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How to Format SD Card Without Losing Data

Updated on Jul 03, 2019 by Abby Haines to Format Recovery


The SD card becomes RAW and the Windows asks you to format the SD card. What to do? Here are the solutions to format an SD card without losing data. Even your SD card becomes RAW or gets corrupted/damaged, you can still format the SD card by following the details below.

SD Card Becomes Raw and Windows Asks to Format It

My SD card shows that there is a RAW file system on my camera. When I insert it to my laptop, an error message pops up saying "Micro sd card is not formatted, do you want to format it now?" But the thing is I don't want to lose my photos on the SD card. How can I convert RAW to NTFS or fat 32 without losing SD card files? 

SD cards are a popular storage device which is commonly used in digital cameras, mobile phones, and camcorders. Sometimes the card becomes RAW and inaccessible due to certain reasons: 

  • human mistakes 
  • system errors
  • unexpected disasters

When you are faced with this error, Windows often asks you to format your devices. But this operation causes data loss too. How to format the RAW drive and keep your data safe. Here is the solution: recover data from the RAW SD card. Then format the SD card. 

Part 1. Restore Data from RAW/Inaccessible SD card 

The hard drive which has not been formatted by the NT file system, such as FAT and NTFS, is called RAW hard drive. When your drive becomes RAW, you cannot access it. Meanwhile, its capacity used space, and unused space will all be shown as "zero". That is to say, all data originally saved in that “RAW” disk are lost. You can neither see them nor transfer them to a safe place for further use.

But a third-party data recovery program can access this RAW drive and get back data before formatting. EaseUS disk data recovery software is an ideal choice for recovering RAW drive data. It's fully compatible with all Windows and MacOS. What's more, it allows users to restore data from SD card, USB drive, HDD, etc. The process just takes a few simple steps. 

Stop using your SD card immediately once you lost files on it. Continuing using the card would hugely increase the chance of data overwriting, which makes data unrecoverable.

Step 1: Connect the SD card to PC

Insert the SD card to a card reader, and connect the card reader with your SD card to a healthy computer.

Step 2: Run SD card recovery software and scan the card.

  • Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your PC and select your SD card under the External Devices column.
  • Then click Scan to start finding lost data on your SD card now.
Run SD card recovery software.

Step 3: Check found SD card data.

After the scanning process, you can preview and find your lost SD card files from below listed tabs:

  • Deleted Files: List your deleted files there.
  • Drive X: All lost files can be found here.
  • Lost Partition Files: Check first if it's for formatted recovery.
  • Extra Files: Finds files that lost names or paths.

And you can use Filter and Search to quickly find your files.

Find lost SD card files.

Step 4: Restore SD card data.

  • You can check and preview found files by double-clicking each one of them.
  • Then click Recover to save found SD card files to a secure location on your PC or an external storage.
Restore lost SD card files.

Do you need sepecialized Manual Data Recovery Services?

You may need further help for tough data loss situations like reformatting drive, RAW disk, partition loss, repartition failures and system boot error. Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts for cost-efficient one-on-one manual recovery service. They could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:
1. Unformat the drive
2. Repair the RAID, RAW disk or operating system
3. Recover lost partition (the one that cannot be recovered by software)

Part 2. Format the RAW SD Card Without Losing Data

After restoring data from RAW SD card, you can now format the RAW SD card to NTFS or FAT32 without losing data: 

1. Manually format your SD card

Step 1: Insert your SD card into a card reader and connect the card reader to your computer.

Step 2: Right-click "This PC", choose "Manage", enter "Disk Management".

Step 3: Locate and right-click on your SD card, choose "Format".

Step 4: Click "Yes" to continue, set a new label, file system - exFAT, FAT32 or NTFS to the card. Then click "OK" to format your SD card.

format your SD card

2. Format your SD card with software

Here, we recommend a third-party SD card formatting tool. It is totally free for SD card formatting. What's more, it is pretty easy and fast. To format SD card in Windows 10 and all other operating systems, simply download and install the free partition manager on PC. 

Details: How to format an SD Card

format sd card with easeus partition master

Part 3. Back Up Files to Protect Your Data 

Take preventive measures before anything happens to you. If you have a backup of your SD card, you don't have to worry about the data loss problem. And backup can be one of the best ways to prevent data loss.

To back up files in advance, you need free file backup software. Here, EaseUS Todo Backup is my suggestion. With it, you can create a file backup. And you can enjoy more useful features during the process. You can set a schedule to back up files daily, weekly, or monthly. Besides, you can enjoy other features like disk clone, partition clone or system clone, and more. 

Details: How to Back Up Files

backup sd card to protect data