How to Recover Deleted Videos from any SD Card with Minimum Effort

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Recover videos from SD Card

It doesn’t take much to accidentally delete videos from an SD card, especially if the SD card is shared between multiple cameras and computers. Fortunately, it also doesn’t take much effort to learn how to recover deleted videos from any SD card, as we explain in this article. 

Improve Your Chances of Successful Video Recovery

The results of any video recovery attempt are never 100% guaranteed, but you can greatly increase the likelihood of getting all lost data back by following the two recommendations listed below: 

Stop Using the SD Card

Contrary to what it seems, deleted files physically remain stored on the memory card until new files are written in their place. If you keep using the memory card, you risk overwriting the lost files before you have a chance to recover them. When that happens, there’s absolutely nothing that can be done to get them back. For this reason, you need to stop using the SD card until you’re ready to restore deleted videos from it. 

Start the Recovery Process ASAP

We understand that this may be your first experience with recovering deleted videos from a memory card, but that’s not a good reason to delay the recovery process more than absolutely necessary. By postponing it, you risk misplacing or damaging the memory card, overwriting the deleted files, or simply forgetting that you’ve lost a bunch of videos in the first place. 

What Should I Look for In a Video Recovery Tool?

You can find many different video recovery tools for all operating systems, but the differences between them can be enormous. Here are five things you should look for when selecting a video recovery tool: 

  • Free data recovery limitations: Video files can be very large, so it’s best to choose a video recovery tool that can recover at least several hundred megabytes of data for free. If you need to recover multiple video files or a single long HD or 4K video file, it’s best to spend money on a paid video recovery tool with unlimited recovery. 
  • Video preview capabilities: Without the ability to preview recoverable videos, it can be extremely difficult to find the video you want to get back since most video cameras automatically generate filenames based on the time of their creation. 
  • File format support: There are many video file formats, and you need to choose a video recovery tool that supports all the formats you use to record RAW video footage and render finished projects. The most commonly used video file formats include AVI, WMV, MOV, MP4, MKV, and AVCHD.
  • Scanning speed: Some video recovery tools restore deleted videos from SD cards much faster than others. The difference in performance can be caused by better optimization, but it can also stem from the support for multiple video recovery algorithms to address different data loss scenarios. 
  • Ease of use: It goes without saying that the video recovery tool of your choice should be easy to use and intuitive. There’s no reason to go through the trouble of reading lengthy manuals and watching complicated online tutorials just to recover a few video files when there are video recovery tools that make the entire process completely painless. 

One video recovery tool that meets all the above-described criteria is Disk Drill for Windows (there’s also a Mac version, but it doesn’t offer free data recovery), and we explain how to recover deleted videos from an SD card with it in the next chapter. 

How to Retrieve Deleted Videos from an SD Card with Disk Drill

Disk Drill makes recovering deleted videos from SD cards or other memory cards easy, and you should be able to complete the entire process in just a few minutes, depending on the speed and capacity of your card.

Download and Install Disk Drill

If you haven’t done so already, download Disk Drill to your computer and install it. The Windows version can recovery up to 500 MB for free (that’s the version we’re using to explain how to recover deleted videos from an SD card), whereas the basic version of Disk Drill for Mac can only preview recoverable files. Regardless of which version of Disk Drill you choose, you need to install it on your internal hard drive (or another suitable storage device) and NOT the SD card from which you want to recover deleted videos. Why? Because you could overwrite the deleted videos and lose them permanently.

Scan Your SD Card

Next, launch Disk Drill and find your SD card. It should be listed in the main window alongside all other storage devices connected to your computer. To scan it, you need to first select it and then click the Search for lost data button.

Disk Drill lets you specify which recovery method you want to use, but you can also let it run all recovery methods in the optimal order by leaving everything in default settings. The scan process can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more—it all depends on the speed of your SD card and its capacity. You can see the remaining time at the bottom of the scan window.

If the scan is taking too long, and you can’t wait to see if Disk Drill has been able to retrieve your files, you can click the Review found items button in the top-right corner. This will let you browse the scan results without interrupting the scan itself.


Recover Lost Videos to a Safe Location

Finally, select the video files you want to recover by clicking the checkboxes on the left. Remember that Disk Drill can preview all commonly used video files, so there’s no reason to add all recoverable files to your recovery queue just to restore a single file. When you’re ready to get back your lost videos, simply click the Recover button and select a safe location. Any folder located on a different storage device than the card that you’ve just scanned is considered safe.

Which Video Formats Can Disk Drill Recover from an SD Card?

Video formats

Disk Drill can recover over 400 file formats, including several dozen video file formats. The table below lists all video formats supported by Disk Drill: 

File ExtensionFile Format
3G2 / 3GPP2 / 3GP / 3GPPVideos for 3G UMTS services
AVIAudio Video Interleave
BIKBink Video
BRAWBlackmagic raw video format
CRMCanon raw movie file
DIRAdobe Director Movie
DVDigital Video
DXRProtected Adobe Director Movie
FCPFinal Cut Pro
FLAEditable Adobe Flash movie
FLVFlash video
FCPEVENTFinal Cut Events
M2THDV video
M2TSBlu-ray BDAV Video
M4BiTunes audiobooks
M4PiTunes Music Store audio
M4ViTunes video
MKVMatroska Video
MLVLabVIEW mathscript file
MOVApple QuickTime movie
MP4MPEG-4 video
MPAMPEG-2 Audio File
MTSMPEG Transport Stream video format
MXFMaterial Exchange Format
OGMOog Media
R3DRedcode Raw video image
RMVBRealMedia Variable Bitrate
SWFFlash movie
TODJVC Everio Video Capture
TSVideo Transport Stream File
WMVWindows Media Video
David Morelo is a professional content writer in the technology niche, covering everything from consumer products to emerging technologies and their cross-industry application.
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12 years experience in software development, database administration and hardware repair.