As a kid, I had been accused of ruining more than Christmas. But this year will go down as the one I saved. To be more precise, it’ll be the year I rescued the family Christmas pictures. It’s also the year I learned about some really cool programs for the computer which allow users the chance to get their CSI geek on. This all began, as such things are wont to do, by accident.
Mitchell had just finished downloading yet another batch of LEGO related pictures from the digital camera. Usually, Mitchell doesn’t delete anything and the card ends up filled with hundreds of images which have already been downloaded. This time was different. After importing his latest LEGO set-piece, Mitchell hit ‘All Delete‘ on the camera thereby erasing everything on the 8GB memory card.
Unfortunately, we had not yet downloaded our Christmas pictures. Pictures leading up to and including the big day were gone. I knew as soon as he realized what had happened Mitchell felt a terrible sinking feeling in his gut. Despite our assurances that it didn’t matter, and we could always retake the shots by faking Christmas morning for the camera, it was obvious how bad he felt.
That’s when I decided to see if there was anything to be done. A quick check of the Internet offered little hope. According to some camera related forums, the kiss-of-death for a Fuji camera was the ‘All Delete’ function. However, I’m stubborn, pig-headed, and unwilling to concede defeat. A trait which often annoys my long-suffering family!
I searched the various photo recovery programs and came across something claiming to be a free download. I checked to see if it was known as a virus carrier. No warnings were found and I gave it a try. Amazingly, thousands of images from several years ago until the present were located on the supposedly empty memory card. Granted, there were gaps. Not every picture ever taken was available but the recent ones were all there. Once the card was scanned, I tried to recover the pictures and discovered I now had the option of paying a fee for a registration number to complete the process. In for a penny, I thought.
By this stage I was prepared to be disappointed, thinking it was too good to be true. But it worked! Among the recent images were ones we had forgotten about. Lydia and I laughed to see shots of the kids struggling to put the star on the tree without scraping the ceiling and many shots from the big day itself which no staged recreations could ever hope to replicate.
Mitchell was relieved to discover that we hadn’t lost anything and I felt like a star. Not bad for under $50!
Kevin Toal is a freelance writer who encourages readers to check out photo recovery programs and see what works for them. Who knows, that long lost artistic masterpiece may yet be retrieved. Just make sure to check that the sites are valid.