Image corruption

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During my recent web photo gallery conversion to Piwigo I realized that a lot of my JPG photo files were corrupted! I think this happened last March when I copied everything from my old NAS to a new one. I suspect the network/connectivity issues I had with that new NAS caused the file corruption. I ended up returning that device and getting a Synology Diskstation, but by that point the damage was done. I didn’t notice then because the thumbnail images in my Gallery software were still fine, it was the originals that were messed up. Unfortunately, since the corruption happened so long ago, I no longer had backups I could restore from. My only option was to try and repair the files.

First, I had to identify all of the corrupted files. For that, I used a utility called Bad Peggy. It took a while to scan my roughly 30,000 images but identified about 800 corrupted ones (2.6%!). I copied those to a different location and confirmed they looked messed up when viewed in Windows. Now I had to fix them somehow, if possible. After some Google searching, found Stellar Phoenix JPEG Repair. A quick run of the trial version seemed to confirm that the photos could be recovered (at least, it showed me a tiny thumbnail of the “fixed” image with a watermark) so I purchased a license.

I pointed JPEG Repair to the folder where I had copied the corrupted images identified by Bad Peggy and let it run overnight. The next morning it was done and had supposedly fixed most of the images. I clicked the Save button which created a “_Repaired” folder. However, the image files in that “Repaired” folder were still corrupted (they looked like just copies of the original corrupted files)! There was a “Thumbnail Repair” folder as well, but the files in there were of a much lower resolution than the original images, although they did seem to be “repaired.” It was confusing, though, because there were multiple thumbnail files per original file, with names appended with things like [T1], [T2], [T3], [T4], etc. Some of these were higher resolution, occasionally matching the original, but for the most part these repaired files were just tiny thumbnails.

The tool did do something, as it was able to take this:

And turn it unto this:

But notice the reduced quality, because the resulting repaired files were just low resolution thumbnails and not the full resolution photos. I’ve sent an e-mail to Stellar Phoenix customer support asking if I’m missing something. The program is not that straightforward to use and the help file isn’t very helpful. Hopefully I can actually recover these damaged photos at their full resolution. If not, I’ve learned an important lesson to check files when doing large copies to a new NAS!


  1. Looks like I’m out of luck. This was the reply from Stellar Phoenix customer support:

    “We would like to inform you that if in case the software is not able to repair the original photo due to severe corruption then it recovers the thumbnails which might have smaller size and low resolution as compared to the original picture.”

    So it looks like I’m only getting thumbnails back. 🙁

  2. After all of that …

    … while cleaning up my old Gallery installation I found a directory of “resizes” that G3 used for its thumbnail cache. These images were of a much higher resolution than the thumbnails that JPEG Repair was able to produce. They weren’t full resolution, but a lot better! So I was able to retrieve pretty decent versions of all 800 corrupted photos on my own. Phew!

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