How to Recover Files from an SD Card

If your SD card is not recognised or inaccessible, or you’ve made a mistake and accidentally deleted files, file recovery may still be possible.

SD cards are most commonly used in cameras and mobile phones, and as such, often contain precious files. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot that can go wrong with them. As well as being incredibly frustrating, losing files on your SD card could also be costly if you’re a professional photographer. SD cards are incredibly fragile and often made from cheap materials, and are very susceptible to physical damage. In this instance, you should always consult a professional data recovery specialist; undertaking physical data recovery work at home should never be attempted if you want to see your files again. But for other problems concerning SD cards – like one not being recognised by your machine, or accidentally deleted files – there are some steps you can take at home.

If your SD card is not being recognised by your computer or laptop, it’s likely that your photos are still there, just inaccessible. You should first consider the possibility that it is your card reader at fault, rather than the SD card itself. Whether you’re using an external USB SD card reader or a built-in one on your machine, there’s a chance it could be faulty. If possible, check to see if your SD card works with a different reader; if you’re using an external USB reader, try another USB port. Another idea would be to try another SD card in your reader to see if that is recognised. If you’ve ruled out the SD card reader, then the issue could be with the SD card itself. One possibility is that your SD card driver needs updating. To do this, head to Device Manager, locate your SD card reader in the list of connected devices, and if there’s a yellow error symbol next to it, you most likely need to update the driver. You can do this by right-clicking your SD card in Device Manager and pressing ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’. Another possibility is that your SD card has no driver letter assigned; this can be remedied in Disk Manager by right-clicking your SD card and selecting ‘Change drive letter and paths’.

If your SD card is appearing, but your files aren’t there, there are still some steps that you can take. One thing worth noting is that you should not, under any circumstances, format your SD card in this situation – you’ll only turn a bad situation into a catastrophic one. Instead, you can try using data recovery software, such as Disk Drill. There are so many file recovery tools out there, and they all work in the same way. While it’s worth giving them a go, the chances of success are not 100%. If your files are precious and you aren’t able to recover them at home for whatever reason, get in touch with a data recovery specialist.

SD Card Recovery