How to recover a corrupted memory card

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A mobile phone memory card can contain important files – photos and videos from a party, PDF downloads, documents you received via WhatsApp and many others. So knowing how to recover a corrupted memory card on your phone can save you a lot of worry!

In this article, we will show you how a memory card can become corrupted and what to do in such situations to recover lost data. If you are going through this right now, know that there is a solution! Read this article to find out everything:

How do mobile memory cards work?

Memory cards are data storage devices that can be used in mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, video games, MP3 players and other devices.

Memory cards are portable, non-volatile (they keep files even without power) and can be rewritten several times – just connect them to the main device via an input port. In some cases, you need to use an adapter.

recuperar cartão memória corrompido

They store various file formats, such as images, videos, presentations and documents. They can have up to 1T of storage capacity.

There are several types of memory card, which vary according to brand, storage capacity, recording speed and other characteristics. Here are some of them:

  • SD Card (Secure Digital Card);
  • MicroSD and MiniSD, which are currently the most widely used in mobile phones;
  • Memory Stick, widely used in digital cameras and other Sony devices;
  • MMC (MultiMediaCard), older technology.

In contrast to hard disks, which use a mechanical process to record data, memory cards use flash memory. With this technology, data is exchanged electronically.

The system consists of two transistors, which represent the control gate (which reads the data) and the floating gate (which stores the data in cells). The recording process then takes place when an electrical voltage is applied and alters the electronic charge of the floating gate, so that the cell is rewritten with new content.

This technology makes memory cards faster at transferring data, more durable and more resistant to impacts than other storage devices.

Why does the memory card become corrupted?

Although the memory card is a safe, resistant and durable device, it can suffer damage that affects the files stored on it.

As we said, data transfer between the memory card and the main device takes place electronically. Therefore, electronic failures can occur, due to misuse of the device or virus attacks, for example.

In addition, the memory card can also suffer physical damage, whether accidental or intentional. If the card breaks or suffers damage to its electronic contacts, the files can also be corrupted.

In these cases, the files become inaccessible because the computer or mobile phone cannot recognize the card. But, as we will see later, it is often possible to recover the memory card and regain access to the files.

What can corrupt a memory card?

There are some situations that can corrupt a memory card. Some of them are:

  • Invasion by viruses and malware;
  • Sudden interruption of file transfer (power fluctuations, abrupt system shutdown, ejecting the card from the device without removing the physical equipment, among other situations);
  • Excessive demand on the memory card (editing photos directly on the phone, deleting many files quickly and in sequence, among other situations);
  • Physical damage to the memory card (dropping it on the floor, getting it wet, soiling it, putting pressure on it, exposing it to high temperatures, scratching the electronic contacts, among other situations).

So, if you want to prevent the files on your memory card from being corrupted, it is important to know how to use the device correctly.

Try to connect the memory card only to reliable devices, with no suspected malware infections. Also be careful to only download reliable files and not to click on malicious links. An antivirus application on your phone can help block hacking attempts.

When connected, avoid any abrupt interruption in the use of the device. Even if the files are not being transferred at the time, they are accessible, so any disconnection without due care can corrupt the files.

Also, be careful when handling and saving the memory card, to ensure greater safety and avoid accidents that cause physical damage.

What to do when the memory card is corrupted?

A corrupted memory card in your phone can be a big problem. If you’re storing important files, you might feel desperate… But don’t worry: there are solutions!

First, you can check that your files are stored in the cloud. On Android devices, it is common for photos and videos on your phone to be synchronized with Google Photos. Depending on your settings, other directories on the card can also be synchronized. So before you despair, go there to check.

If the files aren’t in the cloud or on any other backup, you will need to recover the corrupted files on the memory card itself.

The first step is simple: stop using the card. If you try to save new files to the memory, recovery may not be possible. Let’s explain why this happens.

When files are deleted or corrupted on the memory card, they become inaccessible, but they don’t disappear. Just like on disks and other storage devices, the data is still there and can be recovered.

However, if you store new files, the space they occupied can be overwritten – in which case they disappear for good. That’s why you should stop using it.

After that, look for a company specializing in data recovery, which can analyse your case and recover your files safely.

If your memory card is broken, wet or scratched, stop using it too. Don’t try to fix it yourself, as home-made solutions can make it impossible to recover your files.

Count on a specialized company like Bot, which has the right equipment, professionals and environment to carry out the physical repairs, with no chance of contaminating the device.

How do I recover an unrecognized SD card?

When your phone or computer doesn’t recognize the SD card, it doesn’t always mean that the files are corrupted, okay? Perhaps the metal contacts on the memory card are dirty, for example, often due to lack of care and maintenance.

If they are dirty, you can clean the contacts with an eraser or an alcohol swab – just be careful! If that’s the only problem, the device will probably recognize the card again.

But if the phone doesn’t recognize the card because it is corrupted, the solution is a little more complex. It is important to seek professional help so that you don’t risk losing your files for good.

First, you can try to repair the SD card via Windows by connecting it to your laptop. You can use the Command Prompt, which requires more technical knowledge, or access the device’s Properties and check the drive for system errors. However, these procedures have little chance of success.

You can also try using data recovery software or applications, but you need to be very careful. This software scans the memory card to try to reassemble the index, which gives you access to the files again.

However, this process is complex, can take a long time and doesn’t always perform well when it comes to recovering data. Any problems or incorrect handling of the memory card can destroy it forever.

Furthermore, these tools offer limited free versions, which only allow you to recover a certain amount of data. So you will probably need to invest in subscription plans to try to recover larger volumes of data.

That’s why it is worth getting in touch with someone who already has experience and expertise in data recovery. A specialized company like Bot knows how to recover a corrupted memory card on a mobile phone with total security and a better chance of success. It is usually possible to recover all the files in their entirety.

How do I format a corrupted SD card from my phone?

When a mobile phone memory card becomes corrupted, operating systems may recommend formatting it. This process cleans the card and deletes all stored data so that it can be used again.

You should then only format the memory card in your phone after you have recovered all the files that were stored on it.

Once they are safe on another device, formatting will “zero out” the storage and eliminate any problems or traces of malware. You can then safely use the memory card again.

You can do the formatting from your computer or from the phone itself. On Android phones, go to the device’s Settings, click on Storage and find the memory card. In the options, click Format. The menus and names of the functions may vary from one device to another, but generally the steps are similar.

How do I recover photos from a corrupted memory card?

If you have lost photos from your phone’s memory card, you can also try the solutions above. Generally, data recovery procedures have a better chance of success with photos (JPG or RAW) than with videos, which require more from the system.

So first, check that the photos aren’t synchronized with Google Photos or stored in some other backup.

If they aren’t, you can try repairing the memory card using the Windows Command Prompt or the Error Check in the card’s Properties. If that doesn’t work, you can use data recovery software.

But those photos are probably important to you, aren’t they? You might have saved photos of an unforgettable birthday on your memory card. Maybe you work professionally in photography and can’t lose photos of clients.

That’s why you need to be completely sure that you can recover your corrupted memory card. Only a specialized company can do this safely

How Bot can help

Bot has professionals with experience in various data loss situations. We work with the ideal technology, software and equipment to recover different storage devices, such as disks, SSDs, USB flash drives and memory cards.

We have fully sanitized rooms and adopt strict cleaning protocols to prevent any contamination.

With all this care and the experience of more than a decade in the market, the chances of recovery reach 100%.

So if you need to recover a corrupted memory card, get in touch with Bot. We have several reception desks, and you can opt for free collection of your device from any address in Portugal. Fill in the form and start recovering your data!


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