How to Recover Deleted Files from CF Card: Top 3 Solutions

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Recover deleted files from cf cards

Even though CF cards are not nearly as popular as other types of flash memory cards, many users are desperate to learn how to perform CF card data recovery and get their lost photos, videos, documents, and other files back. In this article, we describe how to recover files from CF card on Mac and Windows and answer several common questions to help you get the best recovery results possible.

How to Recover Deleted Files from CF Card

With the right CompactFlash card recovery software, it takes very little effort to recover data from any CF card on Mac or Windows. Disk Drill is the best CF card recovery software because it elegantly combines sophisticated data recovery algorithms with a remarkably user-friendly interface, making it suitable for beginners and advanced users alike.

You can use this CompactFlash card data recovery software to get back lost files from all CF cards, regardless of their manufacturer, size, or speed. Disk Drill supports over 400 file types, and it offers multiple recovery methods to address all kinds of data loss situations.
Let’s take a closer look at a real-world example of CF card recovery performed using Disk Drill:

Install Disk Drill on Your Computer

Download Disk Drill from its official website and install it on your computer. We’re using the Windows version of Disk Drill, but Disk Drill works equally well on Mac. Keep in mind that you’ll need administrator privileges to finish the installation process and launch Disk Drill.


Scan Your CF Card

Next, launch Disk Drill and select your CF card. Click the Search for lost data button to scan it. The scan may take a while depending on the size and speed of your CF card, so be patient and feel free to preview recovery results as soon as the option becomes available.


Recover Deleted Files

Finally, you need to select the files you want to recover. Disk Drill makes this easy with its preview feature, which lets you see previews of images, videos, documents, and other files before you actually recover them. Once you’ve made your selection, click the Recover button and specify the recovery directory, which should be on a different storage device and not your CF card.


Is It Possible to Recover Data from a Formatted CF card?

Yes, you can learn how to recover a formatted CF card that appears to be completely empty. In fact, you can follow the instructions above since there’s no technical difference between recovering a CF card that has been formatted or manually emptied file by file.

Recovering data from a formatted CF card is impossible only when the original content becomes overwritten by new data. Once that happens, there’s nothing you can do regardless of if you use a free CF card recovery software application or a paid one.

To prevent overwriting from happening, you need to stop using the formatted CF card immediately and begin the recovery process as soon as possible.

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What to Do if CF Card Is Corrupted?

CF cards can become corrupted for a number of different reasons, ranging from improper use to software bugs. Before you can perform a corrupt CF card recovery, you should fix the underlying issue using one of the methods described below.

Method 1: Scan the CF Card Using CHKDSK (Windows)

Scan cf card with CHKDSK

CHKDSK is a handy command-line tool included with the Windows operating system. The purpose of this tool is to verify file system integrity and fix various logical file system errors, which means that you can use it to recover a corrupted CF card.

To fix a corrupted CF card using the CHKDSK command:

  1. Type “cmd” in the search box on the taskbar and select Run as administrator.
  2. Enter the following command (make sure to replace X with the letter assigned to the CF card you want to fix) and press Enter: chkdsk X: /f
  3. Wait for CHKDSK to finish. The process may take several hours, depending on the size of your CF card.

The /f parameter tells CHKDSK to fix all memory card errors.

Method 2: Repair the CF Card Using First Aid (Mac)

Check cf card errors with First Aid

If you’re a Mac user, you can repair your corrupted CF card using First Aid, a feature of the Disk Utility app whose purpose is to find and repair file system errors.

To repair a corrupted CF card using First Aid:

  1. Launch the Disk Utility app.
  2. Select your CF card in the sidebar and click the First Aid button.
  3. Click Run, then click Continue.

Disk Utility will inform you about the state of your CF card and tell whether it has been repaired.

Method 3: Send the CF Card to a Data Recovery Service

Data recovery service for cf cards

Alternatively, you can send the CF card to a data recovery service, and let professionals take a look at it. It’s true that professional data recovery services are considerably more expensive than DIY solutions, but sometimes they are worth the price, such as when attempting to recover lost family photos or important business documents.