Memory Cards seem like a technological cornerstone in today’s society, propping up the photography industry, their usage in video-game tech, dash-cam footage logs, and much more.
Why then is corruption on cards so common? It can be scary to see your data seem to just disappear, and reformatting the card can be annoying. We can follow a few tips to limit this from happening though.
Here are our top 10 tips on Avoiding the corruption of your ever-so-useful Memory Cards
- If you’re using cameras or dash-cams, always wait to adjust your files. If you have a video blocking the feed, you’re low on space and you’ve taken a naff collection of pictures, do NOT delete them within the camera. Instead, wait until you’ve backed up the memory card on another device, then you can delete the files you dislike. (Deleting within the camera can be messy, and sadly end in unwanted deletes or overall corruption).
- If your card DOES already say that it’s corrupted, well, we’re sorry. You’ll have to stop using this card (by recommendation). Stop using it! This card has messed up before, what’s to say it’s faulty, and can corrupt again. This can also be the case for accidentally reformatting a memory card before you backed up your files, this makes the card more likely to corrupt. You have to treat these cards annoyingly well, but it IS worth it in the long run.
- This rule is for the avid photo-enthusiasts. Sadly, it isn’t advised that you upload your photographs directly into third-party software. This includes Photoshop and Lightroom, and many more image software. Uploading this way seems faster for your user experience, but is harder for the computer. Instead, make copies of the images in your onboard drives, (Hard-Drive most likely). That way, the computer can reach its own, stronger, data files over a memory card.
- Phew, so many ‘don’ts’ and not enough ‘do’s’. Here are a few things that you CAN do, firstly with a camera if this is your tool of choice. If you’re capturing or filming once-in-a-lifetime great moments, it may be worth looking into Dual-card-slot cameras. This second card is used as a backup. That way, you’re doubling your chances of keeping the images and halving the chances of losing them. It’s honestly a no-brainer and for avid photographers, that extra cost could save your life.
- Well, what’s your card-type? It’ll tell you on the box, but we can give a small explanation here. Check whether your card is SD or CF. SD cards are about the size of a finger-tip most of the time, and compact flash is bigger. The main difference, however, is that CF cards have big pins at the bottom. These have a higher chance of being knocked or damaged on insertion and removal and therefore are riskier save types to use. If your camera has the capability, use SD Cards. They’re far less likely to get damaged and on the market nowadays, they’re pretty easy to come to buy. They’re even in pharmacies.
- Is the card not working? This is also sadly a common thing for older memory cards but is one of the most frustrating things to find out when it breaks. There’s a small chance you can save this data, so don’t throw the card away! You can download photo-recovery software on your computer which will run through whatever files it can find, and piece the images back together onto your computer for you. Phew. However, good software can cost sometimes eye-watering prices, so it has to be worth it. For example, wedding photos or hobbyist photographers are a must, but random images may be less worthy. This tip is vitally important for CF Card data recovery, as it is a wall between being gone forever, and being back in your hands.
- Another thing on CF cards (mainly), but can be seen as a good rule for all memory cards. If the card is acting funny, say like asking for reformatting every use or few uses, then don’t carry on using it. It could be faulty, and you shouldn’t risk your data in the hands of faultiness. You can explore a branch of CF card data recovery for software issues, but other problems can also be the cause. CF cards are common in this because it can also have a few more physical issues. Some cheaper companies will scrimp on their plastic casings, and it shows. If it feels faulty, or cracked, don’t risk your data in it, as the pins may be damaged quicker.
- There are some other artefacts on images that can tell you whose fault it is, the card itself, or your device. This can be seen in some images if they have lateral lines through the images, which can only be described as a digital artefact (usually pink-lines). This is an issue with the system you use for downloading, instead of the memory card itself. If the image is fine in your camera, it’s your download device instead. Sorry!
- This next tip can be annoying, but there is no point in risking it. Back-up your images in multiple locations! Use some carry-around external drives if you have them around, use cloud saves for a digital backup, and something called RAID. This is an external hard-drive set-up which is great, especially for photos. With mirrored settings, you can save the same image on a couple of hard-drives at once, blanket protecting your data efficiently. All of these choices are viable, but make sure you do back them up when the time is right!
- The last tip we have to tell you is for the people who don’t have dual slot cameras. Please, please, buy multiple small-size cards, rather than one large size card. If you need 16gb, maybe buy 4x4gb. Depending on where you buy them, this is maybe even a cheaper option! Why we tell you this, is that if one card corrupts, you don’t lose all of your caches at once. Spread the load across many, and worry less.
Now, after all of these tips, we hope that we’ve shed some light on the situation.
It’s in your hands what you do well into the future, but remember that there is always another way of doing things.
We hope these tips serve well and answer your questions on how to avoid the annoyance of corrupted memory cards.