How to Recover Data from Dead SD Card

"Hello! I cannot access my SD card in my digital camera. Inserting the SD card to computer, Windows system also disables me to access the card. The SD card is corrupted. Can you tell me how to recover files from a dead SD card?"

Data Recovery from Dead/Damaged SD Card

When SD card stops working, you should make sure if the SD card is physically damaged. As long as the SD card is not physically damaged, you can use iCare Data Recovery Pro to recover data off dead SD card. This software allows you to recover all types of files from SD card which is corrupted or not readable by following the steps:

Free Memory Card Recovery


Download iCare Data Recovery Pro Free to recover files from mobile phone camera memory card including photos, videos, music...

Step1. Download and run the software and select a recovery module 'Deep Scan Recovery' for example.

select recovery mode

Step2. Select the SD card as aim disk and let the software scan it for lost files.

wait while scanning

Step3. You can preview the found files and recover the data you need.

preview found photo

download data recovery software

How to Repair Dead Memory Card - 3 Ways

When you have restored files from the sd card, it is safe to do the following repairings.

#1 - Fix dead memory card using cmd chkdsk

When sd card has bad blocks, it may be repaired using chkdsk. This following video shows how to use chkdsk for a damaged memory card fixing.

It can be done by these steps.

  • Insert dead memory card to pc, and open THIS PC, see which drive letter your computer lables your sd card, and remember its drive letter for later use
  • Type 'cmd' from Start -> Runstart cmd
  • Type 'chkdsk /f /r i:' and press enter (You need to replace i with your own sd card drive letter)

Note: Only bad blocks and possible logical errors can be fixed when your sd card is damaged using chkdsk

Possible error message:

#2 Fix Dead SD Card Using Diskpart

Diskpart is able to fix logical errors on sd card when chkdsk was unable to fix the damaged sd card. You may get it fixed with the following steps.

diskpart to fix dead sd card

#3 - Fix sd card by updating sd card driver when it was not detected

When sd card seems dead or not working, you may update its driver to see whether it can be detected. This shall be done on a computer. Here we will tell you how to update sd card driver in a Windows computer as example.

  • Insert sd card to computer with card slot or a card reader
  • Right click THIS PC on desktop, click 'Manage' option
  • Click 'Device Manager', and tap to open 'Disk drives'update sd card driver to fix dead sd card
  • Right click sd card that shows under Disk drives -> Update Driverupdate sd card driver to fix dead sd card

If sd card cannot be detected here, read this guide: sd card not detected on pc fixes


Question: How do I revive a dead SD card?

Solution: You may try the following ways to revive a dead memory card to see whether it can be repaired.

  • Repair dead sd card using chkdsk on Windows computer 11/10/8/7
  • Format the dead sd card on camera/phone/pc
  • Format the dead sd card with low level format tools -> Also read: how to low level format sd card
  • Update sd card driver with sd card driver update programs -> Guide: how to update sd card driver

Question: How do I fix an unresponsive sd card?

Answer: When the sd card stopped responding on phone/camera, you may try to get it fixed by formatting on a computer. If the sd card cannot be recognized on a computer, here are some other solutions you may try.

  • Try the sd card on another computer, or another phone, or another camera to make sure the error is from the sd card
  • Unmount sd card on phone, and reload again; if it's the camera, pull out the sd card and try it again
  • Update sd card driver with Broadcom driver update
  • Uninstall sd card under computer Device Manager, and reload
  • Uninstall every item under Universal Bus Controller in device manager, and then reload sd card

Also read: 6 ways to fix sd card stopped working on android

Question: Can I recover data from a dead SD card?

Answer: As long as the sd card can be read by a computer, it is highly possible that professional tools like iCare Recovery Pro can recover data from the dead sd card.


1. Stop performing any operation on the dead SD card before data were restored

No matter what kind of error message you receive when you attempt to open your SD card, you had better ignore the error message and do not fix the error before getting lost files.

2. Do not let the SD card suffer physical damage

You should protect the SD card from being physically damaged. If the SD card is physically damaged, you may be unable to recover files.

3. Do not save the recovered files to dead SD card

When you save the recovered files, you should not save them to the dead SD card.

How to Fix Damaged SD Card if its forever dead?

When the sd card seems dead forever, you may buy a new SD card to replace the damaged one. Here are some detailed situations.

Situation 1: SD card reports error message preventing access to any file

In this situation, you can see that SD card still shows as a "Storage" on your android phone or appears as a removable disk on computer, but any access to the card is refused and the card pops up some error message such as:

For all those errors on an SD card, the common way to fix it is to reformat the SD card. However, there are some other methods to repair each problem. Please search on our site to find corresponding articles to know details of solutions for different SD card errors.

Situation 2: SD card has no response after clicking it

If you run into this situation, SD card usually shows normally on your phone or computer, but there is no response no matter what operation you perform on it. This problem is usually caused by bad sectors on the SD card or the SD card has infection.

Situation 3: SD card does not show up

If SD card cannot show on your phone or computer, the situation becomes even worse. Simply say, the problem might be:

  • SD card is physically damaged – Usually, there is no way to fix a physically damaged unless you send it to professional memory card repair service
  • SD card is logical corrupted – This problem results from various kinds of reasons including SD card file system corruption, poor connection, insufficient power supply, etc.

Recommend: Please go to SD card is not recognized solution>>

Users' Stories

"I connected my SD card to my PC, but system still says please insert disk in drive when I clicked the drive letter of the SD card. Under Disk Management, SD card shows RAW file system and has 0 byte space. Please tell me if there is any way to fix the problem and recover data off RAW SD card."

"My SD card is dead when I connected it to my computer because it stopped working normally, but I have lots of important data on the card. Can anybody tell me how to get back files from SD card that is dead?"

"I need to fix error on my SD card because I cannot access pictures, but I have tired all my best. SD card shows blank and has unsupported file system. Does anybody know the solution for damaged SD card recovery?"

Also read: 9 ways to fix corrupted sd card

Last updated on Nov 28, 2023

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