For some reason, you might need to format an SD card but still need to keep files on it. Is it possible to do this? The answer is positive. MiniTool Software will show you how to format an SD card without losing data with the help of MiniTool Power Data Recovery and MiniTool ShadowMaker.
In this article, you can find how to format an SD card without losing data in two different situations.
When Do You Need to Format an SD Card?
SD cards are essential storage devices for a wide range of gadgets, from digital cameras to smartphones and more. Sometimes, you may need to format your SD card to fix issues like corruption, and file system errors, or to prepare it for a new purpose.
Here are some common situations:
- New or Unused SD Card: When you first use a brand-new SD card or one that’s been sitting unused for a while, it’s a good practice to format it to ensure it’s set up correctly for your device.
- Corrupted or Malfunctioning SD Card: If the SD card becomes corrupted, damaged, or starts to malfunction, formatting it can sometimes resolve the issues and make it usable again.
- Switching Devices: When you plan to use the SD card in a different device, like moving it from a camera to a smartphone, it might be necessary to format it to ensure compatibility.
- Removing Sensitive Data: Before selling or giving away an SD card, you should format it to remove all data and personal information.
- Improving Card Performance: Over time, SD cards can become slower due to file fragmentation. Formatting it can help improve performance.
- Removing Unwanted Files: If you have unnecessary or unwanted files on the SD card, formatting it is a quick way to erase everything at once.
If the SD card is new, you can directly format it according to your needs. However, if there are important files on the card, a question arises: Does formatting an SD card delete everything?
Of course, yes. Formatting an SD card traditionally wipes all the data from it, which can be a major concern. If you still want to use the files on the card, you should find a way to format an SD card without losing data.
In this guide, we’ll explore how to format an SD card without losing your precious data.
How to Format an SD Card without Losing Data if the SD Card Is Corrupted
There are several common situations when an SD card is damaged or corrupted:
- SD card is unreadable.
- SD card shows 0 bytes.
- SD card is inaccessible.
- SD card becomes RAW.
- SD card is not recognized or showing up.
In this case, you’d better rescue the files from the SD card first, which will protect your files no matter what actions you take later.
How to Recover Data from an SD Card before Formatting It?
You may be curious: how to recover data when the SD card crashes? You can try MiniTool Power Data Recovery, the best data recovery software for Windows.
This data restore tool works to recover files from hard drives, SSDs, USB flash drives, memory cards, SD cards, pen drives, and other types of data storage devices. The files that can be recovered using this software include images, videos, audio, archives, emails, documents, and more.
You can first try MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free to check if it can detect the SD card and find the needed files. You can also recover up to 1GB of files by using this free file recovery tool.
To recover data from a damaged SD card, you can use these steps:
Step 1. Download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery on your Windows computer.
Step 2. Connect the SD card to your computer.
Step 3. Open the software. This software will display all partitions it can detect under Logical Drives by default. Check if you can see the SD card. You can also switch to the Devices tab to make the software show the SD card as a whole drive if you have partitioned the SD card into more than one partition.
Step 4. Hover over the target SD card and click the Scan button to start scanning it.
Step 5. You can see all the files found by this MiniTool data recovery software when the scanning process ends completely. These files are categorized by path by default. You can open each path to find the files you want to recover. Besides, you can switch to the Type tab and find files by type.
If you still remember the name of the file you want to recover, you can type the filename into the search box and press Enter to directly locate that file.
If you are not sure if the selected file is your needed file, you can click the Preview button to preview it.
Step 6. Select the files you want to restore (you can select multiple files from different locations at once), then click the Save button and choose a suitable folder to save your selected items. Of course, you should not save data to the original SD card as it has not been repaired and will need to be formatted later.
You will need to upgrade this freeware to an advanced edition when you want to recover more files. If you are a personal user, the Personal Ultimate edition is a good choice because it allows you to use a single license key on up to three PCs and offers a free lifetime upgrade service.
Fix a Damaged or Corrupted SD Card without Formatting
Formatting is not the sole method for repairing a corrupted SD card. Before considering formatting, you can also try these methods:
- Use another USB port or change to another card reader.
- Add a drive letter to the SD card.
- CHKDSK the SD card.
- Update or reinstall the SD card driver.
How to Format a Damaged or Corrupted SD Card?
Now, you can format an SD card without losing data using these four available methods.
Way 1: Use MiniTool Partition Wizard
Step 1. Download and install this software on your device.
Step 2. Make sure the SD card is plugged.
Step 3. Open the software, then right-click the target SD card and select Format from the context menu. You can also select the card and then click Format Partition from the left action panel.
Step 4. On the pop-up interface, add a partition label for the card and select a file system.
Step 5. Click OK.
Step 6. Preview the formatting effect and then click Apply (this button is at the left-bottom corner) to start formatting the SD card. Wait until the process ends.
More things can MiniTool Partition Wizard do for you:
MiniTool Partition Wizard has more useful features to help you partition a hard drive, SSD, or a removable disk drive. For instance, you can use it to create, delete, format, wipe, extend, merge, and split partitions. You can also migrate Windows OS to another drive without OS reinstallation using this tool.
If you want to use a Windows snap-in tool to format an SD card, you can try Disk Management, diskpart, or File Explorer.
Way 2: Use File Explorer
You can directly format an SD card in File Explorer. It is easy to do this:
Step 1. Press Windows + E to open File Explorer.
Step 2. Click This PC from the left panel.
Step 3. Right-click the SD card and select Format.
Step 4. Select a file system and add a partition label for the card on the next interface.
Step 5. Click Start.
Step 6. Click OK on the pop-up warning interface to start formatting the SD card.
Step 7. When the interface shows Formatting Complete, click OK to close the interface.
Step 8. Click Close to close the Format interface.
Way 3: Use Disk Management
You can go to Disk Management to format an SD card.
Step 1. Right-click the Start button and select Disk Management to open it.
Step 2. Right-click the SD card and select Format from the context menu.
Step 3. Add a partition label and select a file system for the SD card.
Step 4. Click OK to continue.
Step 5. Click OK on another pop-up interface to confirm the operation.
Way 4: Use Diskpart
Advanced users can format the SD card using diskpart.
Step 1. Run Command Prompt as administrator.
Step 2. Type diskpart and press Enter.
Step 3. Run the following switches one after another:
- list volume
- select volume * (* stands for the target volume number)
- format fs=ntfs (or format fs=exfat)
Step 4. When the formatting process ends, you can type Exit and press Enter to close Command Prompt.
How to Format an SD Card without Data Loss if the SD Card Is Working
If the SD card works normally, you can use Windows backup software like MiniTool ShadowMaker to back up data on the card before formatting.
This backup software can help you backup files, folders, partitions, disks, and systems on a Windows computer. You can use it to back up the files on your SD card to another data storage drive.
MiniTool ShadowMaker Trial allows you to use the Backup feature for free for the first 30 days. You can first try this free tool now.
How to Back up an SD Card Using MiniTool ShadowMaker?
Step 1. Download and install MiniTool ShadowMaker on your device.
Step 2. Make sure the SD card is connected to your PC.
Step 3. Launch the software and then click Keep Trial to continue.
Step 4. Select Backup from the left main menu. After that, click the SOURCE section to continue.
Step 5. Click the Disk and Partitions section on the next page.
Step 6. Switch to the SD card you want to back up and select all partitions on it.
Step 7. Click OK.
Step 8. Click the DESTINATION section.
Step 9. Specify a location to save your SD card data.
Step 10. Click OK.
Step 11. Click the Back Up Now button on the right-bottom corner.
Step 12. Click OK on the pop-up interface to start the backup process. Wait until the process ends.
Now, your data is safe. You can format the SD card using File Explorer, Disk Management, or diskpart.
How to format an SD card without losing data? This is a meticulous process that requires careful consideration and the use of specialized tools. This article introduces two MiniTool programs to help you do this.
- MiniTool Power Data Recovery can help you recover files from a corrupted card before you format it.
- MiniTool ShadowMaker can assist in backing up data from a working card before formatting.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can safely format your SD card while preserving your valuable data.
Additionally, if you encounter any issues with MiniTool software, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].