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How Do I Recover Photo from Formatted SD Card for Free


Download Free MiniTool Photo Recovery to quickly and easily recover lost photos from formatted SD card without damaging the original data.

What should we do if we mistakenly formatted our SD card? Can we recover data after formatting SD card? What's more, is it possible to effectively recover photos from formatted SD card free?

Help! I formatted over an SD card full of great shots!
I had 3 SD cards, was shooting gorgeous stuff in Bryce and Zion national parks, and for a few weeks before had been juggling the cards and backing them up on my Roadstor without incident, but then one day, after shooting two and a half SD cards at Bryce and on my way to Zion, thought to back up the first two and shoot the rest of the third card at Zion. After shooting more at Zion on one of the two other already backed up cards, I made the wrong choice and reformatted the one of Bryce and Zion (the one I hadn't backed up). I have not shot anything on this card since I reformatted. I believe there might be software with which to recover the lost photos, but don't know if I can risk choosing the wrong software for fear of killing my chances of recovering these photos. Has anyone had good experience with recovering photos formatted over on an SD card? Which software is best?

--by Mclarke on Cameras forum

Are you familiar with this case? Want to know how to recover photos from formatted SD card without paying? Now, in today's post, I am going to show you how to quickly and easily recover photo free after formatting.

Free Photo Recovery SD Card

Tip: SD card is a non-volatile memory card format developed by the SD Card Association (SDA) for use in portable devices. You can click here to know more details about SD card.

As we know, when it comes to formatted SD card data recovery, many people will ask data recovery companies for help. It is indeed an effective solution to formatted files recovery. However, we not only need to pay high recovery fees but also bear the risk of privacy leakage.

Therefore, some users might be wondering:
"Is there any way to safely recover photos from formatted SD card free?"

In general, if you want to carry out memory card photo recovery without paying, you had better choose a piece of free yet professional photo recovery software. MiniTool Photo Recovery, a green, free and professional photo recovery software developed by famous software development company based in Canada, is recommended here, for its clean interfaces and straightforward wizards can lead us to do photo recovery without any difficulty. Besides, whether we are Mac users or Windows users, we are able to use this professional tool to recover lost photos for free. What's more, it is a read-only tool. Thus, we are able to effectively get lost data back without bringing any damage to the original data by using this freeware.

Watch the following video to know more details about this excellent and free photo recovery software.

Read here, I guess you might want to experience this excellent tool for yourself. Now, you can download this professional yet free software from its official website or by simply clicking the following buttons.

  • If you are running computer with Windows operating system including Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2003/2008/2012, you can choose MiniTool Photo Recovery for Windows Free.
  • If you are running computer with Mac OS X 10.5 and above, you had better choose MiniTool Photo Recovery for Mac Free.

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After getting free SD card photo recovery program, let's see how to use this freeware to recover lost photo from SD card without bringing any damage to the original data.

Step-by-step Guide to Recovering Photos from SD Card Free

Tip: Here, we take Windows 7 for example to show you how to use this free tool to carry out formatted photos recovery.

Step 1: Install MiniTool Photo Recovery on computer according to prompts, and connect SD card to PC.

  • Remove the SD card from your device. (If SD card is not yet inserted into device, skip this step.)
  • Insert the micro SD card into the adapter.
  • Insert the adapter card into the media slot on your computer.
Read this post – How To Insert & Remove A Memory Card On Your Computer- to know more details.

Step 2: Launch MiniTool Photo Recovery to get its main interface as shown below, and then click Start button to start photo recovery.


Step 3: Select the SD card and then click Scan button which is located at the lower right corner.

scan sd card


1. In this window, if we have scanned the SD card, we will see the "Previous Recovery Result" graphic option. Now, we can select this option and then click Load button to directly load the previous recovery result for this SD card, which can save time spent in scanning the same device for the second time, as shown below.


2. In this window, we are able to use the Setting feature to specify the types of files we want to recover before scanning. Targeted scan contributes to seeking data promptly and accurately. For instance, if we only want to recover JPEG photos, we can only choose JPEG Gamer file (*.jpg) and JPEG Graphics file (*.jpg), and then click OK button, and finally click Scan.


Step 4: Select all needed photos, and then click Save button and tap Browse to select a suitable place to store them on a safe place.



1. If there are lots of files in the Scan Results window, we can use Filter feature to quickly find needed files. For instance, here, since we only need to recover lost photos, we can choose "*.jpg,*.gif,*.png,*.psd,*.tif" from By Filename/Extension and click OK button to filter out *.mp3,*.wav,*.avi,*.mpg or other types of files, as shown below. Or, we can through file size to quickly find needed files.


2. Besides, here, we can preview photo to find desired data more accurately before saving. Files less than 20M are available to preview.


See! We have finished recovering lost photos from SD card after formatting for free via MiniTool Photo Recovery.

If you are Mac users, you can try the following steps to recover lost photos from formatted SD card for free.
First, connect SD card to your Mac computer. After that, install MiniTool Mac Photo Recovery on computer and then launch it. (Don't install this freeware on the SD card. Otherwise, the original data will be overwritten and there is no way to recover them.)
Second, click Start button in the main interface of this free Mac photo recovery software.

MiniTool Mac Photo Recovery

Third, select SD card and click Scan button.
Finally, preview, check needed files, and then click Save button to store them on another drive.

See! It is very easy to recover lost photos from formatted SD card via MiniTool Photo Recovery because of its excellent performance, high security and simple operation.

After recovering lost photos from formatted SD card without paying, let's see why and how to format SD card.

Overview of Formatting SD Card

Why Format SD Card?

SD card formatting is the process of preparing a flash device for data storage. Formatting can clean the SD or Compact Flash card by removing previously existing data and information on the card and creating a new file system.

Besides, what should you do if the SD card is not functioning properly or triggers error messages?

Top recommendation
Blank SD card is a common problem. Here, if you encounter this error, you can read this post - SD Card Is Blank or Has Unsupported File System – to find 7 solutions to move out this error.

Possible reasons for these failures might be a corrupted file system on the device or infection with a computer virus. In general, in this situation, you need to format it.

If the damaged SD card contains massive important data, you should not immediately format it. Otherwise, you might lose all data on the corrupted file system device.

How to Format SD Card?

As we know, there are times when we might need to format memory card, either because it's not working or because we want to clear all the old data from it. However, how to format SD card? Read on to find out answers!

Friendly advice
Formatting will erase all data on the device. Therefore, before erasing or formatting a SD card, make sure to transfer all image files to your hard drive or other back-up device.

In general, you can format your SD card inside a camera, or format it in your smartphone, or format it through a computer. Now, maybe, you will be interested in this post - How to Format an SD Card.

Here, we will show you how to format your SD card through a PC since sometimes your phone can't detect your SD card.

First, connect SD card to a computer via an adaptor or card reader–these can either be USB-powered portable ones or full-sized SD card adaptor that's built in to your machine.
Second, open My Computer. And then, you will see your SD card is listed under Devices with removable storage. Third, right-click SD card, and then click on Format...
After that, specify needed File System, and click Quick Format, and then click Start button and wait for the progress bar to fill up. (Do not choose NTFS file system as some phones will not recognize that file system.)


Finally, when it's finished, remove you SD card and plug it back into your device.

Note: sometimes, when we carry out formatting on SD card or removable disk, Windows gives us a prompt saying "Windows was unable to complete the format", just as shown in the figure below.

unable to format

In general, if your SD card cannot be formatted and reports "Windows was unable to complete the format", your SD card either is unallocated space or has RAW file system. Here, MiniTool Partition Wizard, a green, professional and free partition magic, is recommended here. By using this professional freeware, you can effectively solve this issue with ease. For more detailed steps on how to solve this error, you can read this post How Do I Fix Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format.

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Bottom Line

Read here, I guess you know how to easily recover photos from formatted SD card without affecting the original data. In a word, MiniTool Photo Recovery is a professional yet free tool for us to recover lost photos.

If you have any questions or suggestions about formatted SD card data recovery, please leave us comments in the lower comment zone or directly send us an email via [email protected]. We appreciate any endeavor that makes us go further.