Compact Flash Data Recovery: Recover Files from CF Card

How to achieve Compact Flash data recovery? Refer to this article to recover files from CF card in a breeze if you have met data loss from CF card.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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"How do I recover files from CompactFlash card?"

Users will prefer CompactFlash cards when using portable electronic devices like cameras. It wins popularity among high-end camera users, possessing low prices, high capacity, and high speed.

However, users can meet data loss issues when using CF cards, like other data storage devices.


Deleted files on an old compact flash card


I was looking at the photos from an old Compact Flash 512MB card the other day, about 100 exposures, and when I had finished looking at them, I deleted them with the card still connected to the pc. Big mistake; I'm not sure if they are backed up. Is there a better recovery method?


- Question from Tenforums


This user must not be the only one. Have you ever been bothered by this issue? If you are one of them, rest assured; this article gathers some CF card data recovery approaches.

To deal with data loss issues on CF cards better, let's walk through the reasons why files get lost from CompactFlash cards.

Causes of data loss from CF card

As shown above, deletion is one of CF card data loss's most prominent reasons. For example, you may accidentally delete photos from SD cards. Apart from this, there are more causes.

Disk formatting. Users may have accidentally formatted the CF card, or some errors and corruption may have forced them to format it. Then it will wipe all content on the card. 
CF card corruption. Like SD cards, CF cards also meet corruption of files or file systems, hindering users from accessing their files. 
Virus attack. Viruses and malware/Trojans will hide/delete/move/modify and even encrypt users' personal files to extort money from users, forcing them to remove viruses using CMD only, sometimes. 
Physical damage. If the tiny and delicate elements get damaged due to jolting/dropping, the files will also be inaccessible.

File loss caused by deletion, formatting, virus, etc., are recoverable with the help of some professional data rescue measures. Still, data recovery chances will be slim if the card is damaged.

Now, move on to the following part to perform Compact Flash data recovery.


How to achieve Compact Flash data recovery?

Several methods to recover files from CF cards are ready. Users who know commands can refer to the first one; if you are unfamiliar with commands, don't worry; you can also use a simple and efficient Windows data rescue app.

Method 1. Recover files from CF card via Windows File Recovery

CF card data recovery is not like data recovery from local drives. When you need to recover lost or deleted data from computers, you could turn to inbuilt tools like File History or restore previous versions of files and folders.

However, if you want to retrieve data from external storage devices like CompactFlash cards, it will be challenging without the help of data rescue tools.

Windows File Recovery is an eligible one. It uses commands and parameters to search for deleted and missing files from healthy/formatted/corrupted hard drives.

But please note that since it utilizes commands and offers no graphical user interface, it will be pretty difficult for ordinary users. To seek a more straightforward tool, check the following method.

Now, learn how to use Windows File Recovery in the following steps.

When meeting errors or needing help, check the Windows File Recovery troubleshooting tutorial.

Step 1. Plug the CF card with a card reader carefully > go to This PC > right-click the CF card drive > Properties. Check what file system the CF card uses.


Step 2. A recovery mode is necessary for the command. Please choose the Extensive mode if you are using a non-NTFS CF drive.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

Step 3. Use switches to target the files faster. The wildcard "*" is also feasible.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment

Step 4. Go to Microsoft Store > click Get.


Step 5. Start the command-line app > input the command line.

Command format: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

The source drive (the CF card) must be different from the destination drive to avoid data overwriting.

E.g., winfr F: D: /extensive /n *.jpg


This way, you could recover all jpg files from the F: drive to the D: drive. Check the recovered files in the destination drive you chose.

Method 2. Perform Compact Flash data recovery without complex commands

Windows File Recovery requires users to be familiar with commands and parameters, which is demanding to some degree.

In addition, the filenames and path will be lost while recovering, which is pretty inconvenient.

In this case, users who want a more effortless and efficient way to recover files from CF cards might also choose advanced and easy Windows data recovery apps.

MyRecover will be a wise choice. It is advanced in data recovery from external and internal storage media, e.g., HDD/SSD/SD card/USB/CF card, etc., since it possesses multiple valuable features.

Realize Compact Flash data recovery in a breeze
  • Select 200+ types of data to restore, including photos, videos, docs, spreadsheets, compressed files, etc.
  • Keep the original filenames and directories of the deleted files without changing the formats.
  • Apply to comprehensive data loss situations, e.g., deletion, formatting, recycle bin emptying, virus attack, system crash, etc.
  • Support Windows 11/10/8/7/Server, NTFS/exFAT/FAT32/ReFS, etc.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and run > connect the CF card> hover the mouse over the CF card saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. Search and sort the files by Date modified, Type, Size, etc.


Step 3. Go to Deleted files or Other missing files and select the files you need, e.g., Images > click Recover x files.


Using this powerful app, you could also undelete USB flash drive.


This article offers feasible methods of Compact Flash data recovery. For more related info, check the following questions and answers.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.