My brother in law took some pictures for me of my daughter after she was born.

When I open up the pictures or look at the previews, they all look like this (with the bottom half gray):

Gray Image

At first I thought that the images were just corrupted, but after playing around with them I noticed something odd.

If I right click on the image and select rotate clockwise (or counter clockwise), I can see the whole image for a second. Like this:

Rotated Full

But after a second the thumbnail looks like this:

Rotated with Gray

If it can access the full image for a second, is there a chance I can get the full image restored? Or somehow save it off? (These pictures are non-recoverable otherwise.)

  • 1
    What format are the images in? Have you tried loading them in other programs (paint)?
    – Pubby
    Oct 8 '11 at 5:38
  • @vaccano I have answered similar topic with more details stackoverflow.com/questions/33236985/… Nov 11 '15 at 22:12
  • Ancient question that just got bumped. The fact that the complete image is visible briefly before the gray appears means that all of the image content is still there. Whatever the issue is appears to cause the rendering software to add the gray band. I don't have a specific solution, but I would try opening the image in other software to see if something else can handle whatever got corrupted and display it properly. Irfanview is sometimes good for that. Then you can save it as a new file with that software, hopefully uncorrupted. (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Apr 17 '19 at 2:38
  • Worst case, you could display it full-screen in landscape orientation and capture the screen. It may have lower resolution, but at least you would have a viewable image.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 17 '19 at 2:38

These are most likely JPEG images. I have seen this in rare cases when the image was not fully copied over and left corrupted.

Check out this article to see if it will help you fix/understand what's going on.



3 things you need to check:

  1. Compare file size with those of similar JPEGs. If considerably smaller then there's your explanation, file is simply incomplete. This can not be repaired.

  2. If size looks okay, open file in HxD. Does file contain data from start to end. If at some point high entropy data turns into low entropy data (repeating zeros of FF byte pattern) then this can not be repaired. Data is simply missing.

  3. If file size looks okay and file contains high entropy data then it's worth to do further checking:

Open file in HxD. Goto position well inside the file, half way for example. Click Search > Find > select HEX Tab > enter FF.

In most cases you should only find FF 00 (unless it's a JPEG with restart markers, the FF Dx is okay where x = 0 to 7). If you see FF nn byte combinations that do not fit this 'filter' throughout then you're not looking at JPEG data: So part of file is overwritten with 'foreign' data.

All it takes in ONE non FF 00 byte combination for many decoders to stop decoding, this will result in rest of image being a grey block.

You can to try manually fix using HxD like I do here: enter image description here

If corruption is over larger area you can use JpegSnoop, it will give exact byte address of such 'offending' FF nn byte combinations (it will state unknown marker). keep going until they're all gone. File may need additional repair after that.

JPEG-Repair can help with this. It automatically removes offending FF nn combinations. Example repair:


In essence JPEG-Repair is little more than HxD + Windows Photo Viewer.


While kobaltz has the reason down, they didn't specify a source of the problem. Assuming your photos were taken with a digital camera recording on to removable media (SD card, CF card, etc), this photo corruption is caused by a failing or faulty storage media.

I've experienced this on a low end SD card where the image would look normal while Windows Photo Viewer rendered the image, but as soon as it finished, instead of grey space, there were colours and distortion all over the image.

Sadly, from what I know, you can't really fix this, as the images were saved incorrectly. I'm certain that with a bit of Google-fu, though, you could find something that could perhaps salvage some of your images.


If you have an image editing software like Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, try opening the file in that and make a minor adjustment (nothing that will change the picture drastically). Then SAVE AS the photo back to the same location, overwriting the original file. In many cases, it will properly write the data that was missing from the original corrupt file. I had to do this with about 50 photos when I had a bad segment on my camera's SD card.

Also - make sure you reformat the card in your camera as it sounds like you have a problem with your SD card.


Something about copying it from the phone to the pc caused this for me. When I emailed the photos to myself solved the issue.

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