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Old October 15th, 2011, 06:01 PM   #1
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Zoom H2 File Recovery

Not sure what to do on this one. I hooked my Zoom H2 up to the church sound board for a wedding today and it recorded throughout the ceremony, but sometime after the ceremony, before I got back to the sound room to stop the recording, the power to the H2 was cut off. Now the H2 says there is one file on the card, but the H2 says it is an "invalid file." The computer says the SD card is empty, except for that one file, which it says is 0 KB in size. Is there any chance that the audio is still there, just not recognized by either the H2 or the computer? If so, what's the best way to recover it?
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Old October 15th, 2011, 10:48 PM   #2
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Re: Zoom H2 File Recovery

Quite likely the audio data is on the card, but the file size info and some other "housekeeping" info was not written to the card (because the "stop" button was not pushed while power was applied).

Whatever you do, do NOT write anything else to the card! Since the system doesn't know the size of the existing data, the next "write" operation will probably over-write what's there now.

Google "file recovery" and you'll find a lot of programs designed to do what you need. (You do *not* want "undelete" programs... those are for a different problem.) I've read a few reviews in the past, but don't remember any specific recommendations.

I did download a demo of "Recuva" and as I recall it seemed to have a good "look and feel" but I never actually used it because I've never had any files that weren't saved properly. As I recall, the demo (free download) will let you examine the card in question, show you what's on there and perhaps predict the likelihood of recovery. If you then want to actually recover something, you pay the program registration fee (online), enter your registration number, and proceed.

This is not an endorsement (nor am I associated in any way with these folks) but just a report on what I've read and tried so far.
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Old October 16th, 2011, 10:54 AM   #3
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Re: Zoom H2 File Recovery

I have used Recuva to access files that have no TOC. You'd may have to use the Recuva's 'Deep Scan' mode and search by date or other means, since those files will likely have no logical file name. As Greg stated, if you have added data to card since then, that material could be overwritten and therefore may not be recoverable.
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Old October 17th, 2011, 05:53 PM   #4
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Re: Zoom H2 File Recovery

I had something similar with the Zoom H4. We had recorded maybe 10 interviews earlier in the day, then during the middle of another interview the batteries died(that device goes through batteries like crazy when using phantom power). I thought no big deal I'll just put some new ones in and everything will be ok.

Later that night while verifying footage and audio I noticed that the audio files only played about 2 seconds of each interview. I was pretty upset about this but not much you can do....luckily we had most of the interviews running audio into our cameras also.

Like others have said recovery software saved us....I don't remember the name of it, but I can try to find out tomorrow and post back.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 05:31 PM   #5
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Re: Zoom H2 File Recovery

My friend said he believes we used DiskWarrior.

DiskWarrior 4 - The Disk Utility for Mac Disk Repair, Mac Directory Repair, Mac Disk Recovery, Mac Data Recovery
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Old October 28th, 2011, 10:06 PM   #6
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Re: Zoom H2 File Recovery

I do believe my audio is well and truly lost. I figured that since the Zoom kept recording right up until it lost power that there would be SOMETHING there to recover, but I have tried Recuva, every other freeware data recovery program I could find, and demos of a few more recovery programs, even some made specifically to deal with SD cards, and NONE of them find any audio on the card. They do find other files on the card...photos which I deleted from the card over a year ago. Since those have not been overwritten, I suspect that either the Zoom did not record the whole time I thought it did (I know I started it, but who knows what happened after that), or something else is going on. Either way, the audio is gone. Luckily, there was a backup recording on a CD made in the sound booth. It's missing the first couple of minutes, but I can fill those in from the camera-mounted mic and what the groom's wireless picked up. Not perfect, but better than nothing.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old October 29th, 2011, 11:06 AM   #7
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Re: Zoom H2 File Recovery

Sorry to hear that, Doug.

I wonder whether there's any way to examine the card contents at the basic Byte level, perhaps just force an audio program to play the entire card contents as if it were an audio file and see if you hear anything. Maybe some audio data is actually there, but there's not enough header info for the recovery programs to find it. For example, maybe you could write the entire card contents to a new file (on your HD) and then create a standard audio header for the new file, so your audio program could "play" the miscellaneous data. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about programming to do such a thing, but presumably someone somewhere could do it.

Out of curiosity, did you contact Zoom with this problem, and ask whether they have a way to recover the data, or whether they can tell you the actual recording process and file structure?

At any rate, I'm glad to hear that you have some backup material you can use. Redundancy is always a good idea!
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