How to Recover Files from a Dead SD Card (2024)

How to recover files from a dead SD card? In this post, you will get an effective way to recover data from dead SD cards. Moreover, 3 fixes and some tips for a dead micro SD card are included.


By Lori / Updated on April 2, 2024

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Can We Recover Data from Dead SD Card?

SD cards are great for storing data because they're small and easy to carry. However, being small also means they can be easily lost or damaged, especially if not handled carefully.


If your SD card stops working or starts showing errors, it might be dead. This means that the data from SD card may be lost. Recovering data from a dead SD card is not easy, but it is not impossible either. The chances depend on the cause of data loss. Check out the reasons for data loss and learn how to recover files from a dead micro SD card.

Signs of a Dead SD Card

Is your SD card dead? When dealing with dead SD cards, it's helpful to know the common signs of a dead SD card.

Physically Damaged SD Cards: These cards have suffered mechanical damage that prevents them from working properly.

Signs of physical damage include:

1️⃣ visibly damaged plastic housing

2️⃣ worn-out pins

3️⃣ a crushed flash memory chip

Unfortunately, recovering data from physically damaged SD cards is often not possible, especially if the flash memory chip is broken. To prevent this, always store SD cards in a safe place.

Logically Damaged SD Cards: Logical damage, also known as corruption, relates to the file system's organization of data on the SD card.

Signs of logical damage include error messages like:

1️⃣ SD card is not formatted

2️⃣ I/O device errors

3️⃣ missing files/directories

As you can see, logically damaged SD cards are not truly dead. So, you can recover data from them using professional SD card recovery software. This software analyzes the SD card in every detail, bypassing the potentially incomplete or corrupted information provided by the file system.

How to Recover Files from a Dead SD Card

As we mentioned above, the recovery of your SD card data is possible only if it has been logically damaged, as physically damaged cards may not be recoverable. For the recovery process, it's smart to select reliable SD card data recovery software that supports all the file formats you need to recover.

MyRecover is a recommended choice to recover data from a dead SD card, offering a user-friendly interface to recover deleted or lost files efficiently. It has a high success rate and fast recovery speed.

Powerful SD Card Recovery Software
  • Support different brands of SD cards such as SanDisk, Kingston, Samsung, ADATA, Transcend, PNY, Lexar, etc.
  • Recover 200+ formats: Besides MS Office files, it can recover deleted common image formats ( JPG/JPEG/JPE, PNG, TIF/TIFF, HEVC/HEIC/HEIF, GIF, PSD, SVG, ARW, X3F, etc.)
  • Advanced scanning method: MyRecover runs Quick Scan & Deep Scan automatically to find all the retrievable pictures/videos and other lost files on your SD card.
  • Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS file systems in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Windows Server.

How to recover files from a dead SD card? Please download this SD card recovery tool MyRecover and operate with the following easy steps.

Step 1. Connect the dead SD card and launch MyRecover

Connect your dead SD card to the PC. Install and run MyRecover on your Windows. Hover the mouse over the SD card saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. Scan for deleted and missing files

The advanced scanning methods - Quick Scan & Deep Scan will automatically scan all the deleted or missing files from your SD card. Then, you can search or wait to view all the recoverable files.


Step 3. Select files and click recover

Go to the Other Missing Files folder, and select the files you would like to recover. Then click Recover x files.


Step 4. Choose a new location for recovery

Choose a new location for the recovered data instead of the original location to save the files to store, and click Select Folder to confirm.

Select Location

🌟Tip: MyRecover offers 3 subscription plans: Monthly, Yearly, and Lifetime. Select the plan that suits your data recovery needs. Please upgrade to MyRecover Pro/Tech for unlimited file recovery options.

How to Fix a Dead SD Card?

After recovering files from damaged SD cards, you can easily fix dead SD cards with the following 3 methods.

Way 1. Fix a Dead SD Card Using CHKDSK

CHKDSK is a Windows built-in tool that scans your dead SD card for corrupted files, and repairs bugs and errors. So you can use it to recover dead SD cards with a command.

  • This method can be complex for users unfamiliar with the command. You could try to use the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This free tool offers a user-friendly interface and easy operating steps.

Here are the steps to fix a dead SD card via CHKDSK.

Step 1. Connect your dead SD card to your computer properly. Type cmd in the start bar and choose Run as administrator to open the Command Prompt.


Step 2.Type chkdsk F:/f and press Enter. Replace the letter F with the drive letter of your dead SD card.


Way 2. Fix a Dead SD Card by Assigning a New Drive Letter

Sometimes, your SD does not work properly because the drive has no drive letter. You need to assign a new drive letter to the SD card via Disk Management. The lack of a drive letter may also be the reason why the SD card is not accessible.

Step 1.Connect your dead SD card to the computer, press “Win + R” and type “diskmgmt.msc” in the window. Then press “Enter” or click “OK” to open the Disk Management.

Step 2.Locate your SD card and right-click on it, then select “Change Drive Letter and Paths”.


Step 3.Select “Add” to assign a new drive letter to the SD card.

Step 4.Choose “Assign the following drive letter”. Make sure that the selected drive letter is different from all existing drive letters.



Way 3. Fix a Dead SD Card by Reinstalling the SD Card Driver

Incorrect operating system updates can corrupt the system driver, making it impossible to access the contents of the SD card. To resolve this issue, you will need to uninstall the SD card driver.

Step 1. Connect the SD card to your Windows computer. Press Win + R and type devmgmt.msc. Press OK to start Device Manager.

Step 2. Locate Disk drives and find the SD card. Right-click Update driver/Uninstall device.



Step 3. Restart your Windows PC and the operating system will reinstall the hard drive automatically. Or click “Browse my computers for drivers” and locate the unpacked latest driver. Click the “OK”.

Tips to Prevent SD Card Data Loss

If you do face SD card data loss, use MyRecover for recovery. However, taking some actions to reduce the chances of losing data on your SD card is important. Here are some simple tips to prevent losing data on your SD card.

1️⃣ Regularly back up SD card data. You could try this free backup software for Windows like AOMEI Backupper Standard.

file backup

2️⃣ Connect and disconnect the SD card correctly.

3️⃣ Update the SD card driver in time.

4️⃣ Format the SD card with the correct file system.

5️⃣ Run antivirus software to ensure safety.


How to know if SD card is corrupted?
1. Digital cameras or other devices fail to recognize SD cards.
2. SD Card readers and desktops fail to list the card as a folder you can read.
3. Files on the card appear distorted or display an error.
4. SD card can be viewed as a folder, but not all of its files appear.
How do you fix a physically damaged SD card?
Avoid trying to clean or repair the SD card at home, as this may result in permanent data loss! If your SD card is physically damaged, take it to a professional repair lab.
Will I lose my photos if I format my SD card?
Yes, formatting SD card deletes everything. If you wish to keep the data, click the Cancel button. However, you can use formatted data recovery software such as MyRecover to recover formatted SD cards.

In the End

If an SD card gets physically damaged, it could lead to losing all the files on it. If your SD card gets logically damaged, you can use powerful SD card recovery software like MyRecover to help you recover files from a dead SD card. It can also recover deleted or lost files from various storage devices including HDDs, SSDs, USB flash drives, and more.

Lori · Editor
Lori receives professional technical training since joining AOMEI, and aims at helping users troubleshoot problems on data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.