How to Recover Game Files from Nintendo Switch SD Card

Summary: Are your games files missing from Nintendo Switch microSD card? Or you deleted the saved game data? This post provides methods to recover save data on Nintendo Switch. Also learn about the Nintendo Switch microSD card recovery software that restores deleted game files.

How to Recover Game Files from Nintendo Switch SD Card How to Recover Game Files from Nintendo Switch SD Card

With over 3,900 games to choose from Nintendo Switch is the most loved game console. Super Mario Bros, Dock Hunt, Hades, Zelda, or others, Nintendo spoils you by choice and entertainment with its every game. However, the 32 GB internal storage becomes short for a gaming console with a vast library, when it comes to storage. The expandable memory up to 2TB is helpful, but SD cards are prone to corruption and data loss. As a result, there are several complaints of accidental deletion or loss of games data from Switch microSDHC and microSDXC cards.

Why you lose game data files?

Often to free up some space on Nintendo Switch, you may accidentally delete saved games data that you might need in future. Sometimes, formatting or factory reset without taking games backup can also lead to loss of games files. Plus, microSD cards used in your Switch can get corrupted, damaged, or virus infected resulting in loss of games files.

Recover Games Data on Nintendo Switch

This post shares how to recover deleted games files from Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite microSD cards using the right methods:

Method 1: Recover Nintendo Switch save data from cloud backup

Method 2: Recover Nintendo Switch data from your local backup

Method 3: Re-download deleted game on Nintendo Switch

Method 4: Run chkdsk to fix corrupt Switch SD card and recover dataMethod 5: Recover deleted Nintendo Switch data with a software

But before that know how to protect your games data by using the Nintendo backup solutions.

How to Backup Nintendo Switch Games for Optimum Recovery

It’s crucial how you backup Nintendo Switch games to minimize the games data loss situation. Nintendo provides cloud backup services. It also lets you backup games files in external storage drive.

Points to note:

  • Saved game data can only be backed up on the Nintendo cloud and not on any external media.
  • You can copy or transfer gameplay videos and screenshots taken by you to the microSD card and use it as backup.
  • You can’t save the game software data from console’s system memory to microSD card.
  • Nintendo doesn’t support cloud save data for all its games. Here’s a list of Nintendo games compatible with save data cloud backup service.

Backup Nintendo Switch games to cloud

The Nintendo Switch Online service provides cloud storage to backup huge amount of save data of its games. In any unfortunate incident of Nintendo Switch stolen, lost, or broken, cloud is the best way to recover your game files.

Subscribe for Nintendo Switch Online membership to utilize its save data cloud service. Once you have subscribed, all the compatible games will be automatically backed up to the cloud.

Backup Switch games files to microSD card

Nintendo Switch has a feature to transfer downloaded games from system memory to microSD card. From Home screen, go to the System Settings > Data Management> Move data between console/microSD card > Move to microSD card. Select the games to transfer and click ‘Move Data’. You can copy this game data on microSD card to your computer.

Nintendo proposes to use Windows PC, as this process may not work perfectly on Mac or other systems.

Remember, the game save data won’t move to the microSD card, only videos, screenshots and other game files are transferred.

How to Recover Deleted Game Files from Nintendo Switch SD Card

Backup is critical to recovery of lost Nintendo games data. With no backup available, a recovery software can help to restore games files from Switch memory card. You can recover games saved data, videos, photos and other files using the appropriate recovery solutions given below:

Method 1: Recover Nintendo Switch saved game data from cloud backup

Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite users can recover saved data from cloud backup. For this you should have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership and at least once backed up your games data to the cloud storage.

However, downloading game files from Nintendo cloud backup will overwrite and delete the current data on your SD card. But you can avoid the data loss situation by taking the backup before restoring the previous game files from cloud.

Below are the 3 ways you can try to get save data back on Switch from cloud:

  1. Download backup from the software menu
  2. Download a backup from within System Settings from Home menu
  3. Automatic save data download using Sleep Mode

Way 1: Steps to download games backup from the software menu:

  • From the Home menu, select the game icon for which you want to recover backup data.
  • Press the -/+ buttons on the Joy-Con controllers to open the software menu.
Nintendo Switch Home menu
Figure: Nintendo Switch Home menu
  • In the game’s software menu select Save Data Cloud.
‘Download Save Data’ option
Figure: ‘Download Save Data’ option
  • Select the user, and click on Download Save Data.

Way 2: Steps to download backup from System Settings:

  • From the Home menu, select System Settings.
  • Select Data Management > Save Data Cloud.
System Settings window of Nintendo Switch
Figure: System Settings window of Nintendo Switch
  • Choose the user account. Select the backup file you want to download.
  • Select Download Save Data.

Way 3: Steps to download a backup using automatic save-data download:

  • Put the console into Sleep Mode. Make sure Internet is turned on.
  • Automatic cloud backup download begins. Wait until the games file backup is completely downloaded. It may take some time, till then let the console be in Sleep Mode.

Method 2: Recover Nintendo Switch data from a local backup

Nintendo Switch lets you create local backups on PC or Mac. If you have created the backup of your games files, use it to recover game data of Nintendo Switch.

However, don’t directly transfer or copy the backup files to your existing Nintendo Switch microSD card. This will overwrite and delete its current game data. Use a new and formatted microSD card to restore the previously backed-up data from local backup.

Now transfer the backup files from computer to Nintendo Switch via microSD card.

Steps: How to recover save data on Nintendo Switch from local backup:

  1. Connect the new or formatted Nintendo Switch SD card to your computer via card reader.
  2. Open the microSD card on your computer.
  3. Copy the backup folder saved on your computer to the SD card.
  4. Eject the SD card from computer and insert it into the Nintendo Switch console.
  5. Turn on the console and access the recovered games.

Method 3: Re-download deleted game on Nintendo Switch

Deleted a game on Nintendo Switch and lost its backup also? Re-download the deleted game from Nintendo eShop. It can recover the previously backed up game data as well.

You can re-download the game by using the same Nintendo Account with which you originally purchased the game.

Steps to re-download deleted Nintendo Switch game from eShop:

  • Login to Nintendo eShop from the Home screen.
  • Select your picture icon at top right corner.
  • Select Redownload on the left panel. A list of your purchases will appear.
Redownload games window
Figure: Redownload games window
  • Select the game that you want to re-download. Click on the orange cloud icon. This will re-download the deleted game.
  • The game will show up again in the Home menu.

Method 4: Run chkdsk to fix corrupt Switch SD card and recover data

If the SD card on Nintendo Switch is inaccessible or shows error, try to fix the issue using Windows check disk command. The chkdsk command helps to scan the storage drive for system errors and fixes the corrupt SD card.

Steps to fix the corrupt Nintendo Switch SD Card and recover games data:

  • Connect the Nintendo Switch SD card to PC.
  • Open This PC or My Computer.
  • Under Devices with Removable Storage note the drive letter assigned to the Nintendo Switch SD card.
  • In Windows search box, type “cmd”.
  • Right-click on cmd and select Run as administrator.
  • A command window opens. Type “chkdsk” followed by the drive letter of the Nintendo Switch SD card, then by a colon and /f. (e.g., chkdsk E: /f). Hit Enter. Chkdsk will scan for errors and try to fix them.
  • Now remove and reconnect the Nintendo SD card. Check if you can access the games files stored on it. If not then use an SD card recovery software to recover games stored on the Switch SD card.

Method 5: Recover deleted Nintendo Switch data with a software

Nintendo Switch save data is deleted. You mistakenly formatted the console microSD card. Switch SD card error message appears when you try to excess its data. Or to add to your woes there’s no Nintendo games backup in cloud or local drive.

In all such grim situations and more, get an advanced SD card recovery software. It should support recovery of game files from high speed microSD cards used in Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite.

Software like Stellar Photo Recovery can restore lost or deleted game photos, videos, screenshots, etc., from corrupted and error showing Nintendo memory cards. However, it’s recommended to first try the free demo of the Nintendo SD card recovery software. The free trial displays the recoverable game files.

Wrapping Up

You don’t want miss out your favorite games due to data loss. It’s best to backup Nintendo Switch games preferably in Nintendo cloud. The Nintendo Switch online subscription allows you to back up all your saved game data, screenshots, and videos.

If your Nintendo Switch save data is deleted and you have lost its backup files, re-download it from Nintendo eShop. Re-downloading not only restores your game on the console’s Home menu but also recovers its old backed up data. 

However, in absence of backup or if you have deleted games files from microSD card, try an SD card recovery software. A professional games files recovery tool can safely get back your deleted or lost game videos, photos, screenshots etc., from Nintendo Switch microSD card in no time. 

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