SD card repair: How to fix corrupted and unreadable SD card?

Updated by Admin to Data Recovery on June 26th, 2019

Sadly my micro SD card failed on me this morning. It's saying that I need to format it. I heard there are ways to recover data from corrupted SD card. What is the best method to use?

SD cards are widely used in digital cameras and mobile phones for storing the photos, videos, etc. However, it is quite frustrating when your SD card becomes unreadable or corrupted which contains tons of important photos, videos, documents, etc. Will you just see your dedicated work disappearing without trying any effort? No, because you have a great chance to get them back. Here is how to fix corrupted/unreadable SD card and recover files from SD card.

Why SD card is not readable by Windows?

Usually, your computer won't read a micro SD card because Windows operating system can't recognize the file system of the SD card. This could be caused by a sudden power failure, unsafe ejection, virus attack and other factors. You can continue reading to figure out your situation and find an appropriate solution for your corrupted SD card.

How to fix unreadable/corrupted SD card on Windows computer?

When an SD memory card gets corrupted and unreadable, all contents stored on it become inaccessible. For example, you may suffer SD card not showing pictures on the camera or computer. If you try to open the corrupted or unreadable SD memory card on Windows computer, you will get some error messages (Such as 'File or directory is corrupted and unreadable'). If you are confronted with this similar issue, you can repair your SD card with following solutions.

Solution 1: Connect the SD card to another computer

Sometimes, SD card is not readable due to incompatibility or driver-related issues. In such case, try to connect the SD card to another computer in both PC or Mac and have a try.

Solution 2: Run the Troubleshooter

The Troubleshooter is a setting tool that can diagnose and automatically fix common problems on Windows computer. You can run "Hardware and Devices" troubleshooter and try to fix this.

Step 1: Right click on the Start button.

Step 2: Click Control Panel and select Troubleshooting.

Step 3: Select "Hardware and sound" and then select "Hardware and Devices".

Step 4: Follow the onscreen instruction to fix your unreadable/corrupted SD card.

Solution 3: Fix corrupted SD card with chkdsk command

Chkdsk is a Windows utility that can check the integrity of the hard disk and can fix various file system errors

Step 1: Insert the corrupted SD card into a Windows computer via card reader.

Step 2: Right click My Computer (Or This PC), select Manage -Storage - Disk Management and check the drive letter has been assigned to the SD card.

Step 3: Click on the "Start" option from your Windows taskbar and type "cmd" in the "search" box.

Step 4: Right-click "cmd" and then select the "Run as administrator" option.

Step 5: After opening the command prompt window, type chkdsk X: /f (Replace X with the drive letter of your corrupted SD card).

Step 6: After you press "Enter", Chkdsk will check for possible errors and try to fix corrupted SD card.

However, if you fail to fix corrupted/unreadable SD memory card using CMD, or you receive the error message "CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives", then the file system of your SD card is severely corrupted that beyond the repair scope of CHKDSK. Thus, the last way to fix this issue is to recover data and reformat the corrupted or unreadable SD/memory card. By reformatting, the corrupted SD card will be assigned with a new file system and work again.

Solution 4: Assign a new drive letter to an unreadable SD card

Connect your SD card to a card reader in the Windows Operating System, If your Operating System doesn't assign a new drive letter to it, the SD card not readable. To resolve this problem, please assign a new drive letter to the connected SD card through Disk Management built-in your Operating System.

Solution 5: Recover files from corrupted SD card

Provided that your SD card is still not readable by the computer, the file system of this SD card should have been corrupted and need to be formatted. But what you should know is formatting will not only fix the file system corruption but also will erase your data on this micro SD card. Thus, in case you lose anything important, you need to firstly recover data with M3 Data Recovery prior to formatting.

M3 Data Recovery Free is such a SD card data recovery software which can recover data from corrupted SD card, external hard drive, hard drive, pen drive, USB flash drive. It can also recover deleted files, recover data from formatted drive and recover lost partition. M3 Data Recovery supports almost all memory card types including Secure Digital Card, Compact Flash Card, xD Picture Card, Memory Stick, Micro Drive, SmartMedia Card, MultiMedia Card, MicroSD Card, MiniSD Card, SDHC, etc.

1) Download and install M3 Data Recovery on your computer.

2) Plug the corrupted SD card into your computer via the card reader and then launch M3 Data Recovery.

3) Choose "Data Recovery" module.

Free data recovery software

If the SD card is Bitlocker encrypted, please choose "Bitlocker Recovery" module to recover data from Bitlocker encrypted drive.

4) Select the corrupted SD card, check deep scan option and click Next to scan the lost data from corrupted SD card.

Recover files from corrupted SD card, memory card

5) Click Recover to start data recovery from corrupted SD card.

Solution 6: Fix corrupted SD card by reformatting

Reformatting will erase all your data on the corrupted SD card. Thus, you can directly reformat the corrupted SD card when you don't have the important data on this SD card, or have a backup copy instead. Otherwise, you need to recover data firstly.

However, if you have already formatted the SD card, don't worry, M3 Data Recovery can still help you recover data from the formatted SD card.

1. Format SD card to FAT32/exFAT with Windows built-in format tool

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Right click SD card in My Computer (This PC) or Disk Management and select "Format..." option.

Select FAT32/exFAT file system and then click "Start" button to reformat SD card.

If Windows is unable to format SD card, maybe SD card is write-protected or physically damaged, please try SD card formatter or the corresponding SD card production tool according to SD card model.

2. Format SD card to FAT32/exFAT with SD card formatter

SD card formatter formats all SD memory cards, SDHC memory cards and SDXC memory cards. SD card formatter provides quick and easy access to the full capabilities of your SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. The SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards have a "Protected Area" on the card for the SD standard's security function. The SD Card Formatter does not format the "Protected Area". Please use appropriate application software or SD-compatible device that provides SD security function to format the "Protected Area" in the memory card.

3. Format SD card to FAT32/exFAT with SD card production tool

Please go to SD card manufacturer and find corresponding production tool according to SD card model.

Solution 7: Reinstall the driver

You can try to reinstall the driver by following steps:

Step 1: Connect your SD card to a card reader in the Windows Operating system.

Step 2: Right click My Computer (Or This PC), select Manage -Device Manager.

Step 3: Double click Disk drives in Device Manager right panel and right click SD card.

Step 4: Click Uninstall and click Ok.

Step 5: Disconnect your SD card and restart your PC.

Step 6: Reconnect your SD card again and your computer will detect it.

Solution 8: Send it to a local data recovery service

What if data recovery software failed? It is greatly possible that your micro SD card is not readable by your computer because of hardware problems. And you need to send it to a local data recovery service to recover data, as long as you think your important data deserves a costly recovery.

How to fix unreadable/corrupted SD card on Mac computer?

When inserting a unreadable or corrupted SD card, CF card, memory card to your Mac computer, you will get the error message "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer" as below:

The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer

How to fix the unreadable/corrupted SD memory card and recover data? Please follow below solutions and have a try.

Solution 1: Repair unreadable SD card with disk utility

First Aid is a utility built-in the Macintosh operating system for checking and repairing file system errors on Mac hard drive, external hard drive, USB drive, flash drive, SD card, memory card, etc,.

Step 1: Open Applications -> Utilities -> Disk Utility.

Step 2: Select the unreadable SD card from the left panel in Disk Utility.

Step 3: Click First Aid button at the top of Disk Utility window.

First Aid built-in Disk Utility

Step 4: Click Run button and First Aid will check the volume for errors and then repair the unreadable SD card if necessary. If First Aid fails to repair unreadable disk, please go to solution 2 to recover data.

Solution 2: Recover data from unreadable SD memory card on Mac

M3 Mac Data Recovery is a professional data recovery software for Mac users to recover deleted files, recover data from formatted drive, recover data from unreadable drive, recover data from unmountable drive, recover data from APFS drive and encrypted APFS drive on macOS 10.14/10.13/10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

Step 1: Connect the unreadable SD card to your Mac computer via card reader.

Step 2: Download, install and launch M3 Mac Data Recovery on your Mac computer.

Step 3: Select the unreadable SD card.

Free Mac data recovery software

Step 4: M3 Mac Data Recovery is scanning the data from unreadable SD card.

Recover data from unreadable Mac hard drive

Step 5: After the scan completes, you can preview the found photos, videos, documents, etc. and then start data recovery process.

Recover data from unreadable SD card

Solution 3: Fix unreadable SD memory card by erasing

After data recovery from unreadable SD memory card is successfully done, you can erase the unreadable/corrupted SD card and use it again:

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility from Utilities in Applications folder.

Step 2: Select the unreadable SD card from the left panel in Disk Utility.

Step 3: Click the Erase tab along the top of the window and enter the related information.

Erase the drive

Step 4: Click the Erase button and then click the Erase button, the unreadable/corrupted SD card will be working again after erasing.

Solution 4: Send it to a local data recovery store

If the SD memory is still unreadble by any Mac data recovery program, you need to send it to a local data recovery store to recover your important data.

Solution 5: Contact the manufacturer

Don't care about data loss and just want to format the unreadable SD card, but disk utility fails to erase the corrupted SD card, please contact the manufacturer and change a new SD card.

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