Corrupt CR2 and NEF files due to file fragmentation

By | March 12, 2018

There are many tools available to recover lost or deleted digital photos from memory cards. Most of them are unable to recover non contiguous or fragmented files. As a result fragmented files recovered by such tools will be corrupt.

In such cases JPEG Recovery LAB can help you recover fragmented files. However, recovered files may be corrupt due to other reasons, such as being partially overwritten by new photos.

Typical image corruption after recovery of fragmented photos

This page lists fragmented JPEG, CR2 (Canon RAW files) and NEF (Nikon RAW files) as they typically look after recovery by other photo recovery software.

Assume a file is split in 3 fragments. Fragment 1 accounts for 50% of the data, fragment 2 another 10% and the last fragment contains 40% of the data.

Conventional file recovery and undelete software (assuming a FAT32 or exFAT formatted memory card) will only recover the first fragment, so 50% of the data. The same goes for simple header/footer carving photo recovery software.

JPEG Recovery LAB will find and stitch all file fragments together into one coherent picture.

JPEG Recovery LAB

JPEG Recovery LAB gets the complete picture!

Recovery LAB is a unique tool for fragmented photo and video recovery from memory cards. $39.95

  • It recovers fragmented files using “advanced carving”
  • Gets complete photos where other get half
  • Photo formats supported: JPEGCR2 (Canon raw), NEF (Nikon raw)
  • Video formats: MP4MOVAVIMPEG-2(AVCHD, MTS)
  • Free to try with real previews, WYSIWYG!
  • Designed for memory cards.

Before downloading and using JPEG Recovery LAB consider the following:

  • JPEG Recovery LAB does not process individual photos or videos! In other words, if ‘myimage.jpg’ is corrupt then there is no use in scanning this file only. Instead try recovering the file again from the original memory card.
  • If you need to recover digital photos from a NTFS formatted hard drive, you may first want to try a generic file recovery software like ReclaiMe. File fragmentation is less of a issue when recovering files from NTFS unlike FAT32 or exFAT formatted memory cards.
  • Be prepared that it will take a long time. JPEG Recovery LAB will grab all available resources leaving very little for you. It’s best to leave the PC untouched for a few hours and let JPEG Recovery LAB do its thing. If you need the PC for work, limit the number of cores JPEG Recovery LAB can use (settings).
  • JPEG Recovery LAB requires and internet connection to communicate with our server. More information on this.
  • Also, by using the software you indicate to agree with the license agreement.
  • Requires 64 bit Windows 7 or better, 64 bit with .NET 4.5. NET 4.5 is normally installed on Windows 8 or better. For Windows 7 you can download it here.
  • Minimum amount of memory installed, 8 GBHint: If you barely meet system requirements memory wise, consider limiting the number of cores (number of parallel threads) to 2 for example.
  • When looking for deleted files only tick ‘Only search unallocated space’. By deleted, I mean files that you selected and then deleted using Windows or the camera itself.

More information on JPEG Recovery LAB.


Contiguous or as recovered by JPEG Recovery LAB

25% of data missing

35% of data missing

Cr2 (Canon RAW)

Contiguous or as recovered by JPEG Recovery LAB

25% of data missing

50% of data missing

Nikon RAW

Contiguous or as recovered by JPEG Recovery LAB

30% missing

Combined Images

Due to file fragmentation file recovery and undelete software may combine parts of different images into one.

Parts of two JPEG files combined into one image

Parts of two Canon RAW files combined into one image. Looks very similar to data missing however pink area starts with obvious corruption!

Two partial NEF files into one

Intact Previews!

Note that previews of these corrupt photos or the image as displayed by “Windows Photos” may look intact! You can use a tool like JpegDigger to ´recover´the JPEG preview files.

Windows Explorer shows intact previews

This corrupt CR2 file looks fine in the Windows Photo App.

These previews can be ´recovered´using a tool like JpegDigger