How to Recover Deleted Files From an SD Card in a Few Simple Steps

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recover files from sd card with disk drill

SD cards are widely-used to provide extended storage on mobile devices and digital cameras. The small, portable storage media allows users to exceed space constraints and are often an essential addition to devices with limited capacity. They may contain irreplaceable images that hold great sentimental value for the user.

Unfortunately, the images or files on an SD card can suddenly disappear or get inadvertently deleted. This can result in a lot of stress and despair if important data was on the card. In this article, we will discuss the best way to recover deleted files from an SD card.

Make sure the files have been deleted

When faced with a data loss scenario involving important files on an SD card, the first rule to follow is not to panic. Approaching the situation methodically gives you the greatest chance of recovering your files. So take a deep breath and try to calm down.

The first thing to do is to make sure that the files have really been deleted from the SD card. It could be that the files or folders you are looking for are still there and you just missed them for some reason.

Here are some common issues that may make it seem as if files have been deleted from your memory card:

  • Use the Search facility on whatever device the card was connected to when the files apparently disappeared. Every digital device, including your computer, smartphone, digital camera, and tablet have the capacity to search the data in its storage. Take the time to carefully review the files that reside on your device. It is possible that you just missed the file previously or were looking for it under a different name. If you are lucky, the journey ends here with the discovery of the missing to recover deleted files from sd card by search facility
  • Enable hidden files to be displayed by your operating system. Sometimes, when you connect the SD card to your computer, the OS may not be able to see the files. Perhaps they were hidden by a virus and all you need to do is to make them visible again. The specific details are dependent on your machine and operating system.
    how to recover deleted files from sd card for free with enabling hidden files
  • Clean the SD card of any infection from malware or viruses. You can scan the card with a virus removal tool to identify any malicious software. Let the software remove the offending program and try to view the files again. The malware may have hidden the files you need, so you may need to enable hidden files after cleaning the memory card.
  • Ensure the files are truly deleted and that the card is not corrupted. Signs that your card is corrupted include:
    • Unexpected error messages such as access denied;
    • Black screen on the device that contains the card;
    • Missing files or the appearance of new and unknown files;
    • Read and write failures;
    • The card is not recognized by your operating system.

Hopefully, one of these techniques has worked and you have access to your files again. If not, move on to the next step to recover deleted data from an SD card.

Use data recovery software to restore deleted files from your SD card

how to recover data from sd card

Data recovery software offers a viable method with which to recover deleted files from an SD card. These types of applications take advantage of the way modern operating systems and mobile devices handle file deletion. When files are deleted, the operating system and applications can no longer access the data. The operating system removes the link to the data and marks the space it occupied as available for use. But until that space is overwritten, the original files that were deleted can be recovered with the right software.

free data recovery software Disk Drill for Windows & macOS Free Download

For example, Disk Drill data recovery software is the right tool for recovering deleted data from an SD card. It can recover your lost files with a few clicks. You can download Mac or Windows version for free.

We will highlight the main differences in the two versions as we go through the recovery steps.

Here are the procedures for using Disk Drill on a Window or Mac machine.

How to Recover Files from SD Cards on a Windows Computer

Follow these steps to recover files on Windows computers using Disk Drill data recovery software.

  1. Download and install Disk Drill for Windows on your machine. Since you are recovering data from an SD card, you can use your computer’s main hard drive for the download and installation.
  2. Connect the SD card to the machine through an internal or external card reader.
  3. Launch Disk Drill and select Data Recovery in the left-hand panel. Choose the SD card from the app’s disk to recover deleted files from sd card for free
  4. Click the Search for lost data button to initiate the scan. Select the type of scan you want Disk Drill to use to identify recoverable data on the SD card. The best results will be achieved by allowing the software to run all its scanning algorithms in the optimal to recover data from sd card via disk drill for windows
  5. Preview the recovered files by clicking on the icon representing the type of file you are recovering. Found files are categorized as Pictures, Video, Audio, Documents, Archives, and Other files so you can quickly navigate to the type of file in which you are to recover deleted files from sd card for free via disk drill for windows
  6. Select the files you want to recover and choose a safe location at which to store the recovered data that is not on the affected SD card. This prevents data corruption or overwriting during the recovery to recover permanently deleted files from sd card with disk drill for windows
  7. Click the Recover button and let the software retrieve your files to the designated storage location.

How to Recover SD Card Files on a Mac Computer

Use the following procedure to recover deleted files on a Mac with Disk Drill data recovery software.

  1. Download and install Disk Drill for Mac. It’s safe to perform the download and installation on your Mac’s main disk since you are recovering data from an external storage device.
  2. Connect the SD card that has lost data to your Mac with a card reader or by attaching the camera or device that contains the card.
  3. Launch Disk Drill and choose Data Recovery from the panel on the left. Select the SD card that you will be recovering from the list of available sd card for recovery
  4. Click the Search for lost data button to initiate the scanning procedure. You can select the type of scan you wish to run or let the tool use all of its algorithms in the optimal order which will provide the most complete recovery results. start scanning sd card
  5. Preview the files found by Disk Drill by searching in the Scan Results which are categorized according to file type.preview the files from sd card
  6. Choose the files you want to recover and designate a new storage location at which to save them. Avoid using the original SD card or you risk overwriting the data you want to restore during the recovery process.recover sd card files on mac
  7. Click the Recover button to complete the recovery procedure and restore the selected files to your new storage location.

Allow the application to complete its scanning procedures. You can pause the scan if needed and resume it at a later time.

After performing the recovery with Disk Drill, you should have your valuable files back where you want them. You might be wondering if there are limitations on what can be recovered with this software solution. Read on to get some tips on scanning your device and an overview of the types of devices and data that can be recovered with this flexible tool. 

What types of SD Cards can be recovered?

There are numerous types of SD cards that you may be using to store photos, videos, or other valuable information. They are widely-used as a means of increasing the storage capacity of smartphones or mobile devices. SD cards are great for increasing the number of photos or videos you can take before having to download the images to your computer. An SD card can also be used as additional storage on desktop or laptop computers using either an internal or external disk reader.

Disk Drill supports file recovery from all types of SD cards that are formatted with a wide variety of filesystems. The software offers a flexible solution that can address data loss situations involving any combination of SD card and filesystem. 

SD Cards supported by Disk Drill:

  • SD;
  • Mini SD;
  • Micro SD;
  • Nano SD;
  • CD;
  • SDSC;
  • SDHC;
  • SDXC.

Filesystems supported by Disk Drill:

  • HFS/HFS+;
  • APFS;
  • FAT32;
  • exFAT;
  • NTFS.


Here are some questions users may have regarding deleted or lost data on SD cards.

Freelance Writer at Self-employed specializing in technology-related subjects. Extensive experience in IT with a focus on backup and recovery, disaster recovery, cloud computing, databases, and data management.
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Senior Data Recovery Engineer. Master's degree in Physics, Information Technology for Science Experiments