How to Fix a Damaged SD Card Without Formatting It

By Vernon Roderick, Last updated: August 25, 2020

An SD card is perhaps one of the most important accessories a mobile device user can have. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the SD card can be damaged if not taken care of properly. For that reason, it’s important to learn how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it.

You can consider it as walking storage that you can take wherever you go, but there’s no point in owning an SD card at all if it is damaged and the files inside can’t be accessed. This is all the more important if you don’t have the luxury to format your SD card recklessly.

So today, we’re going to discuss how formatting is not your only option on fixing the damage done to your SD card. But first, let’s talk about what you need to know about a damaged SD card.

Part 1: Everything You Need to Know About a Damaged SD CardPart 2: How to Recover Deleted Files from DamagePart 3: Other Ways to Recover Deleted Files from DamagePart 4: Conclusion

Part 1: Everything You Need to Know About a Damaged SD Card

The first thing you have to figure out is not how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it, but if the SD card is damaged in the first place. After all, you don’t want to waste your time fixing something that isn’t broken.

So Do You Have a Damaged SD Card?

To know the answer to that question, here are some of the signs that your SD card is damaged:

  • Your SD card is showing signs of physical damage.
  • You can’t open the photos, videos, or any files that are contained on the SD card, or errors show up as soon as they open.
  • The files on the SD card that is supposed there are now missing, or most of it.
  • The computer slows down or hangs whenever you open the folder for the SD card.
  • The SD card can’t be read by your computer, or there are errors once the SD card gets recognized such as “SD card error” or “Damaged SD card”.
  • Your computer shows the infamous line “SD card is not available”.
  • You are not able to save, delete, copy, add, or modify the files on the SD card in any way, and you see a “write-protected” error when doing so.
  • You keep seeing the “Do you want to format it now?” message.

Fortunately, most of these signs can be solved by learning how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it. However, the first one might have a lower chance of success. Now that this matter’s settled, you should answer the next important question.

How Did The SD Card Get Damaged?

There are many reasons as to why your SD card got damaged, but here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Improper inserting or removing of the SD card
  • Corruption of the file system
  • Accumulation of bad sectors
  • Virus or malware infection
  • SD card formatting was interrupted
  • Manufacturing faults

Just like before, you can learn how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it for most of this, but except for the last one since it’s also mostly physical damage. Knowing that some problems can’t be fixed, you might be wondering…

How can you avoid this problem?

To give you a better idea of how you can avoid having a damaged SD card, here are some of the most effective tips we have for you:

  • Buy SD cards from a proven brand. Look for brands that have a lot of positive reviews.
  • Remove the SD card safely. This can be done by dismounting it first or waiting for processes like viewing, copying, or deleting to finish first.
  • Check your battery. It is best that you don’t use the SD card if your mobile device is on low battery power since it might put a heavy toll on the accessory.

With this, you should be able to avoid encountering this problem ever again. Unfortunately, you’re probably here to learn how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it because you’ve already encountered the problem. So how can you do it?
How to Fix a Damaged SD Card Without Formatting It

Part 2: How to Recover Deleted Files from Damage

The first option that we can recommend for you is to recover the files directly without fixing the damage. Of course, this is only a great idea if you don’t have much time at the moment. You can do this by using third-party software called FoneDog Data Recovery.

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FoneDog Data Recovery is a recovery wizard that allows you to retrieve all sorts of files, be it images, videos, emails, documents, and more. The tool can also recover files regardless of the cause. This includes recovering from a hard drive, from a partition, and even from a memory card. You can install the software on your Mac or Windows and it supports most of their versions.

Although it’s not exactly easy to use the software, it’s also not hard. You just have to follow these steps carefully:

Step 1: Run the Tool on Your Computer

First of all, download the FoneDog Data Recovery software through this website. After downloading, install the software on your PC, then launch it once it is installed.
Launch FoneDog Data Recovery

Step 2: Connect Your SD Card

Now connect your SD card to the PC by using a card reader of some sort, then plug the reader to one of the USB ports of your computer.
Connect SD Card

Step 3: Select File Type and Location

Once the SD card is recognized, a page will show up on the software showing a list of file types and locations. Check all file types to ensure that you won’t leave any file behind, then select the drive that represents the SD card.

Select File Type

Step 4: Wait for File Scanning

Once you’ve finished selecting the file type and location, click on the Scan button to start the scanning process, then wait for the process to complete.

Wait for File Scanning

Step 5: Select Files to Recover

After the scan completes, you will get a list of files. Select the items that you want to recover by clicking on their checkboxes.

Select Files to Recover

Step 6: Recover Files

After finishing the selection of items, click the Recover button to start the final recovery. The time will depend on how many files were selected.

Recover Files

Once you’re done with this, you can now expect the files to be back. This is for sure one way to learn recover files, but it’s not exactly the perfect way to learn how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it since the damage still remains. For that reason, it’s important to look for other options for the time when you can do it leisurely.

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Part 3: Other Ways to Recover Deleted Files from Damage

#1: Try Simple Solutions

To start things off, it’s best to learn how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it through simple solutions first. While you may think that it would be a waste of time, it’s definitely not. This is because errors can also occur due to minor mishaps.

For example, inserting the reader to the wrong USB port can lead to problems. For that reason, you have to make sure to use other USB ports as well. You may also use a different card reader if things didn’t go well with the USB ports. And if this still doesn’t fix things, then the last simple solution is using a different computer.

Now if your SD card is still showing signs of damage, then you should probably head to a more serious solution.

#2: Check Your SD Card for Errors

Although you’ve learned in previous sections how to manually check for errors, there are also ways to automatically check your SD card for any error. This can be done with the Check feature of Windows.

You don’t have to have the know-how for this kind of task. You just have to follow these steps:

Note: Make sure your SD card is already connected when doing this.

  1. On your PC, press the Win key + Eon your keyboard to open the Windows Explorer.
  2. Now right-click on your SD card removable drive.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Go to the Tools
  5. Under Error-checking, click on the Check now…
  6. Make sure both the options are checked, then click the Start

Once you’ve done this, the operating system will attempt to scan for errors as well as fix them. So you don’t have to learn how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it since this is done automatically. Now, what if this automated method didn’t work?

#3: Make Corrections for Your SD Card

Unfortunately, letting the system do the work have a lower chance of success. So eventually, you’ll end up doing the work by yourself. You can do this in many ways, and one such way is by doing corrections through the check disk.

To make corrections to your SD card, you need to follow these steps but again, make sure the SD card is already connected:

  1. Press the Win key + Ron your keyboard to open the Run
  2. Type in “cmd” on the Open bar then press OK.
  3. You should now be taken to the command prompt. Here, type in CHKDSKthen the letter of your SD card removable drive, then press Enter.

For example, if your SD card letter is E, type in “CHKDSK e: /f”. After executing these commands, your computer should start the correction process. Now all you have to do is wait for the process to complete. Now let’s head to your next option on how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it.

#4: Change the Drive Letter

While many people don’t think much about the letter of a removable drive or hard drive, it actually has a lot to do with how errors are born. For one, SD cards can be corrupted due to its drive letter, or it may become unreadable.

For that reason, you should try changing the drive letter of your SD card by following these instructions:

  1. Press the Win key + Ron your keyboard to open the Run
  2. Type in “MSC” this time, then press OK.

The Disk Management window should pop up, with a list of volumes.

  1. Find your SD card on the list of volumes, then right-click on it.

The Disk Management window should pop up, with a list of volumes.

  1. Find your SD card on the list of volumes, then right-click on it.
  2. Select Change Drive Letter and Paths…
  3. Click on Add then select the new drive letter that you want to use.
  4. Click the OKbutton to save the changes made.

At this point, you’ve already learned how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it by simply changing the drive letter of your SD card. Now let’s head to a more complicated solution.

#5: Re-Enable the Driver

Sometimes, the problem is not due to the SD card itself, but instead on your driver. Although this is not likely to happen, you should at least try to take this approach. You can either re-enable the driver or reinstall it, but let’s first talk about the steps for re-enabling the driver:

  1. Press the Win key + R to go to the Run
  2. Type in “MSC” to go to the Device Manager window.
  3. Now expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers
  4. Look for your SD card driver. This should say something like USB Mass Storage Device.
  5. Right-click on this option then select Disable.
  6. Wait for a few minutes, then right-click on it again but this time choose Enable.
  7. Now restart your computer so that the changes can take effect.

With this, you can technically restart the driver. Of course, this won’t guarantee success. If so, then try an even more complicated way on how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it through fixing your driver.

#6: Reinstall Your Drivers

As previously said, you can either re-enable or reinstall the driver. Reinstalling is more complicated since it will set the driver to its original setting while re-enabling will only refresh it.

Either way, here’s how you can reinstall your drivers for the SD card:

  1. Go to the Device Manager the same way you did before.
  2. This time, expand the Disk Drive section instead of Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  3. Right-click on the drive for your SD card then select Uninstall.
  4. Confirm your decision by clicking OK.
  5. Disconnect your SD card from the PC.
  6. Wait for a couple of minutes, then restart your computer.
  7. Now connect the SD card to the computer once again. This should install the driver automatically and set it to its default settings.

With that, you’ve now learned how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it by fixing the SD card driver.

Part 4: Conclusion

There are a couple of ways for your SD card to get damaged. One is, of course, from physical impact. But there are also ways for it to be damaged through technical means. Either way, this is just one reason for you to learn how to properly take care of your SD card.

One way to take care of it is to learn how to fix a damaged SD card without formatting it. Obviously, it won’t be very easy, but it’s worth it considering that you’ll be able to fix any problem that your precious storage device encounters.

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Vernon Roderick

Technical Expertise for PC / YouTube Scriptwriting /Website Optimization

One of my passion is to develop software of my own

I write articles to share knowledge about IT technology and some experience in developing my own software, and developing my own software is one of my passions for work.

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