How to Recover Photos from a Corrupt SD Memory Card

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

Secure Data (SD) memory cards are solid-state devices holding digital data without the need of moving parts. A corrupted file structure on an SD memory card makes it impossible to copy the photos on it to a computer. Since the photos still exist on the SD memory card, fixing the file structure will let you recover the photos. You will need to download a memory card recovery program, many of which are free to use. Recovering the photos from a corrupted SD memory card does not violate the warranty on the SD memory card or the computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Memory card reader

Step 1

Download and install a memory card recovery program, for example, the trial version of the Memory Card Data Recovery Software or the Digital Image Memory Card Recovery program (see Resources section). Double-click on the program once it has fully downloaded. Follow the menu commands to install the program. Restart the PC.

Step 2

Insert the SD memory card into the SD slot in the memory card reader. Plug the memory card reader's USB cable into a USB port on the computer.

Step 3

Double-click on the icon of the memory card recovery program to launch it.

Step 4

Click once on the icon of the SD memory card that appears in the left column of the memory card recovery program's main screen.

Step 5

Click on the "Disk Aid" or "Fix Disk" icon at the top of the program's main screen.

Step 6

Click on the "Options" button at the top of the program's main screen.

Step 7

Select "Memory card" from the drop-down menu below "Devices" in the window that appears.

Step 8

Select "Repair file structure" from the drop-down menu below "File." Click on "OK" to close the window.

Step 9

Click on the "Start" or "Go" button on the program's main screen. Wait as the program repairs the file structure of the SD memory card.

Step 10

Click "OK" in the confirmation window that appears. Quit the memory card recovery program.

Step 11

Double-click on the icon of the SD memory card that has now appeared on the desktop of the computer.

Step 12

Drag the recovered photos from within the window of the SD memory card on the desktop. Wait for the photos to be copied.

Step 13

Right-click on the icon of the SD memory card on the desktop. Select "Eject" from the pop-up menu.

Step 14

Remove the memory card reader's USB cable from the USB port of the computer. Remove the SD memory card from the SD slot in the memory card reader.

Tips & Warnings

  • You do not need a memory card reader if the computer has a built-in SD memory card slot.
  • Don't connect the memory card reader to a USB hub. A built-in USB port on the computer will provide a more stable signal for the SD memory card.