Photo Recovery

How to Unformat SD Card on Camera?

Table of Content

    Summary: Accidentally formatted an SD card on camera and lost your precious photos? Simply unformat the card and restore your lost data using advanced photo recovery tool.

    Formatting an SD card by mistake is surprisingly common. A moment’s distraction while using an app on your device can lead to an unintended format. The situation with Windows can be more troublesome as an incompatible or corrupted SD card will trigger an automatic format prompt.

    Sometimes, you might intentionally format the card, only to realize later that you mistakenly wiped out some critical files. But don’t despair! Accidents happen and thankfully, there are measures available to retrieve your files from any camera or SD card. Stick around, and I’ll show you the ropes.

    Here’s a pro tip: Once you’ve formatted, treat that SD card like a crime scene and stop using it immediately! That way, you’ll keep your data fingerprints intact for recovery.

    Types of SD Card Formats

    “Unformatting” an SD card means actively recovering the data lost during formatting. But can you get your files back? That depends on how you initially formatted the card. Consider these three prevalent formatting methods to determine your next steps:

    • Quick formatting: Quick Format doesn’t wipe out the data instantly; rather, it designates the space of the deleted data as ready for new data. The interval between performing a quick format to saving new data is critical for maximum data retrieval. Therefore, it’s crucial to move swiftly if you intend to recover your files.
    • Full formatting: Full formatting thoroughly erases your SD card by filling it with zeroes. It also performs a scan to identify and isolate any defective sectors, preventing them from being used for storage later. Once it’s complete, the previously stored data on the card is irretrievable.
    • Formatting SD card in Android or Camera: When you format an SD card in an Android device or camera, it’s usually a quick format, not a deep one. This means you can restore your SD card’s data with the right recovery software.

    How to Unformat SD Card on Camera?

    • Remove the SD card from your camera.
    • Connect the SD card to your computer using a built-in card slot or a third-party card reader.
    • Use photo recovery software to unformat the SD card.

    Most Reliable Tool to Unformat SD Card

    With the help of Stellar Photo Recovery, you can recover lost or deleted photos, videos, and audio in any file format. This photo recovery software helps you retrieve media files from all kinds of storage drives and comes with support for both Windows & Mac.
    In addition to the Standard edition, Stellar Photo Recovery comes in Professional and Premium editions offering photo and video repair capabilities, respectively.

    The upcoming section will guide on how do you unformat an SD card.

    To Recover Data from SD Card

    Step 1. Run Stellar Photo Recovery.

    When you launch the software, it displays a screen showing all connected hard drives, media & SD cards.

    How do you unformat an SD card

    Step 2. Simply choose the SD card from the removable disk section to look for your photos, audio, and video files.

    Step 3. Click Scan.

    As the scan progresses, a screen will visualize the process for you. If you need to halt the scanning, simply hit Stop at any stage.

    Click scan to unformat an SD card

    After the scan finishes, the system actively presents the file and folder details in a dialog box, as illustrated:

    Details are displayed in a dialog box.

    Note: If your file or folder does not appear in the initial scan results, activate the Deep Scan feature to conduct an exhaustive search of the chosen drive or directory.

    Performing Deep Scan

    Step 5. From Recover Photo, Audio & Video screen, select SD card from removable disk.

    Step 6. Enable the Deep Scan toggle button, which is on the bottom-left of your screen, and now click Scan.

    Enable deep scan to unformat an SD card.

    Previewing Scan Results

    After the scanning process is completed, all the files are listed in a Preview window as shown below:

    Post scan a preview window appears.

    You can access your folders in three viewing modes:

    • File Type: In this layout, the system organizes files and folders by category, specifically photos, audio, and videos.
    • Tree View: This layout displays folders in an organized, tiered structure.
    • Deleted List: This view displays every file and folder that has been removed from the drive.

    Click a file in the bottom-right pane for a preview.

    Note: You can only preview the supported files.

    Saving the Recovered Files

    Step 8. From the Preview window, select the files and folders you want to retrieve and click Recover.

    Step 9. A Recover dialog box is displayed. Click on Browse to select a destination for your saved files.

    A recover box is displayed.

    Step 10. Finally, click Start Saving to initiate the saving process.

    The selected files will be recovered and saved at the specified location.

    Click start saving.

    Tips to Avoid Accidental Formatting of SD Card

    Lastly, to prevent accidental formatting in the future, here are some tips:

    • Always back up your data regularly.
    • Use write-protection features to avoid unintended modifications.
    • Double-check before proceeding with any formatting commands.

    Staying vigilant with these practices will safeguard your valuable information from accidental erasure.


    Q. How do I undo a format on my SD card?

    A. You can’t undo the formatting of your SD card. However, you can retrieve your data using the Photo Recovery tool if it hasn’t been overwritten.

    Q. Why am I unable to format my memory card?

    A. Formatting issues typically arise due to SD card corruption, bad sectors, or a virus attack. Read more here: SD card not working after Format

    Q. How do I know if my SD card is corrupted?

    A. Your SD card is corrupted when digital cameras and other compatible devices fail to recognize it.

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    About The Author

    Rishabh Singh

    "Rishabh is a senior content specialist at Stellar Information technology where he writes about data care technology. As a technology writer and marketer with over five years of experience, he has covered frontier technologies like AR/VR, IOT, AI, Blockchain and more. Outside of his professional pursuits, he loves reading fiction and critical theory."

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