There’s few things worse than going on vacation, happily grabbing huge numbers of photos of family, locations and events and returning home to find that the memory card, or your hard disk storage is corrupt and the images are all gone. Unfortunately it happens all too often, and we generally think that there’s nothing we can do. But there is.
As long as there is no physical corruption to the media (e.g. a heat warped card or other physical damage) it is often possible to recover at least some of the data on an apparently dead drive or card. PhotoRec is an example of a free software tool you can use to restore missing data from your media. It does this by searching at a very low level, which basically means it ignores the file format and goes for the data cluster on the device directly.
It won’t work all the time, and it can be a bit of a pain to configure when you first start it up, but the results could be worth the hassle, especially if you’ve been looking forward to reviewing those images of BigFoot once more.