Data Recovery Guide for SanDisk SD Cards and USB Drives

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SanDisk data recovery

SanDisk is one of the most popular manufacturers of flash memory products, mainly SD cards and USB drives. But just because SanDisk products can be found in stores around the world doesn’t mean they’re 100% reliable, which is why SanDisk recovery is a topic that’s commonly discussed in forums on the internet. 

Why Do Users Need to Recover Data from SanDisk Devices?


SanDisk is an American brand owned by Western Digital. It specializes in flash memory products, selling millions of SD cards and USB drives each year. Some of its most popular products include:

  • SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card – An extremely fast SD card that offers impressive storage capacity and the ability to capture UHD video footage with shot speeds of up to 90MB/s, making it a great choice for all avoid videographers who don’t want to make any compromises.
  • SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 Flash Drive – A super-compact USB 3.1 flash drive that offers a storage capacity of up to 512 GB and 15-times higher data transfer speeds compared with older USB 2.0 flash drives. A USB flash drive like this is great for laptop users who want more storage space without buying a new hard drive. 
  • SanDisk Cruzer Glide USB 2.0 Flash Drive – This lightweight USB flash drive with a retractable USB connector is available in capacities up to 256 GB, and it stands out with its excellent price per gigabyte of storage. 

These and other SanDisk storage devices are used to store images (JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, RAW), music (MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC), videos (MOV, WMV, MP4, AVI, MLV), documents (DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, TXT), and other files that users frequently transfer between computers or create using their digital cameras, voice recorders, and other electronic devices. 

Because of how SanDisk storage devices are used, their users typically need to perform data recovery for one of the following reasons: 

  • Accidental deletion: Even the most experienced users make mistakes, and it really doesn’t take much to accidentally delete the wrong file. 
  • Data corruption: When transferring memory cards and USB flash drives between devices, data corruption may occur and cause files and even entire folders to become inaccessible. 
  • Physical damage: While SanDisk storage devices are known to be reliable, they are certainly not bullet-proof, and damaging them is not that difficult. 

In the first two cases, it’s possible to use readily available SanDisk recovery software to get back the lost files in a matter of minutes. Such software can be downloaded for free from the internet, and it works with all SanDisk storage devices regardless of when they were manufactured. 

Unfortunately, even the best SanDisk data recovery software can’t restore files from physically damaged storage devices that are no longer accessible. In that case, it’s necessary to contact a special data recovery service center with professional equipment and plenty of experience. 

Top 3 SanDisk Recovery Tools

To perform SanDisk file recovery, you need to do two things: connect your SanDisk storage device to your computer and download a SanDisk recovery tool. The former shouldn’t be a problem as long as you have a memory card reader and an empty USB port, but the latter can be a challenge because there are many options to choose from. 

Here are three SanDisk file recovery tools that are guaranteed to provide great results: 

1. Disk Drill (Windows & Mac)

Disk Drill Interface

Disk Drill is a popular recovery tool for Windows and Mac. It can recover over 400 file formats from all kinds of storage devices, so it has no problem with SanDisk memory card or USB flash drive recovery. Disk Drill is our favorite SanDisk recovery tool because even complete beginners can obtain fantastic results with it in just a few clicks. 


  • The Windows version lets you recover up to 500 MB
  • Easy to use
  • Great data recovery performance 
  • Comes with free backup tools 
  • Can clone a failing storage device  


  • The Mac version doesn’t offer free recovery

2. PhotoRec (Windows, Mac & Linux)

Photorec Interface

We recommend PhotoRec because it runs on all major operating systems and offers unlimited recovery for free. Despite what its name suggests, PhotoRec can be used to perform more than just photo recovery and image recovery thanks to its support for all commonly used file formats.  


  • Open-source
  • Multi-platform 
  • Support for many file systems and file formats 
  • Unlimited recovery 


  • Command-line only 
  • Not suitable for beginners 

3. Data Rescue (Windows & Mac)

Data Rescue interface

Data Rescue is a no-frills recovery tool for Windows and Mac that boasts a straightforward recovery process and a bunch of extra features that greatly increase its value. We just wish it were a bit more modern because it pales in comparison with Disk Drill and other leading recovery tools.  


  • Finds all your lost files for free
  • Straightforward recovery process 
  • Can clone a failing storage device  


  • Doesn’t offer free recovery 
  • Relatively expensive 
  • Outdated user interface 

How to Recover Data from a SanDisk Storage Device on Windows and Mac

Here’s how you can recover data from a SanDisk storage device on Windows and Mac using our favorite SanDisk recovery tool, Disk Drill. 


Step 1. Download and Install Disk Drill

Disk Drill installation process

Start by downloading the free version of Disk Drill for Windows to your computer. Then, open the downloaded file and install Disk Drill on your computer. 

Step 2. Scan the SanDisk Storage Device

Scan the device

Launch Disk Drill and select the SanDisk SD card, micro SD card, USB flash drive, or any other storage device you want to recover. Click the Scan for lost data button to scan it. 

Step 3. Recover Lost Data

Recover the selected files

Finally, select which files you want to recover and click the Recover button. Disk Drill will ask you to specify the recovery directory, and you need to select a different storage device than the one from which you’re recovering the lost files. 


Step 1. Download and Install Disk Drill

Disk Drill installation on Mac

Download the free version of Disk Drill for Mac to your computer. Then, open the downloaded file and drag Disk Drill to your Applications folder. 

Step 2. Scan the SanDisk Storage Device

Scan the SD Card

Launch Disk Drill and click the Recover button next to your SanDisk storage device. Instantly, Disk Drill will start scanning the selected storage device, looking for recoverable files. 

Step 3. Recover Lost Data

Recover your files

Finally, select which files you want to recover and click the Recover button. Disk Drill will ask you to specify the recovery directory, and you need to select a different storage device than the one from which you’re recovering the lost files. 

Tip: Back Up Your SanDisk Storage Devices

tips and tricks

SanDisk is known for offering a comprehensive warranty on its products, but there are certain limitations that you should know about: 

“SanDisk warranty does NOT provide reimbursement for data recovery services. This is specifically stated in our warranty,” states SanDisk on its website. “The SanDisk warranty covers the product itself, but does NOT cover any damages due to data loss. It is recommended to make regular backups of all your data and pictures.”

That’s right, SanDisk won’t pay for data recovery services in case you lose important files to physical damage and are forced to seek the assistance of professionals. That’s why you should regularly back up your data, and you can do so using SanDisk’s own backup software, called simply SanDisk Backup.

To backup your SanDisk storage device with SanDisk Backup:

  1. Download the SanDisk Backup software application.
  2. Unzip it and launch it.
  3. Install it on your SanDisk storage device.
  4. Create a new backup. 
  5. Click Launch Backup to start. 
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.