Recovering deleted photos and saving your reputation

13 January 2021

In this post I will be talking about recovering deleted photos. Including restoring lost or damaged data from a hard drive that has failed or been corrupted.

It has happened to all of us. At some point a hard drive or memory card will become corrupted or fail. You might have even accidentally deleted photos or formatted an SD card by mistake.

This happened to me the other day. I was transferring photo edits and video files from one had drive to another when my SSD drive failed and all my photos and video edit projects were deleted.

There was around 300 Gigabytes of project files on the SSD drive, and I was on a deadline with a huge batch of wedding photo retouches that was nearly completed and ready to send.

Recovering deleted photos

recovering deleted photos

No matter how you explain this accident to your clients, I can assure you that they will lose confidence in your professionalism, since you have been entrusted with their photos, and have managed to lose their precious data.

Fortunately I own a copy of Disk Drill, probably the best hard drive recovery software available. I managed to successfully recover all of my deleted photos and other files.

I am by no means an expert on recovering deleted photos or restoring lost data. I would suggest heading over the Disk Drill’s Youtube channel, as they have really comprehensive video tutorials on recovering deleted photos and even repairing SD cards.

Here is a really comprehensive overview of the hard drive recovery process:

I will focus more on a few important tips that will help you save lost documents. I have made a few critical errors when restoring lost data myself.

When recovering deleted photos or restoring lost data, the most important thing to do is not to use the hard drive or SD card for anything else. Do not format it or erase any left over files. The more you format or move files on the hard drive, the less chance you have of recovering deleted photos, or restoring lost data.

Make sure your damaged hard drive or memory card is connected to your computer. Open Disk Drill. You will be presented with a breakdown of all the hard drives and memory cards connected to your computer.

recovering lost photos

Select the hard drive or SD card (all memory cards can be repaired) that you want to recover your lost data from. Run the scan, you do this by clicking the “Recover” button.

Depending on the size of the hard drive and the amount of files you are recovering, the scanning process can take from 10 minutes to a good few hours. Wait until the scan has been completed. Once done, it is very tempting to click the “Recover All” button.

From my own experience I would advise against this. The reason being, is you will also be restoring lost data that you have intentionally deleted or removed from your hard drive, long before your hard drive recovery was required.

The other reason for not recovering your files this way, is with such a huge amount of data that is being restored, there is more possibility that the files being restored will possibly be corrupted.

repairing SD card

My advice is to go through the list of files found, look for the specific deleted photos or lost data, and selectively start restoring them. Never restore lost data to the same hard drive or SD card. As mentioned writing over the corrupted or deleted drive, will substantially reduce your chances of restoring lost data.

hard drive recovery

As you can see by this screen grab I have only ticked selected images as I was recovering deleted photos. Once you have recovered the photos, I suggest scanning through the information, and recovering folder by folder. This method ensures the lost data recovered, has not been damaged in the process.

I hope this post is of use to you, I once got a comment from a subscriber on my facebook post I did when I first mentioned Disk Drill saying that the hard drive recovery did not work for him. Hopefully my article will help avoid this.

Feel free to get in touch if you need help with recovering lost data.

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