Like with any data recovery solution, it’s easiest to recover files from SD cards if you’ve recently used some decent backup software and everything is on another device or in the cloud. However, SD card recovery is sometimes possible, even if you’ve forgotten to back it up before the data loss.
- Data that hasn’t been overwritten can often still be recovered.
- You can recover this data for free.
- Paid data recovery software often comes with fewer limits and more features.
There are three main issues that can cause data loss in any storage device. The worst is physical damage. You can often only get files from a broken SD card by sending it to a professional data recovery service and hoping for the best. Luckily, the other issues are far easier and much less expensive to deal with.
The other two main causes of data loss — accidental deletion and corruption — often leave behind enough data that you can use software to recover some or all of it. Files from corrupted SD cards can be harder to restore, especially if the issue was caused by malware that wrote over some of the data you want, but it’s often still worth checking with free SD card recovery software.
09/23/2021 Facts checked
Cloudwards.net updated this article to include a list of the best providers and rearranged it to a step-by-step structure.
Most data recovery programs will let you restore a certain amount of data for free. Even if you want to get more than 2GB, there are options like Recuva that allow unlimited recoveries for free.
Sometimes SD card recovery software can read SD cards that won’t mount, so you should try different programs to see if one can detect the card.
Paid data recovery programs will cost between $50 and $100 for an annual plan and $100 to $150 for a lifetime plan. However, this depends on the software provider and sometimes deals and free trials can make it more affordable.
The Best Free SD Card Recovery Software
Although you should always double-check before you begin, most good data recovery software will also be able to read information from an SD card. This means that our list of the best data recovery programs is a great place to look. However, for most Windows users, any of these five will be a good choice.
1. Stellar Data Recovery Professional
Stellar is very user-friendly, has almost all the features you would need for data recovery and isn’t too expensive. If you’ve lost data and you need to get it back, check out our full Stellar Data Recovery review to find out if this solution is right for you.
If you want to try out Stellar, you can also download a free version. This will let you scan for lost data, and even recover up to 1GB of files. This works well for SD card data recovery, as it will let you restore a handful of your most important files for free, but you will have to pay if it was a larger SD card.
2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard
When it comes to free SD card data recovery software, EaseUS is easily one of the best — it even tops our list of free data recovery software. EaseUS has most of the features that Stellar has to help you recover deleted files, but it also lets you recover twice as many files, with a respectable 2GB limit if you click to share the software.
EaseUS does have limitations — such as the inability to do full drive scans — but if you only want to recover deleted files from an SD card, then our full EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard review is well worth reading.
3. Prosoft Engineering Data Rescue
Prosoft Engineering is lighter on features than Stellar, but the only major difference is the lack of a real free trial. You can still download and preview your files for free, but you’ll have to pay to get anything back.
If you’ve got the $99 to pay up front and need the ability to recover RAID devices or create bootable drives, you should read our full Prosoft Engineering Data Rescue review. It’s also a pretty solid alternative if you don’t like Stellar or EaseUS but still want some decent all-round data recovery software.
4. CleverFiles Disk Drill
While CleverFiles Disk Drill lacks some of the more professional features of other data recovery programs, its SD card recovery software works well. It’s fast and easy to use — as you can read about in our full CleverFiles Disk Drill review — with a price tag that isn’t too steep.
One issue with CleverFiles Disk Drill is that the free plan is pretty limited — you can restore just 500MB before you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan. However, it’s pretty good at finding lost files and will even let you scan the deleted partitions if you have a formatted SD card.
As a data recovery tool, Recuva is pretty basic. However, if you don’t need advanced features like partition recovery or disk cloning, it does have one major benefit. Unlike most other data recovery programs, Recuva will let you restore as much data as you want for free.
If you’re trying to get back more than a few gigabytes of data, Recuva is probably the best free SD card recovery software. The features it has are plenty if you just want to recover data and it’s quite quick — read our full Recuva review to learn more.
How to Recover an SD Card With Data Recovery Software
Since it gives a nice balance of features, ease of use and 2GB of free data recovery, we’re going to use EaseUS for these steps. It also has versions for Windows, Mac and mobile devices, so you can use it to restore lost data from a corrupted SD card or to recover data that you accidentally deleted.
- Download EaseUS
Go to the EaseUS website, find the download page for “EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Free” and click “free download.”
- Open the App
When the installation is complete, start the app from your “start” menu or from the “start now” button that will appear.
- Connect Your SD Card to the Computer
If you have an SD card reader, you can use it to connect the SD card to a computer. If you don’t have one, you should also be able to access it by installing it in a phone and plugging the phone into the computer.
- Select the SD Card
In EaseUS, find the SD Card among your other storage devices. Hover your mouse over it and click “scan.”
- Filter Your Files
Once the deep scan has finished, you can search the SD card for specific files and file types by clicking on “filter,” “type” and then selecting groups of files such as photos, videos, documents or audio files.
- Find Your Files
Find the files you want to recover through the tab on the left. You can also double-click folders to open them. When you’ve selected your files, click “recover” in the bottom-right corner of the window.
- Start the SD Card Recovery
Once you’ve clicked “recover,” a new window asking you where to save the files will open. Choose a folder and click “select folder” to begin restoring the lost data.
- View Your Recovered Files
After the SD card recovery has finished, click the “view recovered” button to see your files. You can also click the “X” button in the top-right corner of this window to go back to the scan and recover more data.
When it comes to free SD card recovery, there are plenty of options to choose from. As these programs often come with different features, you should try them all out to see which fits your needs best. They can also cover other data loss scenarios, such as data recovery on boot for both Windows and Mac devices, so it’s often worth keeping one of these programs on your computer.
However, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, backups are the best form of data recovery. For an SD card, your best choice is to copy the data onto your computer regularly and then use a good online backup provider to keep it safe. This will also satisfy the 3-2-1 backup rule, as long as you keep the data on both physical devices.
Have you lost data on an SD card? Did you use an SD card recovery tool? Are there any good ways to recover lost files that we missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.