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    Senior Product Manager

When we lose data from SD card, how can we recover the lost data as much as possible? This essay will provide more about the data recovery and software which can recover data from SD card effectively. Hope it can help you retrieve your precious data.

Part 1: Data Lost and Recovery in SD Card

SD card recovery software
Most data lost in SD card could be caused by the mistakenly deleted folders, damaged disk or format. At such situation, the paths to the files have gone and users can not access to the files in system as usual.

However, for storage devices, the data of the files is still in the SD card with binary format. Only when users keep writing data to SD card, these data will get overwritten and finally can not be recovered.

deleted data status on SD card
So, when users lose data inside the SD card, users should immediately stop using the SD card to prevent any data of the lost files to get overwritten by the new data. And finally fail to retrieve the lost files. Also, the longer time we keep using the SD card after losing data, the smaller chance we will find back the lost files. So, please recover the lost files from SD card with reliable data recovery software once you stop using the SD card after data lost. Users just need to install the data recovery software on computer and connect the SD card to computer via card reader. And then you can recover lost data from the SD card with the installed data recovery software.

Part 2: How to Choose SD Card Data Recovery Software

1. Based on the Data Recovery Requirement

  • Most data recovery software recovers data with the popular file header arithmetic, which is specially designed to recover file in specific format like photos, documents, etc. Users can choose a suitable data recovery software on the basis of their own data recovery needs. Generally, data recovery software which is designed to recover files in specific formats will be excellent in file header scanning. If you want to recover photos from SD card or other storage devices, you can try Photorecue. And if you want to recover document, Recover My Files from GetData could be a good choice.
  • However, if the SD card is damaged or formatted, users can not recover files from it which software which just use the file header arithmetic. If users encounter such situation, they need to scan whole partition with specific arithmetic and rebuild the file system. Then users can recover as much as files as possible. If user want to recover data from a formatted or damaged SD card, it is recommended Renee Undeleter which can effectively recover data from SD card under such situation with special file rebuild arithmetic.
preview scan result

2. Supports to Preview Before Recovery

As we have mentioned before, the longer we use the SD card after data lost, the smaller chance we will find back the lost files. In other words, it means not every file can be recovered successfully, especially if we save new files into the SD card. But if the data recovery software we used supports to preview the files in the scan result, we can determine whether the files are those we lost as well as their size, format, which can greatly save time and the data recovery efficiency.

3. Scan and Recovery Result

Of course, being a SD card data recovery, the most important part is the recovery outcome. The recovery result of mistakenly deleted files is the most basic and important factor for users. The quality of the recovery outcome can reflect the restorability of the software. However, parts of data recovery software may not support recovering files from formatted SD card because the recovery principle is different between formatted data and mistakenly deleted data. So, we should try to find a data recovery software which supports to recover data from formatted storage devices.

Besides, scan and recover speed are also important for a good SD card data recovery software. Faster scan and recover speed mean shorter waiting time which means users can find back their lost files sooner.

Part 3: Software Recommendation for Photo Recovery on SD Card

Mistakenly deleting files is common data lost reason. In most data lost case, recovering photos which record precious moments is the most desired needs. Here, recommended photo recovery software will be introduced.

1. Principle of Photo Recovery

For most data recovery software, the principle of their photo recovery function is related with files format characteristics. Like JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG and other image formats consist of file header and payload. These file headers could be regarded as the finger prints of the photos and software will scan such characteristics to find the deleted photo data from the storage devices and then recover them.
image file recovery principle


photo recovery software photorec
Focusing on recovering lost files and compressed files from hard disk, Photorec can effectively recover lost photos from SD card. Photorec will skip the file system and recover data from the root. So, when the files system is seriously damaged or reformatted, users can still recover data back with Photorec which will scan whole disk for file headers of known files and recover whole file. Besides, Photorec can be run with built-in script file (.cmd or .bat file in MS-DOS / Windows).

Renee Undeleter

select scan mode in Renee Undeleter
Renee Undeleter is a professional data recovery software and photo recovery is one of its most outstanding functions. Users can preview the found image when scan is still processing, which can help users to find out the photos they need to recover. Also, Renee Undeleter provides fast scan which can find most files in short time while deep scan in Renee Undeleter can find more files.
Besides recovering lost photos, Renee Undeleter also supports to recover audios, videos, compressed files, Office documents, etc. Meanwhile, Renee Undeleter also has a good performance on recovering lost data from SD card. It is your best choice to help you find back the lost data from SD card.
Renee Undeleter - Powerful Data Recovery SoftwareRenee Undeleter data Recovery software

Easy to use Only simple steps to recover data from storage devices.

Multiple scan modes Fast partition scan, whole partition scan and whole disk scan for different recovery needs.

File types Support to recover pictures, videos, audios, documents, mails, etc.

Supported storage devices Recover data from recycle bin, SD card, external disk, etc.

Supported systems Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000 and Mac OS X10.6, 10.7, 10.8.

Easy to use Only simple steps to recover data from storage devices.

Multiple scan modes - 3 scan modes for different recovery needs.

Supported storage devices Recover data from recycle bin, SD card, external disk, etc.

Free TrialFree TrialFree Trial

3000 users have downloaded Renee Undeleter and found data back!


SD card recovery software photo rescue
Specially designed for photo recovery, PhotoRescue is with small size. It can recover data from portable storage devices like USB disk, SD card as well as HDD and SSD. PhotoRescue supports to recover most image formats especially the lost original RAW files in camera storage card. Besides, PhotoRescue works well in recovering JPG image but not so ordinary in recovering other image formats.

What should be paid attention to is that PhotoRescue seems to be unable to recover vector drawables. So if you need to recover vector drawables, it’d better to choose another data recovery software. Although PhotoRescue is not an effective photo recovery software, users can use it to recover JPG files and RAW files from camera SD card.

TipsIf you lost data in SD card because of format instead of mistakenly delete, you need to find a data recovery software which supports recovering data from formatted devices. Because the recovery method for formatted recovery is different from that of mistaken deleted recovery, parts of data recovery software do not support retrieving data from formatted devices.

Part 4: Software Recommendation for Formatted Data Recovery on SD Card

1. Principle of Formatted Data Recovery

Although most data recovery software can find back data which are mistakenly deleted or from emptied recycle, they could not recover files which are formatted or when the storage device can not be accessed. Take the photo recovery we have discussed as an example. When software recovers mistakenly deleted files, it will firstly search the file headers and then reproduce the file paths to get the files back. However, recovering data from formatted storage devices need to rebuild whole file system with fragmentary file information, which means to reform the file pieces. So, the recovery method is different.
format data recovery principle
So, if you lost data in SD card because of format instead of mistakenly delete, you need to find a data recovery software which supports recovering formatted data. Here are some data recovery software that support to recover formatted data.

Recover My Files

Being an easy-to-use data recovery software, Recover My FilesRecover My Files provides fast recovery for mistakenly deleted SD card files and Formatted Recovery for hard disk, which can fulfill different data recovery needs.

SD card recovery software Recover my files

Renee Undeleter

Renee Undeleter ,a powerful SD card data recovery software, can not only recover mistakenly deleted files in different formats, but also works well on recovering formatted data from disk especially SD card. Built-in file recovery, whole partition scan and whole disk scan can fulfill the different data recovery needs. Besides, the interface of the software is easy to understand. Even newbie can process the recovery easily with Renee Undeleter. Save time and money.

select scan mode in Renee Undeleter

ISkysoft Data Recovery

Similar to Renee Undeleter, Iskysoft Data Recovery also provides recovery functions for different file formats and formatted data. However, partition recovery is only available in the advanced version which needs to be paid.

iskysoft data recovery

2. The Best SD Card Data Recovery Software

So, when you encounter the SD card got formatted, how to choose a suitable software from the above? Comparison is listed below.
CharacteristicsRecover My FilesRenee UndeleterISkysoft Data Recovery
Supported OSWindowsWindows/MacWindows/Mac
FeaturesDoes not support recovering files in different formats. Payment will be required if users recover files in different formats.An easy-to-use, effective and safest data recover software. Supports to recover data due to accidently deleted, format and provides partition recovery.Expensive. Only advanced version provides partition recovery.
From the comparison chart, it is easy to find that Renee Undeleter is a low-cost but effective data recovery software which is easy to use. No matter what made you lose data from the SD card, you can recover all the data back in minutes with Renee Undeleter.

3. Recover Formatted Data from SD Card with Renee Undeleter

① Download and install Renee Undeleter.
download software button win
download software button mac clear2
② Open the software and select the recovery mode on the basis of your situation (Fast Partition Scan, Whole Partition Scan and Whole Disk Scan). Here we choose “Whole Partition Scan”.
select whole partition scan in renee undeleter
③ Select the target SD card and click “Next”.
Renee Undeleter Whole Partition Scan
④ After the scan finished, users can scan and preview the scanned result to find the target files. Then please check the files and click “Recovery”.
preview and select the files to recover in renee undeleter

Part 5: More about SD Card Data Recovery

1. Reasons of Data Lost on Damaged SD Card

Actually, comparing with SSD which also uses flash memory as storage media, SD card is much easier to get damaged. This reason could be that most SD card will not take the wear leveling technology to extend the lifespan of flash memory to get a low production cost. As a result, this will lead to the first several flash memory fail to read the data inside even lost the data. Besides, the flash memory that used in the SD card is the low-cost one and the lifespan of such flash memory is not guaranteed.

What is Wear Leveling

The NAND flash memory has limited number of erase cycles which will be based on the manufacturing technology. And repeated writing and erasing of the same block will lower the data transmission speed and even damage the block. Wear leveling will balance the usage of the blocks in NAND flash memory, which will help to avoid the data being written or assessed in the same block and extend the lifespan of the storage devices.

wear leveling explanation
Wear Leveling will work around the erase cycles by arranging the written data to different blocks so that to avoid the block exceeds its erase endurance. Wear Leveling should get each of the blocks to reach its erase endurance and extend the lifespan of the flash device. In other words, Wear Leveling is designed to equalize the use of each block in the flash memory. And prevent single block from wearing out or data lost.

Wear leveling could be divided into 3 different modes:

  • Dynamic Wear Leveling: Uses the available blocks that are free of data and selecting the block with the lowest erase count for the next write.
  • Static Wear Leveling: Utilizes all good blocks to evenly distribute block wear throughout the entire device. And the static data will be moved to blocks with higher erase count while the blocks with low erase count will be included in the next write cycles.
  • Global Wear LevelingUtilizes all flash memory in the storage devices and will evenly save data to blocks with low erase count.
As we can see, for SD card which does not have Wear Leveling, the beginning blocks of the flash memory will easily reach its erase cycles and get damaged. As a result, the file system of the SD card will get damaged and the SD card will fail to read or write data. Also, data inside the SD card will lost.

When we encounter data lost because of the damaged SD card, it is recommended to try professional data recovery software – Renee Undeleter to recover data from the damaged SD card. It can help you rebuild the file system for the SD card by skipping the damaged blocks and recover the lost data from the SD card.

2. Estimate the Lifespan of General SD Card

How can users estimate the lifespan of the SD card which does not equipped with S.M.A.R.T.? Actually, users can make it with the following formula with the amount of data you saved when using the SD card:

SD Card Lifespan (Days) = Erase cycles * SD card capacity (GB) * 90% / Used Capacity everyday (GB)

Let us take a 8GB SD card as an example. Users will take 150 photos, each of which is about 50MB every day and save them to the SD card. This will use 90% of the capacity of the SD card as well as erase it. Assuming that the SD card uses TLC flash memory of which the maximum erase cycle is 1000 times. In other words, the lifespan of the SD card is about 1 and a half years. If the quality of the SD card is poor, the erase cycles will just be about 300 – 400 times and the lifespan will be shortened to about one year.

In conclusion, the lifespan of the SD card is related to users’ usage habits. If users often save data in full capacity of the SD card size, the lifespan will be shortened accordingly. Besides, the quality of the flash memory matters as well. Please refer to Differences Among SSD NAND Flash Memory: QLC/SLC/MLC/TLC for more about the flash memory.

Sometimes, we can estimate the lifespan of the SD card according to the warranty period that the manufacturers provide. Generally, the longer the warranty period, the longer the lifespan of the SD card will be. Following will list some SD card models and related warranty period for references

SD card ModelWarranty Period
Samsung EVO Plus 128GB10 years
Transcend High Endurance 32GB2 years
SanDisk Extreme PLUS 128GBLife-time
Kingston Digital 64GBLife-time
Verbatim 64GB Pro+Life-time
PNY Turbo Performance 64GB1 years
Lexar Professional 633 x 32GBLife-time
Kingston Digital 32 GBLife-time
SanDisk Ultra 64GBLife-time
Integral UltimaPro 32GB5 years

3. Detect the Lifespan of SD Card

Most low-end SD card will not equipped with S.M.A.R.T. (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology), which means users are hard to master the lifespan and the usage information of the SD card. However, for some high-end SD cards which provides S.M.A.R.T. data, counts error and related statistics, it is recommended to get lifespan information of the SD card with Hard Disk Sentinel. Here, detailed steps of using this software will be introduced below.

① Open the software after connecting the SD card with card reader. The status of the SD card reader will be recognized as “Unknown” in default.

use Disk generic to get information of SD card lifespan
② Right click “Control device-specific detection” to open a new window and select device type.
use Disk generic to get information of SD card lifespan
③ Right click “Auto detect” in the bottom. Then the software will detect the SD card automatically. If you connect the SD card which is equipped with S.M.A.R.T., information of manufacturer and SD card type will be listed.
use Disk generic to get information of SD card lifespan
④ Click “OK” in the window. Then please click “OK” again in the window which pop-up just now then the lifespan information will be shown as progress bar. Users can get related information in a better way.
use Disk generic to get information of SD card lifespan
Attention: After processing the steps above, Hard Disk Sentinel will create a hidden file on the SD card which can help you free from recognizing the SD card whenever you open this software. The hidden file will not take up any disk space with the size of 0 bit. It is recommended users do not delete the file. If you delete the file from SD card, you will need to go through the above process again to enable the detection.
Supported SD Cards

As we have mentioned before, using Hard Disk Sentinel to get lifespan information from SD card will require the SD supports S.M.A.R.T. So, it would be better to use the following recommended SD card below instead of some low-end SD card.


click magic ram
MR01GMS3I – HM6 1GB SLC microSD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR02GMS3I – HM6 2GB SLC microSD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR04GMS3I – HM10 4GB SLC microSD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR08GMS3I – HM10 8GB SLC microSD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR16GMS3I – HM10 16GB SLC microSD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR01GSD3I – HM6 1GB SLC SD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR02GSD3I – HM6 2GB SLC SD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR04GSD3I – HM10 4GB SLC SD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR08GSD3I – HM10 8GB SLC SD 3.0 Wide Temp

MR16GSD3I – HM10 16GB SLC SD 3.0 Wide Temp


Delkin Devices
S351MMVU8 – C1000 – 4 512MB

S30GMMUU8 – C1000 – 4 1GB

S302MMZU8 – C1000 – 4 2GB

S304MMZU8 – U1000 – 4 4GB

S308MMZU8 – U1000 – 4 8GB

S316MMZU8 – U1000 – 4 16GB





4. Guidance of SD Card Lifespan Detection Tool - SD SCAN Utility of Sony

Being one of the manufacturers of SD card, Sony designed a special detection tool – SD Scan Utility for its high-end SD card including SF-G and SF-G TOUGH to help users get the status of the SD card. This software will scan the flash memory to help users know more about the health of the SD card like it is well or almost reach its limits of write cycles. Getting more about the status of the SD card can help users make preparations. Users only need to install SD Scan Utility on PC. Whenever you insert the SD card, it will scan the card automatically. If the SD card nearly reaches its limitation of the write cycles, it will show related alarming notification.

① After installing SD Scan Utility, software will scan the supported SD card whenever users connect the SD card to PC. If the scan result is “Normal”, the result will be shown as an icon in taskbar.

click to open sony sd scan utility
② Click the icon on the taskbar, users can check the detailed information. Scan result will be combined with icons and simple message.
SD card is normal in SD scan utility
③ If the lifespan of SD card is nearly ended, users will receive a notification which will advice users to get a new SD card. (Users can ban this notify function according to their needs.)

If users get a message that “The storage space of your SD card is wearing out”, please get a new SD card to save data. Otherwise, related device will fail to save data to the SD card when using.

If users get a message that “Fail to write data to your SD card”, it means that your SD card can not save any new data. Please get a new card immediately.

SD card is wearing out