How to fix a corrupted SD card

JamieKavanagh

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Apr 19, 2016
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SD flash memory is about as convenient as external storage gets. It’s solid state, very small, comes in large capacities, is cheap and getting faster all the time. However, like any technology, things can go wrong. So if you need to fix a corrupted SD card, this post is for you!

SD cards can be read by many devices so the first thing you should do is try your corrupted SD card in a PC, tablet or camera. Sometimes Android might not recognize the card but Windows or Mac might. The same for some digital camera firmware. If you can get the card working, you can at least copy the files before formatting the card.

The easiest way to fix a corrupted SD card is by using a computer. You will need a USB card reader connected to a PC, or a laptop or tablet with a reader built in to proceed.

1. Insert the SD card into the reader.
2. Wait for the card to be recognized and access it if it is.
3. Copy files to a safe place.

If the card is not recognized, try to manually assign it a drive letter through your computer’s operating system. In Windows:

1. Click Start and then Control Panel.
2. Click Administrative Tools and select Computer Management.
3. Select Disk Management and look for the SD card in the drive viewer.
4. Right click the card and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
5. Give the card an original drive letter and see if Explorer recognizes it.

If the card is recognized, copy the contents somewhere safe. If the card is not recognized, move on to the next two steps. Note though that your files are either already lost or will be while we fix the SD card.

1. If the SD card has been recognized by your computer but you cannot access the files, format the card using the operating system options. Right click then Format in Windows.

Or:

2. Use third-party SD formatter software to try to recover the disk or fully format it

These last two steps are options of last resort. They will most likely fix a corrupted SD card so you can use it again but will definitely delete all the data that was stored on it. Use at your own risk!
 

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