A cautionary tale of memory card failure

by Paul Schmitt

Perhaps you recall the statement “It is not if a your computer hard drive will fail, but when”?  This was a foundation of my talk on a reasonable backup process.  No, I have not had a hard drive fail, but something near to it.   (But the hard drive in my spouse’s DELL did fail last week.  Put a new SSD in the C: location.  Yes, all her documents were backed up on a flash drive.)

The memory cards in your camera are really just a solid state version of a hard drive. Perhaps they are more reliable given that they have no moving disk whirling at several thousand rpm’s.

Earlier this week I shot some birds photos in my backyard and came inside to download them.  (Over 400 images.)  When I inserted the Lexar 32 GB  UDMA 7 card in my computer reader, I got this pop-up.

Never had this before.  I did the scan and the images came up on my FastRawViewer software. All the images seemed to be there. I use this software because it is ultra fast, has focus peaking to show if the bird is in precise focus and avoids some of the color errors of a JPG preview.  All was going swimmingly, and then FastRawViewer froze.  I restarted and re-inserted the CF card, feeling confused.  Same cycle of repair, working and then freezing.  It repeated this twice, telling me something was fishy.

I pondered this,and decided to test this again on my laptop with a different card reader and different software, LIghtroom.  Same result. Not the card reader, computer or reader.

Talked to my computer maintenance man, and he came to the same conclusion.   This CF card is failing. I researched the web for an app to test the Lexar card.  Lexar has an app, but it is targeting image recovery and not fixing.

Not worth chancing the loss of photos in the future. It’s the end of the road old friend.
If this ever happens again, I won’t hesitate to blame the card.  A good lesson to learn without any damage done.
Enjoy the weekend.
Paul Schmitt