How to Recover Corrupted Files Off an SD Card

By Greyson Ferguson

An SD card is a memory stick created by SanDisk and used for portable devices such as digital still and video cameras. They are extremely small and can hold any where from a few megabytes (MB) of space to several gigabytes (GB). However, just as with other hard drives and memory devices, files can become corrupt, which will not allow the content to be displayed or opened. There are a few ways to fix this issue.

Things You'll Need

  • Memory Card Data Recovery software
  • Unlocker program

Using Memory Card Data Recovery

Step 1

Download the demo software by following the link provided in the Resources section at the bottom of the screen. Click "Download EXE" and then "Save File" when asked if you would like to save the file.

Step 2

Double-click the newly downloaded file. It will appear in either a "Downloads" pop-up window or as an icon on the desktop. Click "OK" and then "Run" when asked if you would like to run the program.

Step 3

Click "Next" when the installation wizard launches and then follow the remaining prompts to complete the installation.

Step 4

Insert the SD memory card into the computer (or device that uses the memory card, then plug the device into the computer). Wait for the computer to detect the card, then launch the Memory Card Data Recovery software.

Step 5

Select the SD card from the list of drives, then click "Next." Select "Standard Search." This will scan the card for all corrupted files that can be recovered.

Step 6

Click "Finish" when the scan completes. Check next to the corrupted files you wish to recover, then click "Next." Select a location on the hard drive you want to recovered files to be saved, then click "Next." The files will be recovered and placed into the computer.

Using Unlocker

Step 1

Download the Unlocker software by clicking the second link provided in the Resources section. Click "Unlocker" and then "Save File" when asked if you would like to save the file.

Step 2

Double-click the newly downloaded file. It will appear in either a "Downloads" pop-up window, or as an icon on the desktop. Click "OK" and then "Run."

Step 3

Click "Next." when the installation wizard launches, then follow the remaining prompts to complete the installation.

Step 4

Insert the SD card into the computer and wait for the system to detect the card. Open the card and right-click a corrupted file you want to recover. Click "Unlocker" from the pull-down menu. This will bring up a list of locks on the file.

Step 5

Click "Unlock All" and then "Quit." The file can now be opened and the content accessed.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Memory Card Data Recovery software is a demo, so it will allow only a small number of files to be recovered. If there are only a few files you need to recover, this should be fine. However, if there are many, you may need to purchase the full version. This can be done from the same link in the Resources section. As of July 2009 it costs $69.