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How to: SanDisk RescuePro & Raw Format File Recovery
Posted By: KYPhotonut, 05-14-2008, 06:05 PM

An earlier discussion about "RAW" file recovery led me to thinking about the RescuePro software that comes with the SanDisk ExtremeIII SD cards. Now from previous experience I know the card recovers “JPEG” and “TIFF” files fairly decently. A co-worker’s husband had deleted her files on a compact flash card. After running the program I was able to recover about 98% of her files. However, my concern is that I shoot “DNG” with my K10D. My question then becomes will this software work with “DNG” files generated by the K10D.

In searching through the help files of the Sandisk RescuePro I came across the following listing of files of bitmap type files that the software supposedly works on recovering.

File Type - Description:
AWD - FaxView Document
BMP - Windows or OS/2 bitmap
CPT - Corel Photo-Paint image
CRW - Canon Digital Camera Raw image
GIF - Graphics Interchange Format
IMG - GEM image
JPEG, JPG - JPEG File Interchange Format, exif
MAC - MacPaint image
PCX - PC Paintbrush bitmap
PNG - Portable Network Graphics
PP4 - Micrografx Picture Publisher 4
PP5 - Micrografx Picture Publisher 5
PPF - Micrografx Picture Publisher File
PSD - Adobe PhotoShop Image
PSP - Paint Shop Pro
TIF, TIFF - Tagged Image File bitmap
UPI - PhotoI,pact

As you can see, neither the “DNG” or “PEF” Raw formats that are generated by the Pentax K10D are on this list. Nor are the Raw file formats that are specific for other brands of cameras sure as Nikon or Canon listed. However, after talking to tech service I did find out on my own that the RescuePro Deluxe which is a more powerful version, and of course not free, does supports both of Canon’s Raw file formats “CRW” and “CR2”, Nikon’s Raw format “NEF”, Fuji Raw format “RAF”, and Sigma Raw format “X3F”. The deluxe version also works with Raw formats “DNG” and “MOS”.

So out of curiosity I e-mailed the Tech Service for LC Technology International about the SanDisk RescuePro software and its ability to recover “DNG” Raw format files since this is a general RAW format. The questions I put to them were these. “I was wondering, in the help section and the knowledge database there is no mention made as to whether RescuePro that I received when I purchased my SanDisk ExtremeIII SD card will work in recovery "DNG" format files. Is this just an omission in documentation, or is this really the case that it will not recover this type of file? Do any of the other programs you offer recover "DNG" files?” It was while I was waiting for a response from Tech Service that I found out what files the RescuePro Deluxe version will recover.

When I discussed via e-mails my questions regarding the recovery of the “DNG” RAW format files using the SanDisk RescuePro program I was informed that the is actually a newer version of the software. The versions that came with the two cards I purchased are the same, versions 3.2. The person at LC Technology International provided me with a link to where I could download the newer version 3.3. Asking that I get back to him with my results.

Since I had several card filled with photographs taken at the Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and I decided to do a little test using them and the two different versions of the software.

Recovery of “DNG” Raw format files using SanDisk RescuePro V3.2.

The 2GB SD ExtremeIII card I started with had one hundred “DNG” Raw Format files ranging in size from 16,434KB to 16.728KB for a total of 1.57GB. I used windows to delete the files.

In using the RescuePro v3.2 software I scanned just for photographs. As the software went to work it started counting off the files. Now here is when it gets interesting. The files found totaled one hundred the same number as was deleted. The new files it was writing all had the “NEF” Raw file extension. As you will recall “NEF” refers to the Nikon Raw file format, which, while listed as being support by the RescuePro Deluxe version there is no indication that it is supported by the Sandisk RescuePro version. PhotoME shows the files as being Nikon Raw format, but list the camera as being a Pentax, specifically a K10D with the 1.3 version software, which is correct for my camera.

The sizes of the files were no longer consistently in the 16,581±147 KB range. Instead the sizes ranged from eight files at 160KB, ninety files in the 16.581±KB range, one file at 51,200KB and one at 342,748KB. Photoshop Elements 6.0 Organizer would show previews of all files except for those that were in the 160KB. Any attempt to open the 160KB in Photoshop Elements Editor/ACR resulted in an error message “Could not complete your request because of an unexpected end-of-file encounter.” A random sampling seemed to indicate that all of the others would open up in Elements 6.0 and ACR 4.4.1 even with the “NEF” extension. Elements 6.0 Organizer showed previews of all files except those in the 160KB size.

So as you can see the results when using SanDisk RescuePro v3.2 was on ninety percent success rate, which is better then nothing.

Now, as I had stated before I had contacted the Tech Service at LC Technology International. I want to thank Dave Dabney of Tech Service at LC Technology International for providing me with a link to where I could download the newer version 3.3. Since I needed the card I just deleted for a hike a Shakertown of Pleasant Hill in Kentucky the next test will be using the second SanDisk ExtremeIII card of photographs from the 2008 Wildflower Pilgrimage that I have already made backups of.

Recovery of “DNG” Raw format files using SanDisk RescuePro V3.3.

The 2GB SD ExtremeIII card I started with had one hundred eleven “DNG” Raw Format files ranging in size from 16,447KB to 16.700KB for a total of 1.74GB. I used windows to delete the files.

In using the RescuePro v3.3 software I scanned just for photographs. As the software went to work it started counting off the files. The totaled number files found one hundred twelve, one more then was deleted. Again the recovered files it was writing all had the “NEF” Raw file extension, same as the version 3.2. PhotoME shows the files as being Nikon Raw format, but list the camera as being a Pentax, specifically a K10D with the 1.3 version software, which is correct for my camera.

The sizes of the files were no longer consistently in the 16,568±122 KB range. Instead the sizes ranged from eight files at 160KB, four files in the 240±16KB range, one at 15,264KB, ninety-three files ranging from 16,448KB to 16,704KB, five files ranging from 49,152KB to 51,200KB and one at 107,168KB. Photoshop Elements 6.0 Organizer would show previews of all files except for those that were in the 160KB. Any attempt to open the 160KB to 256KB in Photoshop Elements Editor/ACR resulted in an error message “Could not complete your request because of an unexpected end-of-file encounter.” Again a random sampling seemed to indicate that all of the others would open up in Elements 6.0 and ACR 4.4.1 even with the “NEF” extension.

So as you can see the results when using SanDisk RescuePro v3.3 had approximately an ninety percent success rate, which is better then nothing, but still lower then I had hoped for.

Recovery of “PEF” Raw format files using SanDisk RescuePro V3.3.

With the previous test done I decided to look to see how the software would work with the Pentax “PEF” Raw format files. Since I have the one 2GB SD ExtremeIII that I had deleted the files from still as is I decided not to use it as I was going to save it for further research, but more on that later. My other 2GB SD ExtremeIII is in my camera and I did not really what to use it. So for this test I will use a 2GB SD SanDisk Ultra card.

For this test I started with had forty-three “PEF” Raw Format files ranging in size from 8,914KB to 12,110KB for a total of 440MB. I used windows to delete the files.

In using the RescuePro v3.3 software I scanned just for photographs. As the software went to work it started counting off the files. The totaled number files found were forty-three files with the “TIF” file extension and seventy-five with had the “NEF” Raw file extension.
The sizes of the “TIF” files were no longer consistently in the 10,512±1,598 KB range. Instead the sizes ranged from 8,928KB to 20,704KB. While WindowsXP would not generate thumbnails, Photoshop Elements 6.0 Organizer would show previews of all files. When clicking on the file to do a “Full Edit” the file would first open up in Adobe Camera Raw just as it was working on a RAW format file. As a point of curiousness I went through and changed about twelve of the files to the “DNG” RAW file extension. These files still opened up in ACR 4.4.1 without any apparent problems.

Now you might be curious to know that the “NEF” files that were recovered were actually taken prior to the “PEF” files were shot and had actually gone through a in camera “Format”. However I did not do a breakdown on the file sizes, as these were not part of this sample run, but it still good to know that if you accidentally format the card while it is in the camera that you still have a good chance of recovering files.

So at this point there was a 100% recovery of the “PEF” RAW format files. With the noted change of file extension to “TIF”, you cannot get better then that.

The following is an update.

Recovery of “PEF” raw format files using SanDisk RescuePro v3.2

For the next step I will use the same SD card still in the “deleted” and “formatted” state as used in the previous test. Before deleting the files from the card in the previous test there were forty-three “PEF” Raw format files ranging in size from 8,914KB to 12,110KB for a total of 440MB. These files were deleted using Windows.

Again I ran the same test looking just for photographs. Again the results were a total in number of files found were forty-three files with the “TIF” file extension and seventy-five with had the “NEF” raw file extension. The size range of the “TIF” was also changed again they were no longer consistently in the 10,512±1,598 KB range. Instead the sizes ranged from 8,928KB to 20,704KB. While Windows would not generate thumbnails, Photoshop Elements 6.0 Organizer would show previews of all files. When clicking on the file to do a “Full Edit” the file would first open up in Adobe Camera Raw just as it was working on a Raw format file. As in the prior test I went through and changed about twelve of the files to the “DNG” Raw file extension. These files still opened up in ACR 4.4.1 without any apparent problems.

So again I had a 100% recovery of the “PEF” Raw format files even through they have a “TIF” file extension. In regards to the recovered “NEF” files see the comment from the previous “PEF” recovery test.

The next step was to see if there was a variation in the size of the files recovered. Opening up the two different result folders I found that not only were there the same number of files recovered, but also both sets of the recovered files matched in size based on their respective file names.

Now a few things I would like to note.

1. No recovery software will guarantee one hundred percent recovery rate every time you use. That is just the nature of the beast.
2. That I was lucky in getting 100% recovery using of the “PEF” raw files but not on the “NEF” may be due in part to the fact that that I use 2GB SD cards and the size of the data clusters are more accommodating to the “PEF” size file of 10MB while the “DNG” files are in the 16MB range. I do not know if the size of the card would affect the size of the clusters, as is the case for hard drives. Since I only have 2GB size cards I cannot test to see if there would be and improvement in using higher capacity cards. Hint: If there is someone who would like to donate an ExtremeIII 4GB or 8GB for testing I would be willing to test them out. Just don’t expect to get them back.
3. These test runs would suggest that you are going to shoot in a “RAW” format that you are better off shooting in the Pentax “PEF” raw format. Yes, IMHO, you should go back through and change the file extension back to either “PEF” or “DNG” from the “TIF” of those files you recover just so that you do not get files mixed up.
4. While there were no discrepancies found in the recovered “PEF” raw format files when using the two different versions of SanDisk RescuePro, I cannot make that statement for the recovered files for the “NEF” raw files recovery tests. I did not use the same SD card setup for this two different versions of RescuePro.
5. The except for the two different versions of the SanDisk RescuePro the software I used is Adobe Elements 6.0, Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) 4.4.1, and PhotoME on WindowsXP (SP3). The computer is a home build running on an mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 1900+, 1600Ghz with .75GB of memory

Again, I would like to thank Dave Dabney of Tech Service at LC Technology International for providing me with a link to where I could download the newer version 3.3.

Last edited by KYPhotonut; 05-17-2008 at 06:20 AM. Reason: Additional test done using RescuePro v3.2
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07-05-2008, 01:43 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Hi KYPhotonut,
Why not just use photorec - you just don't bother wether it's jpeg, pef, dng or whatever. And photorec doesn't care if it's a sd, mmc, cf-card or a harddisk.
I recovered 50 MB of photos I had deleted on my card within 15 minutes. Photorec runs on Linux, Solaris, various BSD-flavors, Mac OS X and windows. But who still runs the latter?
PhotoRec - CGSecurity
Check it out - it's free - of course.
Nanoq
07-06-2008, 01:29 AM   #3
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I had to recover some files off a disk that I had accidentally deleted about 2 weeks ago, and found some freeware that did the trick. Company was Convar, and the program name is PC Inspector Smart Recovery. It also did not list PEF's in the file types, so I chose TIFF to see what it would do. Even though the files were listed as TIFFs, Paint Shop Pro would still read the file as a PEF. I then went back and renamed all the files as PEF's so the thumbnails would work in Windows Explorer, but it was an issue of convenience/ organization at that point. Took 3 days (!) to recover 200 pictures, but that's better than the 40 bux that Ritz Camera would have charged me to recover these pictures....
07-10-2008, 10:12 AM   #4
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What about PC Tools File Recovery?

I made the mistake of erasing one memory card when transferring data and wond up getting PC Tools File recovery utility.

I don't think I lost anything. BUT I did not write to the card after erasing.

08-03-2008, 09:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanoq Quote
Hi KYPhotonut,
Why not just use photorec - you just don't bother wether it's jpeg, pef, dng or whatever. And photorec doesn't care if it's a sd, mmc, cf-card or a harddisk.
Tried this one. It made 16 corrupted files out of 191 (only a few had been deleted for the test), and it randomly renamed them all (though kept the PEF extension).
01-03-2010, 03:35 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Several times I faced the situation when I needed to recover deleted files. And I used MultiStage Recovery file recovery tool.
As advertised, it employs every single feature of NTFS and FAT file systems to recover files quickly and efficiently. And it seems to be true. But the program supports only Windows.
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