Summary: This blog shares what is SD card formatting and how to recover photos when you accidentally format an SD card. You will also learn steps to recover photos from formatted SD cards of cameras, Android phones, and other devices using an efficient formatted SD card recovery software..
Case 1: ‘I accidentally hit ‘Format’ on my PC as it was showing a message –‘The disk drive is not formatted, format it now’. Is there a way to recover photos from the formatted SD card? My wife is devastated as it had pictures of our daughter’s first birthday.
’Case 2: ‘I formatted the SD card in my Sony DSC RX10 camera, assuming that I had copied all my photos from it. Now I have lost a bunch of precious photos. Can I recover pictures from the formatted SD card?’
Once an SD card is formatted, all its data including photos is wiped out. Often accidently, and sometimes when you are left with no option other than formatting to reuse the SD card.
Losing valuable photos due to formatting may cause a lot of emotional stress. But can you recover pictures from a formatted SD card?
Tip: Back up your photos from SD card to hard drive(s) quiet OFTEN!
What happens when you format an SD card?
Formatting removes file system address table, i.e., information about the data (photos) location on the SD card. This means your SD card cannot locate the image files and folders on it anymore. This makes the stored photos invisible and shows the SD card as empty. However, technically, your image files are still present on the storage media and not gone until you overwrite them with new items.
Can you recover photos from a formatted SD card?
You can restore lost photos from formatted SD card with the help of a professional formatted SD card recovery software.
Having said that, it’s important to know that there are two types of formatting processes in Windows – Quick Format and Full Format.
Full format erases SD card from scratch i.e. removes the photos beyond recovery. Quick format, replaces the file system or index with a new one. The space on the memory card is marked free and unused without actually deleting data on it. Thus, photos after a quick format can be recovered.
Note: Always select the Quick Format checkbox to format the SD card. Recovering photos from a Quick Format process is easier.
How to recover photos from formatted SD card?
In the absence of backup, a professional photo recovery software can recover formatted SD card photos. There’s no other workaround or technique to restore photos from formatted memory cards.
As soon as you realize the loss of photos due to formatting, immediately stop using the SD card to avoid overwriting. Next, download and install professional photo recovery tool, Stellar Photo Recovery which is designed to recover photos from formatted media. The software is widely used for its high success rate and support for all types of camera storage cards. It recovers all image file formats without affecting their original quality.
Stellar SD card recovery tool works on formatted, corrupt, damaged, and virus infected storage cards.
Recovers RAW file formats of leading camera brands
Recovers raster and vector images
Recovers photos with original name, date, and timestamp
Two-level scan – Quick and Deep Scan for greater efficiency
Recovers video and audio files as well
Step-by-step: How to recover formatted SD card photos
Download and install Stellar Photo Recovery on your Windows PC or Mac.
Connect the formatted SD card to computer and launch the software.
On the first screen of the software, select your SD card and turn on ‘Deep Scan’ at the bottom-left corner.
Preview all the found photos; select the files & folders that you want to recover; and click Recover.
Next, click Browse to select a location and save the recovered photos.
Note: Do not select the formatted SD card from where the photos are recovered. Choose a different location on an internal or external drive/ media to save the recovered photos.
Watch the below video on Formatted SD card Recovery
Is it possible to recover photos from a formatted SD card on Android phones?
Lost photos from formatted SD card, being used as an adoptable internal storage on Android, can be recovered by using Stellar SD card recovery software. But this time with some additional steps as below —
Move all data on the adoptable SD card to Internal Storage of your Android.
Decrypt the SD card on Android by reformatting it. Go to Settings > Storage > Storage Settings > Format as portable > Format
Unmount it from your device and connect with computer via a card reader.
Follow the steps shared above to recover photos.
How to recover photos when SD card error asks to format?
Are you getting errors like ‘SD card is damaged. Try reformatting it’ or ‘You need to format the drive F: before use’?
Immediately stop using your SD card in such case and perform Chkdsk (check disk) command to fix the issue. Next, try to access your photos stored on it. If you are still unable to access your photos, use Stellar Photo Recovery software for SD card photo recovery.
Steps to perform Chkdsk command:
Type cmd in the Search box on your Windows PC.
Right-click cmd and select the Run as Administrator
Type chkdsk< SD card drive letter >:/f (e.g., chkdsk E: /f) in command prompt and press Enter.
The market has a multitude of SD card recovery software, which includes both free and paid varieties. Choose your photo recovery tool for formatted SD card judiciously, after careful evaluation of the features based on your specific needs and overall value.
Make sure you pick the one from a reputed and trusted data care brand that offers 100% safe and secure solution. Avoid using free tools, as they may put your computers at risk of virus infection and adware. Also, many tools may promise complete recovery from formatted SD card, but may not deliver the expected results.
The best way to assess a formatted SD card recovery software to restore photos is to try its demo version before buying.
It’s obvious to lose saved photos after formatting an SD card. But you can recover them by using a professional photo recovery software such as Stellar Photo Recovery.
It efficiently recoups photos from the formatted microSD card, SDHC, and SDXC of any brand, class, and capacity. Moreover, it maintains the original quality of photos after recovery. You can try it for free on Windows or Mac systems.
For any query, feel free to comment in the box below.
Sumona is a technical blogger with experience in writing data recovery tips and tutorials. She has over 7-year experience in data recovery/repair technology. She is passionate about Photography and Exploring lesser-known destinations.