How To Recover Lost Data on an SD Card

recoverA lot of us have been there, whether it’s a picture we didn’t mean to delete or a file that suddenly disappears, losing data from an SD card is not a pleasant experience.

You’ll be pleased to know that all is not lost, in many cases you can retrieve the data and get your files back! Here’s how…

Step 1: Stop Using The Card

As soon as you notice that you have missing or deleted files, stop using the card. This ensures that any new files won’t take up the space of the missing file. Remove the card from your device just to ensure you’re not using it.

Step 2: Don’t format The Card

Sometimes when a card corrupts, your first instinct may well be to format the disc, this is like resetting it. Don’t do this until after you’ve recovered your data otherwise you won’t be able to retain any of the information and will delete anything else saved to the disk.

Step 3: Check The Recycle Bin (Tablets only)

Most people don’t actually realise that SD cards have a recycle or trash bin, and it’s a great place to find lost files.


  • Reinsert the card into your device and connect your device to a computer
  • Open the device within My Computer (windows) or Finder (Mac)
  • Select the SD card
  • Check recycle bin

If that doesn’t help, try the following steps.

Step 4: Download and Install Data Recover Software

Some software companies do charge for their recovery software, however many do offer a free trial, so it’s well worth using that trial to recover your data. It is recommended to read company reviews and do some research beforehand to ensure that the software company is reputable. As always, when downloading anything from the internet make sure that your antivirus protection is up-to-date and working.

  • Insert the memory card directly into your computer (you can use an SD card adapter if your computer has no SD card slot)
  • Run the data recovery program and follow the instructions
  • Select files you want to recover. Most recovery software will put the files into a list for you

Step 5: Save Recovered Files

Once you’ve recovered your files, whether you’ve retrieved them through the recycle bin method or you’ve used software, make sure that you save your files or photos to your computer hard drive or an alternative memory space. Do not resave them onto the SD card you lost them from until you’ve formatted the card and ensured that it is not a corrupt disk.







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