How to Fix a GoPro SD Card Error and Get Your Data from It

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gopro sd card error

A GoPro SD card error appearing on your camera’s screen is an immediate cause for concern. Until it’s resolved, you’ll no longer be able to view the photos and videos stored on the card, nor will you be able to take new ones.

Thankfully, SD errors on GoPro cameras are well-documented. In this article, we’ll look at what causes such error messages, how to recover your data safely, and how to fix the issue so the messages no longer appear.

What Is an SD Card Error on GoPro and What Causes Them?

A GoPro SD card error generally occurs when your camera is unable to read the SD card that’s inside. If your GoPro camera is having trouble registering your SD card, it will display a message on its LCD screen that reads either SD ERR or NO SD.

There are many reasons why this error may appear. Here are a few:

  • 💥 Blocked/faulty connection – If the SD card port is blocked or damaged, it will be unable to read the SD card.
  • 😓 Low-quality SD card– Cheap, poorly made SD cards come with a myriad of problems, including short life expectancy, slow read/write speeds, and compatibility issues.
  • ⚡ Expiring NAND cells– SD cards store data on NAND cells that are designed to expire after a number of write cycles. If these cells begin to expire, your SD card will begin to act erratically.
  • 🚩 Corruption– Corruption is a common logical issue. If your card has become corrupted, performing corrupted SD card recovery and fixing the SD card should be your top priority.

How to Recover Data From an SD Card That Displays Error in GoPro

Before attempting to fix the SD card error, it’s important that you recover the data from your SD to keep it safe against data loss. To do so, we’re going to use Disk Drill. Disk Drill is a data recovery tool that specializes in recovering your data in tough situations. It also includes a feature that allows you to make a byte-to-byte copy of your SD card, which we’ll use to further reduce the chance of data loss.

Follow these steps to make a backup of your SD card and recover data from it:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Open Disk Drill and connect the SD card to your computer (or directly connect your GoPro camera instead).
  3. Click Drive Backup. Select your SD card, then click Byte-to-byte Backup.Choosing to create a backup of the SD card.
  4. Specify where you want to store the backup, then click OK. When the disk image is made, click Done.Selecting where to store the image.
  5. Click Data Recovery. Click Attach disk image and select the disk image we just created.Attaching the disk image.
  6. Select the disk image, then click Search for lost data.Searching for data in the disk image.
  7. When the scan is complete, click Review found items.Reviewing the data that Disk Drill found.
  8. Mark the SD card files you want to recover. Preview files by double-clicking them, and see their recoverability chances under the Recovery chances column. Click Recover when you’re ready.Recovering the GoPro SD card files.
  9. Choose the output folder and click OK.Confirming recovery in Disk Drill.

How to Fix an SD Card Error on GoPro

When your GoPro camera won’t read an SD card, there are a few things that could be causing this. Therefore, you should take a methodical approach to ensure nothing is missed.

Work your way through these methods to fix your GoPro that says no SD card.

Method #1: Clean the SD Card

A build-up of dust, dirt, and lint can create a physical barrier on your SD card that prevents the pins from making contact with the port. The same is true if the SD card port is dirty. Giving it a clean may be all you need to restore functionality.

  1. Remove the SD card from the GoPro.
  2. Blow on the connecting pins of the SD card. Do the same for the SD card port. Doing so removes any loose debris that could be preventing proper contact.
  3. Gently wipe it with a microfiber cloth for more persistent substances.

Method #2: Update the Firmware

When you’re facing issues, one of the first things you should do is check your GoPro firmware version to see if there are any pending updates. Firmware updates include compatibility patches and performance updates that could be critical to fixing your problem.

To do this, visit GoPro’s update list and select your GoPro model. Each device will have its own method for updating. Supported products can be updated using the GoPro app, Quik.

Method #3: Reset the GoPro Camera

Of course, the age-old reset option is always worth a try. Resetting the GoPro camera will restore it back to its original settings, reversing incorrect settings and any potential problems that have arisen during its use.

Like firmware updates, each GoPro camera will have its own method for resetting the camera settings. The exact instructions for your GoPro model can be found on the GoPro website.

Method #4: Format the SD Card in GoPro

GoPro cameras allow you to format the SD card from within the device, effectively resetting it. Some models even support formatting through the app. Again, the exact steps will differ depending on your GoPro version. Follow these instructions to understand how to format an SD card for GoPro. The below steps are for the GoPro HERO8.

Formatting your SD card will delete all existing data on it. Therefore, you should back up what you can before performing this step.

  1. With the SD card inserted, turn your GoPro on.
  2. Go to the main menu and select Preferences.
  3. Select Reset.
  4. Choose Format SD card, then select Format.

Method #5: Format the SD Card on Windows

If your GoPro won’t format the SD card, or it doesn’t support the option, formatting the SD card on a Windows computer will also do the trick.

  1. Press Windows Key + E to open File Explorer.
  2. Right-click the SD card in the left navigation pane, then click Format.Formatting the GoPro SD card.
  3. For 32GB SD cards set the file system to FAT32. For 64GB SD cards, select exFAT instead. Make sure Quick format is ticked, then click Start.Completing the format.

Common Requirements for SD Cards for Different GoPro Cameras

To avoid running into issues, it’s important you use a GoPro compatible SD card. Using a card that’s not compatible with your GoPro camera can result in slowdowns, glitching videos, corrupted files, camera freezes, and stopped recordings, as your GoPro can outperform low-spec cards.

SD cards are classified based on their performance. Typically, microSD cards with a Class 10/UHS-1/v10 or UHS-3/v30 will work. However, shooting 4K content at higher frame rates (between 60 to 120fps) may require even faster cards, like v60 or v90. Additionally, the SD card must belong to a reputable name brand for guaranteed quality.

Camera Minimum Requirements Recommended SD Cards
HERO10 UHS-3 or V30 Sandisk Extreme, Extreme Plus, Extreme Pro: 32/64/128/256/512GB

Lexar Professional 1066x Silver Series: 64/128/256/512GB

PNY Elite-X: 64GB/128GB/256GB

HERO9
HERO8
MAX
HERO7
HERO (2018)
HERO6
Fusion
HERO5
HERO5 Session
HERO Session/HERO4 Session
HERO+
HERO (2014)
HERO3+
HERO3
HD HERO2
HD HERO 960
HD HERO Original
HERO Standard Definition – 5MP
Class 10 or UHS-1

Of course, always review what specifications your camera can handle before purchasing. For instance, older cameras may not be able to support SD cards above 32GB. Here are a few exceptions to the above table that should be considered:

  • HERO4 and HERO Sessions – Supports microSD cards up to 128GB.
  • HERO3 Black, HERO3+, HERO+, and HERO+ LCD – Supports microSD cards up to 64GB.
  • HERO (2014) – Supports microSD cards up to 32GB.
  • HD HERO2 – Supports Class 10 SD cards up to 32 GB.
  • HD HERO Original & HD HERO 960 – Supports Class 4 SD cards up to 32 GB.
  • Standard Definition HERO – Support standard SD cards up to 2GB.