How to Recover Files from Formatted SD Card?


Formatting an SD card is quite common. You might have accidentally formatted SD card to have space for new data or formatted to get rid of SD card errors. With the help of recovery methods explained in the article, recovering files from formatted SD card is safe and easy.

Formatted SD Card Recovery

SD cards are widely being used in various portable devices such as digital cameras, video camcorders, handheld computers, audio players and mobile phones. What if you have accidentally formatted the memory card/SD card? Wondering what to do after formatting the SD card? Do not worry!  Irrespective of the reasons that lead to format the SD card, you will be able to recover data from the formatted SD card easily.

Before starting with the recovery process, let us see some of the scenarios that force you to format the SD card. Furthermore, the later sections of this article also explain a free method along with a reliable technique to restore formatted SD card.

Scenarios that Lead to Formatting of SD Cards

Formatting means the process of preparing the chosen external drive to be used by an operating system by clearing all the data on SD card and setting up a new file system for further use. Generally, SD cards are formatted due to following reasons:

  1. Unintentional formatting of SD card.
  2. SD card infected by virus.
  3. Your SD card displays errors and cannot be used for further data storage.
  4. When SD card is corrupted
  5. SD card shows no file system (RAW).
  6. SD card becomes blank or displays Unsupported File System Error.

Difference Between Quick Format and Full Format

While formatting a user can choose to either perform a quick format or full format. Technically, it might be difficult to differentiate between a Quick Format or a full format of an SD. Here is a table differentiating between them both.

Quick Format Full Format
Fast/quick formatting of an SD card is a process by which all files on a memory card are erased. Full memory card format performs slow erasing of data from SD card. Every bit of data is wiped out from memory card.
It takes lesser time than the full format. This formatting takes a long time to complete its action and clears all errors from the SD card.
Formatted space is marked as unused, without actually deleting data from SD card.


Data erased from this formatting is impossible to recover using the manual method.


Is It Possible to Recover Data from Formatted SD Card?

When you perform formatting on SD card/memory card, the system does not actually erase the data but makes the file invisible. In other words, it simply marks the space on the disk available for new data to be stored. Formatted data still exists on the medium until it is overwritten by any other data.

Note: Avoid using a formatted SD card before recovering files from it. Overwriting the SD card makes existing data unavailable for recovery.

  1. Recover Data using Manual Method -CHKDSK
  2. An Efficient and Trusted Recovery Method- SFWare

If you have performed a full formatting on SD card, manual method will not be able to manage restoring of formatted SD card. However, SFWare SD card recovery makes it possible. SFWare SD Card Recovery software is designed with user friendly GUI that makes recovery process easier for all kinds of users. It has a quick scanning algorithm that makes the recovery of formatted SD cards quicker and simpler. The SFWare supports both Windows and Mac OS as well.

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

How to Recover Files from Formatted SD Card?

You can try recovering formatted data using CHKDSK in Command Prompt. It is the Windows utility used to fix logical errors on the drives and helps finding lost files from the drives. It understands only the command language and hence instructions are executed using commands only.

When you execute anything in cmd prompt it only follows the cmd instruction. Hence, if you are not a regular or familiar with cmd prompt you may end up having a trouble while executing the steps. To avoid such problems, it is recommended to use SFWare SD Card Recovery software that helps you recover formatted data from SD memory card easily and effectively.

Note: Are you aware of how to recover deleted photos from SanDisk SD card? You will learn all about it here.

Recover Files from Formatted SD card using CHKDSK

Step 1: Connect SD card to the computer and check for the drive letter of SD card in Computer.

Step 2: Type cmd in the search box, select command prompt >> Run as Administer and click OK.

Step 3: Type chkdsk H: /f command and hit Enter to run it. (Replace H with the drive letter of your formatted SD card)

Step 4: If the command prompt tells you the volume is in use, you can type Y(yes) and press Enter until command line start again

Step 5: Type: H and hit Enter again. Next, type: H:\>attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.* and hit Enter. (Replace H with the drive letter of the device where you lost files or data.)

Once the process completes, you will find a new folder on your SD card or external drive with the name of the recovered file. It would be in a .chk format, change the file format and save.

Recover Formatted Data from SD Card using SFWare Recovery Software

Download and install the SFWare SD Card Recovery Software and follow the below steps to recover formatted SD Card:

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

Step 1: Launch the application, Select Recover Drive/Partition from the main screen Drive/Partition recovery >> Formatted Recovery options

Select Recover Files to Restore Files from Missing Recycle Bin

Step 2: Next screen list of drives/partitions are displayed. Select the appropriate drive to recover files from formatted SD card and click on Next option

Select C Drive

Step 3: Scanning process initializes. Once it is done, files are displayed in Data View and File Type View.

View recoverable files in Either Data View or File Type View

Step 4: Save the recovered files by giving preferred location.

Where SFWare can be Used?


Formatting of SD card sometimes proves useful in terms of keeping it safe and secure. But in return erases all the data from the storage media. In such cases, it is recommended to use SFWare SD card recovery software for hassle-free recovery. This tool assists you to retrieve all your lost photos, music files, videos and documents from a formatted memory card.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does formatting a SD card delete everything?

Yes, absolutely. Formatting a SD card will erase everything from the drive. However, with the help of safe data recovery software, that helps you recover data from the drive, you can recover formatted files from SD card.

How can I recover files from a formatted SD card for free?

You can try CHKDSK to recover files from SD card for free.  Run command prompt in administrator mode and type Type CHKDSK H: /f command, replace H with your SD card drive letter. And type, type: H:\>attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.*

How can I recover my formatted SD card in Android?

To recover data from formatted SD card in android, you need to connect your SD card o computer. Connect your SD card using card reader and run SFWare Sd card recovery tool. Select Recover Drive/Partition from the main screen Drive/Partition recovery >> Formatted Recovery options. Now scan the drive. Once the scanning is completed, you can vuew recoverable files in list. Select the files that you need and save them on the different drive.

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