File recovery is the restoration of files after a deletion or drive damage. Photo recovery is the restoration of photo files after a deletion or memory card damage. Seems simple enough but there are other things to consider besides the types of files when choosing to buy a file recovery program or a photo recovery software program.
The size of the device or drive – software will scan the drive or device in its entirety and then will display files it can recover. As you can imagine a large drive will take a lot of time but you might not consider that it could take hours. Selecting to scan your entire hard drive is the most basic function of file recovery software but because of the time it takes to complete the scan, many people give up before the scan completes and they incorrectly believe the software has not worked. Photo Recovery programs are ideal for searching on memory cards (XD cards, SD cards, memory stick) or devices like USB drives because they often include a nice photo viewer. Preparing those thumbnail and/or preview images takes time too so it becomes apparent why photo recovery software is optimal for smaller devices.
The name of the file you want to recover – file recovery programs can search for specific types of files so they’re ideal if you are searching for a particular file and can designate the type within the software. Many cameras use specific titles for the photo files they save on memory cards and they are quite general so it is nice to use the preview function of photo recovery software. Many times even with a filename you recognize it does help to actually see the image. Look for a photo recovery software that retrieves custom camera files in addition to jpeg (.jpg) or bitmap (.bmp) files.
There’s a chance it won’t work – file recovery and photo recovery is not a guaranteed outcome for every file. The recovery of photos or files is needed and possible once digital files are deleted from hardware and the fragmented files have not been written over. So if you have a memory card, for instance, that was removed from the camera while the camera was writing to it and it became corrupted, those files are still there but they’re not truly intact. Many people choose to reformat the memory card and the recovery of photos is still possible at this point. Once that reformatted memory card is used again (photos are taken and saved upon it), the old data begins to be written over. This makes it impossible for software to piece together all the components of a full photo file. But the good news is that software can most likely still piece together some files/photos so it really is worth a try.