How can I retrieve files from an inaccessible microSD card?

Anonymous May 4, 2014
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I am using the Samsung Galaxy SIII with a ‘Kingston 16 GB Class 10 MicroSD Flash Card SDC10/16GBSP’ A few days ago I noticed I couldn’t access my pictures or music from my SD card. I have tried the SD card in another phone and also a PC but the card doesn’t show up on any of these devices, including mine. Can anyone help me on how I can retrieve these files?

  1. Tim B
    May 9, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Very surprised no one has mentioned PhotoRec/TestDisk yet – it's (in my opinion) the most powerful data recovery tool, and it has the benefit of being completely free. I actually wrote a guide you can follow when I needed to recover a bunch of photos I accidentally deleted.

    You can read the article here: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/recover-accidentally-deleted-files-from-any-os-with-photorec-windows-mac-linux/

    And download TestDisk here: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/Main_Page

    That's a Mac guide but the process is very similar across all three major operating systems, though check out the wiki for a more in-depth look at the process.

    Unfortunately if the drive is completely "missing" from your system (i.e. it is physically broken to the point where the computer doesn't recognise it) then there's little you can do beyond hiring some professionals, which can be costly!

    Good luck, let us know what happens!

  2. Mini S
    May 7, 2014 at 8:42 am

    did you resolved your problem? I have recovered data successfully from SD card by minitool power data recovery

  3. Spike J
    May 5, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Try any of the above options with no guarantee of success, or......

    20/20 hindsight - Never trust ANY media with only ONE copy of your data! Make backups, and backups of the backups. Any storage media, whether flash RAM or hard drive WILL fail at some point. HDD's will generally give some indication, by way of unusual noise or 'SMART' failure report. Ignore these warnings at your own peril. Flash RAM on the other hand will usually give NO WARNING and simply just not work one day. If your system doesn't detect the device at all, you are more than likely SOL.

    As a professional photographer and IT person I always have at least three copies of any critical data,. One copy is always stored in a secure second location in case of fire or other disaster. Data recovery (if possible) is very costly once a device fails, and never 100% in most cases if at all. These devices are so cheap currently that there is literally no excuse, barring laziness for not having backup copies!

    I use a pair of 1TB HDD's (recent purchase cost $79 each) to backup ALL of my flash memory devices (SmartPhone, SD, CF, USB, etc) and update them on a weekly basis. There is also a separate pair of HDD's for all my digital photos. I always backup any new photos taken to each storage device as soon as possible to avoid any potential disastrous data loss. Try telling a new bride you charged $1500 to photograph their wedding that you "had a memory card failure" and don't have their photos! Good luck with that excuse!! A full refund is not even an option as there is no "do over" in this case.

    A good (FREE) application for keeping all these devices backed up and the files synchronized is called FreeFileSync and is available for download from SourceForge or any of their affiliates. It has various modes to keep sets of files synchronized and up-to-date. USE IT OR LOSE IT - eventually.

    • Bruce E
      May 6, 2014 at 5:56 am

      Windows users don't have to worry about ignoring SMART warnings. Microsoft automatically does that for them.

  4. Oron J
    May 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

    You could try one of the applications listed at http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/best-windows-software#toc5 . Personally I like Recuva for being very easy to use.

  5. Hovsep A
    May 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    1) go to Start > Run, type cmd, right click on it and choose run as administrator
    2) type--> diskpart and hit enter
    3) type--> list disk and hit enter

    you can also try on MAC, linux...

    if you do not see your memory card then probably you need technical hardware assistant, if your files are valuable then you can try some company but will not be free.

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