SD (Solid State Digital) cards are unique bits of technology. Mainly, when it comes to the tiny, fingernail-sized Micro versions, these little cards can easily hold tens, hundreds, & even thousands of gigabytes of data.
Unluckily, the small size of SD cards comes with a price. Not merely can SD cards be fragile & easy to lose, but they also have a terrible tendency to stop working or even corrupted versions of your data.
Let’s take a look at how to recover data from a corrupted SD card if that’s happened to you.
Is My SD Card Corrupt?
Before we proceed to recover a corrupted SD card, let’s first talk about the symptoms that show that your SD card is suffering from corruption in the first place. Here are a few common signs that your SD card has been corrupted:
1. Firstly, you can see the files on the card but cannot read or write to them.
2. The SD card shows up as empty, although you know there are files there.
3. You can see files like photos, but once you open them, they are corrupted.
4. Copying from the card displays an impossible completion time, generally ending in copy failure.
5. The Windows 10 Disk Management Tool displays the drive but says it is empty or unreadable.
If that’s the behavior you are seeing, the chances are that your data has become corrupt or the SD card itself is in the problem.
Before attempting data recovery and doing something drastic such as formatting the SD card, you should take some necessary diagnostic steps to make sure you know which device is the problem.
1. Try the SD card on another device.
2. Try to read the SD card with a different reader.
3. Try a known working SD card in the same device.
4. Try to read the SD card through the original device by using a cable.
If the common offender is surely the SD card, then read on for more advice.
SD Card Issues Vs. Corrupted Writes
It is entirely possible that your SD card is just fine, but that the device that reads & writes data from the card messed up somehow. Probably it lost power while writing, or there is some other issue with it. In these cases, after you have recovered what data you can, you can reformat the card to make it usable.
Fake SD Cards
Suppose this is a new SD card or one that you have never really filled up before. There is a possibility that you have bought a fake SD card. “Fake” means the capacity you were sold is not what’s actually on the card.
Moreover, Fake SD cards are a scourge of modern technology. Since small capacity SD cards are so inexpensive, but larger ones are often more expensive, scammers create cards that report false capacities. For instance, your “128GB” SD card probably only has 16 GB of actual capacity. What happens is that once that 16GB SD card fills up, the card starts overwriting the first data in a loop.
It can fool us for a long time since we are likely to check merely the most recent files we have saved or might not reach the maximum capacity of the real SD size for pretty some time.
If you suspect your SD card is fake instead of corrupted, try using one of the numerous fake SD card testers available for download. FakeFlashTest is one famous solution that will tell you if your SD card is just broken or counterfeit.
Use a Disk Checker Tool
Sometimes it is not your actual SD card or data that’s gone wrong, but something about the card’s file system. Merely using the disk checker tool in your operating system will recover data from a corrupted SD card. In Windows 10. Here is what to do:
1. Open Windows Explorer
2. Right-tap on the drive in question
3. Tap on Properties
5. Tap on “Check”
6. Follow the instructions
If your actual data isn’t damaged and the SD card is physically okay, the disk checker will rebuild its logical structure, & the disk should be usable again. If the card is not working correctly, the disk checker will enable you to know.
Using Specialized Recovery Software
In case none of your DIY diagnostics yield any results & the SD card still at least shows up once you insert it, then consider using specialized SD card data recovery software.
These software packages go around the average drive management standards’ limitations & examine the SD card bit-by-bit using brute force methods. Sometimes you can recover corrupted data entirely this way or at least recover your data partially, which is far better than losing all of it.
Although these programs cannot perform miracles, the data has been physically destroyed or can’t be accessed; there is nothing the software can do.
An excellent place to start is Recuva, a great general-purpose data recovery tool that has saved our data ample times in the past.
Hire A Data Recovery Specialist
Let’s say that the info on your SD card is critical. Perhaps you merely filmed a once-in-a-lifetime event for an important project, and when you got home, it turns out the SD card does not want to work, or the data is unreadable.
Once data is valuable, you will want to consider getting a data recovery specialist’s help to recover data from a corrupted SD card. These companies have access to equipment & software far beyond the average consumer. Additionally, they can rebuild broken hardware components & directly read data from the media.
It includes common corruption errors and electronics failure, memory chip failure, water damage, fire damage, physical damage, & just about anything you can imagine.
Well, it certainly is, but engaging these specialists’ services is expensive, so the data in query has to be worth it to you.
Prevention Is Better Than The Cure
You’re reading this post because you have suffered a loss when it comes to your corrupted SD cards. I sincerely hope one of the solutions above has recovered some or even all of your data. However, sometimes data is lost forever.
Well, to stop yourself from SD data loss again, try doing the following:
1. Manually use services such as Google One, Dropbox, or OneDrive.
2. Simply use automated cloud storage to back up SD card data like photos or videos.
3. Move SD card contents from devices such as drones & cameras to your computer ASAP.
4. Keep at least 2 copies of irreplaceable data in two separate places.
5. Merely buy high-quality SD cards from reputable brands if data integrity is critical.
SD cards are relatively powerful, but they still seem to fail more often than other reliable state storage types, primarily if you use them in apps where they are frequently written. Using your SD cards in a manner that acknowledges their weaknesses will help you prevent losses in the first place.