These are common questions for someone who owns a CCTV security camera system: How to delete all the CCTV video from the recorder? How to erase the CCTV camera footage? Is there any way to wipe out all the recordings from your security camera system?
To delete the footage from your CCTV system is possible but it depends on numerous factors, the main one is if you have admin level access on your security system. It can be almost impossible to erase any CCTV recordings if you don’t know the password of the recorder.
However, there are a few solutions and tips that you can deploy to delete CCTV footage from your NVR, DVR, IP camera with micro SD card or even from a computer-based CCTV system. In this guide we’ve summed up a few methods on how to delete CCTV footage.
Do you need to delete CCTV videos to clear space?
The answer is NO. Many users think that you need to manually erase the footage in order to make room for the new recordings. That’s not how security camera systems work.
There’s no need to erase any footage or recordings once the hard drive (HDD) is full. By default, all security systems will automatically cycle the footage by erasing the old days and recording the new ones. So, the security camera system automatically loops the CCTV footage.
Can you erase CCTV videos/footage?
Let’s say you did something embarrassing while being monitored from one of the cameras and you want to delete that recording. Is it possible to wipe off the CCTV footage? Can you actually erase certain videos from a CCTV security system?
Obviously YES, you can delete any footage from a CCTV system. But, are you the owner of this security system or simply an intruder who wants to erase any possible incriminating evidence?
It’s very easy to delete any videos from a DVR, NVR, or IP camera’s SD card as long as you have access to that security system (which means to know the admin password for the recorder or camera).
However, this task becomes nearly impossible if you don’t know the system’s credentials. Of course there are a few ways you can brute format the hard drive (hence, erase the content) of security camera systems.
Can someone erase CCTV videos by hacking?
Let’s say, someone break-ins into your house and business, are they able to delete surveillance videos from your CCTV system? Can they delete footage without the owner knowing anything about it?
Technically, of course YES. However, your CCTV system needs to be very unprofessionally installed in order for someone to erase the footage. These days the high-end IP cameras of respected brands are secured with SSL encryption to encrypt communications and the footage itself.
Additionally, many IP cameras are set up in a way that the alarm sounds if someone tries to tamper with it. A professionally CCTV system will send out notifications to the owner’s phone containing videos, pictures and other information. They will know it immediately if anything happens.
In other cases, modern security camera systems can use cloud storage to save the footage. So even if you snatch the recorder, the camera or even the hard drive, the footage is not gone, it’s automatically uploaded to the cloud and the owner can access it any time.
How to delete CCTV videos off microSD cards?
The basic way to erase CCTV footage off a micro SD card is by formatting the card direct via the camera’s software. Once you format, everything that the camera has stored in the SD card will be wiped off.
If you need to delete individual clips or certain time frames, you need to take out the micro SD card from the IP camera and insert it on a card reader. From there, you can delete any unwanted recordings by using the computer or laptop. Once done, insert the micro SD card back to the security camera.
Accessing a camera from a computer depends on the model number. However, the procedure is almost the same, regardless of the manufacturer. To format and hence erase CCTV videos from a microSD card you need to:
Step 1. Log into the IP camera. Type the IP address of the camera in IE browser, enter the admin username and password. If you don’t know the camera’s IP address, use the manufacturer’s scanner to locate it.
Step 2. Go to the Settings section of the cameras. Find the Storage section. Select the microSD card and click the Format button to delete all the recording files from the microSD card.
Certain security cameras, especially the new ones that are supported by native phone apps, let you format the micro SD card straight from the app. Simply access the camera via the app, go to the settings and locate the “Format SD card” button. An example is shown below.
How to delete CCTV videos from DVR or NVR?
How to erase recording on a DVR or NVR? How to delete CCTV videos from a NVR? The quick way is to format the hard drive of the DVR/NVR. By doing so, all the CCTV videos stored in it will be permanently erased.
The procedure is almost the same, regardless of the device’s manufacturer. You have to access your DVR or NVR directly (or via web browser), locate the hard drive section and click Format. An example is shown below (Amcrest system).
Step 1. Connect the DVR or NVR to a monitor/TV using a HDMI or VGA cable.
Step 2. Log in to the DVR/NVR with your admin account and the password. Navigate to the Configuration or Settings section.
Step 3. Locate the Storage section. Format the hard drive to delete all your CCTV camera’s videos or snapshots.
Keep in mind that formatting the hard drive doesn’t affect the other configurations on the recorder or camera such as motion detection, email settings, scheduling, masking etc. Everything will remain the same after the hard drive is formatted.
How to delete individual CCTV videos?
Can you delete specific videos from your DVR or NVR? This is usually not possible. Most of the CCTV manufacturers don’t offer such an option. There’s no way to delete individual videos of a certain time range stored in the NVR, or DVR.
You should not waste time trying to delete individual files from the NVR’s hard drive. As we mentioned before, simply format the whole hard drive and everything will be erased. This is the safest and the best way. Anything else is a waste of time.
Can CCTV videos be recovered?
It could happen that you accidentally erased security camera footage or important recordings were overwritten before you had a chance to back them up (or even take a look at them).
In this unfortunate situation, you may ask: Is there any way to retrieve deleted CCTV videos? Can you recover CCTV videos once the hard drive is formatted? Can you get back recordings that are automatically overwritten?
Actually, YES, you can have the lost CCTV footage recovered. When a video is deleted or a hard drive formatted, the data is still there, but it’s marked to be overwritten. For the computer or the CCTV system, the hard drive is empty and ready to be filled again.
There are companies who are able to recover deleted, overwritten or formatted data from CCTV hard drives. It can be costly, but if you need it, it’s doable. Or you can try to retrieve videos from the hard drive using free software. This article offers more information regarding this issue: How to recover lost videos from your CCTV system.