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I know that many tools to recover deleted photos from an SD card exist, but does one also recover the original photo ID, like DSC000754.JPG?

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2 Answers 2

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The last time I used Photorec to recover deleted photos from an SD card, it successfully restored the filenames of all my recovered photos.

The Photorec FAQ says that it can sometimes recover filenames from FAT-type filesystems, and also if the filename was embedded in the file itself.

Of course, this is no guarantee of success for your individual case.

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What you are talking about? Photorec does not recover filenames because it does not analyze the file-system, but rather searches the drive sectors directly for file-type signatures (what some programs call “deep scan”) which is why it has no way to recover the name of the file or directory (it dumps everything into a single director). –  Synetech Jul 29 '12 at 21:53
Nevertheless I have some 100 restored photos from several years ago with their original filenames from running photorec. Where the filenames came from, if not from photorec, I couldn't say. –  Michael Hampton Jul 29 '12 at 21:54
Well it’s worth a shot; Photorec is the perennial favorite of many. Perhaps an older version did use the file-system and then they changed it to do a deep-scan instead. –  Synetech Jul 29 '12 at 22:02
The Photorec FAQ says that it can sometimes recover filenames from FAT-type filesystems, and also if the filename was embedded in the file itself. So I suspect one of those two cases was true in my case. –  Michael Hampton Jul 29 '12 at 22:08
Actually, it says that PhotoRec’s parent program TestDisk may be able to do that, and that’s because TestDisk analyses file-systems. PhotoRec itself specifically warns that When a file is deleted, the meta-information about this file (file name, date/time, size, location of the first data block/cluster, etc.) is lost. Of course results vary depending on how the files were lost (if you’re really lucky, you can get back everything but the first letter of the filenames, but who’s ever that lucky.) :-| –  Synetech Jul 30 '12 at 1:06

The programs that don’t recover filenames are searching the disk at a low level for signatures and headers (tell-tale patterns of bytes) of various file-types (similar to how antivirus programs detect viruses).

What you need is an “undelete tool” as opposed to a general data-recovery program.

Recuva (figure 1) is a popular program and has an option to do both a “deep-scan” (search for file-types) but also a normal scan that simply checks the file-system (where the folder- and filenames are stored).

Personally, I like Undelete360 (figure 2). It too has deep and “shallow” scan options, but last year when I had to recover ~9,000 accidentally deleted graphics files, it really impressed me with its results.

Both are free.

Figure 1: Recuva

Screenshot of Recuva

Figure 2: Undelete 360

Screenshot of Undelete360

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