Apparently, it’s not a breeze but not impossible to recover data from a dead SD card. Indeed, whether the recovery can be finished or not largely depends on the cause of data loss and the things users have done after data were missing from the SD card. You may read the following content to know how to do exactly.

Till now, SD card has become one of the most popular movable storage devices. Its large capacity, high performance, good security and other features appeal to countless users. However, just like any other multimedia information storage devices, SD card can be corrupted easily due to users’ improper operations or others’ intentional attacks.

3 possible situations:

  • You may find some data stored on the SD card are lost due to unknown reasons;
  • You may encounter a prompt which says your SD card needs to be formatted for further use;
  • The SD card may have no response at all after it had been connected to the computer.

A large number of users have similar experiences, so they’re interested in finding ways to recover data from dead SD card or recover lost data from a working SD card.

recover data from SD card

Generally speaking, as long as the lost data are not overwritten by new data, you are able to recover them completely from SD card with the help of data recovery software like MiniTool Power Data Recovery. This is a professional data recovery tool for not only SD card, but also other kinds of storage devices. Get it now and it will be of great help sooner or later.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery TrialClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Recover Data from Dead SD Card in 2 Situations

When you suddenly find your SD card becomes dead and all files saved here are missing, you should take it out properly and connect it to your computer.

As long as the SD card can be detected and used on computer, you have chance to recover all lost files from it.

recover lost files from SD card

When clicking on the “Save” button in the last step, you’ll see a prompt window saying that “You are using the trial edition”; which means that you need to upgrade to an advanced version if you want to continue the recovery.

Situation 2: SD Card Is Inaccessible

When you find your SD card is inaccessible and the system says that you need to format the disk before using, you need to follow this tutorial to get back your data:

  1. Choose “This PC” (an option located at the left side of the main interface).
  2. Select the inaccessible SD card from the right side in the same interface.
  3. Scan the SD card by double clicking on it or pressing “Scan” button.
  4. Files will be listed in the software in order during the scan; you need to look through them carefully.
  5. Confirm which files are needed and which are not and press “Save” to set a storage path for them.

recover files from inaccessible SD card

Camera Says Card Cannot Be Accessed.

Also, you may as well buy a license to break the recovery limit if the software has found needed files for you.

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SD Card Become Dead in 2 Ways

There are actually 2 situations in which a SD card can be called as dead.

SD Card Is Broken Physically

When you connect the SD card to computer, trying to read, write or modify data, you may disappointedly find that, there’s no response after the insertion.

If you have saved valuable data in dead SD card and have no backup for them, you are suggested to try the following methods at first:

  • Find a clean eraser/cotton swab and use it to rub back and forth gently for a few times on the sheet metal (this is because the metal contact piece of SD card may be oxidized or worn due to the frequent ejecting and inserting).
  • Check whether write-protection function is enabled or not (please turn it off immediately when you find it’s actually the reason why you can’t make any changes to SD card).
  • Try to connect SD card to another computer or change a card adapter (the SD card may fail to be detected on computer due to poor connection).

rub back and forth gently on SD card

Generally, those will work under the condition that there is no serious physical damage on the surface of SD card. Yet, you’ll end up in failure if your SD card is dead physically.

Poor connection is not the only reason why a USB drive can’t be recognized. This post tells more about it:

Fix USB Flash Drive Not Recognized & Recover Data – How To Do
Fix USB Flash Drive Not Recognized & Recover Data – How To Do

Various solutions are provided for you to fix the USB flash drive not recognized error and recover data from the inaccessible flash drive.

Read More

SD Card Needs to Be Formatted

Sometimes when you intend to open the SD card in computer for data view or management, you may fail. That is because, when you click on the SD card, trying to open it, an error pops up and suggests that the SD card need to be formatted.

Common error messages include:

  • The disk in drive * is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?
  • You need to format the disk in drive * before you can use it. Do you want to format it?
  • * is not accessible. Access is denied.
  • * is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect.
  • * is not accessible. The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable.
  • * is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.
  • * is not accessible. The volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.

volume does not contain a recognized file system

Please don’t click to format disk at this time. When you see any of those error messages, you must be aware that the SD card is damaged somehow. And you have to take measures immediately to try to recover files from this damaged SD card.

Notice 4 Things to Avoid a Dead SD Card

In order to prevent SD card from being dead and enhance data security, you should keep the following things in mind. Those tips may help you get away from the troublesome data recovery steps.

  1. Be very familiar with the format, characteristics and composition of SD card data.
  2. Use professional genuine data cable and card reader to transfer data. Please make sure that the power supply of SD card is stable; fluctuated voltage may bring serious damage to card. Always check the condition of card reader and computer system to make sure there is no bad contact or virus attack.
  3. Safely remove SD card from computer or other devices. Do not unplug or disconnect the card once it is connected to computer. When you really need to unplug it, you should eject it safely from computer through the system. If computer crashes when the SD card is still connected to it, you should manually disconnect the card after turning off the computer.
  4. Be careful enough when you put SD card in someplace or carry it around. Please try not to carry the card next to power distribution room, electroplating plants, welding machine and some departments in hospital: X-ray room, MRI room and CT room.

SD Card & Its Write-protection Function

Development of SD Card

According to research, in 2001, the market share of SM (SmartMedia) card is over 50%, but in 2005, it is dropped to about 40% and a continuous quick dropping is found in the next few years. At that time, most digital camera manufacturers, such as Canon, Nikon, Kodak, Panasonic and Konica Minolta, have given support to SD cards.

To sum up, MMC (Multi Media Card) is developed on the basis of SM card. And a few years later, SD card appears after further developing on the basis of MMC and it becomes a universal storage device, which is suitable for almost all portable digital products.

Based on semiconductor flash memory, SD card is now widely found in all kinds of portable devices, such as mobile phone. Besides, SD card is also popular on the professional camera market; it seems to be a destiny that the SM and MMC will finally be replaced by the cheaper but high-speed SD card completely.

SM, MMC & SD Card

Write-protection: An Amazing Feature

Some of the SD cards have a lock-unlock switch, which is used for protecting data from being modified or deleted by malicious people or by mistake. Have you ever noticed this? Actually, this is what called a write-protection function.

If you’re careful enough, you may find the lock button on SD card which has such function. When the button has been moved to lock side, no one can modify or delete files from certain SD card. On the contrary, you are only allowed to enter and view files saved in SD card.

Basically, SD card write-protection function is designed to prevent unauthorized or unexpected change/deletion of data. When it is enabled, no changes can be made to data in the protected SD card.

The write-protection switch is a piece of plastic, which is very small and fragile, so it is easy to be broken or knocked off while using. If that happened unfortunately, you will not be able to write anything new to the SD card or change the content of old files anymore.

Note: Even if the SD card you use has no write-protection switch, you may still meet such problem since the card adapter you have adopted to connect SD card with computer is equipped with a switch button to control new data writing and file moving/copying.

Signs that indicate the write-protection feature is enabled:

When you see following messages, you’ll know your SD card is write-protected. If you encounter any one of them, please be on guard:

  • The Memory Card is write-protected. Please release the write protect switch.
  • The disk is write-protected.
  • The disk is write-protected. Remove the write-protection or use another disk.
  • Cannot delete *: The storage is write-protected. Remove the write-protection and try again.
  • Cannot copy *: The disk is write-protected. Remove the write-protection or use another disk.
  • Cannot copy *: Access is denied. Please make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.
  • This file is set to read-only. Try again with a different file name.

When you need to modify data in SD card under protection, please switch off the write-protection function.

How to disable write-protection:

If you come across disk is write-protected issue after trying to write new data into or copy file/folder from your SD card, you would definitely choose to disable write-protection on SD card.

Fix one:

Please figure out whether the SD card adapter has a write-protection switch. If there is, please move the switch to the unlock side to allow data modification and writing.

Fix two:

If you have switched off the write-protection function on card adapter, but still fail to write any new data and change old data, it is possibly because that your card adapter is broken. In this case, you may need to try another adapter that is working normally.

SD card adapter

Fix three:

If the data saved in your SD card can be accessed and modified normally, but fail to be deleted while it is used in mobile phone, digital camera or other electronic equipment, it may indicate that your SD card itself has something wrong. And you can try to fix this problem by formatting the SD card again.

Fix four:

If your SD card data can be accessed, modified, deleted, copied and moved without any trouble, but you get the disk is write-protected error message when connecting it to computer directly or through a card adapter, this implies that your card adapter is not working well.

At this time, you can try to eject the card or adapter from current USB port and connect it again to another USB port and repeat this action. If this works, you can basically confirm that the problem is caused due to bad contact of USB port.

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Compared to hard drive, removable drives like SD card are easy to be damaged and then become dead. But it doesn’t mean all data in it will be lost forever. You should follow the solutions given above to recover data from dead SD card immediately when discovering such problem. After that, you may as well analyze the issue carefully for 2 reasons:

  1. Try to fix the problem and use SD card in the way you want.
  2. Try your best to avoid such problem in the future.

If you still have any doubts, please feel free to leave a message below.

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