Deleted digital photos may not be entirely lost | Tech Talk

A Q&A feature on various tech questions.

Q: I need help.

I recently went on vacation and took a bunch of pictures. I downloaded the pictures onto my computer and erased them off of my camera. I started to edit some of the pictures. One in particular, I did some cropping and accidentally saved it. Is there any way possible to find the original uncropped photo somewhere hidden deep inside my computer? I have a PC with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

A: Unfortunately, the original photo on the computer  cannot be returned  to its original formatting, composition  and resolution. There is no secondary location for images unless you provide for one prior to any image manipulation. However, it may be possible to recover the photo from the memory card — even though you’ve erased the images.

If you haven’t taken any new pictures with your camera, on that same memory card, there are data recovery software programs that may be able to recover the erased images. We use a program called R-Studio, however there are less expensive choices, although quality is preferable to price for this functionality.

NOTE: If you do attempt data recovery on your own, be forewarned not all software programs are created equal and certain circumstances only allow for one attempt at recovery.

Q: I bought a new laptop with Vista Business about a month ago and I transferred all my documents from my old computer to the laptop and have been accessing them without a problem until recently. I tried to open Word and a message popped up telling me I needed to enter a Product Key and since then, I can’t open my documents. I tried entering the Vista Product Key and it didn’t work. What do I need to do?

A: You’ll need to purchase a product key. This can be accomplished a couple of different ways.

The message you described as “popping up” will have a link associated with it that takes you to a Web page where you can purchase the product key in question. While this is the most efficient approach, it may be unnecessarily expensive.

The trial version of Microsoft Office that came pre-installed on your laptop may be more software than you need and therefore a more expensive option. There are several versions of Microsoft Office and, if you only need Word and/or Excel, purchase a new copy of Office 2007 Home and Student Edition — either online or at a local retailer — which is significantly less costly than other, more feature-rich, versions.

NOTE: The Product Key for this version is for Home Use Only – not business use – and comes with the option to install the software on three separate computers owned by the same individual.

Wayne Nelson and Jeremy Self own and operate Wired Northwest, LLC in Redmond. Submit your questions to: