Repairing SD card

Joined
May 5, 2014
Messages
1
I have an SD card with pictures and video files that I'm trying to save to my PC. I haven't accessed the card in about 4 years and now it's not working properly.

When I plugged the SD card into a camera it said it needed to be formatted. So I went down and bought a card reader for my PC. At first it wasn't even detecting the card, then after several times of removing and reinserting the card it finally showed up as a removable drive.

At first, when I tried to open the drive it showed it as empty. I removed the card again and when I reinserted it the auto-play window feature popped up. I can click on open to view folders and files, and when I do I can see all of the files, however it will not let me open any of them. If I hit the refresh button in the browser everything disappears and it says the folder is empty. I then need to reinsert the card again.

If I try to move any of the files from the card to my desktop it says "Could not find this item This is no longer located in ... verify the items location and try again."

The past two days I've downloaded a myriad of "recovery" programs, but none have worked at all. The closest I've got so far was with TestDisk. Through TestDisk I was able to locate the files on the SD card and copy them to my desktop, however I still cannot view any of the pictures or videos.

I'm pretty much at my wits end with this... I really do not want to lose these files forever as they are irreplaceable . If anyone has ANY idea on what I can do to get these files back PLEASE HELP ME!!!

I was thinking maybe if I formatted the card it would fix any errors with it, and then use PhotoRec to recover the files? This is my last resort as I'm worried that formatting the drive will mean I will never have a chance to get these files back and working.

Thanks for any help!
 
Joined
May 16, 2007
Messages
626
well flash memory has a finite data retention time, over time the charge leaks out of the cells and the data is lost.

you could just leave it plugged in an see if the built in firmware on the sd card can error correct any faulty data cells. I wouldn't format the drive or write any data at all to it.

hopefully somebody with more knowledge will come along to help.
 

PliotronX

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 8, 2000
Messages
2,070
I had the exact same thing happen to a MicroSD card... kinda got stuck where you're at sorry to say. Dunno if a lab could recover it. This is why I do not trust flash media as far as I can throw it for any kind of longevity.
 

phis6

Weaksauce
Joined
Apr 14, 2014
Messages
68
You can try to use DM Disk Editor to image your SD card in to another healthy media and do the file recovery from that image you got. Otherwise send it to a reputable recovery labs if those data are worth for a reasonable cost.
 

omniscence

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
1,311
Do not format the card. Any writes to a card with worn out cells will most likely make the situation worse.
First thing to do is to make a block level copy of the card to a harddisk with a tool that can properly skip unreadable sectors without doing minute-long retries, i.e. dd/ddrescue command line tools and do any recovery from there.
What can be rescued depends on how good the firmware in the card is, the card being undetectable at first is not a good sign. Flash is unsuited for long-term data storage.
 

x509

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
2,630
What can be rescued depends on how good the firmware in the card is, the card being undetectable at first is not a good sign. Flash is unsuited for long-term data storage.

Huh? Is this the same technology used in SSDs?
 

Jim G

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 2, 2011
Messages
221
You could try a live Ubuntu CD and a program like gddrescue - we've had some succes with that before, imaging broken drives. It has the neat feature of going back and re-trying any bits that didn't work the first/second/third/nth time around so if it's coming and going it may help.
 

omniscence

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
1,311
Huh? Is this the same technology used in SSDs?

Basically yes. Although the controller in SD cards like USB flash drives is much less sophisticated and does mostly only use a single flash IC. It should also employ wear leveling and has to care for block erases. I suppose that the firmware is kept as simple as possible because there is simply not much performance to gain with the slow interface SD cards have. And gracefully handling read errors may not be a high priority, that is why the cards stop responding. Some of the earlier cheap SSDs also show this behaviour.
 

x509

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
2,630
Basically yes.

That's what I thought.

Although the controller in SD cards like USB flash drives is much less sophisticated and does mostly only use a single flash IC.

Ah, the key difference. This is a great example of how it's not just the "main chips," like the CPU or GPU, but the controllers or support chips, that determine overall performance. Thanks.
 
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