Can corrupted photo files be repaired?

By hvelliott ยท 27 replies
May 9, 2007
  1. I have been taking photos by digital cameras and copying onto my hard drive. I then copy the photos over to a second hard drive in case my primary drive fails. Furthermore, I copy all the photos onto a hard drive that is external to my computer (firewired).

    Note some of the photos are new, and some have been on the system for a long time.

    Suddenly, some of the thumbnails are failing to display, and when attempting to open, I am getting "no preview available" messages. When I look at the other drives, the some of the photos there too are failing to display.

    It is not a file association problem, or a problem with which program I am using to open the file with. I don't think it is not a file compression problem, since I don't compress any files (I have enough drive space to cover a thousand computers). I don't believe it is a virus problem. Again, some of these photos have been on the drive for a while, but it doesn't seem to matter whether it is an old photo, or a new one.

    I have been on Microsoft looking for a fix to this problem, as well as other forums.

    Does anyone know why photos suddenly fail to display?
    Is there a fix for this problem?
    If photos can't be reliably stored on a computer, then digital photography for my purposes becomes worthless.

    Appreciate any help you can give on this...
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Well, first we have to be sure that the photos are indeed corrupt.
    What program(s) are you using to view the pictures?
    Also, how is the copying done? Do you copy the files manually or do you have a program that does this automatically?
  3. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Corrupt jpg files

    Does not matter what program is used to open the files. I have tried a half-dozen. Additionally, they don't even dispay a picture as a thumbnail.
    Depending on the program, the error message varies from "not recognized file type" to "file may be corrupted" to "no preview available."

    The files were copied to the other drives by dragging and dropping. Note that ALL the photos on ALL the drives displayed thumbnails and were able to be opened after they were copied.

    When opening a photo folder, as many as half of the photos may not display a thumbnail, or be able to be opened by any photo program, editor, etc.

    When half your family photos, wedding, vacations, and so on are lost across several drives, then digital imaging is worthless!

    I think I will return to film photography. If you copy the negatives and store them in two different places, you are probably covered...

    In the mean time, I am gradually losing my past photos that have been captured in digital format.

  4. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    What happens you try to put a photo straight from your camera onto your drive now?
  5. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    IF you copied photo files to a drive with no OS and they were viewable once then they should be fine.

    The problem is more likely in your OS - before you do anything rash, take the backup drive(s) elsewhere and have a look at the contents.
  6. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    answers are no help

    One drive has the operating system. Two of the drives do not. There is nothing wrong with the PC or the operating system. Apparently, something has altered the files, but the files do not indicate any change. I have no virus onboard, if you were heading in that direction.

    What happens when I copy a photo from my camera to my pc now?

    It works, of course. Copies dragged to the other drives work also.

    The original question is, why are they going away (not displaying at some later time)? A lot of my oldest photos work fine, but a few do not open. Most of the "bad" files are ones that are "medium" age...that is, not my oldest files, and not the newest files; however, files of all ages across several folders do not display a thumbnail, nor do they open with any known photo editor or graphics handling program.
  7. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    If there is nothing wrong with the PC or OS then God hates your photography and you should become a bricklayer!

    Now, having said that, have you TRIED looking at one of your other drives in another comp?

  8. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I already know how to lay bricks...

    I can lay bricks but don't really have a desire to lay them.

    The firewire drive displays the same results when plugged into my laptop.

    The files are therefore the problem.

    Again, the question is WHY are the files going bad, and HOW?

    Is there a fix for it?
  9. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

  10. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Do you happen to use the same antivirus program on both your computers? Maybe it is "smart" enough to think that the images have been infected and it may have even "healed" them..

    Also, how dare you say that you do not have a virus when you are using Windows? :p No antivirus program gives you such protection that one can be sure.

    Are you sure your pctures have the correct extensions? Maybe the file is named .JPG, but the image is actually a TIFF or suchlike? Can you provide one of your broken images so that we can have a look?
  11. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Nodsu and CCT

    If you have been following my problem, then you know they all have the same extension because they are coming from my digital camera. I elected to have my camera save all photos as jpg. There is no reason to change a photo format from photo to photo.

    I don't catalog the files. They are copied into folder names I create myself. The files are then dragged and dropped onto the other drives to copy. I am not aware of any Windows drag and drop copying problem. At least I can say that none of my other files have this problem, because I use the same system to backup my documents, as well as photos. I am not experiencing any "corrupt" Word, Accel, Access, files that I am aware of.

    Since I have better than 10,000 photos at present, I can't say for sure if all the drives are "losing" all the same identical photos or not, but I can say I have seen some of them that are the same photo across the three drives. I would need to run a "find duplicates" program across three drives to see if they are all the identical photos that are dropping out. This is a rather lengthy and troublesome procedure: I may need to go there if it is any help to finding a resolution to the problem, but so far I was hoping to find someone with the same problem that knows what is going on. As near as I can tell, there are some other people experiencing this problem, but it is not a wide-spread epidemic.

    The computers both have the same antivirus program, which is McAffee; however, this antivirus program will not alter a file without notifying me that there is a problem. I have not had such message pop up.

    I have the "audacity" to state that I do not have a virus problem based on the fact that my problem appears to be rather "unique," that is to say that my problem does not match any of the known viruses which are currently scattered around the globe. Unless you are suggesting that someone wrote a virus specifically to target me and no one else...well, that is possible but a rather elaborate scheme. The general purpose of a virus is to create a wide-spread epidemic, but I don't see that happening. There are relatively few posts about people having my kind of problem. I think I can safely say that I don't have a virus issue.

    I have been working with personal computers before they were personal; in other words, I built a pc before there were pc's in any store. I put them together and programmed them. Since computers are not my profession, the speed at which computers advanced outgrew my ability to keep up, but I have even written a little visual basic and C++. This is only to say that I am not a complete ***** about computers, and how they work.

    I have no drive bad clusters, or so on. I am running HP computers that can be had anywhere and my software is off the shelf there is no reason to think I have some "hybrid" kind of glitch.

    There are a few people out there that are losing their photos like I am. We are trying to figure out why and how that is...and what can be done about it. I have also concluded that there is no jpg file repair program out there, because no one is responding to my inquiry...nor can I find one searching the net.

    Programmers, listen up: WRITE A PROGRAM TO FIX PHOTO FILES!!! I will be your first customer and do your beta testing!!!
  12. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

  13. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    having a problem believing that one...

    Jpeg is a "lossy" compression file? That's a new one on me. That means all my older photos should be showing the problem, which is not the case. I think someone pulled that out of their backside. When you open any file, it should be saved the same way, unless you have a compression program running, which I don't. The only other information in the file that would be changed is not in the file itself, but the header information, which is why programs know the last time a file has been accessed (time and date info will be re-written).

    Anyone out there that can tell me jpeg is a "lossy" file scheme?

    I don't believe that one...
  14. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

  15. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Yes, JPG is a "lossy" format, but that most certainly does not mean that the images somehow become corrupt over time. You "lose" information every time you encode something to JPG format, but that's it. And even if you re-encoded a picture a million times, it would only lose quality, not its integrity as a valid picture file.
  16. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I withdraw the question

    There is apparenly no known reason for my problem, and no program that fixes the problem.

    I withdraw the question(s).
  17. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No help available

    I withdraw the question(s).
    Opening and closing the file does not degrade the file.
    The articles refer to those who edit or otherwise use graphics manipulating programs.
    One of the articles says if you store files on your computer as a GIF you should convert it to JPG !
    There is no help available and no program to fix my problem.
    I withdraw the question(s).
    Thanks to all that offered help...
  18. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    I hit a few sites that said they had software to 'fix' corrupted jpg's BUT, as I don't know the sites, I am merely telling you that some such do, apparently, exist. Just hafta Google and be patient.

    I would suggest that a specialty forum for photographers/enthusiasts would offer some more concrete help.

    gl anyway
  19. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    Have you read about or tryed the program RITERECOVERY? I have heard of somepeople that have had some sucess with it.
  20. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    You have some sort of a problem on the computer. You just don't have 10,000 photos "losing" nor that kind of lossy, nor the problems you describe. There are no problems storing photos on a computer. Jpegs are lossy... but in very small amounts... it takes a great number of openings and edits to see any real loss.
    I may have missed it, but I do not see what software you use to view your photos... That clearly has to be part of the problem. Software is damaging your images, or your camera is.
    I would get a copy of Adobe Elements 5, Corel Paint Shop Pro X1, or one of the 9 other excellent photo software packages.
    We assist hundreds of elderly people with real photo problems every year... some of them can screw up anything, but we have never seen what you describe.
    I assume the problem doesn't occur on your other computer, but if it does, then the problem has to be in the camera or connected somehow.
  21. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    As raybay said.. Before declaring your problem unsolvable, you could show a bit of goodwill and at least consider some of the suggestions here instead of outright ignoring them?

    What programs are you using? many programs use common image libraries like the Windows builtin GDI+, so in reality you may have been trying to open your images with exactly the same thing.

    Yes, you may have configured your antivirus to prompt you about every action, but has it been in that exact configuration forever? Surely it had a different setup when you installed it? There have been many cases over times where antivirus software produces false alarms or "repairs" files beyond recognition.

    Same goes for your camera. Yes, it is set to explicitly produce JPG at the moment, but has this always been the case? How can you be sure?

    And, surely you can spare one of those "broken" images for us to take a look at?

    Maybe try looking at the images in a computer that is not set up by you? Or use a CD Linux like Knoppix to rule out any Windows-related issue?
  22. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    not a bad camera

    I am not elderly.
    A bad camera cannot cause a file that has been displaying on the computer properly for a year to suddenly decide to stop displaying.
    They don't display on other computers, regardless of the processor or platform. THE FILES ARE CORRUPTED SOMEHOW.
    Corel and Adobe don't work...been there and tried that. In fact, Corel 3X is my resident drawing program, but NO KNOWN program will open the files, from Paint, on up...
    The photos I have stored have NOT been processed by a graphics program or photo editor.
    What I do know about the files is that the "modified" date is earlier than the "created" date. How do you modify a file that hasn't been created yet?
    When right-clicking and checking properties, the summary of the BAD files is non-existent. I don't mean empty, I mean non-existent. The good photos display a summary, although they are empty. This is because the photos were transferred by memory stick directly into the PC. I don't add comments into the summary. The folder names I use to store photos contains the date, place, etc. In some cases, I did rename the photo...but the photos that don't display are not discriminating. They don't care if they were renamed or not.
    The two original questions: What causes photos (jpg in my case) to stop working? Is there a jpg recovery program?
  23. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    Have you by chance looked at this program? Why dont you post one of these corrupt photos here so we can have a go at fixing it?
  24. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    Last thing I can offer: Set view to show hidden AND protected system files and folders. Set your Pictures folder to display as List.

    You will see a thumbs.db -- delete it (I just did this succesfully).

    Then switch to view of thumbnails again.

    You may also wanna try that with a shut-down and reboot in between.

  25. hvelliott

    hvelliott TS Rookie Topic Starter

    get real

    halo 71...there are much better recovery programs than that one. Anyway, it doesn't work.

    CCT...that would fix the thumbnails if the thumbnail file was bad.
    These files don't open, period.

    I can't post a photo as suggested, as I don't know what the photo is, since it doesn't display a thumbnail. No, these are not porn or something, but I have no idea who will pick up on the photo. If they got it working, I might find my wife or daughter plastered all over the net. Absolutely not, I will not post a file for all the hacks of the world to play with.
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