How to Recover Data from Corrupted Memory Card without Formatting?

How to recover data from corrupted memory card without formatting? This article will teach you to get data from corrupted SD card and fix it.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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“How can I recover my memory card data without formatting?”

SD cards, read and write data to the computers with a card reader. As a tiny storage device, it is popular among users who need to store and transfer data.

During use, however, some improper usage habits like compulsively disconnecting SD cards can lead to SD card corruption.


How to repair corrupted SD card?


Does anyone know how to undelete or repair an SD card? It's happened a few times and I usually format and start over. Any help would be appreciated.


- Question from XDAForum


Usually, to deal with a corrupted memory card, users will choose to format it to bring it back to normal. But the cost is that all the important data on it will be lost and gone. Plenty of users find it difficult to recover data from formatted hard drives.

So, quite a few users are wondering if it is possible to recover SD card without formatting. This article will guide these users to perform data recovery and fix the corrupted memory card.

Prior to the fixes of corrupted SD card recovery, let’s take a look at the symptoms and causes of memory card corruption.

Signs that indicate memory card corruption

Some symptoms may indicate or imply SD card corruption. Once noticing them, if possible, back up or move the data as soon as possible. If it is too late, fixes will be introduced later.

Unrecognizable memory card. If the SD card cannot be recognized by the computer when connected, it indicates that the memory card is corrupted. Please send it to an in-lab data recovery service near you.

◆ File loss. If the SD card was infected by viruses, your files might be removed, modified, encrypted, etc.

◆ Various SD card error warnings. For example, you may meet a readwrite error on the SD card, forcing you to format it.


◆ Sluggish or unsuccessful data transfer. If you have to transfer multiple times due to the slow speed or failed transfer, your memory card might be about to get corrupted.

Causes of memory card corruption

Some improper usage or external factors are to blame for the SD card corruption.

◆ Unexpected ejection. Unplugging the memory card directly without choosing the “Safe to Remove Hardware” will be dangerous to bring corruption or data loss.


◆ Interruption of read and write process. Force ejection, shutdown, data transfer halting, etc., can lead to interruption.

◆ Physical damage. Static, liquid, dirt and other outside factors can cause SD card corruption.

◆ Virus. Viruses can access and damage the SD card via the card reader.

Now please follow the instructions below to recover SD card without formatting.

How to recover data from corrupted memory card without formatting?

Undoubtedly, the data in it is the one that is of vital importance. To begin with, you need to get data from corrupted SD card, and then fix it to bring it back to normal.

Stage 1. Get data from corrupted SD card

2 feasible methods are ready for you to give a shoot.

Method 1. Recover data from corrupted SD card using commands

With a corrupted SD card in hand, it is absolutely difficult for an ordinary user to get data off it, but the Recover command in CMD can help.

This command allows users to recover readable info from a corrupted/defective hard disk.

Command format: recover [drive:][path]filename
This command does not support wildcard and requires the exact filename and path. 
Also, it only allows users to recover 1 file at 1 time.

Step 1. Start Command Prompt > choose Run as administrator.


Step 2. Input diskpart > list disk > select disk 0 > list volume > select volume 1. Please replace the number here with the real drive letter of the corrupted memory card.

Step 3. Input recover [drive:][path]filename. Specify the parameters.


E.g., if you want to recover a photo from the “2019” folder under the “travel” folder on the memory card, then you input:

recover f: \travel\2019\xxxx.png

The salient shortcomings of this method are inconvenient, slow, and limited. To recover data from corrupted SD cards easier, check the next solution.

Method 2. Recover data from corrupted memory cards readily and efficiently

How to recover data from corrupted memory card without formatting without any difficulties?

If you only need to recover a few files from the SD card, the method above can be helpful. But for users who want to recover files in batch, the command is way too inconvenient.

Compared to the complex commands, professional file recovery software for Windows will be the appropriate and suitable solution.

MyRecover, a reliable Windows data recovery tool, is equipped with advanced scanning methods to help users target and restore data in a breeze.

Perform data recovery easily and efficiently
  • 200+ recoverable data, including photos, videos, audio files, office files, etc.
  • Restore data from external/internal hard disks, e.g., SD cards, USB drives, HDDs, SSDs, etc. 
  • Allow users to select and restore data while scanning, shortening the waiting time.
  • Compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7/Server, and NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, ReFS, etc.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Quick Scan supports NTFS drives only. If the SD card is a non-NTFS drive, it will be scanned with Deep Scan.

Step 1. Install and run the software > connect the SD card > hover the mouse over the SD card drive > click Scan


You can also use it to recover data from encrypted SD card. The steps are exactly the same as recover data from corrupted memory card.

Step 2. While scanning, you could target the wanted files using the filters like size, date modified, and path.


Step 3. Go to Other missing files > Images or other certain types of data > select the files you need > click Recover x files.


With its help, it will be also easy to recover external hard drive data.

Stage 2. Fix corrupted SD card without formatting

With data recovered, some tricks are ready to help you fix corrupted SD card.

Fix 1. Utilize the Disk Check feature

The Disk Check feature can do some help. It will check and try to fix the potential file system errors on the disk.

Step 1. Start This PC or My Computer on your PC > right-click the SD card > Click PropertiesTools > Check.


Step 2. Click Scan Drive, it will scan and repair the errors on the file system.


Fix 2. Repair corrupted SD card using the CHKDSK command

Usually, an unreadable memory card implies a corrupted file system. Except for the Disk Check, the CHKDSK command in cmd can also help.

If you meet the error CHKDSK cannot continue in read-only mode, please get help.

Step 1. Connect your SD card to the PC > start Command Prompt > choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. Input chkdsk F:/f. here refers to the drive letter of the SD card.


After processing, you will see a notice: “Windows has made corrections to the file system.” 

Wrapping up

This page contains extensive information on how to recover data from corrupted memory card without formatting.

To minimize data loss, you might first recover the SD card data and then attempt to repair corrupted SD card using commands or the Windows Disk Check program.

Following that, it is recommended that you take measures and back up your vital files with professional backup software for Windows.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.