Have you ever tried to fix a computer or software problem with third party software or what somebody may call an app in 2013? Then you may have experienced what I have experienced many times during my more than 30 year in the IT industry. You search for free software and get a lot of hits on every search engine. Some software are recommended on third party sites that I sometimes suspect are affiliated with the company that produces the program. Let us take file recovery as an example. It is claimed that the software you are about to download and install
- is a trial version.
- can be downloaded free.
You are happy and install a program on your computer that may scan a hard drive for hours to look for deleted, broken or corrupt files. When the program is finished, you get a list of files that are restored, but you need to buy the program to restore the files to your computer. But does that guarantee that you are back to the state before your files were deleted or broken? No, it doesn't.
One recent example. I have a Sony DCR-SR72 video camera with 60 Gb storage. I regularly copy the videos to a computer and at least two external hard drives. Videos and pictures are emotional stuff. But on my two last holidays I did not back up the movies. After four years of excellent function the camera started to malfunction in that the screen images started rolling. In order to stop the rolling I found out that I could touch the screen and stop the rolling. But then I had no control of what happened behind the scene. The camera can be operated by touching the screen. Of course I then deleted the files on the camera. There are two types of files related to a movie, a MODD and a related MPEG file. When searching for:
- sony handycam undelete OR recovery
- free video undelete software
- video undelete freeware
I found articles that warned that, you had to buy the software to restore the lost files. I tried some software and after hours of experimenting, I tested a program that found some files. But of course the program had to be bought to restore the files. It may be written in the TOS, that I don't read when testing software.
If you accidentily delete files on your camera's harddrive or memory card, the first thing to do is to stop taking more videos or pictures, since that can overwrite the movies or pictures you want to restore. In most cases, the videos or pictures are not lost. Only pointers to the files are deleted. And you may have different layers of videos or pictures, depending on how many movies and pictures you have taken and how many times you have "deleted" them on the hard drive. With a deep scan you may find very old movies and pictures. And before you buy a software program, try more than one. There are lots of them and some find more files (movies) than other programs. Free does definitely not mean free or freeware when it comes to file (movie) undelete or restore. Most often it means free download and scan. When the files are found, you have to buy the software when you want to restore them. My solution:
- I will buy a new and more professional camera.
- I will keep the old camera in case I find software that can restore the files that are on the camera's harddrive
Some companies claim that their software can restore files from hard drives that have been formatted, so I can hope for a software that can restore files that have been overwritten. It is too early to know the future, so I don't throw away my old camera that I liked so much. Today (july 10th 2013) I talked to my son that says that cameras on mobile phones are better than old video cameras. My camera has one megapixel resolution while his camera on an iPhone 5 has 8 megapixels resolution. The harddrive on my old camera had 60 Gb (upt to 48 hours continous recording) while the harddrive on the most powerful smart phones has 64 Gb harddrives. So new video cameras have to be better than that in my opinion.
Note that a deep scan of a 60 Gb harddrive can take hours. So if you try a lot of software, start the scan on a free computer or when it can scan in the background while you are doing HTML5 video conversion for different formats etc. With the HTML5 video element, it is very easy to support videos for different browsers and mobile platforms on your site.
A word of warning. If you do the following queries on a search engine:
best video restore OR undelete software
best free video restore OR undelete software
video restore OR undelete freeware
with or without your camera name and model in the query, don't believe everything you read or watch on a video sharing site like YouTube. If you contact a professional company, try to find out whether they are professional or not. There is a lot of more or less hidden advertising out there, not least on video sharing sites.
Be very careful when you want to restore lost or corrupt "emotional files" like pictures and videos. The best may be to contact a REAL professional company before doing anything yourself. Don't take more videos with the camera if you want to restore lost files