CR2 Photo Recovery | How to Recover CR2 Files from SD Cards?

How to recover CR2 files from SD cards? This guide provides help on CR2 file recovery, including the best tools and the step-by-step process to recover deleted .cr2 photos.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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How do I access CR2 files if they are lost?

CR2 files are commonly associated with Canon cameras, although other programs also utilize this file extension. If you're a professional dealing with CR2 files, you likely understand their significance. However, what happens when these files are accidentally deleted?


How to recover CR2 files from SD card?? Please help!


I accidentally formatted my 32 GB SD card (quick-format by Canon 6D) and did not take more photos or done anything with the card since then. Is there any other way I could recover my raw image files from the card?


- Question from DPReview


It is not rare to lose CR2 photos from SD cards due to deletion, disk formatting, physical damages, etc.

Fortunately, with the right tools, CR2 file recovery is a relatively simple process. Firstly, it is necessary for us to take a closer look at the CR2 files.


What is a CR2 file?

CR2, short for Canon Raw Version 2, serves as a raw image file extension specifically designed for Canon cameras. These cameras store photos in their unprocessed form within a raw image file, enabling them to capture intricate details.

With the CR2 extension, a Canon camera can produce images containing up to 14 bits of RGB data, surpassing the 8-bit capacity of JPEG files. This attribute makes CR2 files highly desirable for professional photographers.

Then, it is even possible to perform CR2 photo recovery?

Can you Recover a Deleted CR2 File?

Certainly! Recovering deleted CR2 files is indeed feasible, but success depends on various factors.

When you delete a file, it vanishes from your access but remains on the SD card or storage device in a different space. Until new data overwrites the deleted files, there's still a chance of recovery.

The same principle applies to CR2 files. Multiple factors can lead to the loss of CR2 files:

  • Accidental deletion: It is common if you have accidentally deleted photos from SD cards since you may commit human error while actively using the camera.
  • Formatting: In cases where your external storage device malfunctions, your PC might prompt you to format it. If you unknowingly proceed with the format, your CR2 files will be deleted. Similarly, formatting an SD card while it's still inside the camera can also erase files unknowingly. Fortunately, it's possible to recover files from a formatted SD card or hard drive.
  • Corruption: Various factors such as virus attacks, soft and hard bad sectors, or physical damage can lead to the corruption of an SD card or hard drive. The success of recovering photos from corrupted SD cards depends on the extent of the corruption.
  • Wear and tear: As SD cards and hard drives age, they become susceptible to wear and tear, ultimately leading to failure.

Understanding the potential causes is essential as they determine the likelihood of file recovery. For instance, significant wear and tear on a hard drive may hinder complete file recovery. Conversely, recently deleted files have a higher chance of successful recovery.

In the following parts, you can learn how to retrieve deleted/missing CR2 files from SD cards using professional CR2 photo recovery software or some inbuilt tools.

How to recover CR2 files from SD cards?

To recover files from an SD card or hard drive, utilizing SD card recovery tools is recommended. The success of recovery, as discussed earlier, relies on the cause of file loss.

However, employing intelligent recovery software enhances the chances of successful recovery. Here, we present 3 methods for you with one eligible data recovery app that is reliable and efficient.

Method 1. Recover CR2 files from SD cards efficiently & quickly

Imagine the heart-wrenching feeling when you accidentally delete your cherished CR2 photos. Those irreplaceable moments captured through the lens, are seemingly lost forever.

But fear not, for MyRecover is here to rescue your memories from the abyss. With MyRecover, the ultimate CR2 file recovery solution, you can effortlessly retrieve those deleted images and breathe life back into your photographic treasures.

It's time to reunite with your most precious memories, creating an emotional connection that transcends time and space.

Competent: recover 42 kinds of images, including cr2 photos and other frequently used formats (png/jpg/gif/tif/psd) using cutting-edge scanning techniques and algorithms. 
Convenient: Restoring deleted data with only three easy steps while keeping the original filename, format, and location. 
All-inclusive: apply to disk formatting, deletion, viruses, system crashes, etc. 
Compatible: support Windows 11/10/8/7/Server. 
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Currently, MyRecover offers 3 subscription plans: Monthly, Yearly, and Lifetime, facilitating users to perform unlimited data recovery. Upgrade MyRecover and enjoy now!

Step 1. Download and Install MyRecover > connect your SD card > hover the mouse over the SD card partition > click Scan. Once the scan is complete, MyRecover will display a list of recoverable CR2 files.


Step 2. Filter/preview/sort the scanned files to navigate to your wanted CR2 photos quickly.


Step 3. Files on the external storage devices will be detected and listed under Other missing files. Click Other missing files > Images > select the CR2 photos you want > Recover x files


Don't let a moment of despair define your photographic journey. Trust MyRecover to bring back those lost CR2 files, reigniting the flames of your most cherished memories.

Method 2. Recover CR2 files from Recycle Bin

Also, there are some other methods to get back your wanted photos. Firstly, you could try checking the Recycle Bin. Generally, files deleted from external devices are not in Recycle Bin after deletion, but it is worth trying.

Step 1. Double-click on the recycle bin icon to access it. 

Step 2. Find the CR2 file you want to recover > right-click on the file and select Restore to return it to its original location.


Method 3. Recover CR2 files from SD cards using commands

When recovering files from a local hard drive, users often rely on Windows backups or restoring previous file versions. However, these methods are not effective for memory cards.

Instead, you can utilize the Windows File Recovery tool, a command-line utility designed to scan the hard disk for deleted and missing files. Follow the simple steps provided below, or refer to the detailed guide for more comprehensive instructions on how to use Windows File Recovery.

Windows File Recovery is available for Windows 10, version 2004 (Build 19041), or later versions. 
This app cannot maintain the filename/path.

Step 1. Firstly, you need to check the file system. Properly connect the SD card to your PC using a card reader. > This PC > determine the file system your memory card uses by accessing the SD card's Properties.


Step 2. Choose the appropriate recovery mode based on the file system.

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. Utilize switches to filter and target specific files.

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 > input and download Windows File Recovery.


Step 5. Use the command-line utility with the correct syntax, specifying the source and destination drives.

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

Please remember that the destination drive cannot be set to the SD card you scanned to prevent overwriting.

E.g., winfr F: D: /extensive /n *.cr2


If errors occur, check the Windows File Recovery tutorial.

How to recover corrupted CR2 files?

If your CR2 files become corrupt, you can attempt several methods to repair them. Below, we outline a few approaches for fixing corrupt CR2 photos.

Method 1. Use a Different Program

In some cases, opening a corrupt CR2 file with a different program can resolve the issue. This method works best for files with minimal corruption.

For CR2 files, try using Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom instead of Canon's software to open the files and check if they can be accessed correctly.

Method 2. Convert CR2 to JPEG

Converting CR2 files to a different format like JPEG can help overcome corruption problems. Online converters such as Iloveimg and Cloudconvert offer the capability to convert CR2 files to JPEG. Although the resulting photos will be in JPG format, you can still access and utilize them effectively.


This article helps users learn how to recover CR2 files from SD cards. Users can rely on efficient and advanced data recovery apps like MyRecover to scan for deleted CR 2 photos.

Also, methods to recover corrupted CR2 files have been prepared in this post. You might as well learn how to open CR2 files when you cannot access them.

Besides, if you have some more questions about CR2 photo recovery, some frequently asked questions and answers are also ready for you.

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.