Top Safety Tips for Protecting Digital Image Files

By Chris Bross, Data Recovery Engineer for DriveSavers

With the advent of digital photography and flash memory, a whole new set of potential problems has evolved for photographers. DriveSavers Data Recovery Engineer, Chris Bross, has assembled the following list of tips for how to handle flash memory cards properly and help prevent potential loss of precious photographs.

BACK UP YOUR IMAGES! Protect yourself and your irreplaceable images by backing up onto CD/DVDs, tapes, online storage or an external hard drive. This will help guard against data loss when (not if) your hard drive crashes unexpectedly.

TRANSFER YOUR PHOTOS. Copy the image files from the camera’s flash memory to a computer’s hard drive a soon as you can. We recommend not deleting images or reformatting the memory card while it is still in the camera. Wait until all photos are transferred and verified.

FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. Take care when removing flash memory from the camera or card reader. Avoid deleting or corrupting images by using the eject command on the computer or moving the card icon from the desktop to the trash/recycle bin before physically removing the card.

VERIFY THE TRANSFER. Open the images on the hard drive before reformatting the card.

MAKE MORE THAN ONE COPY. Back up your backup media and keep a duplicate offsite in a secure location.

PROTECT YOUR FLASH MEMORY CARDS. Use the plastic holder when carrying them around. Simple static buildup can zap the card and make it unreadable. There are other dangers as well, such as breaking a card in our pocket or putting the card, along with your clothing, in the wash.

REPLACE YOUR FLASH MEMORY CARDS. Typically, flash memory cards can be used about 1,000 times before they start to wear out.

AVOID EXTREME TEMPERATURES. Heat, cold and humidity can wreak havoc with digital equipment, especially flash memory.





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Comments (3)


Uh, this sentence in the article is misleading: "Avoid deleting or corrupting images by using the eject command on the computer or moving the card icon from the desktop to the trash/recycle bin before physically removing the card." The eject command does NOT delete or corrupt images, it is a necessary step to protect your images. Therefore, the sentence SHOULD read: "Use the eject command...before physically removing the card."


With today's larger capacity cards there is great chance of damaged sector. Best to fill up a new card and copy pictures back to hard drive and verify that all can be viewed. Manufacturer's warranty will cover the card but not lost pictures from a damaged one.

The article assumes all transfers are simple and safe to the card itself. A card reader suddenly malfunctioned on me loosing the data-no warnings at all. It was new too. The manufacture never responded to my e mail inquiring on the matter.

I have a card reader made by Vivitar- when I inserted mu Sandisk extreme card in and plugged it in the computer nothing came up on the computer. I tried other cards as well-nothing. I purchased a new reader-A message came up that the card needed to be formatted ( the camera gave the same message). So the data is lost or needs a recovery service that may be able to save the data.


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