How to Unformat SD Card on Windows and Android Phone

It can be a disaster if your SD card is formatted by accident. How can you unformat it and get all lost data back? Just follow the methods mentioned in this guide to unformat SD card.


By Demi / Updated on May 27, 2024

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How to Unformat SD card

Silly me, formatted the wrong SD card. I need to recover some important pics off it. Is there an effective solution to recover an accidentally formatted SD card? Thanks in advance.

- Question from forums

The SD memory card is widely used on kinds of digital devices like cameras, phones, and so on. In some cases, you may have to resort to formatting because of the incorrect functioning. 

SD Card

Since formatting SD card will change the file system and delete everything from the SD card, after checking there is nothing special on your SD card, you format it. However, you discover certain important files were on that memory card in a few hours or days...

Then, here comes this question: Can you unformat an SD card to get lost data back? If you can, how to achieve it without data loss? Keep reading this guide, and learn about how to unformat SD cards.

Can you restore a formatted SD card?

The answer to the question - can you restore a formatted SD card is YES. Since SD cards are typically formatted using a quick format, theoretically, formatting does not permanently wipe the data from them.

❗ The lost files on the SD card should not be overwritten or destroyed. Therefore, please stop writing any new data to the SD card as soon as it was formatted, or you cannot unformat the SD memory card or recover data from formatted SD card.

You can keep reading and learn about how to unformat SD card on Windows PC or phone.

How to unformat an SD memory card on Windows 10/11/8/7 PC

You will be given two methods in this part t unformat SD card on Windows 10/8/7 computer. If you are a PC professional or skilled with CMD to recover files, you can try Way 1.

For more people, it is suggested to download the advanced data recovery software introduced in Way 2 to unformat SD card and recover files from them in the highest rate.

Way 1. Unformat SD card using CMD

You can make use of the built-in command prompt to unformat SD card. It’s worth a go even though it is not entirely successful. The following steps are how to use it.

Step 1. Connect your SD card to your computer with a compatible USB cable.

Step 2. Type Command Prompt in the Windows search bar and click Run as administrator.

Step 3. Type chkdsk #: /f (Replace # with the letter of the SD memory card that was formatted.) Press Enter to continue.


Step 4. Type the command ATTRIB -H -R -S /S D #: *.* (Replace # with the SD card drive letter) > Finally, press Enter.

Attrib CMD

Although it is one of the most often used methods, the command prompt is not the ideal approach to unformat an SD card because unformat was a discontinued command. Try the more successful approach below if this one fails.

Way 2. Unformat SD card with MyRecover

To make the unformat process simple and efficient, you can rely on the Windows data recovery tool - MyRecover, which helps you unformat the SD drive and get your file back in three simple steps.

Powerful Windows Recovery Software
  • Recover 200+ types of data. The SD card may save your pictures, videos, music, texts, etc. You could retrieve all of them via MyRecover.
  • No data loss. The data on the formatted SD card can be recovered with the aid of MyRecover, maintaining its original format, filename, path, and quality.
  • High success rate for data recovery. Equipped with advanced scanning technology, the combined scanning method of Quick Scan & Deep Scan helps recover your data without any omissions.
  • Wide compatibility. MyRecover is perfectly compatible with HDD/SSD. It is also workable to unformat hard drive, USB, and so on.
  • Powerful system support. You can unformat SD card in Windows 10, 11, 8, 7, and Windows Server.

Free download and install the best software by clicking the icon below to unformat SD memory card in three simple steps.

Step 1. Connect your SD card to computer with a compatible USB cable > Run MyRecover > Hover the mouse over the SD card from the list > Click Scan to continue.

Select The Formatted Partition To Scan

Step 2. Wait for the scanning process to finish. During the process, you can directly select the files from the Scanned files list to restore or wait for a full result.

At this step, you can sort the scanned files using the "Search for files or folders" box. 

Besides, you can use different filters to narrow the range of search results to find your files quickly:

  • 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.)

Scanning Formatted Partition

Step 3. Select the wanted or all files you want to recover > Click Recover x files to get them back to the SD card.

Select Files

  • You can also make use of MyRecover to recover data lost due to accidental deletion, system crash, virus attack, etc. by following the same steps above.
  • You need to choose a new location to save your selected files to avoid data overwriting.
  • MyRecover can recover USB lost data for free, up to 30MB. If you need more file recovery, you can consider upgrading to an advanced edition.

How to unformat SD card on phone without computer

If the formatted SD card is used on your Android phone, you may want to unformat the SD card on the phone directly without computer. You can download an Android SD card recovery application, like Photo Recovery, which helps you recover photos, videos, and other files from formatted SD card.

Step 1. Download and install the app to your Android phone > Tap the Scan button to start finding formatted files on your Android SD card.

Scan Formatted SD Card

Step 2. Check the found files and select them > Click RESTORE to unformat SD card on phone.

Unformat SD Card On Phone

How to protect SD card data from accidental format

Data loss due to accidental formatting of an SD card can be a significant setback. To avoid such mishaps, consider these tips:

  • Regular Backups: Ensure your crucial data is consistently backed up on alternate devices or secure cloud storage. This preventive measure guarantees a duplicate copy elsewhere, offering a safe location even if your card gets inadvertently formatted.
  • Utilize Write-Protected Switch: Some memory cards feature a write-protected switch. Activate this function when data saving isn't in progress. This helps prevent the overwriting or accidental deletion/formatting of existing data.
  • Check Content Review Before Formatting: Prior to formatting, review the content stored on the SD card. Confirm that all essential data has been successfully backed up, avoiding irreversible loss.
  • Handle with Caution: Treat memory cards delicately. Refrain from inserting or ejecting them while your device is in operation. Additionally, avoid direct contact with the card's connectors using your fingers to prevent potential damage caused by static electricity.
  • Regular Device Maintenance: Implement routine device updates and conduct regular antivirus scans to ward off malware threats. Periodically run error-checking tools to identify and rectify potential issues with your SD card before they escalate.


Hope the methods introduced in this guide can help you successfully unformat SD card without any data loss. What’s more, it is suggested to backup SD card to computer in advance if the operation risks losing data. If this guide helps you, please share it with others.


Can I recover a fully formatted SD card?
Yes. You can recover files from a formatted SD card, or one with a corrupted file system or lost partitions, by using specialized software MyRecover.
Why does my SD card say the wrong format?
It may be due to corruption or bad sectors, is infected with a virus, or is write-protected. Fortunately, you can easily fix the SD card won't format error by removing write-protection or using SD card formatting software.
Why does my SD card need to be formatted?
If you receive the "SD Card Needs to Be Formatted" message, it means the corrupted or interrupted process of writing in the SD card. This is because the computer or camera files required for reading or writing purposes are lost. Hence, the SD card is inaccessible without a format.
Demi · Editor
Demi is an editor of FoneTool group as well as a good advisor in the area of iOS-related issues. She does well in finding solutions to people's problems. She enjoys traveling, gardening, and watching movies. She spends most of her free time with her pet and family.