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Flash memory cards have revolutionized the world of data transfer and storage. Their durability and size have made them ideal for carrying around data and for use in many mobile devices where hard drives might be susceptible to damage. Like other forms of data storage, memory cards can be victims of data corruption and accidental deletion. What can you do if data is deleted from a card and you want to recover it? SanDisk, the original and largest manufacturer of flash memory cards sells "SD Cards" of various sizes. The name "SD card" has become synonymous with flash memory. This article will focus on one option to restore deleted SD card files.

How to Recover Image from SD Card

Step 1

Determine the type of SD card you have. If it is 2GB or less, then it is a standard SD card. If it is 4GB or greater, then it is a high capacity or SDHC card. (There are some 4GB standard SD cards but most are SDHC). An SDHC reader is required to read the high capacity cards since the memory allocation formatting is different. If your data is on an SDHC card, it may be intact but you'll need the SDHC device to read it. Some devices, such as readers and cameras, may have software downloads available to upgrade the device to read the SDHC cards. Go to the device manufacturer's website to determine whether such an upgrade is available.

Step 2

Insert your SD card into the card reader. If no drive letter is assigned to it, then the computer isn't reading it. In some cases, the reader may be assigned a drive letter but when you click on it you get the message "Please insert disk into drive E:" indicating that it isn't reading the card.

Step 3

Sometimes a particular device may not read an SD card while other devices will. If you don't have another device, ask a friend to try reading your card.

Step 4

You may find that your computer accesses the card, but won't read the files on it. Try several different files on the card. If some of them read and some don't, then one or more files may be corrupt. There are numerous file recovery programs available; some of them are free. If certain vital parts of the file are corrupted it won't be recoverable. Sometimes scanning the SD card will fix things. It usually won't correct a bad file but it may be worth a try. To do this, locate the card in "My Computer" or Windows Explorer" and right-click on it. From the pop-up menu, click on "Properties." A new window showing a pie chart displays the used and available space on the disk. Select the "Tools" tab, then click on the "Error Checking" button. Click the check box for fixing file system errors and click the "Start" button. The process should only take a few seconds.

Step 5

In some cases, none of the files can be read. Sometimes the directory will list the file names but the files can't be accessed. In other cases, the file names are garbage characters or they may not show up at all. Right-click on the drive letter and select "Properties." The pie chart will show the used space on the card. If it shows all or almost all free space, then either the files have been deleted or the directory has been erased. In this case, a file recovery or undelete program may help (but don't count on it).

Step 6

If you card reads okay but you can't save a file, the card may be write protected. On the edge of the card is a small slide switch usually labeled "Lock." If this switch is slid away from the connector end of the card, then it is "locked" or write protected. To save or modify files on the card, the switch must be in the unlocked position or toward the connector end of the card.

Step 7

If you still can't read or write to the card, your files are probably lost.
If you still can not recover images in this way, you can try CardRecovery.

How to Recover Image with CardRecovery

Step 1

Double-Click the CardRecoveryPro and open it.

Step 2

Connect the device and select the destination folder.

Step 3

Scan and select the files you want to recover.

Step 4

Press recover and get what you want.


  • After accidentally deleting files from a memory card, do not attempt to copy additional files onto the card before attempting file recovery as this will overwrite the files and make them much more difficult if not impossible to recover.
Professional SD Card Recovery Software Recover Lost or Deleted Photos in 3 Steps
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