Regardless of your level in photography, from the novice to the expert, the last thing anyone wants to see when working with their digital camera is “CF Card Unrecognized Format/Eject?” Quite simply put, that prompt is telling you that the camera doesn’t recognize the card and thinks it is a new one. If you know for a fact that the CF card has pictures on it, or is good, then the next thing you want to do is STOP! Remove the card from the camera and use a different one.
While CF cards are most known for their use in photography, they do have other uses. Regardless of why you use a CF card, whether as portable storage, camera “film” or to back up important files, they can be corrupted. The process below can also be used to recover those files as well.
Here are some steps you can take once at your computer to try to fix the card:
- With the CF card in the reader of your computer (external or internal, doesn’t matter) open Windows Explorer
- Right click on the drive where the CF card is then go to Properties at the bottom of the list
- When the Properties window comes up, click on the Tools tab
- You should see Error Checking – click on Check Now
- The Check Disk dialogue box should come up. Make sure only the “Automatically Fix System Errors” box is checked then click “Start”
- Once this process has completed, a dialogue box will come up detailing the results. If errors were fixed, once you open the folder for the CF card, you should see files with a .CHK extension. If all has gone well, those can be renamed with a .JPG extension and copied off as picture files. Make not that some may be corrupted.
If this doesn’t work, there are several great CF recovery programs available online. Simply Google the phrase “CF card recovery” (include the quotes) and you’ll find several very good programs that may help. Whether you use a CF card for photography or for files, a corrupt card is actually worse than useless. With a little time, a little patience and a little luck, you can recover your files and have a good CF card at the same time.