Do You Want To Recover Formatted SD Card – Here’s The Thing

As you may know, SD is the acronym of Secure Digital; it is actually a non-volatile memory card format which was developed by SDA (SD Card Association) in 2000. Yet, the word card actually stands for memory card. In 1999, the concept of SD card was proposed by Japanese Matsushita; then, Matsushita, together with Toshiba and SanDisk, has finally designed SD card on the basis of semiconductor flash process.

In the next decade after its appearance, SD card seems to become the most widely used type of memory card applied to consumer digital devices like digital camera and mobile phone. So, it’s easy to understand the fact that SD card is mainly used to store multimedia files, such as photos, videos and audios.

Just because SD card is frequently used, a series of problems tend to appear at any time: careless deletion of important photo files, virus attacking SD card, accidental formatting of SD card, and so on. Among those, formatting seems to be the most serious problem users are likely to be faced with. In view of this, we decide to talk about how SD card is formatted and how to recover formatted SD card with ease.

How SD Card Gets Formatted

According to research, we found mainly 3 reasons to explain why a SD card is formatted: SD card becoming abnormal and failing to be used for data storage anymore, formatting SD card unintentionally and SD card getting formatted by Virus. Now, please take a closer look at them.


Format SD Card for Further Use

While using, SD card is easy to be damaged due to all sorts of reasons, such as power shortage, improper removal of SD card when it is still working, people’s wrong operations and other unknown factors.

Therefore, error messages may appear sometimes when we’re trying to use SD card thus making us not able to use it anymore. Commonly emerged error messages are:

“There is no disk in drive *. Insert a disk, and then try again.”
“The disk in drive * is not formatted. Do you want to format it now?”
“You need to format the disk in drive * before you can use it. Do you want to format it?”
“* is not accessible. Access is denied.”
“* is not accessible. The parameter is incorrect.”
“* is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable.”
“* is not accessible. The volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure that all required file system drivers are loaded and that the volume is not corrupted.”

When those error messages show up on your computer or digital camera screen with SD card inserted, all valuable photos and videos saved there will be placed in jeopardy – they may disappear and get lost all of a sudden. SD card needs to be formatted at this time to fix problem, so some users choose to format it when seeing such error.

There’s a case in which SD card needs to be formatted on Microsoft forum.

Yet, some of them may regret afterwards since they finally realized there were some important files on the SD card. So they start posting in various forums, hoping to find solutions to complete formatted SD card recovery.

Read this if you need to recover inaccessible files from SD card.

Format SD Card by Accident

When looking through/deleting photos saved in SD card on digital camera/mobile phone, some of the users may press the wrong button; or when a kid is playing with digital camera/mobile phone, he’s likely to press all buttons on it. That’s the most common reason why people accidentally formatted SD card.

For example, there is a specific case of accidental SD card formatting we found on forums: “Accidentally hit "format" on my Casio IXUS40 - any hope of recovering the photos off of the SD card? My wife is devastated as it has pics of our first daughter.....”.

In such case, users will certainly be very happy to know how to recover photos from formatted SD card because the photos lost due to formatting may be quite significant.

So what we want to say is please don’t use the SD card anymore; stop all operations immediately if you'd like to recover data from formatted SD card. Otherwise, secondary damage may be brought and finally result in permanent photo loss.

Virus Attacks SD Card

Users are quite used to transferring, modifying or managing SD card photos & videos on computer. Why? The first reason is the capacity of SD card is too limited comparing to the capacity of internal hard drive and users’ increasing desire to take photos. The second reason is it would be much more convenient and easier to edit, embellish or delete useless photos on computer than on digital camera/mobile phone.

However, just because of that, the possibility of SD card getting attacked by virus is also increased. So, users should be especially careful (not to open unidentified links, emails or websites) when SD card is connecting to computer. At the meantime, they must be gentle and use the correct way to remove SD card from device and connect it to computer (we suggest users to connect SD card through an adapter).

“My SD card is attacked by Trojan virus so i am not able see the files when i connect to the pc by card reader how i have to remove it”

– from Srinivas srini at Tom's Guide

The best solution to solve this problem is killing virus with special program or formatting SD card completely. Nevertheless, both methods are going to damage data saved there, so users should recover data from SD card ahead of anything else, instead of performing SD card format recovery after solving virus attacking problem.

In a word, no matter how the SD card is formatted, the first thing you should do is recovering files from formatted SD card. And if you would like to recover formatted SD card for free, please try this effective and green tool – MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free Edition.

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What Happens When You Format a SD Card

To put it in a simple way, disk formatting is to divide a blank disk into small areas and number them for computer use – saving and accessing data. The concept “formatting” applies only to computer hard drive originally. Well, along with the continuous development of electronic products, a lot of memory cards start using this term. In a narrow sense, it refers to data reset – deleting all data saved on the memory card and brings the card back to initial state.

In fact, disk formatting contains two different types: low-level format and high-level format; the former handles with disk logical structure, dividing disk surface into small units (tracks, sectors and blocks) whereas the latter copes with the specific information based on operating system.

The formatting we often talk about is often high-level format, which is also known as logical formatting. It refers to the operations to initialize disk & disk partition and remove all files from original disks & disk partitions by way of writing specific data into specific area of disk according to the file system users choose (such as FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS).

How to Recover Formatted SD Card

Don’t think the data loss/accidental SD card formatting accident will never happen to you. The reality is accidents do arise sometimes and when your memory card gets corrupted, the most important things are: a). stay calm;
b). choose reliable and effective tool to help you recover data from formatted SD card.

Now, we’ll teach users how to recover photos or other kinds of files from formatted SD card in both Windows and Mac with Power Data Recovery.

If you’re desired to finish deleted files recovery from SD card, Power Data Recovery can also be a great assistant; you may as well try the free version to find out in person.

Recover Files from Formatted SD Card on Windows

In Windows, we’ll introduce 2 different ways to recover accidentally formatted SD card. You can choose the more suitable one to use.

Recover formatted SD card using cmd: Windows provides a built-in tool to help users achieve simple management on disks & partitions and to help users solve some common problems like unexpected SD card corrupting/formatting. Its name is CMD (Command Prompt).

Here are the specific steps for you to open CMD and recover formatted SD card using CMD (Command Prompt) in Windows 7.

Open: click on “Start” button win start from lower left corner of screen -> input “cmd” to “Search programs and files” text box search and press “Enter” -> choose “cmdcmd appeared under “Programs”.

You can also follow the method provided by Microsoft itself to open CMD window.


Firstly, you should connect your SD card to computer and open Windows Explorer or Disk Management to find out the drive letter of it.

Secondly, you are supposed to input “chkdsk *: /r” (in which * stands for the specific drive letter) to CMD window and then press “Enter”. The “chkdsk” part will check the specified disk for structural corruption whereas the parameter “/r” is used to tell command prompt to repair issues when it finds any.

Thirdly, you should choose “Yes” to let it report back what has been done. And then, you can go to the computer and check out your SD card.

Yet, this method is not effective all the time; on the contrary, you may be not lucky enough to find your needed data back from formatted SD card. Besides, once you enter wrong commands, you’re likely to bring secondary damage to SD card. Thus, we think it would be better to finish SD card format recovery with the following method.

Recover formatted SD card using software: Taking convenience and simple operation into consideration, we find using MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a better choice to recover formatted SD card. This data recovery software supports almost all common file types, so it is useful no matter when you want to recover photos from formatted SD card or documents/videos/audios from it.

Preparation: you need to free download formatted SD card recovery software from reliable sites and then install it to computer immediately.


Firstly, lunch the software and choose “Damaged Partition Recovery” to start to recover formatted SD card for free.

Secondly, you should select the SD card and let software detect for needed files by pressing “Full Scan”.

Thirdly, choose need files from scan result and save them to another drive.

That’s all you should know about how to recover deleted files from formatted SD card with Power Data Recovery.

  • If the total size of files you choose to recover is larger than 1GB, you’ll need to buy a license to continue recovering extra data.

  • If you’d like to know how to recover from dead SD card, this corresponding page will be helpful.

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Recover Formatted SD Card on Mac

Though MiniTool Power Data Recovery is only suitable for Windows platform, there’s another product designed for Mac – MiniTool Mac Data Recovery. Its free edition also has a recovery limit: it can only help users recover 1MB data for free.

However, you still need to free download it as formatted SD card recovery software. Then, install it on computer and launch to choose “Damaged Partition Recovery” to recover formatted SD card on Mac:

Select the drive to recover -> press “Full Scan” -> browse the scan result to see whether the needed files are there -> pick out what you need and click on “Save” if its size is smaller than 1MB or buy a license to continue if you find needed files and the total size of them is more than 1MB.

See, whether you want to recover files from formatted SD card on Windows or on Mac, MiniTool data recovery software can help you achieve your goal with ease.


With the increasing use of portable storage devices like SD card, unexpected data loss also happen frequently because of various reasons. Therefore, users should be extremely careful when using and moving SD card to avoid data loss as much as possible.

Even if accidents really happen, please don’t get panic; on the contrary, stay calm and take measures to recover data immediately. In addition, if you have already formatted a SD card by accident, please resort to MiniTool Power Data Recovery/MiniTool Mac Data Recovery at first time to recover formatted SD card.

If you would like to know how to format SD card on computer or how to reformat it, please read this tutorial to format drive; it will tell you everything you need.

Common problems related to partition recovery and our solutions: