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SD Card Recovery

Fixing Corrupt SD Cards & Recovery

With the advent of latest digital device models, storage requirements are also getting extended due to unlimited downloads of images, HD images, etc. from internet and video recording storage all the time. Therefore, SD cards have become the most convenient mode for portable data storage devices. Current generation of SD cards provide good read/write speeds along with considerable space at minimal cost; due to which, today's devices are faster in speed along with higher capacities. SD cards are the primary source that makes the storage, portable in various devices such as smart phones, tablets, digital cameras, and many other devices.

Apart from these benefits, occasionally, users might also encounter certain issues with SD cards pertaining to inaccessibility of data. When these portable cards get corrupt, formatted or damaged, all the stored photos, videos and other files simply disappear. Usually this situation initiates with an error message. If not handled properly, it can leave you in a permanent data loss situation which causes difficulty in SD card recovery.

To add further, memory cards have a limited number of lifespan, for example, a flash card unit has approximately 10,000 write/erase operations, due to which after certain cycles the chances of corruption increases. Therefore, it is better not to use SD card that has been used frequently for several years.

Yes, your SD card got corrupt if it has any of these symptoms!

You will be unable to do anything with your camera as a black screen appears along with an error message 'SD card is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.'

  • Majority of photos on your SD cards is missing.
  • When you try to read the SD card through a system, no folder appears or all the folders do not open and show error messages, ‘Read / Write error on SD card’ that indicates that it cannot read from the device.
  • You are getting error messages saying that ‘memory card error’ or ‘corrupt memory card’ while trying to access your invaluable photos or elating videos stored on the card.
  • You are able to see the contents of your SD card in your camera as well as in your system, but unable to copy these contents and get an error message that disk is “write-protected.”
  • Your SD card is recognized by your PC, but you are unable to see any stored photo or video and it shows the message ‘SD card is not formatted do you want to format it now’.

Whenever your SD card gets corrupt, there is no guarantee that you will always recover your data back. In case of physical damage, you maynot be able to repair it, but a software error can be tackled by some simple ways.

Wait! Have you tried any of these First Aids/Handy fixes before going further…?

Determine the type of your SD card, if it is a high capacity or SDHC card then it may require a SDHC device to read it. At times, some devices like readers and cameras may need software/camera ware download to read the SDHC cards. Therefore, go to the device manufacturer's website and find out whether such an upgrade is needed or not.

Fix 1 - At times, some of the devices may not read an SD card, therefore, try to connect your SD card through another device.

Fix 2 - Sometimes, you might find that your computer accesses the card, but is not able to read the files on it. You can try to open some other files on the card. In case you are able to read some of them, then one or more files may be corrupt. To fix this problem you can try a reliable recovery application for SD Card

Fix 3 - Connect your SD card through a card reader to the system, if your system doesn't assign a new drive letter to it, then it isn't reading it. In some cases, the reader might be assigned a drive letter, but still you get the message "Please insert disk into drive E:" indicating that it isn't reading the card. To resolve this problem assign a new drive letter to this connected card through your operating system settings.

Fix 4 - If none of the files can be read, then possibly the directory will list the file names but the files can't be accessed. You can right-click on the drive letter and select "Properties." If you are able to view the used space on the card and if it shows all or almost all free space, then either all the files have been deleted or the directory has been erased. In this case, you can use a Sandisk inbuilt solution that might restore all the deleted files easily.

Fix 5 - If you are able to read all the files but can't save them, then your card might be in write protected mode. Unlock the switch to save or modify files on the card.

If still you are unable to read or write to the card, then possibly your files are lost or have become inaccessible. In order to fix it, you need to use a disk diagnostic tool that can work on memory cards too. Although you can also get access to your card by reformatting it, but it will remove everything on the card. Therefore, make sure you have recovered all the stored files and copied everything to another drive before SD Card format.

In case of camera or Smart phone you need to use an SD card Recovery software as most of the files stored on your SD card will be related to photos and other media files. There are a number of photo recovery tools available online which are efficient enough to avail you the best and accurate recovery results. You just need to choose the right tool and try to restore your lost, deleted and inaccessible files from the SD card.

Fix 6 - Nothing worked?? Yes, Recovery Software is your solution!

Whenever a SD card becomes inaccessible or formatted , then most of the time the stored data gets lost. However, all files remain in the same position on the card and can be recovered by a Photo recovery technology. Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software is specially designed to fetch all the lost photos and other media files from their actual place and make them visible. In order to restore all lost files from an SD card, make sure the card is not physically damaged. Additionally, stop using the USB drive before card recovery.


Recovery Steps for getting your memories back!

  • Run the ‘Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery and connect the SD card to your system to initiate the recovery of photos/music/videos from SD card. Next, select 'Recover Photo, Audio, & Video' option from the main interface.
  • The software lists all the connected volumes and external drives. Select the drive that you want to scan for recovery and click 'Start Now'. Here, you will also get the option of 'Advanced Scan' that allows you to customize the recovery on the basis of file types.
  • The ‘Advanced Scan’ option lets you to select the specific files to scan from the file list such as ‘Photo’, ‘Audio’, or ‘Video’. Additionally, you can also select the data range from the storage media. These options let you to customize the process and minimize the scanning time
  • After initiating scan you will be able to view the process in the scanning process bar. All the found files will be listed in a tree like structure format in the left hand side window pane.
  • Now, you can preview the listed items after clicking on them. Here, you can also select the desired files and click the ‘Recover’ button to initiate recovery.
  • The next window asks you to select a location to save the recovered multimedia files. Choose a desired location and save the recovered files.


Things to remember to protect your SD card!

  • Never remove a memory card while turning on/off your camera or other device.
  • Never remove your memory card while saving and viewing a photograph.
  • Do not take or view new pictures on battery low mode.
  • Never change your memory card when the camera is on.
  • Use SD cards from big brands such as SanDisk, Panasonic, Sony, Kingston, Lexar, Olympus, etc.


Supported SD cards:

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software supports almost all types memory cards, such as SD, SDHC, SDSC, SDXC, SDIO,Mini SD, Micro SD, memory cards along with SSD, MMC, CF, xD, cell phone memory card, Compact memory cards,which are used in digital cameras, camcorders, mobile phones, MP3 players and any other type media cards, etc.

About SD card capacity:

Capacities of SD cards depend upon their models, such as SDSC (SD) cards starts from 1 MB and goes up to 2 GB, where some of them starts from 4 GB and goes up to 32 GB. Apart from this SDHC starts over 2 GB and goes up to 32 GB and SDXC starts over 32 GB and goes up to 2 TB.All the SD cards work with all host devices that support SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards. SD cards are used by almost all the gadgets that have external memory slots such as digital cameras, camcorders, video game consoles,mobile phones, and all handheld computers.

SD card slot? Do today's devices need that really?

Along with various advantages SD cards also have some shortcomings which are encouraging manufacturers to remove SD slots from portable devices and replacing SD card slots with USB ports and internal memory.

Basically, it is all about business in the first place as the manufacturers want to reduce the complexity of portable devices by removing the detachable battery, and replacing the SD card slot with more internal memory. This change not only reduces the multiple things attached to the portable devices but also increases the hardware price. Limited internal storage does not decrease the use of mobile data, but increase the use of cloud storage and online services, etc. where non removable battery makes the devices disposable.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Is Cloud getting more popular than SD card???


  • The SD card market is flooded with cheap and off-brand cards on various sources. There are many SD cards that claim of higher capacity than they really are.
  • A file system that is unreliable, slow, and doesn't need user permissions to open
  • SD cards are comparatively slower and unreliable than memory chips.
  • Cloud storage is better than these portable storage devices as they offer better storage options due to which cloud storage is becoming a more viable and easier to use storage source all the time.
  • Data streaming and cloud storage make big money
  • SD card also takes physical space in the devices
  • Bigger storage options on the phone make more money

Q: I am unable to format my 16 GB SD card. It is showing a message to reformat it again. What should I do now?

Answer: At first, try to change the card reader or connect it to a different device. If still there's an issue, your card has become corrupt and you may need recovery software to recover data.

Q: How to transfer photos from my phone to my external SD card?

Answer: Go to the file manager options on your phone. From there copy your photos and paste it to your external SD card. Then delete from the original location.

Q: Can I recover raw photos from the corrupt SD card?

Answer: Yes, with Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery Software, you can recoverRAW pictures from all types of SD cards

Q: What should I do after I get error message 'SD card not formatted' while inserting SD card on Camera?

Answer: Try to format your SD card in camera itself if you are ok with losing any pre-existing records. If still not solved, then try the SD card formatter software to format it but to recover your data back, try using Stellar Phoenix.

Q: My Camera is giving the message "memory card locked" when I insert SD card into it.

Answer: Please check with the lock switch of the SD card. Correct it and then again re-insert.