7 Ways to Fix Corrupt SD Memory Cards & SD Card Recovery

“How do I recover data from a corrupted SD card that is not detectable or readable on any device?”, “How do I recover data from a formatted SD card?” “I accidentally formatted an SD card, is there any SD card image recovery?”, “How do I recover deleted media on SD card?”

There are several questions doing rounds on the Internet reflecting the scare of SD card corruption and losing valuable data from the flash memory storage devices.

If you are reading this article, probably the damage has already been done. Cut to a situation where the SD card gets corrupt and you lose your important photos, videos or valuable documents saved on the card? Now, on one hand, you need to fix your SD memory card, while, on the other, you need to perform SD card recovery effortlessly and cautiously, without losing any data.

The pain area remains the fact that SD cards are easily prone to corruption, physical or logical damage, accidental formatting or/and deletion. Thus, if your data is not backed up on cloud or you are not familiar with AI backup and recovery tools, then you can easily lose your multimedia files, apps and other files stored on the SD card because of this.

To tackle and/or avoid difficult situations such as permanent data loss, it is advisable to look out for common signs and symptoms of corrupted SD Cards and timely use of efficient SD card recovery methods.

NOTE: In this comprehensive guide, we touch upon the different indications of SD card corruption, methods for SD card recovery and the best fixes for your corrupted SD cards. To round it up, you would also find some important tips to protect your SD cards and keep them healthy for a long time.

Signs & Symptoms of SD Card Corruption and Data Loss Scare

An SD card or a Secure Digital Card is a type of flash memory card that has a tiny chip encased in plastic. The small storage device can easily get damaged or corrupted. It is important to look for the first signs of physical or logical damage in an SD card, before it’s too late!

If your SD Memory Card shows any of the signs and symptoms listed below, there is a good chance that it has got corrupted. Look for these indications to be able to act fast and save your precious data on your memory card.

If a black screen appears flashing error message 'SD card is not accessible’.
When you try to read the SD card, no folder appears, or the folders do not open and show error messages - 'Read / Write error on SD card'.
When you can see SD card files in your camera/ system, but are unable to copy these files and get an error message 'write-protected’.
If you are unable to see any stored photo or video and get an error message 'SD card is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?'
If you are unable to add, delete, copy or save files on your SD card.
If there are missing files or photos that you have not deleted.
If your operating system shows the wrong SD card capacity. It could be corrupt or just formatted incorrectly.
Corrupt SD card drivers can bring down the performance of your SD card resulting in slow data transfers.
If your device is malfunctioning, it could be a clear sign of SD Memory Card corruption and warrant the use of a data recovery software.
If your SD card displays as RAW, it indicates that it has been properly formatted with a file system.

SD Card Recovery Tools and Methods

Whether you are looking to expand the storage on your smartphones, camcorder or other devices, need to transfer files between devices or backup important data, you need the magic chip once in a while.

A corrupted SD Card can lead to frustration, loss of time and effort. Despite all your toil, there is no guarantee that you will recover your data back with 100% accuracy. Moreover, it is difficult to repair SD cards with physical damage such as partially broken or damaged SD card, burned, drowned or scratched SD card etc. However, it is still feasible to fix logical errors in an SD card.

Before proceeding with the advanced SD recovery methods or formatting your SD card, there are many easy fixes that you can try. First, determine the type of your SD card. In some cases, an SDHC device can be used to read corrupted SD cards. Some devices, like readers and some cameras, may need software to easily read the SDHC cards. You can visit the device manufacturer’s website and find an upgrade that would be required for it.

You can also use some of the methods detailed below to recover your lost or deleted data from the SD cards before fixing it.

Method 1: Use Stellar Photo Recovery Software for SD Card Recovery

Your memories are precious! You no longer need to worry about losing your beautiful moments due to corrupted SD cards. Use an efficient photo recovery software such a Stellar Photo Recovery and recover your multimedia files effortlessly.

Step 1: Download and install Stellar Photo Recovery software.

Step 2: Connect the corrupted SD card to your system to initiate recovery of your photos, audio files, video

Step 3: Launch the software and select the drive, volume, or external storage drive that you want to scan for recovery. Click ‘Scan’.

Step 4:  After initiating a scan, you can preview the recoverable files that you need to restore.

Step 5: Select the photo, video, and audio files you want to recover and click ‘Recover’ to initiate recovery and save the files at the desired location.

NOTE: Follow the step-by-step instructions in this Video Tutorial showing recovery of deleted photos from SD card.

Method 2: Recover Data from SD Card/Internal Storage using Android Data Recovery software

Today, most people are looking for a solution to recover data directly from their Android phones. So, whether you need to recover from a corrupt SD card in your Android mobile phone or straight from internal storage, there is a specialized Android data recovery tool for you.

Stellar Data Recovery for Android can help you retrieve lost files from your Android mobile internal memory in a matter of a few steps. You can easily recover deleted data including images, videos, documents, audio files, contacts, call logs, text messages etc. from Android phones without rooting.

All you need to do is download and install the Stellar Data Recovery for Android on your system and launch it. In the meantime, connect your Android mobile phone to your system using a USB cable. Choose 'File Transfer/Android Auto' when prompted on your device. Use ‘Enable USB debugging’ in the phone's settings, then select your device on the software screen and start the scan. After running the scan, you can easily preview the recoverable files. Select the files you need to recover, and save them to a desired location.

Method 3: Show Hidden Files on SD Card

If your SD card continues to show empty or displays partial files error even after being repaired, it indicates that there are files hidden on it.

In order to display the hidden files in your SD card, follow the simple steps given below:

Step 1. Connect your SD card to the system and press “Windows + E” to start the Windows Explorer.

Step 2. Now right-click on the SD card. Select "Properties".

Step 3. Follow: Properties > View > Hidden files and folders and click "Show hidden files, folders, and drives".

Step 4. Lastly, click "Apply" and, then "OK".

7 Fixes For Corrupt SD Card Recovery and Photo Recovery (An Infographic Chart)

SD card Recovery

There are plenty of methods to fix your corrupt SD Card and recover your data. The best 10 solutions that can help you easily fix your SD card corruption are detailed below:

Fix 1: Connect SD card to another device

At times, some of the devices may not read an SD card or they are incompatible to that SD card. In such cases, try to connect your SD card to another device.

Fix 2: Try chkdsk command

try chkdsk command

Type "chkdsk" followed by drive letter, colon and /f at the command prompt: Insert the affected card into a card reader and connect it to your system. Click on the "Start" option from your Windows taskbar and then select the "Computer" option. Search for your SD card under "Devices with Removable Storage" and note the drive letter assigned.

Next, click the "Start" option again and type "cmd" in the "search" box. Right-click "cmd" and then select the "Run as administrator" option. A command window opens, and you can fix your corrupt memory card from here. Next, type "chkdsk" followed by the drive letter corresponding to the SD card, then by a colon and /f. After you press "enter", the Chkdsk will check for possible errors and try to fix the corrupt SD card. Follow the subsequent message prompts. Lastly, check your assigned drive letter to your SD card to verify if the files are recovered or not.

Fix 3: Assign a new drive letter

Fix Corrupted SD Cards

Connect your SD card to a card reader to the system, if your system does not assign a new drive letter to it, then it isn't reading it or the card is unreadable. In some cases, the reader might be assigned a drive letter, but still, you get the message "Please insert the 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: Use Sandisk in-built solution

If none of the files can be read, then possibly the directory will list the filenames, but the files can't be accessed. You can right-click on the drive letter and select "Properties." If you can 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: Format SD card

Format SD card

If you can read all the files but cannot save them, then your card might be in write protected mode. Unlock the write-protection 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. 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, 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 the case of cameras or Smartphones 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 some sd card 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: Reinstall the driver

Reinstall the driver

You can try to reinstall the driver. To do so follow these steps:

  • Go to and right click on My Computer/ This PC. Click on the option Manage.
  • Click on Device Manager option on the left side.
  • Double-Click Disk Drives option from the list. Then Right Click on the name of your removable drive.
  • Click on Uninstall and click on Ok.
  • Disconnect your storage media and restart your PC.
  • Reconnect your SD card again. Your PC will detect it.

Fix 7: Nothing worked? Yes, Recovery Software is your solution!

Photo Recovery Software

Whenever an SD card becomes inaccessible or formatted, mostly the stored data gets lost. However, all files remain in the same position on the card and can be recovered by a photo recovery software. Stellar Photo Recovery Software is specially designed to fetch all the lost photos and other media files from their actual place and make them visible. To restore all lost files from an SD card, make sure the card is not physically damaged. Additionally, stop using your SD card before recovery.

NOTE: Stellar Photo Recovery software supports a wide range of SD 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.

Tips for SD Card Protection Against Corruption

Although it is easier to recover files from your corrupt SD card using the simple data recovery software, it is always preferred to avoid SD card corruption and subsequent data loss in the first place. Barring the instances of hardware or other defects, most SD card corruption scenarios can be prevented employing some useful tips given below:

  • Tip 1: You should be careful while removing a memory card from your camera or other devices. Never remove it while turning on or off your device. Also, avoid removing the SD card while saving and viewing a photograph. This way you would not interrupt a write operation and let it complete. In the end, we do not need corrupt files or a corrupt SD card issue.
  • Tip 2: If the battery is low on your camera or Android device, avoid taking or viewing pictures. You can easily corrupt your SD card or pictures if the device turns off suddenly.
  • Tip 3: You should never change an SD card or memory card when the camera or other devices are on. This is a similar situation to removing the SD card while the device is on and you are assessing the data on it.
  • Tip 4: Use SD cards from reputed brands such as SanDisk, Panasonic, Sony, Kingston, Lexar, Olympus, etc.
  • Tip 5: Create a complete backup of your SD card beforehand. You can do it manually by copying and pasting the files on your memory card. Also, use a third party software to backup your files on a device. Lastly, the most popular backup option is to create a backup for your SD card on Cloud. This way, you are not only protecting the data on the card from corruption but also freeing up a lot of space on the drive.
  • Tip 6: Do not lose your important data to virus attacks. Protect your SD card and other storage devices from malware, and other infections using antivirus software.
  • Tip 7: Imagine ejecting your SD card without unplugging it properly from your device. You should also avoid pulling out the card from your device without proper ejection of the card. This can easily lead to SD card RAW issue as your operating system would not be able to finish all read/write operations. This can further lead to potential data loss and even require you to format your SD card. To prevent this, eject and use your SD cards and memory cards in the right way.
  • Tip 8: If you are in the habit of using the same SD card with multiple devices, you are increasing the chances of SD card corruption taking place. Some devices can rob off your SD card of storage space and using the same card on different devices can result in corruption and data loss. Hence, resort to data backup on your SD card and use different SD cards for different devices.
  • Tip 9: Avoid overfilling your SD card to ensure that there is empty space available on it. This is essential to easily write new data on the memory card while skipping the bad sectors on it. Hence, a large SD card is also the preferred choice a smaller one as there is more available space to write fresh data.
  • Tip 10: An SD memory card can be easily damaged by dust, water, wear and tear and improper storage. They need proper storage and handling, especially, when not in use.


SD cards continue to enjoy widespread usage and the chances of data loss on this common storage device is still huge. It has become imperative to use a data recovery software such as Stellar Photo Recovery to be able to retrieve your memorable photos, important documents and more in a matter of a few, simple steps.

You should also be vigilant about the data loss scenarios that can arise due to corrupted SD card. There are many ways to protect your SD card against corruption and damage. You can look for the best backup solutions and work around the key areas to avoid any SD Memory card corruption and losing your valuable data in the first place.

Was this article helpful?
Cloud or SD card, both have their own benefits and limitations. You have to choose as per your requirement. Cloud services are free but up to a limited data while SD cards cost depends upon the type and capacity. There are possibilities of SD card corruption & data loss, but with Cloud you don't have to worry about these factors. You cannot access Cloud without Internet services like in case of SD card. For business and professionals who have large data to store, Cloud may be a preferred option against SD cards. The portable memory cards are better off for storing and transferring photos, videos, etc., and accessing it anytime anywhere without the need for Wi-Fi or mobile data.
In that case, you can recover lost or deleted data from iOS devices, iCloud backup, and iTunes backup with the help of iPhone data recovery software. The software can recover lost or deleted data due to Jailbreaking iOS device, Damaged/broken/lost/stolen iPhone, Water damage, iPhone stuck in recovery mode, stuck at Apple logo screen, factory reset loop, virus attack, black screen/white screen of death, iOS upgrade etc. Moreover, if you have difficulty extracting information from iTunes and iCloud backup or iTunes/iCloud backup is corrupt or not compatible, you can easily choose the selective information and retrieve them in a simple and secure way.
First try by changing the card reader or connect your SD card to a different device. If still there's an issue, your card has become corrupt, and you may need a memory card recovery software to recover data.
Android phones have File Manager app that you can use to move photos from phone's internal memory to SD card. If your device doesn't have ES File Explorer app, download it from Google App store.Open File Explorer and select Images option. Select photos that you want to move to SD card. Tap Move to option at the lower-right side of the phone screen. A menu will appear. Select your SD card from the menu. Select a folder on your SD card into which you want to move the photos. All the photos are moved from internal storage of phone to the external SD card.
Yes, with Stellar Photo Recovery Software Mac version, you can recover RAW pictures from all types of SD cards.
Please check the lock switch on the left side of SD card. Slide it up to unlock it.
Recheck the device connections. If the problem is not resolved, follow the given solutions in this article. One of them should fix the issue.
Stellar Photo Recovery software is especially for photos, videos, & music files recovery from hard drive, SD card, flash memory cards, pen drive or any other external storage media. To recover your documents, excel files, PDFs, PPTs and other lost data from any storage media, use Stellar Data Recovery software.
Your SD card may not work on PC, if it is not working in DSLR. Try to transfer your photos to PC if possible, else take the help of memory card recovery software to restore your photos stored on it. Next, you can format your SD card to fix the issue and reuse it. .
Check the physical connections of your device, if they are working properly, including SD card slot, USB cable etc. While to recover data from unreadable SD card, you can try SD card recovery tool for Mac.
About The Author
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Nishat Paiker linkdin Icon

A passionate content creator with over 8 years’ of experience.

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