Developed by WinRecovery Software, CardRecovery is photo recovery software designed specifically for damaged, unreadable and defective memory cards, though it’s also capable of scanning and recovering photos from a standard hard drive. The developers claim that it can recover all types of photos and video files, including proprietary raw formats used by nearly every digital camera brand. However, while it’s excellent for JPG image recovery, we didn’t have much success recovering other types of photos with it in our tests.
We performed two tests to simulate the two most common data loss scenarios: lost file, which occurs when the files are no longer found in the directory, and reformatted drive. We performed these tests multiple times on an HDD, SSD and SD card. We also looked at how many of the proprietary raw formats the software could recognize. While CardRecovery didn’t perform well when recovering most image types, it was perfect where it counts the most: JPGs.
The best feature of CardRecovery is its JPG recovery rate. In every test, and on each drive type, it recovered every JPG in our data set. This is significant because JPG is the most commonly used image format. Therefore, for most users it’s the most important image file for picture recovery software to recoup. However, JPG is also the easiest image format to recover because it’s the easiest type of file for image recovery software to piece back together. For reference, the average recovery rate for JPGs in the lost file test of all products in our comparison was 88 percent, and the average from our reformatted drive test was 75 percent.
The biggest downside to CardRecovery is the success rate for all other types of image formats. It retrieved only 25 percent of the other raster formats – BMP, GIF PNG and TIF. In both tests, it also failed to recover a single vector image or production image. And while it recovered a respectable 53 percent of the raw images during our lost file tests, it didn’t recover any camera raw images during the reformatted drive test. It also failed to recover any camera raw images on the SD card, which is surprising because this software is designed for SD cards.
While it recognized the camera raw formats only during the lost file tests, CardRecovery did recognize most of the formats. The only raw formats it failed to recognize were from Polaroid, Epson and Samsung. One positive note is its conversion of camera raw images to TIF files. This is helpful because it allows you to preview the camera raw image before initiating the recovery. By automatically making TIF versions of the camera raw images, you can see if the image is uncorrupted enough to be worth salvaging. Though it has fast recover speed, it has one of the slowest scan speeds. If you prefer software with a faster scanning speed, consider Disk Doctors - the fastest in our comparison.
In every test, CardRecovery rescued every JPG photo, which is the most common and important photo format to recover. However, it failed to recover any of the vector and production images, and the recovery rate for other raster formats was subpar. It recognized most of the camera raw images, but not on the SD card, which is odd because this software is designed specifically for memory cards.