Damaged SD Card Recovery | Fix Corrupted/Damaged SD Card Without Losing Data

Roxanne updated on Sep 27, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


This article comprises 11+ useful ways to fix a corrupted SD card in Windows 10/8.1/8/7, including using the native Windows tools as well as third-party SD card repair tools. As soon as your SD memory card has signs of corruption, take prompt measures to prevent data loss. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard comes handy for data recovery when your corrupted SD card is not open, not accessible, or files deleted, formatted, etc.

So what to do when the SD card is corrupted? Follow the content navigation, you'll get a clear guide to fix corrupted sd card on your won:

Common Signs of SD Card Corruption
11 Ways to Fix Corrupted/Damaged SD Card
How to Recover Data from Corrupted SD Card

SD card, also known as memory card, as a tiny, portable and functional type of extended capacity, is widely used as "walking" storage in multiple devices, such as digital cameras, Android phones, tablets, video game consoles, and some other electronic instruments.

However, as the SD card is frequently plugging in and out, especially without safe ejection, it is likely to expose problems, giving rise to file system corruption or bad sectors.

SD card corrupted

Don't worry when your SD memory card becomes inaccessible or the SD card is corrupted & unreadable. Check out the symptoms and pick up the right fixes for corrupted SD card repair immediately. 

Common Signs of SD Card Corruption

Apart from the improper handle of the SD card, there are many other commonly seen factors that will bring an SD card not working anymore. For example, a virus infection, interrupt data transfer, SD card removal while writing files to it, etc.

Here, we collect a list of SD card corruption symptoms to help you directly identify whether the SD is corrupted. If you see any one of the following signs, it means that your SD card has been corrupted, damaged, or at least needs small repairs.

  • SD card doesn't show up in File Explorer or displays an invalid file system (RAW) in Disk Management.
  • SD card suddenly shows empty, photos and other preserved files are missing.
  • SD card error: "A read-write error occurred on your sd card...".
  • The camera presents "SD card is damaged. Try reformatting it" error message.
  • SD is write-protected, locked, or read-only.
  • SD card freezes or stuck - the camera hangs or turns black screen while taking pictures.
  • SD card won't load pictures - photos, pictures won't load from SD card
  • SD card not accessible - Windows display "SD card is not formatted" or "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" error.
  • SD card not detected or recognized, showing no media in Disk Management or simply not visible at all.

Note that as long as the SD memory card is not physically damaged, there is always a fix that can bring your corrupted SD card and files back to life. Move to the next part, you may get started in fixing corrupted SD card now.  

11 Ways to Fix Corrupted/Damaged SD Card

  1. #1. Reconnect SD Card or Try Another Device
  2. #2. Assign a New Drive Letter to SD Card
  3. #3. Show Hidden Files
  4. #4. Fix File System Error/Bad Sectors with CHKDSK Command
  5. #5. Use Error Checking Feature
  6. #6. Run Windows Troubleshooter
  7. #7. Reinstall or Updated SD Card Driver
  8. #8. Run DiskPart Attributes Command
  9. #9. Format SD Card
  10. #10. Turn to Manufacturer
  11. #11. Create a new SD card partition on unallocated space

The listed fixes are applicable to fix different levels of damage, and it's advised for SD card owners to try each method one by one, from simple to complex. Altogether, the 10 ways of SD card repair solutions also work to fix corrupted memory card, USB, external or internal hard drives. Now, let's start.

Fix 1. Change a card reader, adapter, or a USB port

Applies to: Fix SD card not readable or not detected by the computer, camera, etc., devices.

Sometimes, connection issues or power issues are likely to cause SD card problems. First of all, it's better to exclude exterior factors that can be fixed with a few tricks. 

Step 1. Unplug your SD card and reconnect your SD card.

Step 2. Try the following 3 operations to see if your SD card shows up on your computer:

  • If the SD card adapter is damaged, switch or change a new SD card reader and reconnect it to your PC.
  • Switch the USB port and reconnect the SD card to your computer.
  • Connect your SD card to another new computer.

Does your memory card work normally again? If changing a connection device works, try to copy pictures and videos from the SD card to cloud storage or other safe places as a backup so to prevent data loss.

Fix 2. Change or assign a new drive letter

Applies to: SD card not readable, not showing up error.

If the Windows system does not assign a drive letter to the SD card, or because its drive letter is conflicted with other drives, the SD card will act as corrupted or become unreadable.

Changing or assigning a new drive letter to the SD card in Disk Management will resolve this error:

Step 1. Press Win + X keys and click "Disk Management".

Step 2. Find and right-click on your SD card, and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths...".

change sd card drive letter and paths

Step 3. Click "Add" or "Change", select a new drive letter for the SD card. Click "OK" to confirm. 

Fix 3. Show hidden files

Applies to: Fix SD card suddenly shows empty, or display partial files error.

If your SD card suddenly shows empty or the SD card only displays partial data, the data might get hidden. A direct way is to show hidden files on the SD card:

Step 1. Connect SD card to PC and press Windows + E to bring up Windows Explorer.

Step 2. Right-click on the SD card and select "Properties".

Step 3.  Go to the View tab, under Hidden files and folders, click "Show hidden files, folders, and drives".

how to show hidden files in usb in windows file explorer options

Step 4. Then click "Apply", then "OK".

You'll see the files showing up in the SD card.

Fix 4. Run CHKDSK to check and repair SD card bad sectors

Applies to: Fix SD card file system corruption or bad sectors issue.

SD card has a limited lifespan, like other removable storage devices. It will grow bad sectors or the file system may corrupt after a long period of use.

The Chkdsk command will find SD card file system corruption errors and remove bad sectors from it. This is also the most applicable way to repair SD card without formatting. 

Step 1. Plug your SD card into your computer with a card reader.

Step 2. Type cmd in the search bar, right-click Command Prompt and select "Run as Administrator".

Step 3. Type chkdsk F: /f /r /x and hit Enter.

Click to copy

"F:" means the drive letter of the corrupted SD card you want to repair.
chkdsk /f is to fix any found errors.
chkdsk /r is to locate bad sectors and recover any readable information.
chkdsk /x is to force the volume you're about to check to be dismounted before the utility begins a scan.

Using chkdsk to fix a corrupted SD card without data loss step 2

Step 4. Type exit when the checking and fixing process completes.

After finishing all these steps, if you see "Windows has made corrections to the file system" in the command window, congratulations. The damaged SD card is successfully fixed, and you can view your data again.

Fix 5. Run Windows Error Checking

Applies to: Fix SD card not openable or inaccessible issue due to device error.

Another practical way that can fix SD card error is to run Windows Error Checking. Continue with the native Windows check and repair tool to repair the SD card. 

Step 1. Connect the SD card to your PC

Step 2. Press Windows + E to open Windows Explorer.

Step 3. Right-click the SD card and open its Properties.

Step 4. Click on the Tools tab.

Step 5. Click the Check button.

check and repair the damaged sd card

Step 6. Let the scan process completes. Close the scan window once it finishes.

Fix 6. Run Windows Troubleshooter

Applies to: Fix issues that are related to hardware and drivers on the SD memory card. 

Windows Troubleshooter can find and fix problems that are related to hardware and drivers. If the SD card contains a similar problem, Windows Troubleshooter will do:

Step 1. Connect the SD card to your PC.

Step 2. Go to Windows Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot.

Step 3. Under the Hardware and Devices section, click "Run the troubleshooter".

Run Windows Troubleshooter to fix corrupted SD card

Step 4. Wait for the troubleshooting to complete, and then restart the PC.

The SD card not openable or unreadable error shall be resolved.

Fix 7. Reinstall the SD card driver

Applies to: Fix SD card not detected or not recognized error due to outdated drive driver.

When the SD card is not recognized by Windows at all, you can neither see it in Windows Explorer nor Windows Disk Management. A highly possible reason is that the SD card driver is outdated.

You can try to reinstall the driver to make it appear again in the Windows Device Manager:

Step 1. Press Windows + X keys and click "Device Manager".

Step 2. Expand Disk Drives, right-click on the name of your SD card, and click "Uninstall".

update sd card driver to fix corruption

Step 3. Click "OK". Restart your computer.

Step 4. Disconnect and reconnect the SD card to your computer.

After this, Windows will install the latest driver automatically and make the SD card detectable again.

Fix 8. Run DiskPart Attributes Disk Clear Read Only Command

Applies to: Fix SD card is locked, read-only, or write-protected issue. 

Sometimes, your SD card may get locked, or become read-only due to some manual settings or get write-protected/encrypted by third-party encryption software.

A fast way out is to run DiskPart clear read only command. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Connect the SD card to your PC. Press Windows + X, then click "Command Prompt (Admin)".

Step 2. Type diskpart and hit Enter in the command prompt window.

Step 3. Type the following command lines and hit Enter each time:

  • list disk
  • select disk 1
  • attributes disk clear readonly

clear read only to fix corrupted memory SD card

Replace 1 with the disk number of your SD card.

Step 4. Type exit to close the DiskPart window when the process completes.

After this, you should be able to open your SD card and access the saved files again.

Fix 9. Format SD Card to FAT32 or exFAT

Applies to: Reset the SD card file system to FAT32 or exFAT, repair raw SD card, making the Windows or camera detect the SD card.

If the card is seen in Windows Disk Management but displays as RAW or the file system of your SD card is not supported by the Windows computer or camera devices, you need to format the SD card to a supported one, such as NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT, etc.

This method also works to restore SD card full capacity if the SD card only shows partial or half capacity.

You can use File Explorer to format the SD card as shown below or apply an SD card formatter for help:

Step 1. Connect the SD card to PC, right-click on the corrupted SD card, and select "Format".

Step 2. Select a proper file system among NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT.

Step 3. Tick "Quick Format" and click "Start".

format SD card on windows 10 using file explorer sd card formatter

Note that formatting data will result in data loss. You can turn to SD card recovery software as recommended in the next part for help. 

Fix 10. Turn to SD Card Manufacturer for Help

Applies to: Fix or resolve SD card malfunction error from SD card manufacturers.

Powerful SD card manufacturers like Seagate, WD, Sony, Samsung, etc., also provide services to help users fix SD card corruption or malfunction errors.

If your SD card is with a similar error, and you can't fix the error with the former 9 fixes, turning to the SD card manufacturer can be your last chance.

Fix 11. Create a new SD card partition on unallocated space

Applies to: Fix SD card not showing or displaying as unallocated in Disk Management.

When the SD card turns to empty, showing as unallocated space, it will not show up in Windows File Explorer. To make it appear as normal, you need to manually create a partition to make Windows recognize it.

fix unallocated sd card

Detailed guide: Fix unallocated space on SD card

How to Recover Data from Corrupted SD Card

Once your corrupted SD card gets repaired or fixed, remember to open it and save your data to another secure location immediately. But if you lost data after fixing the RAW or corrupted SD card, or data still not showing up on the SD card, you'll need a powerful solution to recover data.

You have two reliable options here:

  1. 1. Turn to Powerful SD Card Recovery Software
  2. 2. Try Manual Data Recovery Service

#1. Recover SD Card Data with EaseUS Data Recovery Software

Once your SD card turns to RAW or Windows asks you to format it before you can use it, take it slow. The files are still on the SD card, using data recovery software to recover SD card data to another location as soon as possible.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a professional in recovering deleted, formatted or inaccessible data in various data loss cases.

It supports recovering data from computer hard drives, recovering formatted USB drives, and all storage media like SD cards, CF cards, etc.

It is the best choice to recover your data from a damaged SD card with its powerful data recovery capacity and intuitive user interface.

Step 1. Run SD card recovery software and scan the card.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your PC and select your SD card. Then click "Scan" to start finding lost data on your SD card.

select the sd card and click scan

Step 2. Check found SD card data.

After the scanning process, you can click "Filter" to quickly find wanted files.

find wanted sd card files

Step 3. 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 external storage.

recover sd card files

#2. Turn to Manual Data Recovery Service 

If EaseUS SD card recovery software fails to scan and find your lost data on the SD card, don't worry. You still have an option to try, turning to manual data recovery service.

Do You Need Specialized 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)


On this page, we listed some common symptoms that help you define whether the SD card is corrupted. And you don't need to worry about losing data on the corrupted SD card.

We collected 11 methods to fix the corrupted SD card and also presented two reliable SD card data recovery solutions to help you get lost data after SD card repair. For a fast and secure data recovery process, take EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard as your best try. 

Don't worry about losing your data. Take action to bring your corrupted SD card back to life again.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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