How to Recover Formatted CF Cards? [2024]

Different methods on how to recover formatted CF cards on Windows PC are introduced in this post. Check it out and learn how to perform CF card data recovery.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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Can you recover files from a formatted card?

Losing valuable data can be distressing, especially when it occurs due to formatting a card. However, there are steps you can take to recover essential files from a CF card that has been formatted.


Hey folks! So, I accidentally formatted my CF card on my Nikon D7500 camera. I'm freaking out because it had some important photos on it. Is there any way I can recover those files? I'm using Windows 10 on my laptop. Any specific software or method you recommend? I'd appreciate any help or advice you can give me. Thanks in advance!


- Question from Nikon Forum


You may have met some similar data loss problems from Compact Flash cards. Many users utilize Compact Flash cards with cameras like Nikon, Canon, etc. After deletion and disk formatting, they are seeking help to achieve photo recovery from camera memory.

They may wonder if it is possible to recover CF card after formatting; the answer is YES, but what is important is that we need to start CF card recovery quickly, as CF cards have limited read/write cycles.

The longer you wait, the less likely recovery software will be able to extract any data from it.

Rest assured; this article can help you with helpful info like causes and methods. Let’s figure it out first.

Besides disk formatting, there are more reasons for data loss on CF cards. Check out before starting to recover files from formatted CF cards.


Causes of CF card formatting

CF card formatting, corruption, and data loss can result from several causes. Here are some common ones.

Accidental formatting. Human error is also one reason for disk formatting and data loss from CF cards.

Force ejection: force removing while in use can break the file system and warns: “You need to format the disk before using it”.


Wear and tear: Prolonged use of a CF card for more than two years can lead to issues, necessitating frequent reformatting.

Corruption: Viruses, careless usage, and physical or logical damage can also cause various types of corruption, such as file system or firmware corruption.

A raw file system may lead to a RAW SD card, and you need to perform raw SD card recovery.

Since we've covered the primary causes of CF card formatting, let's explore different methods for easily recovering formatted files from your CF card and retrieving your data quickly.

How to recover formatted CF cards?

Are you tired of losing valuable data due to the accidental formatting of your CF card? Say goodbye to the frustration and welcome MyRecover, the ultimate data recovery software designed specifically for formatted CF cards. With MyRecover, you can now restore your precious files and memories with just a few simple steps.

You could undo quick format using proper SD card data recovery software.

Reliable SD Card Recovery Software - MyRecover
  • Apply to various situations: disk formatting, deletion, Recycle Bin emptying, virus infection, system crash, etc.
  • Restore over 200 types of data, including photos, videos, documents, spreadsheets, and compressed files.
  • Preserve the original filenames and directories of deleted files without altering their formats.
  • Effective in various data loss scenarios, such as deletion, formatting, emptying the recycle bin, virus attacks, and system crashes.
  • Compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7/Server and supports NTFS/exFAT/FAT32/ReFS file systems.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Follow these steps to recover files from Compact Flash card using this powerful software:

Step 1. Install and run the software. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. Search and sort the files by date modified, type, size, etc.


Step 3. Navigate to the "Other missing files" section, select the desired files (e.g., Images), and click "Recover x files".


This software also facilitates users to recover data from formatted USB flash drives.

Tips: MyRecover offers free recovery of up to 500MB of files. Consider upgrading MyRecover to the Professional or Technician edition for unlimited data recovery for a more cost-effective and efficient solution.

How to fix corrupted CF cards?

Apart from recovering formatted CF cards, users often need help with corrupted CF cards. Here are two helpful methods to fix them:

Method 1. Fix it using CMD

A command in Command Prompt can help repair the corrupted file system of storage devices. To recover your formatted CF card using CMD, follow these steps:

Step 1. Connect the CF card to your desktop > type "command prompt" in the search bar.

Step 2. Right-click on Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator".


Step 3. Type "chkdsk F: /f" and press "Enter".


If you meet errors like CHKDSK cannot continue in read only mode, turn to the troubleshooting tutorial to fix it.

Method 2. Reinstall the card driver

Trying to update or reinstall the SD card driver can also be of some help. Follow these steps to reinstall it manually:

Step 1. Connect the Compact Flash SD card > right-click the Start Menu and select "Device Manager" > find your SD card > select “Update Driver Software”.


Step 2. Choose “Search automatically for updated driver software”.


Restart your PC or laptop > follow the installation steps provided by your card manufacturer.

How to avoid future data loss on CF cards?

While data recovery software is valuable, minimizing the chances of data loss on CF cards is even better. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

Be cautious when deleting files: Remember, there's no recycle bin for CF cards, so double-check before deleting.

◆ Use dual-card slot cameras: High-end professional cameras from Nikon and Canon allow you to use both CF and SD cards simultaneously, providing redundancy for your files.

◆ Maintain proper storage temperature: Keep the CF card from overheating/water damage/oil/dust.

◆ Avoid force card removal: Whether in a camera or connected to a computer, allow sufficient time for writing to finish before removing the CF card.

◆ Back up CF cards using professional data backup software.



Wrapping up

This article gathers methods and info to help you recover formatted CF cards. Try MyRecover and scan, and it facilitates you to recover files from formatted CF cards. Also, consider utilizing the Tech version if you need to recover data from multiple devices.

Since SD cards are more easily corrupted than HDD/SSD, the solutions to fix corrupted SD cards and protect your SD cards are also covered in this post.

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.