SD card data recovery: How to recover deleted/lost files from SD card?

Updated by Admin to Data Recovery on June 27th, 2019

Summary: This article will show you common SD card data loss scenarios and how to recover files from SD card.

What is an SD card and how to use it?

SD card, short for Secure Digital card, is one of the more popular types of memory cards that are used to store the data backups such as the texts, the pictures, audios, videos. They are used mainly to increase and extend the storage capacity of the device which they get connected. Technically speaking, SD cards are classified into various forms like Micro SD card, Mini SD card, and standard SD card. But only the Micro SD card and standard SD card are prominently used today. Here are some well-known SD card brands: San Disk, Transcend, Lexar professional, Samsung EVO, PNY Elite, etc.

SD card

SD cards bring many benefits to people. They are so portable and lightweight, which can be used in small and remote devices, including camera cords, digital cameras, music players, personal computers and cell phones. Unlike older portable storage devices, SD memory cards store digital information with no moving parts, so they are significantly more resilient to accidental bumps and falls. In addition, SD cards consume very little power, which makes them an attractive choice for devices that use batteries.

How to use an SD card? Firstly, you should insert the SD card into your device. This process varies depending on the device. If you want to use a MicroSD card in your Android Tablets, you should insert the MicroSD card under the battery. If your phone supports Micro D card, the slots are typically located underneath the battery or along the side of the device. While on a computer, you can insert an SD card into your computer's card reader. If your computer doesn't have a card reader, you need to buy an external adapter and then connect the SD card via USB.

Accidentally deleted photos from SD card, how to recover them?

As you can see, SD card is used to extend the storage capacity. However, every coin has two sides. SD cards are also fragile that you may lose data from it. Here is a real example:

I accidentally deleted all my photos on SD card of my Canon DSLR. I immediately removed the card and haven't touched it since. What's the best deleted photo recovery software to recover data from SD card on Mac? I'm using macOS 10.14 Mojave. Thanks!

It really drives you crazy when losing the important files, especially if you have mistakenly taped the "Delete" button. Don't panic! SD card data loss is a very hot topic nowadays and many people are facing the same disaster as you. But why does this issue happen so frequently?

Let's have a look at reasons for SD card data loss.

1. Mistakenly deleted the photos/videos from SD card

It is the common SD card data loss that the user mistakenly deleted the photos/videos from SD card. Files that get deleted aren't usually truly deleted but are instead just hidden, waiting to be overwritten by new files, you can take advantage of this fact and recover deleted files you want back.

After mistakenly deleting precious photos/videos from SD card, we need to stop this SD card immediately and then find a SD card recovery software to recover deleted photos/videos.

Why do you need to stop using the SD card immediately?

Writing new photos/videos may overwrite the lost data on SD card. Once the lost photos/videos are overwritten by new data, the recovery chance will be less.

2. Mistakenly formatted SD card

After the SD card was mistakenly formatted, it is possible to recover lost data by using the timely and effective SD card data recovery software.

In order to avoid the data being leaked, many users are reluctant to hand over the SD card to others for data recovery and think it is the best choice to recover the lost data from the SD card by themselves. However, we don't have the knowledge of professional data recovery, how should we recover the lost data from the formatted SD card by ourselves?

I believe it is a doubt in many users' minds. However, if the SD card is formatted by a mistake, it is not as difficult as everyone imagined to recover lost data from the formatted SD card. As long as you find a powerful and professional SD card data recovery software, you can also use the SD card data recovery software to complete the timely and effective SD card data recovery work even if you don't know any professional data recovery knowledge beforehand.

3. SD card 0 bytes, RAW or unknown file system

SD memory card 0 bytes with RAW file system is a common problem for every SD card user, but it is still unknown for most users about how to fix RAW SD card and recover lost pictures/videos.

After encountering RAW SD card error, the user becomes unable to access anything stored on SD card. If we check the properties of this SD card in disk management, we will find the used space and free space are showing 0 bytes. Moreover, the file system is shown as RAW instead of FAT or NTFS.

RAW SD card

To access SD card, we have to format RAW SD card, but formatting would erase all the data from SD card, so it is not preferred until we recover data from RAW SD card.

4. SD card is not formatted

SD card not formatted error

1) If the SD card is not formatted on your mobile phone, first consider whether the SD card is not compatible with your mobile phone, or if you have purchased a pirated SD card.

2) The SD card is not recognized by the computer. Maybe the file system of the SD card is corrupted (Such as: SD card is not accessible, the parameter is incorrect), or the SD card is not safely ejected after using it.

3) Virus attack. Maybe the SD card is infected by virus from other computer, so SD card is not formatted when accessing it in the explorer.

4) SD card is write protected. Some SD cards have a inbuilt LOCK switch, please pay attention to check if it is off. Maybe the card reader is malfunctioned, there is something wrong when connecting to the computer, or some card readers can only be used for the specific brand model of SD card.

5) Hardware issue, for example, SD card showing incorrect capacity in Disk Management; Windows is unable to complete the format on RAW SD card; Data error (cyclic redundancy check).

RAW SD card

6) Check if there is something wrong with the card reader or USB port is faulty, you can change the card reader or a computer to check it.

5. Read/Write error on SD card

When you try to access the SD card through Windows or Mac computer, no folder and file appear, or the folders and files cannot open and show error message: Read/Write error on SD card.

Free SD card recovery software

M3 Data Recovery is a free SD card data recovery software which can recover deleted/lost files from SD card, including the photos, videos, audios, documents, etc.

M3 Data Recovery software fully supports SD card, MiniSD card, MicroSD card, SDHC card, SDXC card.

Besides SD card data recovery, M3 Data Recovery can also recover deleted or lost files from USB drive, flash drive, hard drive, external hard drive, memory card, CF card, etc. on Windows and Mac.

How to recover lost files from SD card on Windows and Mac?

The first absolute rule you need to know is - do not write any data to SD card after data loss, otherwise, you will lose the data forever once they are overwritten.

Solution 1: SD card data recovery on Windows computer

Step 1: Connect SD card to a Windows computer via card reader.

Step 2: Download and install M3 Data Recovery software on a Windows computer.

Step 3: Launch M3 Data Recovery software and choose Data Recovery module.

Data recovery software

Step 4: Select the SD card, check deep scan option and then click Next to scan lost data.

Select SD card to scan with M3 Data Recovery

Step 5: After the scan completes, please check/preview the found files or select Save session option from Help menu to save the scan result for continuous recovery next time.

Recover lost files from SD card with M3 Data Recovery

Step 6: Click Recover to save the recovered files to another drive, instead of SD card.

Solution 2: SD card data recovery on Mac computer

Step 1: Connect SD card to a Mac computer via card reader.

Step 2: Download and install M3 Mac Data Recovery software on a Mac computer.

Step 3: Launch M3 Mac Data Recovery software and choose the SD card.

Mac data recovery software

Step 4: Select the SD card and then click Next to scan lost data.

Scan lost data from SD card

Step 5: After the scan completes, please check/preview the found files: M3 Mac Data Recovery can preview (click Eye icon next to file name) the documents, photos, videos, audios, etc.

Recover data from SD card

If the found files are not ok, please return to home window, click Preferences in toolbar of M3 Mac Data Recovery, check "File types" option, select the SD card and then check deep scan option, after the scan completes, please check the files in (Reconstructed files) folder.

Step 6: Click Recover to save the recovered files to another drive, instead of SD card.

Solution 3: Recover files from SD card that is Bitlocker encrypted

Besides data recovery from SD card that is unencrypted, M3 Data Recovery can also recover lost data from Bitlocker encrypted SD card with following steps:

Step 1: Please don't write new data to SD card after data loss.

Step 2: Connect the Bitlocker encrypted SD card to a Windows computer via card reader.

Step 3: Download and install M3 Data Recovery software on a Windows computer.

Step 4: Launch M3 Data Recovery software and choose Bitlocker Recovery module.

Step 5: Select Bitlocker encrypted SD card, check deep scan option and then click Next to scan.

Step 6: Enter the password or Bitlocker recovery key to decrypt data from Bitlocker encrypted SD card.

M3 Data Recovery - Enter Bitlocker recovery key or password

Step 7: After the scan completes, please check/preview the found files or select Save session option from Help menu to save the scan result for continuous recovery next time.

Step 8: Click Recover to save the recovered files to another drive.

Solution 4: A local data recovery service

If the SD card has hardware issue, hardware issue is beyond of any data recovery software, please send it to a local data recovery service for help.

How to avoid SD card data loss again?

1. Avoid connecting SD card to the public computer: Public computer may be infected by virus attack, if you connect SD card to a computer which has been attacked by virus, the SD card will also be infected by virus. When the SD card is attacked by virus, it may stop working properly and shows 0 bytes, RAW file system.

2. Eject SD card properly: SD card is easy to be corrupted if we eject SD card improperly. If we remove SD card from your computer when SD card is still in use, SD card can also be corrupted, so we must safely remove SD card by clicking "Safely Remove Hardware" option.

3. Back up important data: Data backup is the best way to prevent data loss.

SD card data recovery FAQ

Q: I mistakenly deleted a few important photos and then take several new photos with my digital camera, is there any way to recover the deleted photos?

A: It depends on whether the deleted photos have been overwritten by new photos or not, please download M3 Data Recovery and have a try.

Q: Can I recover deleted/lost videos from SD card?

A: If the videos are larger, the recovery chance is less. Because of FAT32/exFAT file system (The most commonly used file system of SD card is FAT32 and exFAT) its own properties, the clusters where stored the large files are not continuous so that the large files cannot be recovered. Even if the recovered videos have the original file names and correct size, they still cannot be opened.

Q: SD card is not recognized by PC or Mac.

A: There are many factors caused it. Please recheck the connections. Sometimes cleaning the card reader slot solves the issue. Otherwise, a driver update for your card reader is a solution. A another reason can be due to the broken/corrupt SD card (In this situation, you need to send the corrupted/broken SD card to a local data recovery service for data recovery).

Q: Windows is unable to complete the format on RAW SD card.

A: Please try diskpart format command, SD card formatter, SD card production tool.

Q: My SD card is unreadable when I place it in my USB, the problem is that I can't even get it to be recognized on M3 Data Recovery I have downloaded. It just says it is unreadable with the computer and I can either initialize, ignore, or eject. I don't want to lose any of my data and I don't know what to do. The card was working fine last night so I am not sure what changed!

A: It should be a hardware issue, please send it to a local data recovery service for help.

Q: My SD card is corrupted and I am not able to recover my data as it was zero bytes disk space. Even I have tried deep scan with M3 Data Recovery but still it was not helpful. Kindly help me out and provide me necessary solution to fix this problem

A: It should be a hardware issue, please send it to a local data recovery service for help.

Q: SD card works in camera but not on computer.

A: 1. Change a card reader and then check if SD card works; 2. Change a computer and check if SD card works; 3. Try M3 Data Recovery to recover lost data.

Q: My SD card all of a sudden says corrupt and all the files saved on it are not on my phone anymore. I tried to plug it into a USB for the SD card reader and nothing was coming up on the computer, I still couldn't see any files. Before I order any products, will the product be able to recover anything if the SD card is not read?

A: Please try M3 Data Recovery to recover lost data before purchasing.

Q: The unreadable SD card i am trying to recover does not appear in M3 Data Recovery window either. It does not recognize it.

A: 1. Change a card reader and then check if SD card can be recognized; 2. Change a computer and check if SD card can be recognized; 3. It should be a hardware issue, please send it to a local data recovery service for help.

Q: My Mac gives the message "The Disk you inserted was not readable by this computer" when I attach my SD card to my Mac via the card reader.

A: 1. Change a card reader and then check if SD card can be read; 2. Change a computer and check if SD card can be read; 3. Try M3 Data Recovery to recover lost data; 4. Send the unreadable SD card to a local data recovery service for help.

Q: My SD card was working fine the day before and suddenly my phone couldn't detect the card anymore. When I insert the SD card into a tablet, it says SD card couldn't be read and to format the card.

A: 1. Try M3 Data Recovery to recover lost data; 2. Send the corrupted SD card to a local data recovery service for help.

Q: When I insert my SD card to android phone and reports: "This SD card is not supported. Tap to set it to supported from" Then I tap it, it tells "Erase and format" But I do not want to format it because my data stored in SD card, please tell me how to fix it.

A: 1. Try M3 Data Recovery to recover lost data; 2. Send the corrupted SD card to a local data recovery service for help.

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