Free CF Card Recovery Solutions That Everyone Should Know

Frankly speaking, CF card used to be the most popular kind of flash digital memory card in the late 1990s. Currently, it is not so popular among users whereas its market share still can not be underestimated. You can find this after inputting “CF card recovery”, “CF card data recovery”, “free CF card recovery” or “CF card data recovery software” to Google search box.

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Why are there so many people who care about CF card and data recovery on CF card? The most direct reason is that there are still a lot of people using CF card. And due to the frequent use, all sorts of accidents could be caused and finally make those people lost data on CF card.

Deleting files on CF card accidentally, pressing the format button by mistake, virus infecting CF card and other unexpected reasons (such as sudden power failure and physical damage on card surface) can all make us suffer. Of course, there’s one exception – when the data saved on CF card are of no use or when users have backups for those data, it’s not a big deal if anything happened to CF card.

img32 Yet, the reality is often not like this. In fact, memory card data recovery is highly concerned. So, latter in this article, we’ll show users how to recover files from CF card in detail. But first, we’d like to talk about what CF card is and the possible reasons for data loss on it.

What Is a CF Card

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CF card, also known as Compact Flash card, is initially a data storage device for portable electronic devices. In 1994, it was firstly produced by SanDisk; at the same time, related specifications were made. As a storage device appeared in more than two decades ago, CF card revolutionary uses flash memory.

Introduction to CF Card

However, since the storage density of NOR flash memory (used in early CF card) is less than that of the newer NAND flash memory, CF card owns the largest volume among early 90’s three kinds of memory cards (the other two are Miniature Card, also called MiniCard, and Smart Media card). The good news neither is that CF card abandoned NOR flash memory and adopted NAND flash memory soon later.

img34 This post will help you distinguish between NOR and NAND.

Application of CF Card

As far as we know, CF is one of the first flash memory standards to compete with PCMCIAI which was appeared earlier and provided with a larger volume. Besides, CF is also one of the oldest and most successful standards, so it is suitable for professional camera market.

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In the early days, CF card has been mainly applied to digital cameras and PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). After that, CF card gradually expands its using scope to MP3 players, GPS (Global Positioning System) devices, laptops, etc. With excellent compatibility, CF card is adopted in various operating systems and hardware platforms, such as DOS, Windows, OS/2, Mac and UNIX.


Reasons for Data Lost on CF Card

With the fast popularity of digital products, flash memory card has also entered a rapid development period in recent years. Apart from CF card, SD card, MMC (Multi Media Card), memory stick, SM card, XD card and TF card also belong to flash memory card.

CF Card Limitations

Though CF card has many advantages, it also has following disadvantages:

  • Too limited capacity: actually, the capacity of CF card has been doubled over time, but it still fails to keep up with the fast development rate of digital camera pixel.

  • Relatively large volume: as we said before, CF card is famous for its small volume at early stage. However, as time goes by, the volume of CF card becomes slightly larger when compared to other types of memory cards.

  • Performance limitation: the operating temperature range of CF card is not so suitable for digital camera.

Therefore, some users choose SD card to replace CF card. At this time, they need to transfer all photos and other files from CF card to SD card obviously, before they finally abandon CF card. In this process many accidents could happen: scratching CF card when moving it out from digital camera, deleting files by accident/deleting the wrong files, pressing format button by mistake, getting CF card attacked by virus hidden in computer, and so on.

img34 Here’s a page of Nikon camera forum discussing about SD card and CF card.

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Note: SD (Secure Digital) memory card is another popular kind of memory card developed & regulated by SD Association, which is known as a similar organization to CompactFlash Association. The size of SD card is basically 32 x 24 x 2.1 mm.

How Data Lost from CF Card

Some people know that data saved on any devices could be at risk, so they form the habit of backing up significant files, hoping to prevent data loss disaster. However, the real situations are: a). most of them lose needed data all of a sudden before they have chance to make a backup; b). more than half of the card users haven't realized the importance of data backup yet.

All in all, data are often lost from CF card beyond our expectations. Here, we’d like to summarize the most common reasons for file loss on CF card. After reading that, users may choose to take measures to protect their precious data better.

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Physical failures: lots of data loss issues on CF card are caused by card quality problems; such disasters are often too difficult to handle with, so users should not ignore them. Besides, they’d better choose to buy high-quality memory card rather than the very cheap one with extremely low price. After all, physical data loss could bring users terrible losses.

Apart from this, firmware corruption issue is an important part of physical failures on CF card. Unsafe removal of CF card or connecting CF card to computer for a very long time can both lead to firmware corruption issue.

Note: Data lost due to physical problems are always unrecoverable. But you can still give it a shot by hiring professional hard disk recovery companies to help you.

Logical failures:

  • Accidental deletion: you may be not careful enough so that you delete files from CF card by mistake. At this time, you must be disappointed and feel helpless because you’re not allowed to rely on Recycle Bin to find back deleted files even if the CF card was connecting to computer during file deletion.

  • Unintentional formatting: you’re also likely to format CF card due to careless operation (your CF card may also be formatted by virus sometimes). In this case, CF card data recovery software becomes necessary if you have no backup or the backup is not updated to the latest version.

  • Forcing to move CF card: if you moved your CF card when operations (writing new data into/transferring data out from CF card) were still running, you important data may get lost easily. Besides, if any unexpected accidents like power failure happened at that time, data loss could also be brought.

Note: There’s also another special case in which you will lose CF card data: you may create more them one partition on CF card; during management, you may delete one of them (the partition can also be deleted by virus) so that flash card recovery is needed.

CF Card Recovery in Different Situations

We bet what users would think of first after they found CF card data loss must be how to finish CF recovery.

As a matter of fact, the most important thing users should notice after data loss is to try every means to protect data in CF card, avoiding secondary damage. Please remember, don’t write any new data into the card; otherwise, data overwriting may be caused so as to make data lost permanently. After knowing this, users should seek for suitable recovery companies or programs to start CF card recovery.

Now, we’re going to teach all of you how to recover files from CF card in detail.

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Free Compact Flash Recovery after Accidental Deletion

“Hi, I wonder how to recover some deleted photos from the memory card. I am using 7D with sanDisk Extream3. I always delete unwanted photos at every day end and this time did delete a wrong photo so wonder if there is a possibility to recover that photo. I already tried SanDisk RecuePro but it could not recover. Please advise.

– from Chalie B. Sornplaeng at DPREVIEW

If you’re also stuck in the situation similar to this one, please download MiniTool Power Data Recovery and choose “Undelete Recovery” to achieve free CF card recovery.

Download Now

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Connect your CF card to USB interface of computer through adapter -> click on “Undelete Recovery” -> choose the CF card and click on “Scan” -> choose needed files after looking through the scan result –> click on “Save” and set storage path to finish USB data recovery.

1.If you only need to recover photos from CF card, you can also choose “Digital Media Recovery” module.
2.This software can also help you with SD card recovery after accidental deletion.

CF Card Recovery after Mistaken Formatting

“I am using a Sandisk Extreme 60MB/s CF card. I accidentally format the card in m 5D2. There were some photos in there, in RAW format. Is it possible to recover them? Hope someone can recommend me some special tool / application to do this recovery”

– from Moogles at DPREVIEW

If you also formatted your CF card mistakenly or found your CF card become inaccessible someday, you may as well use the “Damaged Partition Recovery” of MiniTool Power Data Recovery to recover data.

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Click on “Damaged Partition Recovery” to start -> select the CF card connected through USB interface -> click on “Full Scan” at lower right corner and wait for the full scan -> browse scan results and choose what you need to recover by pressing “Save” button.

When all selected files are saved to appointed place, you can close software to end CF card recovery.

Tips: Power Data Recovery can also help you recover files from SD card easily when you find SD card is inaccessible.

There’s also a not-so-common case when compact flash card recovery is needed: you have partitioned your CF card into more than one partition by using special tool; however, you delete one of them by mistake or virus attacked your CF card and delete partitions on it.

In this case, you’ll need to choose “Lost Partition Recovery” to finish free compact flash recovery.

Note: as for CF card recovery on Mac, MiniTool Mac Data Recovery should be selected instead.

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Using Tips of CF Card

Since CF card is more fragile compared to hard disk, we should be more careful when using it. Here, we summarize some using tips. After knowing this, you’ll be able to protect CF card and avoid data loss more effectively.

  • Be gentle: CF card slot is provided with many small frangible pins which are used to transmit images, videos and other information. If you push too hard when inserting CF card into or plugging it out from computer/other electronic devices, you’re very likely to bend or break the pins. So you must be very gentle.

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  • Hold tight: for devices like CF card, if it falls to the ground or suffers from strong shock and vibration, data loss will be caused. Or even more serious, the card will be physically damaged.

  • Avoid high temperature: the shell of CF card is made up of plastic, so overheating will lead to deformation. Due to the limited space, deformation will make card installation become difficult. Therefore, CF card should avoid prolonged exposure or direct sunlight; meanwhile, it should be placed away from heating appliances.

  • Keep dry and be away from magnetic field: both humid environment and magnetic field could make CF card damaged and data lost, so we should use and place it under proper conditions.

Common problems related to partition recovery and our solutions: