CONS / It failed to recover vector and production images.
VERDICT / CardRecovery is excellent for recovering JPG images, the most common image format, but the software is subpar at recovering all other types of image formats.
We performed two tests to simulate two common data loss scenarios – lost file, which occurs when the files are no longer found in the directory, and reformatted drive, which is when you change the format of a drive. We performed these tests multiple times on an HDD, SSD and SD card. We also looked at how many of the proprietary camera raw formats the software can 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, it recovered every JPG in our data set. This is significant because JPG is the most commonly used image format. Therefore, it’s the most important image file for picture recovery software to recover. Most digital cameras and smartphones default to the JPG format. In most data loss scenarios, you’re recovering JPGs. However, JPG is also the easiest image format to recover because it’s the easiest file for image recovery software to put back together. For reference, the average recovery rate for JPGs in the lost file test was 88 percent, and the average for the reformatted drive test was 75 percent.
The biggest downside to CardRecovery is the success rate for all the other types of image formats. It recovered only 25 percent of the other raster formats – TIF, PNG, BMP and GIF. 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 camera raw images during the lost file test, 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 camera raw images that 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 recoverable or not.