How to Recover Your Photos from a Corrupted SD Card

sd card image recoverySo you’ve inserted your SD cart into your card reader to move new photos to your computer only to see a bunch of file errors and weird file names. The bad news is that your SD card got corrupted. But the good news is that your photos are still there and you can easily recover them without having to buy any software. Read on to find out how.

Why Did My SD Card Get Corrupted?

This is a very common questions that doesn’t have a definite answer. Very often SD cards get corrupted because people eject them from the camera before powering the camera off. Another common reason for SD card failures is poor quality of the cards, so make sure you buy a trusted brand and not the cheapest option if you don’t want to lose your photos. In any case, if the SD card still shows the signs of life, it should be possible to recover your pictures.

How to Recover Your Photos

And now let’s stop panicking and start recovering your photos. First of all, free up some space. You need to free up the exact amount of space as your SD card capacity (32GB for a 32GB card) if you want the recovery to be successful. Then you’ll need to get a copy for ZAR X (Windows only). Some of this app’s functions are paid, but the digital image recovery mode is free. So don’t be surprised when you see that the software operates in Demo mode. Then insert your SD card into your card reader and you’re good to go.

Now open ZAR X and click on Image Recovery (Free) and wait for the program to enumerate your devices. Now find your SD card in the list of devices (the drive size is a good clue) and click on Next. The app will analyze your SD card, which can take a while depending on the size of the card and the number of photos on it.

When the analysis is done, you’ll see two folders – RAW and FAT (or another file system). Make sure you have both selected to improve the chances of successful recovery and click Next. Now all you need to do is select the destination folder and launch the recovery. When it’s finished, go to the destination folder and check out your recovered images. Some might be in the RAW folder, while some might be in the FAT folder.

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