Losing data can be one of the most devastating experiences for a photographer. It’s always awful to imagine all your hard work being reduced to nothing due to just one accidental click. If you’re a GoPro enthusiast, you know that it is common to delete files on accident or lose them in some other way while taking photos and videos. However, all hope is not lost! You can recover deleted files from your GoPro camera with ease – and this article will guide you through how it’s done.

recover lost files gopro

5 Major Causes of a GoPro Data Loss

There are a number of issues that can arise when you are using digital photography equipment of any kind which can lead to lost videos or photos. Here are some scenarios you might run into that could potentially destroy valuable photos or footage that you have taken with your GoPro.

  1. You or someone handling the device accidentally deletes the content before you transfer it to your computer.
  2. Problems during transmission leave you with no files on your computer or your GoPro. After transmission, GoPro deletes the files that were supposedly transferred. In the case of an incomplete or faulty download, all of your work could be gone.
  3. You inadvertently format the SD card on your GoPro Black before downloading the photos and videos.
  4. You might have issues while converting from MP4 to the AVI or MOV format and want to recover the original content that has been deleted from GoPro.
  5. Your GoPro is damaged or destroyed while you are attempting to take some challenging shots. Maybe the drone your camera was riding on crashed and took out the camera at the same time. GoPros are made to withstand a lot, but there is always the potential for something unexpected to occur. Hopefully, the SD card can be retrieved.

How to Recover Deleted Files from a GoPro

Whether you’ve deleted your MPEGs, MP4s, HEVCs, GPRs, JPEGs, or even GoPro’s proprietary LRV files, they may still exist on your SD card and be recoverable using a suitable SD card recovery software, as long as you don’t overwrite them by continuing to use your camera.

We recommend Disk Drill SD Card Recovery Software because it’s a reliable and user-friendly tool that flawlessly supports all file formats used by GoPro action cameras. Disk Drill’s advanced recovery algorithms can even reconstruct lost files and work with raw SD cards to ensure the maximum possible recovery rate possible.  

We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the Disk Drill recovery process, with specific instructions tailored for both Windows and Mac users. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

Steps to Recover Deleted Videos and Photos from a GoPro Camera 

It couldn’t be easier to recover deleted GoPro videos with Disk Drill:

  1. Download Disk Drill from its official site, and install it on your computer.
  2. Take out the SD card from your camera and plug it into your computer’s SD card reader.
  3. Launch Disk Drill, select your GoPro card, and then click on Search for lost data. disk drill gopro select for scanning
  4. Disk Drill will start scanning your memory card to locate accidentally deleted GoPro videos. The more time the scan runs, the more files Disk Drill will locate. At any time, you can check found files with a click on Review found items. disk drill gopro recovery progress
  5. When the scanning process completes, click on Review found items to proceed to the next section. Disk Drill for Windows enables you to recover up to 500MB for free before upgrading to the Pro version.disk drill review found gopro items
  6. Disk Drill will show a list of folders used to categorize all your GoPro storage data based on how it found it (existing files, reconstructed data, etc.). If you had stored hundreds of different types of files on the same storage, it might be hard to locate your videos manually. Instead, use Disk Drill’s filters on the left. Click on Video to have Disk Drill present only the video files it located. Place a checkmark on the left of the ones you want to recover, and click on the Recover button at the bottom left of Disk Drill’s window. disk drill gopro files select
  7. Choose the “target location” where you want Disk Drill to save your recovered videos. It’s best to choose a different storage device than the one from where you’re recovering data. Otherwise, the recovered files might be saved over other data you also want to get back, rendering its later recovery impossible.disk drill choose destination gopro
  8. The time needed for the recovery’s completion depends on the amount of data you’re trying to get back and your computer and storage media speed. Video files can be pretty large. disk drill recovery in progress gopro
  9. When the recovery completes, Disk Drill will show a brief report of the results. Click on Show recovered data in Explorer to see your recovered videos in the target folder you selected with the operating system’s default file manager.

Whether you’re using the Hero 8, Hero 9, Hero 10, or the latest Hero 11, the recovery process remains the same. This makes Disk Drill an extremely versatile GoPro recovery software, capable of retrieving lost files from a wide range of GoPro models.

Steps to Recover Deleted Files from a GoPro Camera on Mac

  1. Download Disk Drill and install it.
    Disk Drill
    Data recovery for free
    Your Companion for Deleted Files Recovery
  2. Launch the app and attach the GoPro SD card via a card reader to your Mac.
  3. Select your camera or SD card from the list of available storage devices displayed by Disk Drill.
  4. Click the "Search for lost data" button and Disk Drill will scan your device and return a list of the files that it can recover.gopro file recovery
  5. Select the files you wish to recover as well as a storage location on your computer where they will be restored.lost gopro footage
  6. Click the "OK" button to perform the file recovery.lost gopro footage
  7. Upgrade to Disk Drill Pro to recover the deleted GoPro videos you’ve selected to the specified recovery location. 

Alternative Ways to Fix GoPro Data Loss Issues

In most cases, Disk Drill is the best GoPro file recovery solution, but it’s not the only one. Let’s take a closer look at three alternative ways to fix GoPro data loss issues at home. 

Solution 1: Extract GoPro Garbled Files With Unstoppable Copier

Can you see your GoPro files, but you meet errors when you try to copy them? Does the copy process complete, but the copied files are corrupted? It’s worth trying Unstoppable Copier.

You can think of Unstoppable Copier as a better alternative to the operating system’s native copy command. It’s designed specifically for dealing with files that seem unreadable. Unstoppable Copier performs multiple retries when reading problematic files, trying “to get the data right” before copying it to your chosen target location.

  1. Download Unstoppable Copier from its official site, and install it. Unstoppable Copier Download
  2. Run Unstoppable Copier. While on the Copy tab, click on the first Browse button on the right of its window. Then, select one of the problematic files you’d like to copy. Unstoppable Copier Select What To Copy
  3. Click on the second Browse button, and choose where you want Unstoppable Copier to save your file. Unstoppable Copier Select Destination
  4. Click on Copy on the top right, and hopefully, you’ll soon have your file back in working order. Unstoppable Copier Copy Complete
  5. If you want to recover more than a single file, move to Unstoppable Copier’s Batch Mode tab instead.

    Use the Add button on the bottom right to add to Unstoppable Copier’s list the files you want to recover and the path where you want them saved. You’ll have to repeat the steps for each of them. You can choose a whole folder, but that will take more time.

    Also, if dealing with a failing device, you should prioritize saving the files you need the most. Don’t try to salvage everything, which could push a failing device past its breaking point before recovering your most important data.

    Finally, click on Copy to have Unstoppable Copier try to clone them to the defined target locations.

    Unstoppable Copier Batch Mode

Solution 2: Fish Out Your Lost GoPro Files with a Free Tool

Do you believe Disk Drill is too straightforward, easy, or simple for your taste? Would you prefer a more hands-on approach and know your way around Windows hardware lingo? You may like Photorec.

Photorec is an open-source data recovery solution prevalent on Linux. It might not look as good as alternatives nor come with a state-of-the-art GUI, but it’s free. If cost is your highest priority, you can try recovering your GoPro videos with it.

We’ll be using its QPhotoRec variant for this tutorial, which presents an actual GUI instead of running in the command line.

  1. Download PhotoRec from its official site. Note that it’s bundled with TestDisk, and the archive you’ll download also contains QPhotoRec (that we’ll use here). QPhotoRec Download
  2. Note that PhotoRec’s site, at least at the time of writing, presented some potentially misleading ads with big, green, friendly-looking “download” buttons. Skip them and scroll down to find a simple link to PhotoRec’s download location. Still, this, in turn, will lead you to another page where you’ll find the genuine download link. As it seems, even downloading PhotoRec is less straightforward than the alternatives. QPhotoRec Download Link
  3. Extract the downloaded archive to a folder. Ignore the dozens of irrelevant files and run “qphotorec_win.exe“. QPhotoRec Run QPhotoRec Win
  4. Choose your GoPro’s storage from the drop-down menu on the top of QPhotoRec’s window.
  5. Select the partition on the media from which you want to recover data. QPhotoRec Select Partition
  6. Choose from the unmarked panel on the right of QPhotoRec’s window if you want to perform a Free (and quick) or a Whole (and slower but more thorough) scan. QPhotoRec Free Or Whole Scan
  7. Click on the Browse button on the bottom right of the window, and choose where you want to store the recovered files. QPhotoRec Select Destination
  8. With everything set up, click on the Search button at the bottom of the window to have QPhotoRec start scanning your GoPro’s storage for files. QPhotoRec Begin Search
  9. QPhotoRec will scan your GoPro’s storage and automatically recover any file it locates to the selected destination folder. QPhotoRec Scanning
  10. Don’t expect a report or other warning when the process completes. When the progress bar reaches 100%, a “Recovery completed” label will appear on its left. You can then click on Quit at the bottom of QPhotoRec’s window to exit the app. You’ll find all files it managed to recover in the destination folder you selected. QPhotoRec Recovery Completed

Solution 3: Fix Your Corrupted GoPro SD Card With CHKDSK

You can’t access your files because your GoPro SD Card appears corrupted? You might be able to fix it using CHKDSK.

Despite being a command line tool, CHKDSK is very easy to use.

  1. Press Windows key + X and run either the Windows Terminal or the PowerShell. Make sure to run them with elevated privilleges (choose the version with “Admin” after its name). Run Windows Terminal As Admin
  2. Type chkdsk X: /f, where “X” is the drive you want to check, and press Enter. CHKDSK will start scanning your storage device’s file system for errors and attempt to fix them. CHKDSK F
  3. Alternatively, type chkdsk X: /r if you’d prefer to check the whole storage device for bad sectors. Remember to replace “X” with the letter of the drive you want to scan. We must stress that, although more thorough, this process may also render some of your files inaccessible. Thus, it’s better first to take a complete backup of your device or use a tool like Disk Drill to first salvage your most precious files from it. CHKDSK R

Understanding GoPro File Formats

There are a number of file formats associated with GoPro cameras. The camera captures and records video files using the h.264 codec and the MP4 file type. For some resolutions, the HERO6 and HERO7 Black use the HEVC (h.265) codec.

lost gopro footage

Each video will be represented by three files:

  • The video is recorded in MP4 format and this is the file that you use to view your work.
  • There is also a THM file which is a thumbnail or small, 160 by 120 pixels picture that represents the video file.
  • You will also see an LRV file. This is a Low-Resolution Video file that contains the same information as the MP4 file but at a reduced resolution. These lower resolution files are used to facilitate streaming the video using the GoPro app. The LRV and THM files can be deleted without harming the original video and can be regenerated if required.

Memory is limited or non-existent in GoPros cameras. There is some internal memory used strictly for firmware and the camera’s internal functions. Standard definition Hero models contain 16 MB of memory for limited photo storage. Other models do not have any accessible onboard memory, so you will need to add an SD card in order to record videos or take photographs.


Taking chances with your GoPro might necessitate the services of Disk Drill to recover some video from the SD card of a damaged camera. It’s an excellent tool which allows you to restore potentially once-in-a-lifetime images in the event of accidental deletion.


Odysseas Kourafalos

Odysseas Kourafalos has been writing about computers and technology for over two decades. He specializes in software and has produced thousands of articles, from tutorials on Linux to mini-books about gaming console modif...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.