Saved digital images go bad

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by keiththirgood, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    Over the years I've found a number of saved digital images go "bad". They acquire stripes and other defects, sometimes minor, often major. These defects occasionally happen right at transfer from the card to my hard drive, at other times they have been opened at least once (often many times) and suddenly they are bad. This happens with jpegs and with Raw files as well.

    I would upload a screen shot to show you what I mean, however, the system will not let me do so.

    Any idea what might be going wrong and how to prevent it?
    Keith
  2. Bossy
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    Bossy New Member

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  3. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    They've been corrupted somehow.

    Multiple back-ups on multiple media types is really all I can think of to prevent it...
  4. Rephargotohp
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    Rephargotohp New Member

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    Are you using Lightroom? sometimes in Lightroom the rendered preview will go bad even though the file itself is still good. You can delete the cache on that file and a new preview will be rendered
  5. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    I'm using photoshop and Preview on a Mac. However, the program doesn't matter. You can see the damage in icon mode without opening the file.
  6. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    Bossy,
    The thread you sent me to says, regarding uploading photos directly"
    "From the new page the first task is to make an album for your photos to go into, for ease of categorising your photos in the gallery. Click on the "Create new Album" link just above the main bars in the page. In the new window that opens you can enter a title, a short description and also set the privacy settings for the new Album. By default they are not set to private."
    However on my browser, only "My Photos" "My Favorites" and "no messages" show up on that bar. There is no reference to "Create a New Album" or anything else that refers to albums.
  7. MLeeK
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    MLeeK New Member

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    failing hard drive is usually the culprit. It starts with a few sectors and blows from there.
  8. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    Interesting idea, however, my files are kept on a redundant raid drive, so that each file is written to two separate drives. It would be odd that the drives would fail on the same files at the same time.
    There is over a half terabyte of files on the raid, and only the photo files are showing any issues.
    I'll look at the raid with hardware tools to see if any significant sectors have failed.
  9. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Oops!
  10. Garbz
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    Garbz New Member

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    Raid provides redundancy against hardware failures. It does not protect against corruption during access or replication in which case your files would be hosed on both drives. Also has it just shown up in picture files because it's obvious? You'd be amazed at the amount of corruption you can get on a computer before you start actually having problems. A document gets corrupt, you lose a letter or two and it comes up as a typo. An image becomes corrupt it shows up. A video becomes corrupt and you may not even notice the dodgy frame.
  11. 480sparky
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    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

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    I thought that was one of the pros of a raid array.... it can be set up to check one drive against another and find errors & etc.
  12. bazooka
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    bazooka New Member

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    This has happened to me and I found that when I ran a memory check, at least one of my memory modules was bad so I replaced all of them. The corruption was happening at the time of the transfer from one machine to another.

    Download memtest86 and burn it to a disk or put it on a usb drive and then boot from it. Run the test.

    If the test shows errors, it may be the memory, or it may be the motherboard. Memory is generally cheaper and always easier to replace.
  13. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    The files were fine when I transferred them to my raid drive. The first thing I do after any photo file transfer is to go through the files one at a time to make sure they are okay. So the files have gone bad, just sitting there on the hard drive. They have not been written or re-written since they were checked after being written to the raid drive. I don't think the drive arbitrarily re-writes files as they sit there.

    I haven't had the time to do a check of the hard drive, and any of the other mechanicals, but will do so tonight.

    I'm still not clear what Garbz meant regarding raid drives. The corruption of the file is not happening when the files are being written to the raid. I check each file after it is transferred. The corruption is happening as the files are sitting quietly on the raid drive. That means two copies, which had been proofed have gone bad at the same time. How would it be corrupted on both drives at the same time, if it was not corrupted during transfer?
  14. Garbz
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    Garbz New Member

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    On the raid hardware layer yes, how about the bus layer? Ram problems? CPU problems?

    Actually that springs something to mind. keiththirgood is your computer otherwise stable? and by stable I mean ROCK SOLID, no app crashes in months, definitely nothing like a bluescreen or even basic image corruption while playing a game or something. Data corruption can occur in many places which is exactly why things like Error Correcting Code memory comes in to play. Often some specific things can trigger it which is why programs like Furmark which render a complicated image and then check the image to ensure it looks as expected exist.

    As I mentioned there's nothing that could corrupt photos that couldn't also corrupt any other file on your computer. So let us know if there's any oddities.
  15. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    When you ask if my computer is rock solid, it gets a bit complicated. The files are stored on my server, and my partner and I access the files from any of four other computers. These are all Macs, so they fundamentally run on the Mac version of Unix, which makes them very solid.

    I'm not sure about things like error correcting code, and furmark as they sound like Windows things.

    I ran Tech Tools which checks all sorts of hardware related issues. The only test I didn't run was the surface scan, as it estimated it would take around 15 hours to run. (Each raid drive is one terabyte and the bigger the drive the longer a surface scan will take.) I'm going to let the surface scan test run tonight, as I don't need the server Sunday morning. If I find anything, I'll report back.
  16. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    I've run the surface scan (It took 15 hours). All sectors are fine. No bad bits were detected. So what else could make photo files go bad?
  17. Garbz
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    Garbz New Member

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    I'm not talking about instabilities due to software bugs, I'm talking about instabilities due to an unstable system performing incorrect calculations or getting random corruption issues in memory. In any case the answer sounds like your system is stable.

    What about software? What software do you use to copy, edit, view, etc?
  18. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    Hi Garbz
    As it's a Mac, most of the software I use is built in, and the damage to the files can be see without opening the file. I can see it in the icon that the Mac shows when I select an image, before the image is even launched. So I'm not sure what relevance things like Photoshop will have, when they are not yet in the equation.

    This is why I'm really puzzled. The image file is copied from the camera's chip to the hard drive. I check all images after transfer using the preview function of the Mac. (They are not being opened, only previewed while they remain on the desktop.) The files might be untouched for days, weeks, years even. Then we decide to look for interesting images from a trip, and begin quickly previewing them. (This is much quicker than actually opening them.) That's when we discover the bad images. So no software has been interacting with the files since they were put on the hard drive. Yet the hard drive checks out as having no bad sectors.
  19. ClickAddict
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    ClickAddict New Member

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    Did you run the memory scan on the other computers. Perhaps one of them is opening the files and corrupting them and then saving to the Raid drives.
  20. keiththirgood
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    keiththirgood New Member

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    Hi ClickAddict,

    I didn't, however, it's only my partner and I in the shop and I know what she is doing at all times, so I know she has not been at the files. (For the most part, she doesn't know where the files reside, and is constantly asking me to find files. She's an artist and isn't much on organization.)

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