How To Recover Deleted Files From Your SD Card Memory

Here we show you how to try and get files off an SD card if it’s not working or you accidentally deleted them. It’s basically the same process as recovering deleted files from a PC or any type of digital storage for that matter. SD cards are great but they’re fragile and don’t like being mistreated. They’re used in phones and cameras so tend to contain valuable files.

So when a card stops working you can lose a lot. Here we’ve focussed on recovering files including photos, videos and documents from a card that’s not working properly, but the principles apply to deleted files as well.

Data Recovery Software for Memory Cards :

1. Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery:


The folks at Stellar Data Recovery have a full suite of data recovery apps, from email recovery to databases. This one focuses on media files, and despite the name, it also recovers video and audio files. Or you can narrow your search to one or more specific file extensions or a particular region of the source disk or card. The option to select by thumbnails or carousel rather than by individual image is very handy, as is the ability to resume scans.

I have a detailed post on how to recover photos with Stella Photo Recovery here. There are versions for Mac and Windows. There’s also a free trial version that lets you scan to see what’s recoverable, with thumbnails, but to actually recover any files you’ll need to buy a license.

2. PhotoRec :


PhotoRec is my go-to data recovery software, but it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. On the plus side, it’s thorough, it’s free, it’s compatible with a very large number of operating systems, and you can restore just about any kind of file from just about any kind of drive.

On the negative side, its interface isn’t very user-friendly if you’re not comfortable with text-only interfaces and you don’t get features like being able to view the thumbnails of the files and select specific images to recover–you either save everything or all the files of the file types you specify.

PhotoRec is available here.

3. SanDisk RescuePRO / RescuePRO Deluxe :

Sandisk RescuePro

SanDisk has its own data recovery software, RescuePRO and RescuePRO Deluxe, that’s designed especially for memory cards and flash drives. But it also works with cards from other brands, not just SanDisk.

There are two key areas of difference between the standard and deluxe versions: the deluxe version handles more RAW and video formats and will also work with cards larger than 64GB. It’s available for Windows and Mac.

SanDisk cards in the Extreme range include a RescuePRO license with the card. If you kept that number and have it handy, go here to download RescuePRO. If you didn’t keep the little piece of paper that came with the card, you’ll need to buy a new license.

There’s a trial version that allows you to save the first 25 image files and show other files that can be recovered. If you want to go ahead and recover more than that first 25 files you’ll need to buy a license that works on an annual subscription basis. Some of the higher-end SanDisk memory cards include a license key for the app.

4. PhotoRecovery 2015 / PhotoRecovery 2015 Professional :

PhotoRecovery Pro

This is similar to the RescuePro line and is distributed by the same company that distributes RescuePro, but it’s not a branded SanDisk product. It’s a bit more expansive in the file formats it can recover, the interface is different, and it will let you work with a media image file if you’ve managed to clone the original media.

Aside from price, the differences between the standard and professional versions related to memory card tests and diagnostics, memory card benchmarks, and repairing memory cards. There’s a trial version available that will show you what files can be recovered but won’t let you save any of them.

5. Lexar Photo Recovery :


If it looks familiar, there’s a good reason. Despite the Lexar branding on the splash page, this is a rebranded version of Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery. It works on other brands of memory cards too, not just Lexar. It has much the same functionality as RescuePRO, but it has a cleaner user interface. There are versions for Windows and Mac.

6. Recuva :


Revuva is a no-nonense app that offers much the same functionality. One thing in its favor is that it’s priced more competitively than some of the other options. It’s Windows only.

7. CardRecovery / CardRescue :


This does basically the same thing as the others. In its favor is a refreshingly straightforward user interface that walks you through the process. There’s a version for Windows and Mac. And there’s an evaluation version that is strongly recommended you try first.

8. EaseUS


EaseUS offers much the same functionality with a slick and well-thought out interface that walks you through the process. There are versions for Windows and Mac. There’s also a free version that allows you to recover up to 2GB or data but is otherwise mostly fully functional.

9. Remo Recover :


Remo Recover is designed to be more comprehensive than just recovering photos, and it works on hard drives as well as memory cards. There are versions for Mac and Windows.

There are three editions–Basic, Media, and Pro–with corresponding increasing features and prices. The Basic edition doesn’t recover photos, so you’ll need the Media ($69) or Pro ($179) versions for that. The Pro version can also recover from deleted partitions and reformatted hard drives. There’s a free version for Windows that is limited in the amount of data you can recover.

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