How To Fix A Corrupted SD Card Without Losing Data

Picture this, you are on a vacation and you get an error message on your DSLR saying Card locked, SD Card error, etc. Most people will freak out because once you get these messages you cannot use your card any further to store newly captured photos in it. Moreover, once the card is corrupted it becomes unreadable and you cannot even access your existing photos and other important data stored in it.

In such a situation, people generally throw out the damaged SD card and buy a new one because they don’t know how to fix it. But you don’t have to waste money on a new card because you can repair a corrupted SD card on your own. By fixing a damaged SD card you not just save money but also save your valuable data from going into the trash.

So without wasting any time let’s learn how to fix a corrupted SD card and recover your important data from it. But before that let’s see how an SD card may get corrupted.

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Recommended: How To Repair A Corrupted Hard Drive

What Causes A Corrupted SD Card?

There are many reasons why an SD Card may show an error or become unreadable. Some of the most prominent reasons behind a corrupted SD card are:

  • Virus attacks
  • Physical damage
  • The card was used on multiple devices
  • Improper formatting
  • Forcefully stopping an ongoing file transfer

So, these were some of the top reasons why an SD card may get corrupted. However, in most cases, you can fix an SD card and start using it as you were doing before. But in the case of a physically damaged SD card, it’s hard to repair it because due to physical damage bad sectors are created on the card, which makes it hard to repair it for even a professional data recovery software. Nonetheless, you can try the given methods to repair your memory cards.

How To Fix A Corrupted SD Card?

There are basically two ways to fix an SD Card, with and without formatting. We are going to discuss both methods in full detail here.

Fix Damaged SD Card Without Formatting

1. CHKDSK Command

This method works best for memory cards that were corrupted due to incorrect ejection. Here is a step-by-step guide to fix an unreadable SD card using CHKDSK Command.

1. Plug in your SD card to PC using a MicroSD card reader. Note the drive letter. In our case, it is the letter F.

check drive letter

2. Now go to search on the taskbar and type CMD. Run command prompt as administrator.

run cmd

3. Now type the command chkdsk f: /f /r. In this command the first f is the disk letter, the second f means to fix the error, and r means to recover the readable data. So basically this command will not just fix your corrupted memory card but will also recover data from it.

chkdsk command

4. After entering the command hit Enter and wait for the repairing process to complete.

check disk complete

The process will complete in a short while, and you will see that the SD Card is repaired and is ready to use again. If this method doesn’t work for you then you can move onto the next method.

2. Change The Drive Letter

Sometimes due to drive letter confliction, the SD Card may become unusable. So, you can try changing the drive letter of your SD Card, which will make the computer re-recognize it.

1. Connect SD Card to your computer. Next, go to Start and right-click on it. After that, a new options menu will appear. From here select the Disk Management option.

Disk management

2. Now right-click on your SD Card and choose Change Drive Letter And Paths.

Change drive letter

3. Next, select the Change option to confirm your actions.

Change option

4. Now you can set a new drive letter for your card. After selecting the drive letter of your choice click on Ok.

allocate new letter to the SD card

The new drive letter will be assigned to your memory card in few seconds. You can now check the SD Card whether it’s working or not. Most probably it should work by now but if it doesn’t then we have more ways to fix it, don’t just give up yet.

3. Update SD Card Driver

If the SD card is not visible after connecting it to your PC then most probably the card’s driver is outdated. You can update the drivers and see if the SD card is uncorrupted or not. For updating the card drivers, you can follow these steps.

1. Go to Device Manager by searching at the search bar of your computer.

Open device manager

2. Now expand the Disk drives option and select your SD Card and click on Update Driver.

Update Driver to repair a corrupted SD card

3. Next select the option Search automatically for drivers. Within few seconds the drivers will be updated.

Search automatically for driver

If any of these three methods didn’t work for you then you have to format your SD Card in order to repair it. Here’s how you can format a corrupted SD card without losing data.

Repair SD Card By Formatting

In order to backup your data before formatting your SD card you can use a data recovery software that allows data recovery from corrupted devices like EaseUS Data Recovery software. Once you have recovered all the files from the SD card you can format them without any worries. Follow these steps to fix a corrupted SD card by formatting.

1. Open This PC on your computer and right-click on the SD Card and select the Format option.

Format corrupted SD card

2. Now on the format menu select Quick Format and click on Start.

Start formatting

With this, your SD card will be formatted and will be ready to use. In most cases, your SD Card will be repaired by doing just this much.

Fix Corrupted SD Card On Android Without Computer

In case you use an SD card on your phone to store valuable data in it then you can also repair it straight from your Android phone without using a computer. Here are few things you can try to fix corrupted SD cards on Android.

1. Restart your Android phone. Yes, sometimes just by restarting your phone you can repair small errors that are making the card unreadable. So, you must try it once before going with other technical methods.

2. Try the SD card on other devices. If your card is showing on other devices and is usable then there’s nothing wrong with it. Re-connect it to your phone and it shall start working.

3. The third and last thing you could do to repair your SD card on Android is clearing the cache and cookie of your file manager. This method works for many people out there. Simply go to App Management > File Manager >Clear Cache and you are good to go.

fix corrupted SD card on Android without computer

Final Thoughts

SD card showing errors is very common especially if you use them on multiple devices or handle them carelessly. But you don’t need to buy a new SD card as soon as it shows an error because you can repair your SD card at home.

However, in order to fix a corrupted SD card, most people would straight away format it and eventually lose all their data. But with the methods we have shown here you can fix unreadable SD cards without losing any data. However, if your card is physically damaged then these methods won’t work for you but you can try them at least once to see if you are in luck.


Can I Repair My SD Card Without Formatting?

Yes, you can repair an SD card without formatting it. Formatting is the last option to fix an SD card. Before that you can try other methods that we have shared in this article.

How Can I Recover Photos From A Corrupted SD Card?

You can use data recovery software that supports data recovery from a corrupted SD card to recover photos from it.

How Do I Know If My SD Card Is Damaged?

If you can’t see your SD Card on your device or you can’t access the files stored in it then it means that your SD card is damaged or corrupted.

Why Did My SD Card Suddenly Stop Working?

There can be several reasons for it like virus attacks, physical damage, improper formatting and more.

About Me

I’m Satyam Pandey, a fellow data hoarder who keeps accidentally deleting files from time to time. I decided to start this blog after recovering all of my deleted high school photos from my old hard drive. With a knack to test data recovery software and see how well they perform I decided to create this blog.

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