CF Card Data Recovery: Restore Data From a Compact Flash Card

Jeff Cochin
Written by
N. Lankevitch for pandorarecovery
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compact flash data recovery

Is It Possible to Restore Lost Data From a Compact Flash Card?

Yes, it is possible to restore lost data from a compact flash (CF) card. If you experience data loss when using a CF card there is a very good chance the files can be restored unless they have been overwritten. Your best course of action is to stop using the card immediately and make use of CF card recovery software. The application can recover photos or other files that appear to be gone forever if you act in time.

How to Recover Files From a CF Card?

Using compact flash card data recovery tools can be a lifesaver when you have just lost an irreplaceable image. When files are deleted from a CF card, the data is not erased. Logical access by the operating system is lost, but the data is still there until it is overwritten. The software scans the card for deleted data and restores operating system access to the files.

Disk Drill is an excellent choice in recovery software that provides versions for both the Windows and Mac operating systems. The two programs deliver the same high-quality recovery capabilities but minor variations in their interfaces require separate instructions for use. We now present step-by-step directions for recovering your lost data. Just use the procedure for your type of system.

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cf card data recovery in windowsOn Windows

To recover files from a CF card on Windows:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Connect the CF card to your computer and launch the app.
  3. Select the card and click the button to scan the card data recovery
  4. Preview the files that Disk Drill has found, make your selections, and click to restore your card recovery software
free data recovery software Disk Drill for Windows & macOS Free Download

cf card recovery software on macosOn Mac

To recover files from a CF card on Mac:

  1. Download and install the program.
  2. Launch Disk Drill after connecting the CF card to your Mac.
  3. Choose the card and click the button to start the scanning card data recovery mac
  4. Select the files you want to recover from the preview list and click again to perform the card data recovery software
free data recovery software Disk Drill for Windows & macOS Free Download

What is the Best CF Card Recovery Software?

Many programs can perform CF card data recovery for Mac and Windows users. We believe Disk Drill is the best option. Here’s an overview that shows how Disk Drill stands up to some competing CF card data recovery products.

1. Disk Drill Data Recovery

Disk Drill combines an intuitive and user-friendly interface with advanced scanning algorithms that can find lost data on a corrupted CF card as well as any other kind of disk-based storage media. As seen in the recovery steps outlined above, it’s a simple process that can be performed by any computer user. No specialized knowledge is required for Disk Drill to get back a lost picture, video or virtually any other type of file.

compact flash card data recovery

Quick and deep scanning options enable the program to recover files from damaged CD cards even if they were lost some time ago. Scans can be paused and resumed at will to allow flexibility while restoring data. If your file is found quickly, you can end the scan immediately if you wish.

In addition to its outstanding data recovery capabilities, Disk Drill’s developers include free data protection tools with the application. The Recovery Vault feature enables users to protect important files and folders from accidental deletion and offers an instant restore process for data kept in the Vault.compact flash data recovery


  • Intuitive and user-friendly recovery process
  • Supports all disk-based storage devices
  • Multiple scanning options
  • Automatic updates
  • Thumbnail previews
  • Recovery results can be mounted as a virtual disk
  • Extensive knowledge base to assist with user issues
  • Free data protection tools

2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

compact flash card data recovery

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is an alternative compact flash data recovery application. It can get back your lost pictures and data from a CF card and a variety of other storage devices. There are some differences in the product that make it less appealing as a CF recovery tool.


  • Features can be hard to find
  • Lack of meta-data file labeling
  • Cannot mount recovery results
  • No data protection features

3. Stellar Data Recovery Tool

cf card data recovery software

Another competing application is Stellar Data Recovery. It can be useful for recovering your lost data but is not as feature-rich as Disk Drill.


  • Cannot mount recovery results
  • No data protection features

4. Recoverit by Wondershare

cf card data recovery mac

Here’s another computing data recovery tool that comes up short when compared to Disk Drill.


  • Less flexible options for viewing results
  • Recovery results cannot be mounted as a disk
  • No data protection features

5. iBeeSoft

cf card data recovery

We present one more option for your consideration. It can recover your files but does not have the same functionality as higher-quality tools.


  • No thumbnail previews
  • Cannot mount recovery results
  • Lack of data protection features
  • Features are hard to find

What is a CF card?

A compact flash (CF) card is a memory card format that was developed by SanDisk in 1994. It is a small device that employs flash memory technology for data storage. One of their main uses is to provide additional and removable storage capacity to a digital camera or video recorder. There are two types of CF cards that vary in thickness to allow them to be used in different devices. They can be used in a PC card reader when using an appropriate adapter.

cf card recovery software

As with any type of digital storage device, CF cards can potentially be subject to data loss. Their use in cameras means that when data loss occurs, it may result in the destruction of important memories that cannot be recreated. If this happens to you, data recovery software can get your data back.

Causes of Compact Flash Card Data Loss

Here are some of the more common causes of CF card data loss.

  • Corruption caused by incorrectly removing or inserting the card into a camera.
  • Exposure to viruses or malware by using the card with unverified devices.
  • Human error can lead to accidentally deleting files or formatting the card.
  • Excessive heat or moisture can cause logical file damage to the card.

Did You Know?

CF cards differ from Secure Digital (SD) cards in several ways. SD cards use a proprietary interface whereas CF cards make use of the IDE/ATA compatible interface. SD cards are more compact but are not usually as durable as compact flash cards. Kingston is a major manufacturer of CF cards and has high-capacity cards that can hold up to 256 GB of data. They offer read/write speeds of 150 MB/s and 130 MB/s respectively.



CF cards are a great way to add storage capacity to your digital camera. They offer a removable medium that allows you to take many more pictures or videos than possible with the native storage of your device. If you make extensive use of CF cards, you may run into the problem of unexpected data loss that can be very upsetting. Using a quality CF card data recovery software utility such as Disk Drill can get those valuable memories back in the matter of a few clicks. It should be your first choice of recovery tool whenever data loss strikes.

Jeff Cochin
Jeff Cochin is a data management and recovery professional, who has been with Pandorarecovery for nine years and has always been an essential part of the team. Jeff also works as a technical writer at Macgasm, being a first hand in testing, trying and writing about big and small tech software.
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Over 15 years strong experience in various fields and platform includes Disaster Recovery, Windows XP/7. System analysis, design, application (Inter/Intranet) development and testing. Provided technical supports on desktop and laptops on Win-XP and Macintosh for about 2000 employees.