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Have you ever accidentally deleted photos or videos from your memory cards? Or, even worse, have you ever formatted your card, and only then realize it contained valuable photos or videos?
It happens to the best of us.
In fact, if you’ve never experienced either of the above situations, consider yourself lucky. Because while digital files are convenient, they’re all too easy to lose – and if you don’t have the right recovery software, those files will be gone forever.
That’s where Stellar Photo Recovery comes in.
You see, Stellar Photo Recovery offers an impressive set of DIY recovery tools for photographers and videographers; according to the website, you can recover almost any file on almost any device. And you can purchase a package that lets you repair corrupted files, which is tremendously useful for situations where your photos or videos have been damaged.
But how does Stellar Photo Recovery perform? Does it work as well as advertised? And how do you use it for file recovery?
That’s what this article is all about.
In it, I put Stellar Photo Recovery to the test, using some formatted memory cards of my own.
And I share all my findings with you.
So to find out whether Stellar Photo Recovery is a worthy purchase…
(Spoiler alert: The software works incredibly well!)
Stellar Photo Recovery is a DIY recovery package, designed to help you find and recover lost photos, videos, and audio files.
But why, specifically, might you need Stellar Photo Recovery?
Imagine you’re out taking pictures and fill up several cards. You go home, download all the photos to your storage drives, and then – as many photographers do – format every card in-camera.
Moments later, you feel a dawning sense of horror, as you realize that you failed to transfer the photos from one of the now formatted cards.
At this point, your hard-earned photos are deleted, the card has been wiped, and your only real option is recovery software.
That’s just one of the many ways you could accidentally delete photos and videos. You could also format a hard drive and realize it had photos you needed. Or you could stick a full memory card into your camera while out shooting, format it, then suddenly realize that you hadn’t transferred the previous photos over to your storage drives. Or you could clear a flash drive, then realize it had valuable media that you needed for a client.
You could also end up with corrupted files thanks to faulty memory cards or old drives or viruses.
If you’ve been doing photography for a while, then you’re probably aware:
This sort of thing happens all the time. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, then it will, because it’s just the nature of having lots of easy-to-wipe memory cards. You’ll make a mistake.
And when you do, you’ll want to have software like Stellar Photo Recovery.
Right off the bat, you’ll be impressed by the sheer volume of scenarios Stellar Photo Recovery can handle. You’ve got the option to recover:
And you can do your recovery on a bevy of storage devices, including CF cards, SD cards of every kind, XQD cards, flash drives, HDD drives, and more (even if the drives are encrypted).
Plus, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve deleted individual files or simply formatted the storage device, because Stellar Photo Recovery can deal with both.
Honestly, if you’ve lost any type of photo, video, or audio to deletion or corruption, Stellar Photo Recovery Software probably has you covered.
Using Stellar Photo Recovery is incredibly easy.
Once you have the software downloaded on your computer (you can grab your copy here), you’ll simply need to follow a three-step process:
When you first open Stellar Photo Recovery, you’ll see a list of all accessible drives:
By placing a checkmark next to the location you need to recover files from, you’re telling the software where to look. To save time on the scan, I’d recommend checking only the precise drive/memory card on which your files originally existed.
Then hit Scan:
As soon as you’ve done this, the software will start checking your drive for any and all media. This might take a while, depending on the size of your drive; I used a 32 GB SD card for my test, and the scan lasted around 30 minutes.
You can minimize the window while you wait and leave it scanning in the background.
By the way, if you’re in a hurry, you can always shorten the scan time by heading into the Advanced Settings menu:
And clicking on File List:
You’ll then see a list of all file types you can recover. By checking the files you’re after, you’re telling Stellar Photo Recovery where to focus its search.
Once the scan is complete, the software will report the number and size of the files it found:
Then you can go through the folders and preview files for recovery (not all file types will offer previews, but my Olympus RAW files showed up nice and clear).
By putting a checkmark next to a file, you indicate that you’d like to recover it:
So make sure you do this with all relevant files.
Once you’ve checked off all the files you want to recover, hit the Recover button:
Then select the folder where you’d like to save the recovered files:
Finally, click Start Saving.
You can then watch (in the Saving Data window) as your files are recovered and saved. This isn’t a long process; each RAW image I recovered took about one second to save, which means that you can recover quite a few images in a minute or two.
Then, if you go to the folder where you’ve saved the files, you’ll see them completely intact and unharmed.
One nice additional feature here is the ability to go back and recover different photos, even once you’ve done one recovery sweep. So if you accidentally recovered the wrong files, you can just go back into the list of recoverable media and check off a different set of files – without having to scan the drive again.
What’s even nicer is that you can save your scan data when you exit Stellar Photo Recovery. So if you’re tired of recovering images and want to continue later, you can work from a previously-scanned drive without needing to go through the whole process again.
Speaking as a longtime photographer, I’m always worried about losing my photos.
Yet I’ve never managed to find any recovery software that I really, truly trust, especially because there’s all sorts of dodgy options out there that aren’t worth the money.
But I am genuinely so impressed by Stellar Photo Recovery. It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and it works amazingly well. I tested it out on a 32 GB SD card that was full of Olympus RAW files. The card had been formatted twice in recent days – but Stellar Photo Recovery managed to bring back every photo from before the second wipe, and what appeared to be all 400+ photos from before the first wipe, all in perfect condition.
The most difficult thing about Stellar Photo Recovery is the waiting – as I explained above, the scan takes some time. But you don’t have to babysit the software, so you can easily get the scan started, go do something else, and come back in 30 minutes or so.
Now, I do think it’s important to be up front, here:
I didn’t try to restore any corrupted files, and my sense is that Stellar Photo Recovery works here but won’t always do a perfect job. So it’s certainly worth using for that sort of thing, but while recognizing that repairing corrupt files is inherently difficult and might not happen.
Also recognize that the more you overwrite files, the more Stellar Photo Recovery will struggle to recover the originals.
In other words:
Don’t take pictures, format the card, take more pictures, and only then try to recover the originals; instead, make sure any accidentally-formatted cards are immediately put aside for recovery.
If you don’t do this, your results will vary, depending on the amount of new photos you took.
Ultimately, I’m now a huge fan of Stellar Photo Recovery. And I guarantee it’ll be the software I turn to the next time I lose images.
The Standard package, which costs $39.99 for a one-year subscription, and offers complete recovery capabilities, but cannot repair corrupted files.
The Professional package, which costs $49.99 for a one-year subscription, and offers complete recovery capabilities plus the ability to repair corrupted photo files.
And the Premium package, which costs $69.99 for a one-year subscription, and offers complete recovery capabilities, the ability to repair corrupted photo files, plus the ability to repair corrupted video files.
Which should you get?
If you’re just looking to recover deleted files, the Standard package will work just fine.
But if you have corrupted image files, then the Professional package is a must.
And if you have corrupted video files, you’ll want to go for the Premium option.
So make sure to grab your version of Stellar Photo Recovery software here.
Stellar Photo Recovery is a fantastic option for photographers and videographers looking to recover files.
It’s simple to use, its performance is impeccable, and I can’t recommend it enough.
So the next time you find yourself needing to perform file recovery or repair…
…turn to Stellar Photo Recovery.
Stellar is a paid partner of dPS.