JpegDigger is a light-weight, specialistic tool that can help you recover deleted or otherwise lost photos. It was designed with memory cards in mind, but works on hard drives too. Note that your JPEG-Repair Toolkit license key will activate JpegDigger too, so no need to purchase JpegDigger if you already have that. I wrote JpegDigger because a good portion of the corrupt photos I receive are incorrectly recovered and beyond repair because of that. JpegDigger today is the result of many different real-world cases I worked on that could not be solved using available solutions (Stellar, Recoverit etc.).
This all being said, know there is no way a software-only solution can recover data from any kind of flash drive (USB, SD Card, Micro SD, SmartMedia, MMC etc.) that is not physically detected at all or detected incorrectly like with an incorrect capacity. With the latter I mean capacity of the physical device as displayed in Windows disk manager. So examples you can solve using software are file deletion, formatting, corrupt or damaged file system (including incorrect file system size). But not water damage, broken USB connectors, damaged electronics, failed controller etc..
Use the trial version to determine if JpegDigger can recover your photo(s) prior to purchasing.
|For home/personal use – You’ll be recovering your own photos||Technician license – You’ll be recovering your organization’s or 3rd party photos|
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- JPEG support.
- RAW support: Recovers full frame JPEG from lost and deleted TIFF based RAW photos such as CR2, NEF, ARW, DNG etc.. Can be useful if fully capable RAW recovery software recovers corrupted RAW photos.
- Recover deleted JPEG photos.
- Save JPEG photos from accidentally formatted memory cards etc..
- Detect JPEG file corruption.
- On the fly repair of corrupted JPEG photos.
- On the fly defrag of fragmented photos (simple bitfragment gap carving)
- FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT and NTFS file system support.
- Previews generated from actual image data: WYSIWYG.
- Pass-through file saving: as it examines the file, it simultaneously saves file data, allows for hands-off operation.
- Functional trial: All features work, trial saves scaled down BMP photos.
JpegDigger is fairly simple and easy to use.
To recover lost or deleted JPEG photos follow these steps:
- Select a drive – it needs to have a drive letter assigned
- Select a destination drive – make sure this is a different drive than the source drive! You can skip this and JpegDigger will prompt you for a destination drive as soon as you ask it to save a file.
- Set maximum file size – check typical size of a JPEG produced by your camera. Minimum resolution allows you to skip small JPEGs including the ones in TIFF based RAW photos.
- Set some options or go with defaults – for example, check ‘Only free space’ to recover photos lost due to deletion. More info
- Click Scan
With Autosave set JpegDigger will now scan the selected media and recover all JPEGs. File names are automatically generated based on the LBA sector number on which they were found: ‘Sector.JPG’.
JpegDigger was conceived to solve issues with corrupted photos received via my JPEG repair Service. Corrupt photos on memory cards can be caused by the underlying issue of a corrupt file system. To recover files from such scenarios typical file recovery or undelete software may not work. Also other cases were files were already recovered using 3rd party software were solved by recovering them using JpegDigger instead. In case recovered RAW photos are corrupt, JpegDigger can often at least recover those files as JPEGs. And thirdly JpegDigger was designed to solve some cases (recover photos) that could not be solved at all using popular photo recovery software such as Stellar Photo Recovery, Recover-it photo recovery and Disk Drill.
I already had a solution however JPEG Recovery LAB requires a lot of resources and time. So I decided to design a simpler carver that gets the job done in 9 out of 10 cases. JpegDigger today is the result of many different real-world cases I worked on that could not be solved using available solutions.
JpegDigger is a photo recovery tool of the ‘carver’ type. A carver, rather than scanning file system structures for files that are ‘flagged’ deleted, scan the media for certain file characteristics such as ‘magic numbers’. The simplest of carvers (most are) look for a JPEG start of image marker (SOI) and an end of image marker (EOI). Data in between those is assumed to be a JPEG file.
JpegDigger is different as it actually ‘parses’ the JPEG data (code borrowed from JPEG-Repair Toolkit). This way it can verify the data is actually JPEG data, if it is formally intact (validation) and if it is a possibly fragmented file. In case of the latter it can stop parsing and look for JPEG data that may possibly be a continuation of the current file. In case the file violates some JPEG spec it can repair the issue or skip the file from being recovered.
On the fly error repair
Formal errors, so errors that violate JPEG specifications, can be corrected on the fly. This does not imply the photo will look okay but it will accomplish it can at least be opened (like JPEG-Repair Toolkit Patch mode does).
Advantages vs disadvantages of JPEG carving
The drawback of any carver is that only works for file types it ‘knows’ where a file system based recovery tool can recover any file type. Also, a carver will not be able to reconstruct a directory tree or recover original file names (in many cases). Main advantage is that it will work on corrupted file systems (as it largely ignores those).
Sequential media access
JpegDigger was designed with the idea to access the media only once, much like a disk-imager. As the detected file is parsed it also saved to a file so any specific sector is only accessed this one time. Later the option to save individual files was added which violates the principle. Enable autosave and JpegDigger works like the original: As sectors are examined, JPEG file data is saved simultaneously.
Free vs. full version
Free version only saves scaled down photos in BMP format. These are generated from the full size JPEGs. This gives you a fair chance to evaluate the tool prior to purchasing it.
JpegDigger vs JPEG Recovery LAB
Where JpegDigger can be regarded a light-weight tool with little system demands, JPEG Recovery LAB is the heavy weight. JPEG Recovery LAB supports more file types and will recover more photos in case they are severely fragmented. Truth of the matter is, that in 9 out of 10 cases where one wants to recover JPEG photos JPEG Recovery LAB it is pure overkill.
FAQ / Frequently asked questions / issues
The tool hangs during the scan: As JpegDigger actually processes the JPEG data, there is the chance that it will run into an unexpected condition. Of course I try to make it so that it still continues, but it is possible it runs into something I didn’t think of. Experience learns that JpegDigger will process the media with ‘Skip corrupted files’ enabled.
Media had has sectors: If the media has bad spots, then at this point JpegDigger can not scan it. In general in such cases it is advised to create a RAW image file of the memory card. Using something like OFSMount you can mount the disk image. You can scan the drive letter assigned to the disk image using JpegDigger.
Can JpegDigger recover RAW photos such as Canon CR2 or Nikon NEF?: No. It is fairly easy to add simple carving for those and other file types. But that’s not enough to offer the same level of support as for JPEG. JpegDigger tries to be good at one thing, and that’s recovering JPEG files.
Can JpegDigger get the high resolution embedded previews from RAW photos at least?: Yes. From version 2.2.11 JpegDigger detects TIFF based RAW photos and recovers full frame JPEGs. Tested so far with NEF (Nikon), CR2 (Canon), ORF (Olympus), RW2 (Panasonic-Lumix, ARW (Sony) and DNG (from a Leica Q2). This can be useful if fully RAW capable software recovers corrupt RAW photos.