3 Proven Ways: How to Recover Data from Memory Card for Free

Memory cards bring great convenience for saving various precious data on mobile phones, cameras, video recorders, etc., but due to various reasons, you may lose some files, this article will tell you how to recover data from memory card for free.


By Lora / Updated on April 2, 2024

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I accidentally deleted all files from my memory card. I didn't format it but just deleted it. How can I recover ? Please let me know. Thanks.

- Question from Reddit


I accidentally formatted my memory card! What should I do now? ? ? Can the files be recovered after formatting?

- Question from Quora

The memory card is small in size but large in capacity and everyone can carry them around. It becomes one of the most popular external storage devices that can be used to save large files like photos, audios, videos, documents, applications, emails, etc. on digital cameras, tablets, VCRs, mp3, mp4, and more.

recover data from sd card

However, the memory card also has some data loss situations that cannot be avoided. Knowing how to recover data from memory card is crucial. Today, we will elaborate around this.

Common factors of memory card data loss

There can be many reasons for memory card data loss, here we list the most common scenarios that lead to memory card data loss.

● Accidentally delete files and folders from the memory card.

● Remove the memory card from the digital device or computer when accessing data.

● Accidentally formatted the memory card and no backup is available.

● An error occurred while transferring data.

● Memory card is logically corrupted/crushed.

● Physical damage or broken on the memory card.

● Virus infection or malware attack.

Can memory card data be recovered?

Can memory card data be recovered once data is lost? Yes, it is possible to recover data from SD memory card. In fact, if you delete a memory card file, the file doesn't appear in the file manager, but it's not actually completely deleted right away. The files are still stored on your memory card, the system just marks the file's disk space as "free" and waits for new data to overwrite it. Therefore, as long as the lost data is not overwritten, there is still a chance to retrieve.

So, to successfully recover memory card files, you must remember: Immediately turn off the device and remove the memory card from the device, stop storing new data as lost files may be overwritten if the card is still in use.

How to recover data from memory card without formatting

There are many ways to retrieve data from memory card without formatting it, in the next section, we summarize 3 effective methods on how to recover deleted/formatted memory card.

Reliable memory card data recovery software (support formatted memory card)

Whenever the memory card is accidentally formatted, you worry about whether it is possible to recover files from formatted memory card. Actually, formatting a memory card may result in file loss, but it does not mean complete data loss.

Formatting just destroys the data structure on the card, marking the entire device as "empty", but in reality, the data still exists on the memory card and can be recovered with the right methods. For example, you can let a professional data recovery software help you.

MyRecover is one reliable and powerful files recovery tool that can recover more than 200 types of files including photos, videos, images, documents, audios, etc., from memory cards, SD cards, external hard drives (HDDs/SSDs) with original format, filename, and content.

🔊 Apart from recovering data from memory card after format, it also supports many other data loss situations such as accidental deletion, disk formatting, system crash and virus attack.
🔥 The tool provides quick and deep scanning modes to help you completely recover lost data in Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows Server systems without any misses.

Free download and install this memory card data recovery software to get back your data in just a few clicks.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Run MyRecover on your computer and connect the memory card. Hover the mouse over the memory card drive, click Scan.

external hard drive start scan

Step 2. It will automatically check the drive for all lost files, and if you find the files you want to recover, don't need to wait for the full scanning process, then click the Recover x files button to complete.

recover lost data

How to recover data from memory card using Command Prompt

Command Prompt, also known as CMD, is one of the most powerful features in Windows. It is often used by IT professionals or software managers to find some hidden data with commands to retrieve hidden files from USB, external hard drive, SD memory card and so on. If there are some files hidden on the memory card, you can follow the steps below to use ATTRIB command to recover your data.

Step 1. Connect the memory card to your computer. Please ensure your PC recognizes this card, press Windows + R to launch Run.

Step 2. In the Run window, type the” cmd” and click OK.

type cmd window

Step 3. Type the command in the Window: ATTRIB -H -R -S /S /D G:*.* and hit Enter.

✍ Note: Replace the G in the command with the letter of your memory card.

attrib cmd

Step 4. After the command prompt returns to its original location, the process will complete, then you can go to the destination to check these files.

Restore files from memory card with Windows File Recovery

If you want to recover deleted data from memory card and find no signs of deleted files in Recycle Bin, you can try Microsoft's official data recovery tool - Windows File Recovery. It is a powerful command-line utility, supports Windows 11/10 and later, can recover deleted media files, office files, ZIP files, photos, or videos, and more from local or external hard drives, SD/memory cards with the winfr command.

Note: Novice users may find this option complicated because Windows File Recovery is a command-line application with complex parameters that offers several recovery modes. Next, we will show you some basic instructions about it, if you need a comprehensive understanding of Windows File Recovery, you can refer to How to Use Windows File Recovery.

Step 1. Get Windows File Recovery in Microsoft Store.

microsoft store get

Step 2. Open Windows File Recovery, you need to enter the command format like this: winfr source-drive:destination-drive:[/mode] [/switches]. This is the general command line syntax for restoring files via Windows File Recovery.

What each specific command means is shown in the following figure.

cmd parameters

There are two basic modes to choose from: Regular & Extensive. And Extensive mode includes two advanced modes: Segment & Signature. The file system of the disk determines which mode you use. You can check the memory card drive file system by clicking This PC, right-clicking the drive, check the file system Properties to choose the corresponding Mode and Switch according to the following figure.

wfr mode

wfr switch

Tip: Regular only supports the NTFS file system.

For example, if you want to restore files from E: drive to D: drive, you want to use Segment mode, and the files you lost are Docx files, then as shown in the figure, your command is: winfr E: D: /segment /n *.docx.

winfr segment docx

Step 3. After that, a recovery folder will be created in the destination drive of your choice. You can go to check if the lost data is recovered.

Note: As you can see, Windows file recovery is not very friendly to a green-hand. There is another Windows File Recovery alternative, a 100% free tool called WinfrGUI. This software can help you get rid of complicated commands to recover deleted files with a graphical user interface. You can try it out.

The Final Words       

That’ all on how to recover data from memory card. We've covered three methods to help you restore memory card files, two of which are using commands, which might be a little complicated for you. Therefore, we recommend that you can use professional data recovery software- MyRecover to save your time and improve recovery success.

Finally, to prevent data loss in the memory card, it is suggested that you choose a reliable memory card and replace it with a new one after a certain period of time. After using the memory card, safely remove from the device, do not pull it out directly, and do not rashly delete files.

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.