Is there an app to fix a corrupted SD card?

Having an SD card become corrupted can be extremely frustrating. Often this happens unexpectedly and results in the loss of precious photos, videos, documents, and other files stored on the card. When corruption occurs, the data becomes inaccessible and the card unusable. Fortunately, there are some potential solutions for recovering data from a corrupted SD card.

What causes an SD card to become corrupted?

There are a few common causes of SD card corruption:

  • Improperly ejecting the card – If the card is removed from a device without properly ejecting it first, it can cause file system corruption.
  • Power failure or sudden shutdown – An unexpected power loss while files are being written to the card can corrupt data.
  • Physical damage – Dropping or bending the card can physically damage it and make data inaccessible.
  • Malware infection – Viruses or other malware that infect a device can sometimes spread to the SD card and corrupt files.
  • Exceeding storage limits – Writing more data to the card than its storage capacity can overwrite file tables and directory structures.

To reduce the chance of corruption, it’s important to safely eject the card before removal and avoid excessive file transfers that exceed the card’s limits.

Can you fix SD card corruption without an app?

There are a few potential DIY solutions for recovering data from a corrupted SD card without requiring a specialized app:

  • Trying another device – Inserting the card into another device like a computer, phone, camera, etc. may allow the files to be accessed if the corruption is not too severe.
  • Restarting – Powering the device completely off and back on before reinserting the SD card can reset the connection and potentially fix minor glitches.
  • Checking the lock switch – Sliding the lock switch on the side of the SD card back and forth a few times may resolve write protection errors causing corruption.
  • Formatting – As a last resort, reformatting will wipe the SD card clean and could make it usable again, but at the cost of the stored data.

These basic troubleshooting tips may be enough to salvage the SD card in some cases. But if they don’t work, utilizing data recovery software is the next step.

When is DIY data recovery not recommended?

There are certain situations where you should avoid attempting DIY recovery methods and go straight to data recovery software or professional services:

  • Severe physical damage – If the SD card is cracked, warped, melted, etc. then physical repair techniques could further corrupt data.
  • Completely undetected by devices – If no operating system can detect or mount the SD card at all, DIY solutions likely won’t work.
  • Critical or irreplaceable data – When the files on the card are too important to risk, rely on professionals for best results.
  • Multiple failed attempts – After too many unsuccessful troubleshooting tries, further attempts may reduce chances of success.

Best SD card repair and data recovery apps

If DIY attempts are unsuccessful, the next step is to try third party software designed specifically for SD card recovery. Here are some top options:

1. Disk Drill

Disk Drill is a popular, full-featured data recovery app. Key features include:

  • Recovers lost or deleted files from SD cards and other media.
  • Scans with both Quick and Deep recovery methods.
  • Previews found files before recovery.
  • Retrieves documents, photos, videos, audio files, and more.
  • Compatible with Windows & Mac computers.

Disk Drill has free and paid versions. The free option enables up to 500MB of recovered data.

2. Recuva

Recuva is another reliable SD card recovery tool. Key features:

  • Wizard-guided interface for ease of use.
  • Scans the card to find recoverable files.
  • Recovers images, documents, videos, music, and emails.
  • Restores files to another location after recovery.
  • Free version available for basic recovery needs.

Recuva works on Windows computers. The free version allows recovery of up to 1GB of data.

3. Photorec

Photorec is primarily designed for photo recovery but can restore various files. Features include:

  • Open source data recovery utility.
  • Specializes in recovering multimedia files like photos, videos, music, etc.
  • Supports many file systems and operating systems.
  • Recovers files and saves them to a separate destination.
  • Completely free with no restrictions on recovered data amount.

Photorec is a good option for photo-heavy SD card corruption scenarios. But the interface and recovery process is more complex than standard apps.

4. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard supports SD card recovery as well as other devices. Features include:

  • Wizard-based interface for simplified operation.
  • Filters results by file type for easier organization.
  • Previews found files before choosing which to recover.
  • Rescues documents, photos, music, videos, emails, and more.
  • Free trial version allows up to 2GB of recovered data.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard works on both Windows and Mac computers. The free trial option is a nice feature for trying before purchasing the full software.

5. TestDisk

TestDisk is an open source command-line utility focused on partition recovery but also useful for file recovery. Features:

  • Restores lost or deleted files from partitions or media that won’t boot.
  • Supports many file systems like FAT, NTFS, ext2/ext3/ext4 and more.
  • Recovers various file types including documents, images, video, music, etc.
  • Completely free and open source.
  • Works on Windows, Linux, Mac, DOS and more.

TestDisk can be very powerful for recovery cases but has a steep learning curve since it is command-line only rather than GUI driven.

SD Card data recovery services

If DIY recovery attempts and software tools are unsuccessful, turning to professional recovery services may be the only remaining option to salvage the data. Here are some top services to consider:

1. Gilware Data Recovery

  • Offers SD card recovery services starting at $399.
  • All-inclusive pricing with no hidden fees.
  • Free shipping both directions.
  • Class 100 cleanroom and proprietary recovery methods.
  • Quotes recovery chances upfront.

2. Secure Data Recovery

  • SD card recovery services starting at $499.
  • Free diagnostics to assess chances of recovery.
  • Expert engineers and class 100 cleanroom.
  • Quick turnaround time.
  • Fixed pricing regardless of recoverable data size.

3. CBL Data Recovery

  • SD card recovery services starting at $300.
  • Free shipping with prepaid shipping label provided.
  • Class 100 ISO 4 cleanroom facilities.
  • Free initial assessment of recoverability.
  • Flexible pricing options if desired.

4. DataTech Labs

  • SD card recovery services starting at $199.
  • Free diagnostic and upfront pricing with no hidden fees.
  • Expert engineering team.
  • Class 100 cleanroom environment.
  • Rapid turnaround time.

5. Desert Data Recovery

  • SD card recovery services starting at $400.
  • Free media diagnosis and firm fixed pricing.
  • ISO 5 class 100 cleanroom.
  • High success rates with tricky cases.
  • Fast turnaround, prompt communication.

These top professional recovery services can often salvage data when all else fails. Their specialized equipment and engineering expertise make them the last resort before considering the SD card a complete loss.

Preventing SD card corruption

While professional recovery services can retrieve lost data in many cases, prevention is always preferable to cure. Here are some tips to avoid SD card corruption in the first place:

  • Safely eject before removal – Always use “Safely Remove” feature before taking out the card.
  • Avoid excessive write cycles – Limit repeated recording and deletions to extend card life.
  • Handle gently – Don’t bend, drop, or expose cards to water/debris/magnetism.
  • Keep updated backups – Maintain recent backups so data can simply be restored if needed.
  • Check frequently – Periodically scan cards for errors to catch issues early.

Carefully following best practices for SD card use, storage, and handling is the surest way to avoid corruption issues down the road.


SD card corruption can happen unexpectedly, but luckily there are ways to attempt recovery through DIY troubleshooting, data recovery software, and professional services. Specialized apps like Disk Drill, Recuva, Photorec, EaseUS, and TestDisk often can successfully restore lost files when corruption strikes. And reputable recovery labs represent the last option when all else fails. With the right tools, there is hope of salvaging data even from severely corrupted cards in many cases. By understanding the available options for SD card recovery, you can quickly take action to restore your lost photos, videos, documents and get the card working again.