Free Memory Card Recovery Tool

CardTest | Get CardTest at



I erased a picture from the SD Card on my Nikon Coolpix P6000 and immediately changed my mind and decided that I wanted to keep the picture. Stupid!

I changed the card in the camera so it would not write any more data to the card. When I got home I searched for FREE data recovery tools that work on memory cards.

There are lots of tools that offer a free download of a demo program. This will scan your card and tell you what it can recover. But if you want to recover the file you have to pay.

My SD card is formatted FAT32. When you delete a picture all the camera does is replace the file name with an underscore. So if you haven’t altered the file system since the erasure you are sure to be able to get your data back. People have been writing un-erase tools for the PC for years. I think it was the first Norton Utility.

I tried one “free” tool. It found the file but wanted US$69 for the full version.

The I thought of SourceForge.Net. They are a great collection of open source and freely licensed software. They don’t have much in the category of tool I was looking for but I found this one. It’s described as a card tester. But it did a fine job of scanning my SD card (much faster than the one that wanted money).

For some reason it did not recover the file names, naming them IMG_0.jpg, IMG_1.jpg and so on. So I just told it to recover everything on the card to a folder on my PC, opened the folder in Thumbnail view and stopped CardTest when I saw the thumbnail of the picture I wanted.

It was in perfect condition. I imported it to Lightroom and renamed it to the name it should have had and everything was fine.

And all for zero baht!

I don’t know if it can recover files in other formats like RAW or video, but for JPGs it was fine.

Incidentally – why doesn’t Nikon include an UNDO delete function in the P6000’s built-in software? It would be trivial and save a lot of support headaches.


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