Feasible Ways to Recover Lost Pictures from SD Card Free

Learn to recover lost pictures from SD card free without/with software. Three efficient methods help you achieve SD card photo recovery on this page.


By Penny / Updated on April 2, 2024

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How do I recover pictures and videos from my SD card?


I accidentally deleted all files from my SD card. Thus, is it possible for me to retrieve my pictures and videos from the SD card without formatting and overwriting it? Please let me know. Thanks.

For pictures, the SD card always is an excellent data storage device for digital cameras or smartphones. Without a doubt, losing precious photos from these electronic devices could be a nightmare because they’re the bearer of our feelings and memories. If you need, please scroll down to get targeted solutions for SD card photo recovery.

How to recover deleted photos from SD card free?

In computing, there’s the free space that stores the deleted/lost files. But any written performance could overwrite the free space. After overwriting, these retrievable files will become inaccessible.

Luckily, it’s possible for the above user to recover deleted photos from the SD card with trustable methods because he/she has not altered to the SD card after data loss.

Case A. Perform SD card photo recovery without software

Your photos could be hidden in the SD card without deleting them. In this scenario, the ATTRIB command is the targeted treatment for the hidden files because this group of command prompt permits you to modify or set the file attribute of a file or folder in Windows. You can also recover hidden files from USB using attrib.   

▶Read-only (R): Users are not allowed to alter or change the read-only file.

▶Hidden (H): MS-DOS commands like dir and Windows apps like File Explorer will not show hidden files by default, making files or folders invisible to users.

▶System (S): Mark the file as a vital file system, and change the priority of the file.

▶Archive (A): The hosting file has been modified since the last backup. After performing a full/incremental backup, backup software will inevitably clear it.

Step 1. Connect the SD card to your PC. Then type “cmd” in the search bar, and select the “Run as administrator” option.


Step 2. Copy “attrib –h –r –s /s /d G:\*.*” in the command prompt window and hit “Enter.” You could replace the letter “G” with the real drive letter of your SD card.


Step 3. After the process, please confirm whether your needed pictures are visible to you or not. You can also change its chk format and store them at your destination place.  

Case B. Perform SD card photo recovery with software

Nevertheless, if the attrib command couldn’t work for you to show the hidden photos, which suggests your photos are in a deleted state. At the moment, you’re supposed to seek help from tools to achieve SD card photo recovery.

Method 1. Recover lost pictures from SD card free with Windows File Recovery

As a powerful and free data recovery tool, Windows File Recovery aims to recover the lost files from HDD, SSD, USB, and SD cards. Without a GUI (graphical user interface) is the reason why Windows File Recovery is called the command-line software.

Specifically, it interacts with users through the command prompt instead of the GUI. If you accept this demerit, please recover the deleted files using CMD. Please designate your desired mode and switches, and resemble the basic command line winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches] with them.   

Windows File Recovery enables you to recover the deleted Word, PPT, ZIP, PDF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, MPEG, etc.   
Four modes (Extensive, Regular, Segment, and Signature) could support four file systems (NTFS, FAT, exFAT, ReFS).
Windows File Recovery only works with Windows 10/11.
Ensure the source drive (stores your needed pictures before deletion) is different from the destination place (stores the retrieved pictures).

Step 1. Figure out the file system of your source drive: Connect your SD card to the computer. Then click “This PC” > right-click on the source drive> “Properties.”


Step 2. Select a comprehensive mode according to the file system of your SD card and data loss scenarios.

File system


Recommended mode


Deleted recently



Deleted a while ago



After formatting a disk



A corrupted disk


FAT and exFAT



Step 3. Select your needed switches from the following form.



Supported mode(s)


Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc.



Recover specific extension groups.



Recovers system files.

NTFS Segment​​​​​


Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin.

NTFS Segment

Step 4. Click the “Get” button to download Windows File Recovery from the Microsoft Store. Then install and “Open” it on your PC.


Step 5. Let’s perform how to restore the deleted JPEG pictures from the C drive to the E drive.

the basic command format: winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

the adjusted command line: winfr C: E: /x /y :JPEG

Step 6. Copy the adjusted command line in the command prompt window and hit “y” to start the recovery process. You can also press the Ctrl + C” keys if you need to stop the process.

Method 2. Use SD card photo recovery software

It’s difficult for non-tech users to master these complicated switches in a limited period and resemble corresponding command lines for varied scenarios. If you want to be exempt from using Windows File Recovery, you can utilize this powerful and user-friendly SD card photo recovery software-MyRecover.

Supported by pioneering technology, this professional data recovery software can help you recover the deleted/lost files from SSD/HDD/USB and other storage devices.   

Recover 200+ types of data: Word, PPT, Excel, Photos, Audios, Videos, Emails, Webpages, and Compressed files. You can find deleted pictures on the hard drive using it.  
Perform Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically to detect all the deleted files and other lost files.
Get the original format for the deleted/lost pictures.
Deal with deletion, disk formatting, system crashes, and more data loss scenarios.
Support NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and ReFS in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Windows Server. 

Step 1. Connect the SD card to your computer. Then launch MyRecover on your PC.

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

Step 2. Hover the mouse over the drive and click Scan to scan.


Step 3. After scanning, you can see all the deleted files and other lost files.


Step 4. Confirm the scanning results and select your desired pictures. Then click the “Recover x files” button to start the recovery process.


Bonus tips: How to prevent data loss for SD card?

This efficient post lists three feasible methods for you to recover lost pictures from SD card free. More importantly, the following tips could help you prevent data loss or avoid data corruption for SD cards.

Be sure to eject the SD card from the Windows if you’ve transferred photos to PCs.
Do not remove the SD card or close the system when the SD is reading/writing data.
Do not use the same SD card on multiple devices.
Ensure the electronic device recognizes your SD card.
Use the original battery to ensure power stability.
Avoid the high temperature and humidity environment.
Please think twice before deleting pictures.
Some cameras have two card slots. For example, some models of Nikon camera provides additional security because they can record each picture on both cards. If one card fails, you can still finish Nikon photo recovery from another backup card.
Use free backup software-AOMEI Backupper to create regular backups.
Penny · Editor
Penny works as an editor at AOMEI Technology, while she's a tester and editor for AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. She enjoys helping users with data recovery issues on Windows and iPhones using simple and practical solutions. Outside of work, she has a strong affection for pets, particularly giant pandas.