There are a number of reasons why your digital memory card may be
corrupted. First let's note the warning signs:
(1) Your camera screen displayed information to say that the card is
corrupted and you are unable to see any pictures!
(2) You have downloaded your pictures to a computer and deleted the
images but when you try to take new photographs with your camera the
card is showing corrupted!
(3) You have used your digital memory card in another camera or device
and after putting it back into your camera it is corrupted!
(4) And finally, I can't access the photographs on my memory card!
The above symptoms are often the fault of using several different
devices to read and write to your card, i.e. your camera, your computer,
your notebook and even putting your memory card into a friends camera to
transfer/copy their pictures to yours.
I've seen a lot of incidents where camera memory cards become victims of
the 'corrupt message' sign, where people cannot format the card anymore
or use it in their camera. Sometimes one can format a corrupt card on a
computer and then make it readable in the camera again after using the
correct file allocation table (FAT) code, but there are a number of Do's
& Don'ts when you connect your camera to a computer!
Connecting your camera or card
reader to a computer.
If possible always connect your camera or card reader to the computer
with the supplied lead and use the product software to up-load your
images to your computer hard drive. Once your computer is connected to
the camera information is being passed forward/backwards between the two
devices as your images are up-loaded.
Warning... Never disconnect
any leads or switch either the camera/computer off when the pictures are
being transferred. This will disrupt the flow of data and could corrupt
your memory card as noted above.
The best and safest practice is to up-load your pictures into a file on
your computer hard drive, then close the product software window that
you used to up-load your images to your computer. When that is complete
and you are certain that no data is passing between the camera/computer
- switch off the camera if still running, then disconnect the leads.
I strongly advise that you never try to do any 'photo
manipulation' direct to the images on your camera via the computer, as
this is a prime suspect of memory card corruption. Many instances have
occurred after an image had been altered with Adobe Photoshop/ PaintShop
Pro and saved direct to the camera card via the computer. Copy and Paste
between a camera/computer is a similar practice and should be avoided.
So what do we do..
Transfer your images to your computer as recommended above. Disconnect
the camera as advised then if possible burn these 'Original' images onto
a CD for safe keeping. You may well mess up a picture in Adobe
Photoshop/ PaintShop Pro during manipulation, then at least you can make
a new copy to work on from the originals saved on the CD. When you have
completed all your photo manipulation, copy your images onto a second CD
so you can take them to a retail photofinisher for printing, or send
your completed images off to one of the many online photofinishing
service via the web direct from the saved picture files on your
I've seen many people post advice on the web to 'always' format the
memory cards in your camera before you use it, which is what I would
recommend - Every 3rd or 4th time I use it after
uploading/deleting or so, I quickly format and be done with it. I've
worked with large memory storage cards and Micro-drive storage devices
up to 64 GB, these too can be easily formatted in the same way. However,
remember to fully re-charge your camera battery before using your camera
again, as you will use a considerable amount of battery life when
up-loading, deleting, and finally formatting the memory card.
There may be one more solution to access your pictures on your memory
card if you are still unable to retrieve them. There are a number of
'Digital Memory Recovery' software packages available on the web and in
the high street stores. It is very difficult to recommend a specific
product to solve your card problem. You would be advised to seek advice
from the retailer or from the product information sheet. If this seems a
little technical take your camera and memory card to a retail
photofinisher in the high street, they often supply a 'picture recovery
service' for a modest charge; however you may still have to replace your
memory card as a final solution.
Still can't see the media? As a last resort try using the memory card in
a working camera or a card reader that uses the same memory type. If you
can't get the media to work there either, you probably have a corrupted
data, shorted or physically damaged card in need of replacement.
On the other hand, if you do manage to get the card to work elsewhere,
the problem could be with your camera...
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