How to Repair a Corrupted Memory Card

Three Parts:Recovering Your DataRepairing a Memory Card on WindowsRepairing a Memory Card on Mac

Plugging in a memory card and being greeted with an error can be a deflating and scary experience. All may not be lost, however. As long as you have a computer and a memory card reader, there are a number of tools available that can potentially salvage your corrupted memory card.

Part 1
Recovering Your Data

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    Download and install a data recovery program. The first thing you want to do when you encounter a memory card error is to attempt to recover important files. There are a number of programs available to accomplish this. Photo Rec is a powerful, free option for most operating systems, but lacks a graphical user interface, which can be intimidating for less advanced users. Find the data recovery program you are most comfortable with in terms of price and features.
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    Insert the memory card into your computer’s memory card reader. Use a USB card reader or connect your device to your computer via USB if your computer does not have a card reader.
    • Some devices require that you enable disk use via USB through its settings before your computer will recognize it.
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    Run your data recovery program. Follow the procedure to recover files for your data recovery program and recover what you can from your damaged memory card.

Part 2
Repairing a Memory Card on Windows

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    Insert the memory card into your computer’s memory card reader. Use a USB card reader or connect your device to your computer via USB if your computer does not have a card reader.
    • Some devices require that you enable disk use via USB through its settings before your computer will recognize it.
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    Go to Computer. Open the Start menu and click Computer. Type Computer into the search box if you cannot find it.
    • In Windows 8, Computer is called This PC, and can be found by searching for Computer from the Start screen.
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    Find your memory card. Your memory card will be listed under Devices with Removable Storage (Devices and drives in Windows 8). It should be named something like “Removable Disk (M:)”. Make note of the drive letter, as it will be needed later.
    • If you cannot tell which disk is your memory card, remove your card with this window open and note the drive that disappears. Remember to reinsert you card before continuing.
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    Open Command Prompt. From your desktop, press Win+R to open the Run dialog. Enter cmd and click OK.
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    Run Check Disk fix and recover. On Command Prompt, type chkdsk m: /r, where m: is the drive letter of your memory card, then press Enter to begin.
    • Depending on the errors found during this process, Check Disk may ask for your input in regards to what action it can take. When this occurs, answer “Yes” and press enter to continue.

Part 3
Repairing a Memory Card on Mac

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    Insert the memory card into your computer’s memory card reader. Use a USB card reader or connect your device to your computer via USB if your computer does not have a card reader.
    • Some devices require that you enable disk use via USB through its settings before your computer will recognize it.
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    Run Disk Utility on your Mac. Disk Utility is a Mac operating system utility that can perform disk-related tasks. Select Go from your Finder menu and select Utilities or press Shift+ Command+U from the Finder to open your Utilities folder. Open Disk Utility from your Utilities folder.
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    Select your memory card. Find your memory card on the list of connected drives. If you do not know which drive is your memory card, remove it and reinsert it to determine which drive it is.
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    Repair your memory card. In the First Aid tab, check the “Show details” box, then click Repair Disk. If Disk Utility reports any errors, repeat the repair process until it finishes and reports “The volume appears to be OK”.
    • If Repair Disk cannot be clicked, you may need to click Verify Disk first.

Tips

  • You can avoid memory card corruption and errors by being mindful not to remove your card during saving or writing, avoiding saving when your device’s battery is low, and powering off your device before removing your card, when reasonable.
  • Memory cards do not last forever. Flash memory has a lifespan of anywhere from 10 thousand to 10 million write and erase cycles, so it is recommended to keep backups and replace memory cards every few years, depending on how heavily the cards are used.

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Categories: Maintenance and Repair