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How to Recover Data from Memory Card with Format Error

    General discussion

  • "Hi, I am having trouble accessing my memory card when connected to the computer, it was working fine and all of sudden when I try to open it, message displays that " the disk in drive is not formatted, would you like to format it now? "please help me troubleshoot this problem as there is lot of data stored on the card, what can be done to recover format error data on my memory card? Your suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated. " - by Candy

    It seems that format error problem happens all the time to memory cards such as SD (Secure Digital) Card, CF (Compact Flash) Card, xD Picture Card, Memory Stick, MicroDrive, Smart Media Card, MMC (Multi-Media Card), MicroSD, MiniSD, SDHC and more. Usually you may see error messages like "memory card error", "memory card locked", "format error" or an error code on your camera screen and the valuable data on the memory card could disappear. In some other cases when you connect memory card to your computer, Windows may prompt a message box indicating you to reformat the memory card and refuse to access your memory card to read data.

    Possible Causes:

    1. The card is too old and can be corrupted with time went on. As you know no hardware can be life-long ever.

    2. Sometimes, you cannot format the drive to the FAT file system if it has been formatted to a file system which is not recognized by Windows. Such a drive should be reformatted to NTFS first, and then to the FAT file system.

    3. Some incompatibilities in the memory card. It makes sense to try to format the card on another computer. In most cases, the incompatibility problem only concerns the format procedure. Once the drive is formatted, it would work fine.

    When those format errors occur on your memory card, STOP using the memory card immediately and put the card in safe place. Continuous data writing or physical damage is highly possible to ruin the data stored on your memory card. If you have very important files in it, you should recover format error data on your card as soon as possible before it’s too late.

    Solution to fix the card format error

    1.      Try the error memory card on another computer (better be most common Windows OS). See if the device can be accessed normally. This way can clear some buffers. Sometimes it will let the error disappear and make the device work normally again.

    2.      If the first method still won’t help. Try recovering the data insides as soon as possible. If you are running a computer with Windows 7, Vista, XP etc operation system, try this program Data Recovery or Photo Recovery if most files on your memoy card is pictures, videos or music etc. For Mac OS X users, go to Data Recovery for Mac. But you should connect the memory card beforehand (better via a card reader as is more secure)

    3.      After the files are recovered, then follow those steps to try format the error memory card (connect it to your PC first). My computer -> Properties -> Manage -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management -> select the problem drive and then format it from here.

    4.      It’s not over. After formatting, try use the data recovery software recommended in #2 to re-scan the drive to see if you can harvest more data. Note: format won’t make the data erased permanently right away.

    Any data recovery software is not universal to deal with data loss situations.If your memory card has suffered physical damage such as broken into pieces when fall onto the ground. Or you continue to put more data or take more photos when noticed your formatted data or photos lost from memory card, thus making the original data overwritten. In these cased no format recovery software can help. The only way to recover the data is to send your memory card for special data recovery service.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010 9:04 AM