How to fix/recover corrupted and unreadable SD memory card?

By Katrina | Posted to Data Recovery, updated on April 10th, 2019 |

Summary: If your SD card is corrupted and becomes inaccessible, here you will learn how to repair the corrupted SD memory card and how to use SD card data recovery software effectively. Now free download iBoysoft Data Recovery to recover lost data from the corrupted SD card.

SD cards are widely used in digital cameras, computers, phones, etc. for saving files. However, it can be frustrating when your SD card becomes unreadable or corrupted while it still contains important photos, videos and documents. When this happens, are you expected to just sit back and watch your important files and documents disappear without even trying to get them back? No, absolutely not! As frustrating as it is, there are ways of retrieving your lost files. Here's a look at how to repair a corrupted SD card and retrieve your lost data.

Table of contents
1. How to fix/repair corrupted and unreadable SD memory card?
2. How to recover data when your SD card is inaccessible?
3. Final advice on SD card data recovery

How to fix/repair a corrupted and unreadable SD memory card?

Hi All, we took tons of pictures on our personal point and shoot camera at my wedding. While taking the pictures, the immediate preview was available and there were never any error messages on the camera. However, none of our wedding pictures are available on the SD card anymore now. Are my photos gone forever? I've already tried Zero Assumption and it doesn't return any more pictures than what I can already see. Is there any other way I can fix this corrupted SD card and recover my pictures from this SD card?

-- From Tom's Hardware Forums

When an SD memory card becomes corrupted and unreadable, all contents stored on it become inaccessible. For example, you may find that your SD card is not showing pictures on the camera or computer. If you try to open the corrupted or unreadable SD memory card via Windows computers, you will likely receive certain error messages. One common error message you may encounter for example, may read: 'File or directory is corrupted and unreadable'. If you find yourself faced with similar issues, you can repair your SD card with these ready-to-use solutions.

Solution 1:Repair corrupted/unreadable SD memory cards with CHKDSK command

CHKDSK is a built-in Windows utility that can check the integrity of your disk and can fix various file system errors, such as: bad sectors, lost clusters, cross-linked files, directory errors, etc. Therefore, you can repair corrupted SD cards by CHKDSK, especially when your SD card becomes unreadable due to file system corruption. If this process is successful, you will regain access to the SD memory card as well as to all your files.

Step 1: Plug your corrupted/unreadable SD memory card into your computer with a card reader.

Step 2: Go to the Start menu of your Windows computer, type in "cmd" in the search bar, and press Enter.

Step 3: Right click "cmd.exe" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 4: Type in "chkdsk volume: /f" in the command prompt, where "volume" is the drive letter of your SD card. (For example, if the drive letter of your SD card is "G", then you need to type in "chkdsk G: /f".)

When you see "Windows has made corrections to the file system" in the command window after several minutes, you have successfully fixed corrupted and unreadable SD memory card via chkdsk /f command.

Solution 2:Fix SD memory card corruption by reformatting

If your efforts to repair the corrupted/unreadable SD memory card using CMD were unsuccessful, or you received the error message "CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives", this likely means that the file system of your SD card is severely corrupted beyond the reparation scope of CHKDSK. Thus, the only solution for fixing this issue is to reformat the corrupted or unreadable SD memory card. By reformatting, the corrupted SD card will be assigned a new file system and work again as good as new.

Warning: Reformatting will erase all data you have stored on the corrupted SD card. Because of this, you should only resort to this solution as a last resort when you have no important data stored on this SD card, or if you have a backup copy instead. Otherwise, you will first need to recover lost data with iBoysoft Data Recovery by following the tutorial in the next section.

If you have already formatted the SD card, don't worry, iBoysoft Data Recovery can still help you recover data from the formatted SD cards.

Step 1: Connect the corrupted SD card to your Windows computer.

Step 2: Right-click on "This PC" or "My computer" on the desktop and choose Manage.

Step 3: Choose "Disk Management" in the left sidebar when you enter into "Computer Management".

Step 4: Locate your SD card by the disk information and right-click on it.

Step 5: Choose "Format" and then you can select the file system and set the cluster size in the wizard.

Step 6: Click "OK" to finish reformatting.

How to recover data when your SD card is inaccessible?

For most people, the data stored on their corrupted SD card matters more than the card itself. Because of this, many users are looking for tried and tested solutions to fix SD card corruption errors without formatting. When you don't have a backup copy of the important files on the unreadable SD card, you can still recover your data with SD card data recovery software.

iBoysoft Data Recovery is a perfect example of a tried and tested SD card data recovery tool. It is particularly useful when dealing with deleted/lost data recovery issues affecting different memory cards, including: SD memory Cards, Memory Sticks, micro SD Cards, as well as hard drives and USB flash drives. This software is fully compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003, where you can recover emails, photos, music, audio, and other types of files with ease.

How to recover data from corrupted/damaged SD memory card?

Infographic tutorial: How to recover data from corrupted SD cards

Recover data from corrupted/unreadable SD memory cards

Text tutorial: How to recover data from corrupted SD cards?

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your computer.

Step 2: Connect the unreadable SD memory card to the computer with a card reader.

Step 3: Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery and select the corrupted/unreadable SD memory card in the interface.

Recover data from corrupted/unreadable SD memory card with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 4: Click "Next" to search for lost files on the corrupted/unreadable SD memory card.

Step 5: Double-click the found files to preview and then click "Recover" to get them back.

Final words of advice on SD card recovery

When your SD card is corrupted, it is worth checking to see if the warranty of your corrupted SD memory is still valid or not. If so, providing you don't have any important files stored on the SD card, it may be easier to simply seek a refund or replace the card with a brand-new one.

If unfortunately you have important files on the SD memory cards, such as wedding photos, toddlers videos, work files, etc., you can follow the tutorial on this page to recover lost photos from SD cards with iBoysoft Data Recovery.

It's also worth noting that, even though you can perform an SD card data recovery in the event of files being lost, the most economical and fool-proof method for avoiding data loss is to back up your files regularly.

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Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.

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