How to Recover Files from an SD card that no longer works

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One of the most comfortable ways to share data from one device to another is SD or micro SD cards: in a small space, they can store a considerable amount of data and, at least those of a higher “class “(for example the UHS Class 1 and 3) are also quick to read and write data. This is also why SDs is used in electronic devices that require excellent reading and writing performance, such as smartphones and digital cameras.

Unfortunately, however, even if the SD cards are very robust, it can happen that they no longer work due to some hardware or file system problems. If it is a hardware problem (for example, an electrical connection has been interrupted or the card has been bent or broken) there is usually not much to do.

But if the problem is in the file system (and therefore it is a corruption of the archived data) very often you can fix the situation and make the card work again. To do this, it is necessary to connect the card to a PC or Mac, via an external reader or by inserting it directly into the slot present in the computer. The notebook PC and MacBook they almost always have an SD card reader, for example.

How to repair an SD card on PC

If we want to repair an SD card via a computer with Windows the first thing to do is connect it to the PC. If Windows detects it and assigns it a letter in the drive (C, D or E, those present next to a hard disk or external memory in File Explorer), but tells us that it is impossible to access external memory, then we have hope to make it work using the chkdsk command. First, we need to open the command prompt by running it as a system administrator (to start it just use the search function of Cortana), otherwise, chkdsk will not work.

Then we have to type ” chkdsk ” followed by the letter of the unit and the colon. For example, if Windows has assigned the letter “h ” to the SD, we will have to write ” chkdsk h: ” and press enter. If we don’t add other parameters to the command, however, chkdsk will just check for memory errors but won’t fix them. Instead, writing ” chkdsk h: / f “, where “/ f ” stands for ” fix “, then the utility will first look for the errors and then try to correct them. If all goes well, then the SD card will work again although it is always possible that some of the files it contains will no longer be available.

How to repair an SD card on Mac

To try to repair an SD card on Mac we can use Disk Utility. The first thing to do is open the utility and choose View> Show all devices, hoping that the card has been detected by the Mac. In this case, we just have to select the volume associated with the SD card from the external drives and click on the ” SOS ” button. At this point Disk Utility will check the SD card for errors and, if it finds them, it will repair them independently without having to ask for it.

How to choose the SD card

Buying an SD card is one of the main doubts of photography enthusiasts. Also because over time they have evolved hand in hand with photographic cameras. Let’s see which SD card to buy based on our needs and the device we have.

The continuous evolution of SD cards in relation to cameras represents one of the main problems for the purchase. Especially for a user with not too much specific knowledge in the sector. The risk is to spend more than necessary by buying at the end a card that is not compatible with our device. There are different types and brands of SD cards on the market and we must choose the one that best suits our needs. One of the aspects not to be underestimated is certainly the storage space available. If you are a professional photographer, we recommend an SD card that allows you to take at least 400-500 images.

Type and brand

The first thing to check when buying an SD card is that it is compatible with our camera. Assuming that the camera uses the SD format, it should be compatible with the two main types of cards produced today, namely SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) and SDXC (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity). The fastest way to check card compatibility is to look at the camera specifications in the manual (or the equivalent page on the manufacturer’s website). Other types of SD cards also exist and are often available in smaller variants, such as microSDXC which are usually used in smartphones, although often with SD adapters they can also be used in cameras and various card readers. As for the manufacturers of the most famous are Lexar and SanDisk. Excellent alternatives with Integral, Kingston, Transcend, Toshiba and Samsung. Beware of online shopping. Do it only on reliable sites, in fact, there is a risk of buying counterfeit cards or cards containing malicious codes inside them.

The ability

The storage capacity of an SD card is certainly the feature that most of all raises the price. The storage space, more or less large, also gives the name to the wording of the card. In fact, all cards with a capacity of 32 GB or less are inserted in the SDHC field, while cards with a size of 64 GB or more are classified as SDXC. It is no coincidence that the best-selling products are the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB solutions

If we have a 12-megapixel camera that we use from time to time a 16GB card may be enough. If, on the other hand, we love videos, we will need solutions with more storage space. Photography experts then recommend buying two or three medium-sized cards instead of a single large SD card. If we lose or the card is stolen we will not lose all the work. The same goes if the card gets ruined.

Transfer rate

Many of today’s SDHC and SDXC cards are indicated with a number, such as 2, 4, 6 or 10 , after the name, usually surrounded by the icon of a circle that is not completely closed. This number is known as the speed class of the card and is a useful way of assessing whether an SD card is suitable for any video recording or not. The numbers derive from the measurement in MB / s. Remember that a card with a too high speed class is not necessary for recording videos in HD. 

Class 10 cards are ideal for Full HD videos, but if your camera supports 4K video recording, then a UHS class card is recommended and stands for Ultra High Speed, and these are the new super fast SD cards. Be careful when buying these cards, because they are not compatible with all cameras. Finally, there are also Video Speed ​​Classes developed for 8K cameras.

Compact Flash or Alternative?

Not all cameras, as mentioned, use the same type of SD card. The Compact Flash format is still used by some digital SLRs, while the slots for the latest Cast and XQD formats have started to appear within some new models. Be careful because, unlike the SDHC and SDXC, they do not use the same speed classes. The fastest compactFlashes are UDMA 7.

Water resistant

According to the use we make of the cards, it is also important to check whether they are resistant to water, dust or X-rays. If we usually take shots in extreme weather conditions, such as photos in the desert, this is a fundamental aspect. Less if we use the camera for a trip or a trip.

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