What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? (2023)

Professional photo editors and photographers who use Canon cameras, always prefer to shoot photos in CR2 RAW format for its superior image quality and full control over the photo editing process. It is a popular RAW image format being used by Canon since 350D, 20D, and 1D Mark II camera models. However, there are many instances where users have complained of their CR2 files getting lost or deleted.

CR2 files go missing from your device or computer either due to accidental deletion or virus infection. Other factors include formatting, corruption, sudden power failure, bad sectors in the hard drive, etc., which can cause permanent loss of CR2 and other media files.

In this post, we’ll discover how to recover deleted CR2 files from Windows or Mac. But first, let's learn more about the CR2 file format and how it works.

What is a CR2 file?

CR2 is Canon’s proprietary image file format that creates raw and uncompressed image files. These files offer superior image quality and allow photographers to have complete control over all aspects of post-production, such as exposure, sharpness, and white balance. The CR2 format records 4,096 to 16,348 levels of brightness and it can offer you up to 68.7 billion color combinations.

The Canon EOS camera series, including Canon EOS 5D, 6D, 7D, and others usually produce CR2 format files. These RAW camera files can be opened with free programs like Windows Photo viewer, Apple Photos, IrfanView, UFRaw and more

However, like any other file, you can lose CR2 files on your Mac/Windows PC due to many reasons.

Common Reasons for Losing CR2 RAW files:

  • Accidental or intentional deletion
  • Virus or malware infection
  • Formatting or deleting memory cards or other storage media containing CR2 RAW files
  • Sudden power failure or power cut

You may start looking for ways to recover deleted CR2 files immediately after data loss. To make things easy, we’ve shared some workable methods to get back your lost or deleted Canon RAW files.

How to Recover Deleted CR2 RAW Files?

Before you start the CR2 file recovery process, make sure to stop using the hard drive, SSD, or other storage media from which you lost or deleted CR2 files. Moreover, don’t save any new data on the drive to avoid overwriting data. Now, let's take a look at different ways to recover deleted CR2 files from Mac and Windows PC.

CR2 File Recovery for Mac

Often, you may lose your CR2 files stored on a Mac device to accidental deletion, virus attack, or sudden power outage. In such a situation, follow the below methods to recover deleted CR2 files from Mac.

Restore CR2 Files from Trash

The very first place to check your deleted CR2 files in macOS is the Trash folder. This folder stores the deleted CR2 files and other data for 30 days, after which, it gets automatically deleted. Follow the below steps to recover CR2 files from Trash:

(Video) 📷 How to Recover Cr2, RAW, NEF, CRW Photos after Deleting or Formatting in 2021 ⚕️

  • Open the Trash bin of your macOS.
  • Select the CR2 files you want to retrieve and choose the PutBack option to restore these files to their original location.

Use Time Machine Backup

If you are using Time Machine to back up your CR2 files, you can easily restore your lost or deleted RAW files. Here’s how to retrieve deleted CR2 files from Time Machine:

  • First, connect your TimeMachinebackupdrive to your Mac.
  • Go to Applemenu > SystemPreferences > TimeMachine.

What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? (1)

  • Use the Up/down arrow button or TimeLine to navigate the backups.
  • Next, choose the date of your last backup and then go to photo library backup that has your deleted CR2 files backup. Click Restore to recover that backup.

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Recover CR2 files using Stellar Photo Recovery for Mac

If you cannot restore the deleted or lost CR2 files using Trash or Time Machine backup, use an efficient CR2 file recovery software like Stellar Photo Recovery for Mac. This Mac photo recovery software can easily store lost or deleted photos, videos, and other media files from internal or external Mac storage drives.

Here’s how to recover deleted CR2 files using the Mac photo recovery tool.

  • Download, install, and launch Stellar Photo Recovery for Mac.
  • On the main screen, select the drive from which you want to restore CR2 files. Click Scan.

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  • Once scanning is completed, see the list of recoverable files and previewthem.

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  • Next, select the required CR2 files and click Recover to save them at a desired location.

What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? (6)

(Video) How to Recover Deleted CR2 RAW Files from Canon DSLR Camera

CR2 File Recovery on Windows

If you lost CR2 RAW files from your Windows system, follow the below methods to retrieve them.

Recover CR2 RAW Files using CR2 File Recovery Software

If you want to save effort and time, the best and quickest way to retrieve lost CR2 files is by using reliable and efficient photo recovery software like Stellar Photo Recovery. This CR2 file recovery tool is easy to use and can recover your lost camera RAW images in all data loss scenarios like formatting, accidental deletion, corruption & virus attack, etc. from SD card or other storage drives.

Here’s how to recover CR2 files using Stellar Photo Recovery software:

  • Connect your storage drive or memory card from which you lost Canon RAW camera files.
  • Download, install, and launch Stellar Photo Recovery software on your Windows system.
  • In the home screen, select the storage drive from which you lost your files.

What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? (8)

  • Next, click on the hamburger icon at the top and click on the Settingsoption.

What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? (9)

  • Click on the FileList Here, under Photo Format just tick the checkbox against Canon (CR2) and uncheck all other checkboxes. Click Close.

What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? (10)

  • Now, click Scan from the Home screen to initiate the scanning process.
  • Once the scan is completed, you can see the list of recoverable files. To preview CR2 recoverable files, click FileType in the left pane, go to Photos, and choose CR2.

What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? (11)

  • Now, select the files, you want to restore, click Recover and save the recoverable CR2 RAW files.

Recover CR2 Files from Recycle Bin

Usually, intentionally or accidentally deleted CR2 RAW files in the Windows system go to the Recycle Bin and stay there for approx. 30 days unless removed manually. Follow the below steps to retrieve deleted CR2 files:

(Video) How to Recover Lost CR2 Photos

  • Open RecycleBin on your Windows.
  • Look for the Canon RAW image file that you want to retrieve and right-click on it.
  • Select Restore and your deleted CR2 files will be sent to its original location.

What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? (12)

Use Windows Backup and Restore Utility

But, what if you cannot find your CR2 files in the Recycle Bin? Then check the backup folder. If you have taken backups of your Canon media files using various built-in Windows utilities, simply retrieve your CR2 RAW files from those backups. See the steps to retrieve deleted CR2 files by using the Backup and Restore utility:

  • Type Control Panel in the search box and select Open to launch it.
  • Go to System and Security > Backup and Restore.

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  • Then click Restore my files or Restore all users’files.

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  • Next, select the deleted files you want to retrieve.

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  • Select Browse for files or Browse for folders, and click Next.

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  • Choose the desired location and click Restore to save the recoverable CR2 files.

How to Open CR2 Files on Mac and Windows systems?

As we all know by now, CR2 files are generally raw image files, so the best way to open these is by using a good image viewer or editor.

To open CR2 files on Mac, you need to use Apple Photos and Apple Preview, whereas use Microsoft Photos, and Google Picasa to open these files on Windows.

You can even open CR2 files using CR2 viewer, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, AfterShot, iPhoto, Fotor, RawTherapee, etc.

(Video) How to recover data from corrupted Canon RAW (CR2) photos

How to Prevent CR2 RAW Files from Getting Lost?

This article has covered different ways to recover lost or deleted CR2 RAW files. However, it’s always recommended to avoid such data loss situations altogether by following some best practices shared below.

  1. Save your work regularly: While working on the CR2 files, ensure to save your work at regular intervals. This will be helpful during a sudden power outage or system crash.
  2. Regular Backup of CR2 files: Make sure to take regular backups of your CR2 files either by using built-in apps like Backup & Restore and File History in Windows or Time Machine and iCloud Backup in Mac.
  3. Keep Multiple Backups: Follow the 3-2-1 rule for backing up your CR2 files i.e. keep at least 3 copies of your files, 2 copies on different types of storage media, and one copy should be offsite. This backup strategy ensures that your data can be recovered in almost any data loss scenario.
  4. Use the Best Antivirus Tool: Virus infection is one of the main reasons for data loss from your system. Therefore, it's best to use a good antivirus software that can enhance the security of your system.


1. How to convert a CR2 RAW file to JPG?

Use online converter tools like , etc., to convert CR2 RAW files to JPG.

2. Why my recovered CR2 files are not opening?

If your CR2 files are not opening, either the files have become corrupted or you’re not using an incompatible program with this file format.

3. How to repair corrupted CR2 files?

To repair corrupted CR2 RAW files, use an efficient CR2 repair file tool, such as Stellar Repair for Photo. This tool can easily repair corrupt, damaged, or inaccessible CR2 files.

4. How to open CR2 RAW files with Photoshop?

You can drag and drop the CR2 RAW files on Photoshop to open them. Or you can launch Photoshop first, go to Files > Open, and select your CR2 files from File Explorer.

(Video) CR2 File Recovery-How to recover Canon CRW and CR2 RAW Image files


What is CR2 file and how to recover deleted CR2 files? ›

A CR2 file is a raw photo file format generated by Canon's digital camera. They have the extension . cr2. In full, CR2 stands for Canon Raw 2 (2nd edition).

What's a CR2 file? ›

A CR2 file is a raw photo file format generated by Canon's digital camera. They have the extension . cr2. In full, CR2 stands for Canon Raw 2 (2nd edition).

Can you retrieve deleted pictures from Canon? ›

Yes, it is possible to recover lost data from a Canon digital camera. Through the use of Canon photo recovery software, you can recover photos that you thought were lost for good. The key is to act quickly before using the camera or its SD card to take more photographs.

Why do I have CR2 files? ›

Why are my images CR2 files? If your images have CR2 extensions, it's most likely because you took them with a Canon camera. If you download a high-quality photograph online, there's also a chance that it will come in a CR2 format depending on how the artist saved the image.

What is the photo recovery software for CR2? ›

To recover an image using this method:
  • Download the JPEG-Repair toolkit.
  • Open the zip file and run JPEGRapair.exe.
  • Enter the key or use the trial version by clicking Continue.
  • Select Extract JPEG from Tool selection. Next, click on the folder icon to select the CR2 file you want to recover.
  • Click Repair.
May 10, 2022

What is a CR2 file and how do I open it? ›

A CR2 file is a Canon Raw Version 2 image file. Open one with IrfanView, UFRaw, Photoshop, and other photo viewers. Convert to JPG, PNG, TIFF, etc. with those programs or a converter like Zamzar.

What do I do with CR2 files? ›

To open CR2 files, you need to install an extension or use a raw image processing program or photo editing software. Canon has its own software dedicated to editing and managing Canon image files. Most third-party programs also support CR2 files, and all Adobe apps such as Lightroom and Photoshop can open a CR2 file.

How do I recover a deleted image file? ›

Right-click the file or folder, and then select Restore previous versions. You'll see a list of available previous versions of the file or folder. The list will include files saved on a backup (if you're using Windows Backup to back up your files) as well as restore points, if both types are available.

Can photos be recovered after deletion? ›

Restore photos & videos

If you deleted an item and want it back, check your trash to see if it's there. Touch and hold the photo or video you want to restore. At the bottom, tap Restore.

Is it still possible to recover Deleted photos? ›

To recover deleted photos from backup you need to:

Right-click the Windows Start button and then Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore. Choose either to Restore my files or Restore all users' files. Search for your lost photos by using the Browse for files or Browse for folders option.

What does CR2 mean in Lightroom? ›

CR2 file is Canon's proprietary file extension for its RAW images coming directly out of the camera. Think of a RAW image as a digital negative. RAW files are unprocessed images that need to be converted into a more readily familiar and easier to handle file format such as jpeg.

How do I convert a CR2 image to JPG? ›

CR2 to JPG
  1. Step 1 - Select a file(s) to convert. Choose Files. From my computer From my device From URL From Box From Dropbox From Google Drive From OneDrive. Drag & drop files. Max. ...
  2. Step 2 - Convert your files to. Convert To. avif. md. tex.
  3. Step 3 - Start converting. Convert Now. (And agree to our Terms)

What is the difference between JPEG and CR2? ›

Advantages when it comes to choosing CR2 or JPEG:

Different formats record different levels of brightness for images. The JPEG format records 256 levels of brightnesswhile the CR2 format records anywhere from 4,096 to 16,348 because JPEG captures in 8 bits while CR2 captures in either 12 bits or in 14 bits.

How do I recover a deleted CR2 file? ›

Recover CR2 Files From Windows Recycle Bin or Mac Trash
  1. Access the recycle bin by double-clicking on the icon on your desktop or right-clicking and selecting Open.
  2. Once inside the recycle bin, find the file you want to recover. Double-click on the file to get a flyout box. Select Restore.
Mar 23, 2022

Why are my CR2 files corrupted? ›

Common Reasons for CR2 File Corruption

With improper insertion or removal of SD Card from the camera, card reader, or computer CR2 files. So, beware when you insert or remove SD Cards containing CR2 files.

How do I recover a corrupt CR2 file? ›

Addressing the above, we have created a detailed list of the best and safest methods to resolve CR2 file corruption issues.
  1. Set Photos as a default app for CR2 files. ...
  2. Open CR2 files in a different photo-viewing software. ...
  3. Update the software that you are using to open CR2 files. ...
  4. Convert CR2 files to another file format.

Should I convert CR2 to JPG? ›

If you are sending files to someone for editing, then it is best to send the RAW format. On the other hand, if you are sending them just for review to your client, then it is better to convert CR2 to JPG so that they will not have any issues with accessing them.

What is the free software to open CR2 files? ›

File Viewer Lite is a free . CR2 file opener that allows you to view the raw image. In addition to the Canon Raw Image file, File Viewer Lite can open over 150 file types, including Digital Negative Image files, Ogg Vorbis Audio files, MPEG-4 Video files, Microsoft Word Documents, and more.

What should I do with raw files? ›

To open a RAW file, you need image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom. The most appropriate software to open a RAW file depends on your camera type and computer operating system or smartphone. After opening a RAW file, you can then convert and export it in your desired image format.

Can permanently deleted files be recovered? ›

In order to restore permanently deleted files from the Recycle Bin, you will need a backup copy of the files to restore from. If you don't, you will need to use an effective data recovery solution or have the data professionally recovered using a data recovery service.

How can I recover permanently deleted files for free? ›

Recover Permanently Deleted Files on PC from Previous Versions
  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type restore files and hit Enter on your keyboard.
  3. Look for the folder where your deleted files were stored.
  4. Select the "Restore" button in the middle to undelete Windows 10 files to their original location.
May 17, 2023

Why are deleted files not in Recycle Bin? ›

Q2: Where do deleted files go if not in Recycle Bin? If the deleted files are not in the Recycle Bin, then they might have been permanently deleted. When this happens, the space of the files will be marked as free, and other data can overwrite it.

Where does the file go when deleted? ›

When you delete a file or folder, it goes into the Recycle bin, where you have a chance to restore it.

Are deleted photos gone forever? ›

Delete photos or videos

When you delete photos and videos, they go to your Recently Deleted album for 30 days. After 30 days, they'll be permanently deleted. If you use iCloud Photos, and delete photos and videos from one device, the photos and videos will be deleted on your other devices.

Where do permanently deleted photos go? ›

Where will the deleted pictures go and can they be recovered? Well, to your surprise, the photos or any other file types never really get deleted permanently. Even after permanent deletion, they will be present on your computer or storage device temporarily before getting overwritten by new data.

Can you edit CR2 files in Lightroom? ›

Lightroom's primary purpose is organizing, and editing, raw files. Adobe continually updates their software to work with the latest cameras' raw files, but once a camera is supported, you will be able to open and edit raw files. (Canon . CR2/.

Why can't I open CR2 files in Lightroom? ›

If CR2 not opening in Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, etc. professional tools, you should update the camera raw from Adobe's official site. And Canon File Viewer Utility can be a reasonable cause CR2 files not opening. You can deinstall it from your computer, checking whether it is the cause.

Which software is best to convert CR2 to JPG? ›

Our overall rating: 3.5
ToolFunctions Score (out of 5 )Prices
Zamzar4Free version with limitations Paid plans start at $9/month
Convertio4.5Free version with limitations Paid plans start at $9.99/month
Image.Online Convert3.5Free version with size limitations Paid plans start at $4.99/month
Jan 27, 2023

How do I convert CR2 files to JPG without software? ›

How to convert CR2 to JPG
  1. Upload cr2-file(s) Select files from Computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, URL or by dragging it on the page.
  2. Choose "to jpg" Choose jpg or any other format you need as a result (more than 200 formats supported)
  3. Download your jpg.

Can you change a RAW file to a JPEG once your photos are on the computer how? ›

Convert your file

Open the photos in RAW format, e.g. in Photoshop. Go to 'File' and choose 'Save As' and select from the list '. jpg' (it might appear as JPEG). Choose a compression between 90-100%, otherwise this leads to loss of quality.

What type of image is CR2? ›

What is a CR2 File? CR2 file is a RAW digital photography file format which was developed by Canon. This file format stores lossless details from the camera sensor without any processing of the image. Unlike other processed image formats like Jpeg which only records 8 bits of RGB, CR2 records up to 14 bits of RGB.

Should I keep both RAW and JPEG? ›

RAW + JPEG: The Best of Both Worlds

Shooting in RAW and JPEG at the same time gives you greater flexibility. Photo by: 'Iurie Belegurschi'. Most digital cameras these days will allow for you to record the same image in both JPEG and RAW formats, at the same time. This gives you increased flexibility with your files.

How to recover permanently deleted files from specific folder? ›

1. Recover Deleted Files from a Specific Folder Through Previous Versions
  1. Open the folder you want to recover files from;
  2. Right-click the folder selecting "Restore previous versions";
  3. Select the folder version you want to go back to;
  4. Click on the "Restore" button and save the folder in another location.
Apr 18, 2023

Can you uncorrupt a corrupted file? ›

The Open and Repair command might be able to recover your file. Click File > Open > Browse and then go to the location or folder where the document (Word), workbook (Excel), or presentation (PowerPoint) is stored. Don't try to open the file from the Recent section as this won't go into the Open dialog box.

Can you uncorrupt a photo file? ›

Step 1: Open “File Explorer” and right-click on the storage device that contains corrupted image files to choose “Properties.” Step 2: Move to the “Tools” tab and select “Check.” Step 3: Next, Click on “Scan Now.” The tool will scan to fix the errors automatically.

Can you still fix a corrupted file? ›

Can corrupted files be recovered? Corrupted files are simply files that have become unreadable or inoperable. There are a large number of reasons a file may have become corrupted. You can run a System Scan Disk, a DISM tool or chkdsk command tool to recover corrupted system files.

How do I fix corrupted recovered files? ›

Methods to repair and open files after recovery
  1. Use a professional media file repair software.
  2. Use Hex Editor to repair corrupt photos and videos.
  3. Convert videos or photos to different format.
  4. Open photos or videos in different file viewer.
  5. Download the right codec to open recovered videos.
May 19, 2023

How did my file get corrupted? ›

File corruption usually happens when there is an issue during the 'save' process. If your computer crashes the file being saved will likely be corrupted. Another cause might be damaged sections of your hard drive or storage media that might have viruses and malware.

What is the command for fixing corrupt files? ›

In the command prompt window, type SFC /scannow and press Enter . System file checker utility checks the integrity of Windows system files and repairs them if required.

Can you convert CR2 to JPEG? ›

Unlike with some other image file types, there's no way to manually convert the CR2 to JPG. However, there are a couple different ways to convert using software programs. The first way is through a browser-based converter.

How do I change a CR2 image to JPG? ›

To do this, please follow these steps:
  1. Launch Photo Gallery.
  2. Double click the RAW photo and click the option Make a copy under Manage category.
  3. Rename the file and change the file format as JPEG and click the Save button.
Jan 15, 2013

How to convert CR2 to JPG software? ›

When you open Photoshop, click on Edit > Scripts > Image Processor. Choose the Select Folder option to open the folder with you RAW files. Select the destination folder, choose Save as JPG, and click Run.

How do I open a CR2 file on my PC? ›

Open CR2 on Windows: Double-click on the file thumbnail to open with your default Windows photo viewer (MS Photos app). Or right-click, then choose Open with > Photos. Open CR2 on Mac: Go to Finder and locate the picture that you want to open. Double click or right-click, then choose Open With > Preview.

What is the fastest way to convert CR2 to JPG? ›

The most reliable of them is Movavi Video Converter which offers fast conversions and impeccable editing capabilities.
  1. Download the software and run it after installation.
  2. Click Add Media and then – Add Images to select CR2 files for conversion.
  3. Select JPG as the output format.
May 9, 2023

What is the difference between JPG and CR2? ›

Different formats record different levels of brightness for images. The JPEG format records 256 levels of brightnesswhile the CR2 format records anywhere from 4,096 to 16,348 because JPEG captures in 8 bits while CR2 captures in either 12 bits or in 14 bits.

How do I edit a CR2 file? ›

CR2 file format contains a picture taken on Canon. It is a RAW format, so the picture information is only slightly processed and all the important details are saved. To open and edit this format, you need a specific program or a plug-in. Adobe Photoshop will perfectly handle this task if you install certain extensions.

Is there a free software to convert RAW to JPEG? ›


Iloveimg is another excellent RAW image converter that's easy to load and use. It supports easy encoding of several RAW formats like NEF, CR2, RW2, and ORF to JPG without quality loss. Apart from allowing you to import files from your computer, this tool also supports Google Drive and Dropbox importation.


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