” is the best choice—and a hard-drive location where they should go. Your odds of success are best with deleted files and second-best with corrupted disks. They are worst with an image that was being written when the card was removed or power lost. If you’re lucky, you may be able to save part of the image.
As a last resort, you can bring the card to a recovery facility. Lexar’s free service for its Pro series cards extends to disassembling a physically damaged card when warranted.