SD cards are getting smaller and more convenient as their storage capabilities grow exponentially.
However, the problem is that these storage devices are prone to corruption and damage. This loss doesn’t even have to be intentional, as these SD cards have a limited life, and they can get corrupt automatically after prolonged usage.
This usually means loss of any data, i.e., photos, videos or documents, you may have stored on there.
You can tell if you have a corrupted SD card at your hands if a computer or smartphone can no longer read its content. And even if you see the files, it gets impossible to add, save, delete, or copy them. Additionally, your device may display messages like, “SD card is not available. The file or directory is damaged and cannot be read” or “Memory Card Error” to let you know that something’s wrong.
But don’t worry just yet. It is possible to retrieve some or all of the content as long as you act quickly.
Here’s what you can do.
1. Show Hidden Files
A virus-ridden SD card may hide all the files and folders on it, leading you to believe it’s already empty. However, you can tell that the data is still there because the available storage space usually remains unchanged.
This is because the attributes for all files have been changed to read-only or hidden, to make the card appear empty. Here’s how you can access these files:
- Mount the SD Card to the reader
- Open Windows Explorer, and then click on the Tools menu
- Then go to Folder Options and click on view
- Check the box next to show hidden files, folders & drives
- Press ok, and now you can view all files
2. Change The Drive
When we plug in an external USB drive or SD card into the computer, it automatically assigns a letter to the external device.
But in case you have a faulty card, the computer will say that the device is ready to use, but it won’t show up in the list of drives. Or the computer may not even detect it and keep telling you to “Please insert the disk.”
Do the following to fix the issue:
- Open run and type in compmgmt.msc
- Select disk management in the storage options
- Right-click the drive that needs to be assigned a new letter and click Change Drive Letter and Paths
- Then choose a new letter from the drop-down menu that appears under Assign following drive letter
- Restart the PC, and the SD Card will hopefully now show up on your computer
3. Uninstall and Reinstall
If nothing has worked thus far, reinstalling the SD Card’s driver may solve the issue. Here’s what needs to be done:
- Right-click on This PC or My Computer
- Click on Manage
- Choose Disk driver then the drive in question (Assigned to your SD Card)
- Uninstall it
- Unmount the SD Card and then restart the PC
- Put it back in the reader, and now the PC may detect it
4. Try The Windows Troubleshooter
Follow these steps to repair a corrupt SD Card using the Windows Troubleshooter:
- Plug in the card
- In the Start Menu click on settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot
- Choose the option that says Hardware and Devices to start the process
- Once the troubleshooting is complete, restart the PC
- Your SD Card should be functional now
5. Resolve The Read-Only Error
Sometimes it just so happens that the card was never write-protected, but it continues to show a read-only error when you try to use it.
Here is a quick fix for this issue:
- Open Command prompt and enter “diskpart”
- Next, run these three commands: “list volume” followed by “select volume X” (Instead of X put the drive letter assigned to the SD Card), and finally enter “attributes disk clear read only”
The read-only error should no longer appear, so you can easily access and use your SD Card files.
If the steps mentioned above didn’t work for you, check with the SD Card manufacturer to see if they can offer a solution to your problem. You can also try a data recovery software that can even help get back deleted files, so corrupt data shouldn’t be an issue.
If nothing works, the only thing you are left to do is formatting the SD card. Yes, this means that you’ll never again be able to see the data that was saved on there earlier, but at least now the card is usable.
However, we advise you to invest in a new SD card and throw this one away.