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Picasa SafeDelete, Not So Safe

picasa-logoHere’s the situation. It’s roughly 12am on a Thursday night. The wife, Laurie, reminds me that she wants to send in some photographs to Walmart for pick-up the next day. Seems like a simple enough task, so I fire up Picasa to download the photos.

Here’s where things go terribly wrong.

There are three options in Picasa when you import photos from a media card: leave photos on the card, safe delete (only delete the photos you import) and erase card. Safe delete sounded like the choice I wanted so not even thinking twice about it, I imported. I called in Laurie to choose the photos she wanted and then the shit hit the fan. The photos she wanted to print weren’t there. Picasa had deleted all the photos AND not imported them into the program. They were gone.

After the arguing, of course there was arguing, I set about the task to recover the photos.  I first looked for some sign that this was indeed Picasa’s fault and found multiple posts complaining of the same problem I was now facing.  So, I set about the task of recovering the photos.  I downloaded and tried 6 different undelete programs with no success, but then the light at the end of my late night/early morning tunnel was revealed: Photorec.

Photorec is a command line program, ported using the Unix on Windows toolset CygWin.  After navigating the very retro DOS looking prompts I pressed Enter and about 30 minutes later…ALL OF THE PHOTOS WERE RECOVERED! That’s right all the photos.  The other 6 programs that I tried were only partial successful in finding the photos, but Photorec recovered them all.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t trust Picasa (I’m going back to Photoshop Elements).
  2. When the wife asks to transfer photos, do it before midnight.
  3. ALWAYS have a copy of Photorec just incase I forget lessons 1 and 2.

Picture of Russell and Drew feeding the giraffes.

One of the recovered pictures.

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