Thursday, 12 March 2015

Tips for Handling Your Memory Card Effectively

In this article, I am going to focus on some camera memory management and handling tips that can prevent your memory card from being corrupted or being lost.

What if your data is lost due to accidental deletion or formatting of the card? 
Is there any possibility to get your photos back? The answer is YES! 

First let’s have a look what’s card formatting exactly. If you want to remove stored images from your camera’s memory card you can do it either by deleting the images from the memory card or simply by formatting the card. 

Using the erase/delete option, you can delete the selected images or all images from their directories on the card. When you erase a memory card, the protected images will not be removed. But if you format the card, all data will be removed (protected images too) and the directories and folders in the file system will be recreated.

Benefits of formatting:

  • It helps in fixing the extraneous card issues and improves the card performance.  
  • If you delete images from the card, it actually doesn't delete them. It only allows you to write new images over them i.e. removes the reference to their position. By formatting, all traces of data will be removed.  So, delete the images whenever the memory card is full or you require more space, format the card if you want to improve its performance.                        

Note: Before erasing images from your memory card, you should create a backup copy of them on your system or some other external devices. Once your data is erased from the card, you cannot get it back. To recover data from a formatted memory card, you will have to look for any efficient memory card recovery programs that is able to retrieve all the desired files from such instances of photo loss.

Sometimes, the images may get severely corrupt and even the photo recovery software fails to get your data back. 

Your cards may get corrupt when some invalid operations are performed or cards aren’t handled properly. Here are some memory card handling tips that can rescue you from being a victim of memory card data corruption.

Memory card handling (Some 'Do' and 'Do not') tips:

You should do the following things:

  • Format the newly purchased memory card while using it for the first time.
  • Before using the SD or SDHC card, first unlock it by sliding the write-protection switch (left side on top of the card) downwards.
  • Using multiple small cards instead of using a huge one is a wiser choice. 
  • Format your card on regular time intervals to maintain its performance and fix other data processing issues.
  • Format the memory card in camera not in computer. Instead of formatting the camera memory card into a computer, it is advisable to format the memory card in camera. Otherwise it can lead to compatibility issues, performance/operational problems or slower data processing. 
  • Check card specifications: Check the compatibility of your camera and the memory card before purchasing. Also check that the card is compatible with the card reader or not. The other things you need to check is the maximum card capacity accepted by your camera. The card should not exceed that maximum capacity that the supported device capacity; also it should match the specifications of your card reader.
  • Do remove the memory card after turning off your camera. Also avoid removing the memory card or turning off the camera while transferring images to another camera/device/computer.
  • You must safely eject the card from the system by using correct procedure.
  • The reader used must be of good quality. It is preferable if the card and card reader are from same manufacturer. 
  • Faulty camera/card reader can also lead to card corruption/image corruption. If several memory cards get corrupt in your camera then there can be some fault of the camera.
  • Camera batteries should be adequately charged while taking shots, saving photos or transferring data to another system.
  • All Memory cards have a limited lifespan. You should discard the memory card if its finite lifespan has almost finished or you have used it frequently for many years. Destroy the memory card if you want to discard it. 

You should not do the following things:

  • Don't use the memory card into another camera or device as they can have different file system requirements or architecture that can lead to data damage. If you want to use it then first format it into the new device then bring it back to work.
  • Don't delete the camera memory card using the computer system. Instead use the camera controls/menu system/photo management program to delete the images. 
  • Don’t keep taking photos/shots when your card is about to be full. As if you keep on taking shots it may overwrite the card headers. 
  • Don’t remove the memory card image saving process is going on. If you want to remove the card, first let the process complete. Then turn off your camera completely and removing the card.
  • Don’t turn off the camera while images are being saved.
  • Don't remove the card while its contents are still open on the computer system. 
  • Don’t perform open, delete rename or move files operations on the card while its file/folders are still open somewhere else (computer/another device).
  • Don’t take one shot after another rapidly. Let the camera write and save the first image properly then go for next. Also avoid continuous shoot-delete, shoot-delete, and shoot-delete operations. 
  • Don’t use cheap off-brand memory cards. Try using good quality memory cards such as SanDisk, Panasonic, Sony, Kingston, Lexar and Olympus etc.

The above mentioned precautions, reduces chances of your memory card corruption. But still unluckily, you get trapped in a photo loss situation then don't panic. Safely remove the memory card and use one of the recommended photo recovery tools. Select the suitable one and perform recovery immediately after situation strikes as you permanently lose access to stored memory card files if it’s failing or dying. If you are lucky enough, you can get 100% of your data back.