SD Card Photo Recovery

Did you accidentally delete all the photos on your SD card? Maybe you formatted an SD card only to realize that you had yet to save the photos onto a computer? Regardless of what happened, instantly losing scores of photos is distressing. Understandably, you probably want to reverse the mistake by attempting a fix on your own. We strongly advise against DIY SD card photo recovery. While working with us is an alternative approach that we would encourage, even if you don’t work with Data Savers, attempting do-it-yourself techniques to restore deleted photos from an SD card puts your files at even greater risk of being permanently irretrievable.

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What Causes SD Card Data Loss?

SD card data loss is common. People lose photos, videos, work documents, and other files on SD cards for a myriad of reasons. Even for a photographer who takes comprehensive safety precautions, mistakes still happen. To understand why SD card data loss happens, it helps to first understand the basics of SD cards. At its core, an SD card is a mechanism for electronic devices to interact with NAND flash memory chips. SD cards are often formatted with a file system such as NTFS, APFS, or exFAT. The new technology file system (NTFS) can only be utilized by Windows machines. The Apple file system (APFS) is exclusive to the Mac OS operating system. The exFAT file system can be utilized by major operating systems, and is relevant to this piece in particular, as exFAT is optimized for flash storage devices like SD cards and USB flash drives. Data Savers engineers have experience recovering photos from SD cards using all common file systems. Irrespective of the file system you are using, you will likely require SD card photo recovery services if you accidentally reformat your SD card, remove your SD card without ejecting it (causing general corruption or corruption to the partition table), or if you simply delete photos by mistake.

Accidental Formatting – SD Card Photo Recovery

Formatting your SD card is the quickest way to start anew, compared to deleting thousands of stored photos. During the process, the SD card rewrites the file directory to its default value, effectively deleting every file stored in it. Don’t despair if you’ve mistakenly formatted an SD card. You may notice the word “effectively” was emphasized two sentences ago, and this is because while the space where your photos previously existed is now available for writing new data, a vast majority of the data for each photo is likely still intact. For further reading, we have included best practices for SD card formatting.

Partition Table Corruption – SD Card Photo Recovery

A partition table contains information such as start sector, end sector, and sectors per partition, allowing the operating system to separate an SD card into two or more logical drives. This partition data might get corrupted due to software bugs, a malware infection, or by simply removing your SD card without first ejecting the device. When the partition table is corrupted, your SD card will be incapable of retrieving the file directory and photos for each partition. Hence, it appears you have lost all photos saved on the SD card. Data Savers has considerable experience repairing corrupted partition tables.

Inadvertent Deletion – SD Card Photo Recovery

Unlike your experiences deleting files from your Windows, Mac, or Linux machine, deleting photos on an SD card does not send them into the recycle bin or temporary deletion storage. Instead, the operation results in the file’s complete removal from the media. Therefore, you can’t restore the file from your computer, camera, or other devices like you usually do. Still, the deleted photos are not beyond the reach of a professional data recovery lab. When you delete a photo, the SD card rewrites the specific file entry on the directory to reflect its ‘deleted’ status. The actual file data is still stored in the SD card’s data region and will remain so unless it is overwritten. This is why it is imperative that you stop using your SD card immediately if you intend to attempt SD card data recovery.

SD Card Photo Recovery

Many users who attempted SD card photo recovery on their own were not successful. In many of these scenarios, not only were these individuals unsuccessful in restoring their deleted photos, but they actually caused additional damage to the point where professional laboratories had no capacity to recover the photos either. If you save new files onto an overlapping data region with the deleted files, you’ll lose the deleted photos for good. This is why we strongly suggest contacting a data recovery expert instead of attempting a DIY self-fix.

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SD Card Photo Recovery with Data Savers

Instead of putting their precious photos in ever greater jeopardy, prudent individuals who experience SD card data loss choose to send their SD cards to Data Savers. Data Savers has a long-standing and respected reputation among data recovery companies, and our success rates are among the best in the industry. At Data Savers, we use cutting-edge data recovery hardware, much of which was designed in-house, and work in ISO-5 Class-100 clean rooms to ensure that contaminants do not compromise your SD card during the repair. After nearly twenty years of recovering deleted photos from SD cards, Data Savers engineers are as capable as any in the world at restoring the deleted photos from your SD card.