What Is BMP File?

bmp file recovery

BMP, often pronounced as “bump”, is a raster graphics image file format characterized by its universal support on all major operating systems dating back a long time ago, and by its larger file sizes that make it unfit for the modern web driven by mobile technologies.

To better understand what is BMP file, we need to first know what defines a raster graphics image. Simply put, a raster image is created by a grid of individual pixels. All pixels in a raster image have a certain color depth determined by the number of bits per pixel.

Some image formats group similar pixels together, describing them as a single entity, to make the final image file smaller, but BMP images are usually stored without any compression.

In other words, each pixel in a BMP file is in its original form, resulting in a very high image quality. Consequently, it’s uncommon for BMP images to become corrupt over time, as often happens with lossy image formats. This negates the need for BMP repair, making the format suitable for long-term archiving.

The format itself actually comes with a built-in optional data compression, alpha channels, and adjustable color profiles, but these options are seldom used in practice, as they could break compatibility with older applications. Not only that, but there are also far more suitable image formats for transparent or semi-transparent images and small, web-friendly file sizes.

In practice, the best way how to reduce the size of a BMP file is to compress it with a universal data compression algorithm such as ZIP or RAR. The latter even comes with dedicated algorithms that specifically target BMP files, resulting in very small file sizes. This method of BMP compression doesn’t introduce any corruption, making BMP repair unnecessary.

What Is a BMP File Used for?

So, what is a BMP file used for in practice? Not much, really. In past, older versions of Microsoft Windows used the format to allow applications to use graphics and formatted text on both the video display and the printer via the Microsoft Windows graphics device interface (GDI).

BMP was also the standard graphic image format in many highly used applications, including MS Paint and its alternatives on Mac and Unix. That’s mainly because of how simple and well-documented the BMP format is. Developers can look into its open specifications and implement it in their own software without being hindered by patents or restrictive licenses.

One might think that a format with such a long legacy would be still in use for a lot of things, but the fact is that BMP is simply not suited for the internet. Of course, you can still use it to this day, but you would have to think long and hard to justify its use, and probably be unable to do so anyway.

BMP Recovery Software

If you want to recover your lost or deleted BMP files with BMP recovery software, you may consider yourself lucky. Because the structure of the format is well-known, developers of capable BMP recovery software solutions, such as Disk Drill, a freely available powerful data recovery app for Mac and Windows that lets users scan their computers or other connected devices for lost files, know exactly what to look for.

Using Disk Drill and BMP recovery freeware alternatives, you can analyze the content of your hardware to look for sure signs of BMP images, including the Bitmap file header, DIB header, and other related information. In a matter of minutes, all your missing images can return back to their original location.

How to Recover BMP with Disk Drill

  1. Install Disk Drill for Windows from the official website.
  2. Launch the software from the Start menu.
  3. Select the storage device that you wish to scan. Disk Drill supports internal and external hard drives, USB flash drives, iPods, memory cards, and more.
  4. Wait until the scan is completed.
  5. Go over the results and select the files that you wish to recover.
  6. Click on the ‘Recover’ button
  7. Done!

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Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole is a freelance content creator. He also has a more than 10-year experience in program development for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android. Arthur Cole is a writer with deep expertise in programming, who can easily...

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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.