Fix Your Corrupt SD Memory Cards and Recover Photos & Videos


7 Ways to Fix Corrupted SD Memory Cards & SD Card Recovery​

Note: While the motto of this article is conglomerating SD card facts, corruption issues and all of their possible fixes, don't forget to check out for the best SD card recovery solution after reading this article.

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. This generation of SD cards provides 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 smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and many other devices.

Apart from these benefits, occasionally, users might also encounter certain issues with SD cards about the 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.

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 frequently been used 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.'

  • Most of the 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 precious photos or videos stored on the card.
  • You can 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 the case of physical damage, you may not be able to repair it, but a software error can be tackled in some simple ways.

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

Determine the type of your SD card; then it may require an SDHC device to read it. At times, some devices like readers and cameras may need software 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 to another device.

Fix 2 - 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 - Connect your SD card to 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 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 - 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 - If you can 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. 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 camera or Smartphone 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- You can try to reinstall the driver. To do so follow these steps:

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

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

Whenever an 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. 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.

Recovery Steps for getting your memories back!

  • Download & install 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 by file types.
  • The 'Advanced Scan' option lets you 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 customize the process and minimize the scanning time
  • After initiating a 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 by 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 the 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 devices.
  • 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 on their models, such as SDSC (SD) cards starts from 1 MB and goes up to 2 GB, where some of them start from 4 GB and go 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?

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.

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 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 recover RAW 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 the camera itself if you are ok with losing any pre-existing records. If still not solved, then try the SD card formatting 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 on the SD card. Correct it and then again re-insert.

Q: SD card is not being recognized by PC. What can I do now?

Answer: SD cards not being recognized, can be a result of many factors. Recheck the connections. Sometimes cleaning the card reader slot solves the issue. Otherwise, a driver update for your card reader can be the solution. For updating, go to the "Device Manager" section from the task bar of your PC. From there, update the driver online. An another reason can be due to the broken/corrupt card.

Q: Can I also recover my word, excel document using SD card recovery software?

Answer: No, SD card recovery software i.e. Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery software recovers only Photos, Videos, & Music files from hard drive, SD Card, Flash Memory Cards, Pen Drive or any other external storage media. You need to see Hard Drive Recovery Software to recover your documents or any other lost data from any storage media.

Q: I am getting an error message "this memory card cannot be used. card may be damaged. insert another card" in Nikon D3200 SD card. How to fix and recover?

Answer: In this type of case, the SD card may work in PC, if not in your DSLR. Try to transfer your photos to your PC if possible or else take the help of the above-mentioned SD card recovery software to backup your photos. Next, try to format your SD card in the DSLR itself.

Q: My Macbook is unable to read the SD card. I have tried various methods, but nothing seems to work. Please help

Answer: Try our sd card recovery tool to recover your data. Sometimes, it is not the problem of the system or SD card. It may be also because of the SD card slot. The SD card slot may get jammed or blocked by dust or something else also. Sometimes, cleaning it by blowing air into it or with some folded paper may also help to sort out your problem

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