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Long story short: I bought a faulty microSD card a few weeks ago to expand my Android phone's storage and since then, most if not all of the pics and videos I've taken are unreadable either from the phone or from the computer (and either connecting it via usb cable or extracting the microSD and plugging it into the computer's card reader).

It's not that they've been erased or anything; the files are there, they weigh and they have correct size/timestamp/name properties, but they're just unreadable, they cannot be opened no matter the software I try to open them with.

I've done some Recuva stuff and it seems that the problem is on the files' header. Look at these two different headers: first one is from an MP4 file that is ok and readable, and the other one is from one of the corrupt MP4 files. That FF FF FF ý ý ý ý ý ý pattern is repeated on all corrupt files, including the JPG ones:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Is there any way to reconstruct these broken headers so I can re-gain access to the files?

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You've got bigger problems than corrupt headers.

1) The block of FFs is considerably larger than the size of a JPEG header unless it has a thumbnail embedded in it.

2) Note the file size. Only a few kb. Even if it were perfectly intact that's not much data.

3) I see no method by which the damage would magically hit only the start of the files. Rather, it's hitting the start of a chunk of data on disk--which means it's likely repeated at other points in the file (except, note point #2--you don't have much there.) Also, your screenshot only shows bad data, I see no reason to think there's any good data.

4) I don't think you have a faulty card at all. If it really were doing that it would have blown up the directory. Rather, I think you have a fraudulent card that is masquerading as something far bigger than it really is. They work normally up to their real size and then do this sort of thing once they go past that point.

  • Thank you for your detailed response, Loren. 1) All my JPEGs feature thumbnails - unless I'm missing/misunderstanding something. 2) Look at the 2nd screenshot.. It's clear that the size of these JPG and MP4 files vary strongly. There are a couple of 100 - 400MB MP4s (these are video recordings from a concert) and also very small ones (home recordings of pets and kids of a few seconds each). Maybe you got confused by the . (dot) instead of the , (comma) but here in Spain 428.443KB is 428MB, not 428-and-a-half KB. – Sergio Santos Mar 17 '17 at 13:44
  • 3) Can you explain this a little more? Do you mean that if I find a way to reconstruct the header and make it readable, the rest of the file will be equally damaged? 4) That is interesting. I bought it in Amazon from a reputed seller, but we know how things go with SD and microSD cards... you can get a faulty/fraudulent one easily. Do you think that's what happened? That is corrupted everything past its real capacity? Thanks again. – Sergio Santos Mar 17 '17 at 13:45
  • @SergioSantos You're right--I was fooled by your punctuation. And, yes, I strongly suspect you have a fraudulent card. Here's a discussion of what I'm talking about: rmprepusb.blogspot.com/2013/10/… – Loren Pechtel Mar 17 '17 at 18:20
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Although it's name may not suggest it, JPEG Recovery LAB can recover (fragmented) MP4 video files as well.

Files filled with a FF FF byte patterns are beyond repair/recovery. However it looks like Recuva did a file system scan (vs RAW scan). So JPEG Recovery LAB may pull up some JPGs as well as it uses a different method.

Please note that system requirements are steep, 8 GB minimum and that it will keep your PC occupied for a few hours.

Can be found here: https://www.disktuna.com/jpeg-recovery-lab-digital-photo-recovery/

really hope this helps.

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