SD Card Photo Recovery: Recover Deleted Photos for FREE

Want to achieve SD card photo recovery? This tutorial with detailed info and steps to recover deleted photos from SD cards is worth reading.


By Lora / Updated on May 27, 2024

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Can SD card photos be recovered?

Tiny and portable SD card storage device is prevailing and widely used to store pictures, videos, etc. It is designed for a bunch of digital devices, for instance, cameras, video recorders, music players, PCs, etc.

Being loaded with a large number of essential files, especially photos, SD cards are delicate, vulnerable, and prone to losing data. Many users have encountered SD card photo loss and were eager to figure out how to achieve SD card photo recovery.


How to recover photos from a deleted SD card?


I accidentally deleted all files from my SD card. All pictures I took this month are there and I can’t afford to lose them. Any suggestions will be appreciated.


- Question from DPREVIEW



Here comes to question, is it possible to recover SD card photos? Well, it depends on how your photos on SD cards are lost.

Causes of SD card photo loss

Photos usually are lost for a variety of causes.

  • Accidental deletion. The biggest reason for data loss on any device.
  • SD card formatting. If you have accidentally formatted the SD card, then all the contents in it will be lost.
  • Loose connection. When the connection between the SD card and your computer is loose, data in it might be affected and get inaccessible.
  • Improper ejection. SD cards being ejected while reading and writing data will cause data loss and data corruption to a large extent.
  • Virus intrusion. Viruses will maliciously modify the properties or attributes of the data in an SD card if infected. Images can be hidden or deleted by it.
  • Physical damage. When an SD card is physically damaged/broken, data in it is very likely to be corrupted or lost. Thus you may have to recover corrupted SD card.

It will be an easy task to recover photos from SD cards using professional data recovery tools when you just deleted or permanently deleted them.

But if data in it is corrupted due to misoperation, virus, or physical damage, it is gone for good. And you might have to perform SD card recovery to fix it and bring it back to normal.

To recover deleted photos from SD card, therefore, you could follow this guide in the next section.

How to recover deleted photos from SD card

To perform SD card photo recovery, you can read and try some file/data recovery utilities introduced in this part. To get back your photos in the fastest way, you can try the second method directly.

Before you start SD card photo recovery

Prior to the solutions to recover SD card photos, some quick fixes are ready here to assist you if you cannot specify the situation of your SD card.

>> Fix 1. Check if you have properly/correctly connected the SD card to your computer with a card reader.

>> Fix 2. Try to connect to another interface/port or use another card reader.

>> Fix 3. Try to unhide the SD card files. Select the SD card in This PC > click View in the toolbar > Options > View > toggle Show hidden files, folders, and drives in Advanced settings.


If all these fast fixes cannot solve your problem, then you may have to perform SD card photo recovery via some professional Windows data rescue tools.

Solution 1. Recover SD card photos via Windows File Recovery

Windows File Recovery, an official file recovery application designed by Microsoft, can help recover deleted files from healthy/corrupted/formatted hard drives in Windows 10 2004 and above.

As a command-line app, it is not designed for ordinary users who are not equipped with related knowledge, expertise, and experience; therefore, this tool will be quite difficult to handle for users who are not tech-savvy.

To get a more detailed guide on how to use Windows File Recovery, check the tutorial.

  • It only applies to Windows 10, version 2004 (Build 19041), or later.

  • The target drive cannot be the same as the source drive.

  • Since SD cards usually use FAT/FAT32/exFAT, Regular mode is not available. Please choose Extensive mode.

  • If Windows File Recovery failed to create destination folder, please seek help.

Step 1. Connect the SD card properly to your computer > go to This PC > right-click on the SD card > Properties. See what type of file system you are using.


Step 2. According to the file system and data loss situation, choose a recovery mode.

File system Scenarios mode
NTFS Deleted recently Regular
NTFS Deleted for a while Extensive
NTFS Formatted disk Extensive
NTFS corrupted disk Extensive
FAT and exFAT Any Extensive

Step 3. Select one/more switches to filter the scanning range.

Switches Meaning Supported mode(s)
/n Filter the scan range: scans for a specific file with its file name/path/type, etc. All
/y: Recovers specific extension groups. Signature
/k Recovers system files. NTFS Segment​​​​​
/segment Segment mode; recovers files under NTFS drives using file record segments. Segment
/signature Signature mode; recovers files under all file system types using file headers. Signature
/u Recovers undeleted files, for example, from the Recycle Bin. NTFS Segment

Step 4. Get Windows File Recovery from Microsoft Store > run the app.


Step 5. Input the command to get deleted/lost image files from SD card.

Command format:

winfr source-drive: destination-drive: [/mode] [/switches]

For instance,

winfr F: D: /extensive /n *.jpg /n *.png


Using this command, you could recover jpg and png files from your F: drive (SD card) to another drive. Don’t forget that the source drive could not be the same as the target drive.

If you see errors like “There was an error parsing your command”, please seek help from the tutorial the fix it.

Then, press y continue and wait for the processing. You might meet the error “Windows File Recovery stuck at 99%” and cannot have the process ended. If so, get some help and get it fixed.

A folder named “Recovery_date and time” will be generated automatically in the destination drive.

Solution 2. Recover photos from SD card effortlessly

For green hands, how to recover SD card photos without being bothered by the complex commands? A professional and trustworthy Windows data recovery utility – MyRecover will free you from trouble.

No matter how you have lost/deleted images, be it from normal deletion, permanent deletion, or even you have formatted the SD card, you could restore them using this efficient tool.

Use Versatile Tool to Recover Deleted Photos from SD Card
  • Provide 2 advanced scanning methods Quick Scan and Deep Scan to find your deleted photos.
  • Recover deleted photos at a fast speed and with a high recovery rate.
  • Support 200+ types of Windows data recovery, including 42 types of images.
  • Retrieve lost or deleted photos and other types of data from many different brands of SD cards like SanDisk,Transcend, Kingston, etc.
  • Restore deleted images while keeping their original file formats, filenames, and directories.
  • Support Windows 11/10/8/7 SP1/Server.

Now follow the steps to restore deleted or lost pictures from SD card.

Step 1. Install and run the software > connect the SD card to your computer with a card reader > hover the mouse over the SD card drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. It will automatically scan the SD card with Quick Scan & Deep scan to separately search for deleted files and missing files. Preview the scanning result or wait for the complete result.

At this time, you can use the filter feature to find your photos quickly, such as Size, Path, Type, Date modified, etc. If you remember the filename,  you can type it in the search box to locate it faster.

  • Name: Enter the relevant filename of your desired files to quickly locate them.
  • Date modified: Set the date (today, yesterday, last 7/30 days, etc.)
  • Size: Set file size (<128KB, 128KB~1MB, 1MB~512MB, etc.)


Step 3. Go to Other missing files/Deleted files > Images > select the pictures you want to restore > click Recover x files. Not only photos, you could also use it to perform SD card video recovery.


  • It is advisable for you to choose a new destination for your recovered files to avoid file overwriting.
  • You can recover deleted photos from SD card for free, up to 500MB. For larger photo recovery, you can upgrade MyRecover to advanced editions.

In this way, you could retrieve deleted photos from SD card and keep the original formats/names/paths. Also, this tool can help users to recover items permanently deleted from Recycle Bin.

Related suggestions about SD cards

Two feasible methods to achieve SD card photo recovery have been given with detailed info and steps. Users who are familiar with commands and Windows syntax can utilize the free Windows File Recovery.

If you are a beginner and don’t know much about commands, to get rid of any trouble and save your time, why not choose an easy tool – MyRecover?

What’s more, photos are of vital importance because they recorded and seized precious moments in people’s life. Losing any images will be frustrating.

To help users decrease the risk of losing photos in the future, therefore, some suggestions are offered.

  • Connect your SD card with a card reader properly and gently.
  • Eject the SD card after clicking the Safely Remove Hardware button.
  • Clean the SD card from time to time, and keep it away from dirt, oil, and liquid.
  • Back up the files on the SD card regularly. AOMEI Backupper would be of great help with Disk Backup, File Backup, and other useful features.


Can photos be retrieved from a corrupted SD card?
You can recover photos from corrupted memory card without formatting and without any difficulties via the professional data recovery software MyRecover.
How can I avoid overwriting deleted photos on my SD card?
Stop using the SD card immediately to avoid overwriting data. Do not take new photos or save anything on the card until recovery is completed.
Are deleted photos gone forever?
If your photos are deleted on computer, you can go to recycle bin to see if they are there. However, SD card photo recovery often requires a professional data recovery tool.
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.