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Free Methods to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from SD Cards

Free Methods to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from SD Cards

Accidentally deleting files from an SD card can be a frustrating experience, especially if these files are crucial. But worry not! In my journey to find practical solutions, I have come across several methods to recover permanently deleted files from SD cards for free. I will share a step-by-step guide on how to reclaim those seemingly lost files, offering personal insights and useful precautions to ensure successful recovery. Also, if you are using a Mac and need to delve deeper into the topic, you can recover deleted files from an SD card on Mac through an excellent detailed guide. Let’s explore some practical scenarios and effective recovery methods.


Common Scenarios:

Accidental File Deletion 😱

  • It’s easy to accidentally delete important files when managing data on your SD card. A wrong click or a mistaken tap can make your data vanish.
  • This scenario is common among users who frequently format their SD cards without checking for backup.
  • Files can also be lost due to a corrupted SD card.

Whatever the reason, losing files in these ways is common. Performing a reliable recovery method can save you a lot of stress.

Software Malfunction 💻

  • Issues with the device’s or SD card’s software can result in data loss.
  • Corrupted software can delete files, especially during system updates or transfers.
  • Understanding the cause can sometimes make recovery easier.

Using verified recovery tools or software can efficiently retrieve lost data.

Physical Damage 📱

  • Sometimes, the physical damage to the SD card or device can result in file loss.
  • Water spills, dropping the device, or using the card in multiple devices can corrupt or damage it.

Even though it’s more challenging to recover data from a physically damaged SD card, some methods can still help you retrieve valuable files.


Step-by-Step Guide. How To Recover Permanently Deleted Files From Sd Card For Free:

Method 1: Using Command Prompt (Windows) 💻

  • Insert the SD card into your computer.
  • Open Command Prompt as an administrator. You can do this by typing `cmd` in the search bar, right-clicking on ‘Command Prompt,’ and selecting ‘Run as administrator.’
  • Type “chkdsk X: /f” (replace X with the drive letter of your SD card) and press Enter.
  • Let the process complete. It will check and repair your SD card.
  • After completion, check if the files on your SD card are recovered.

Note: This method works best for recovering deleted files by fixing file system errors.

Conclusion: This method is straightforward if you’re comfortable using Command Prompt and have a Windows computer.

Method 2: Recuva Software 🎛

  • Download and install the Recuva software from its official website.
  • Launch Recuva and select the file types you need to recover.
  • Choose the location of your SD card and start the scan.
  • Wait for the software to complete the scan and display the recoverable files.
  • Select the files you want to recover and click the ‘Recover’ button.
  • Save the recovered files to a new location to prevent overwriting other data on your SD card.

Note: Recuva is free and supports a wide range of file types.

Conclusion: Recuva is a useful and user-friendly tool for beginners to recover deleted files effortlessly.

Method 3: Disk Drill (Mac) 🍏

  • Download and install Disk Drill from its official website.
  • Launch Disk Drill and select your SD card from the list of available drives.
  • Click on the ‘Recover’ button to begin the scanning process.
  • Review the found files and select the ones you wish to recover.
  • Click on the ‘Recover’ button again to save the selected files to a safe location.

Note: Disk Drill offers a free version with limited recovery capabilities.

Conclusion: Disk Drill is an efficient and versatile tool for recovering files on Mac systems.

Method 4: Using PhotoRec 📸

  • Download and install PhotoRec from the official TestDisk website.
  • Launch PhotoRec and select your SD card from the list.
  • Choose the file formats you need to recover and start the scan.
  • Wait for PhotoRec to display the recoverable files.
  • Select the files you want to recover and save them to a new location.

Note: PhotoRec is open-source and supports numerous file formats.

Conclusion: PhotoRec is powerful and ideal for users comfortable with a command-line interface.

Method 5: Using Wondershare Recoverit 🛠

  • Download and install Wondershare Recoverit from its official website.
  • Run the software and select your SD card for scanning.
  • Click ‘Start’ to initiate the scanning process.
  • Preview the recovered files and choose the ones you wish to restore.
  • Click ‘Recover’ to save the files to your desired location.

Note: The free version of Wondershare Recoverit has some limitations but is suitable for basic recovery needs.

Conclusion: Wondershare Recoverit is a reliable tool for recovering a variety of file types from SD cards.


Precautions and Tips:

Helpful Guidelines to Prevent Future File Loss 🛡

  • Always eject SD cards safely to avoid corruption.
  • Create regular backups of important data to save yourself from future headaches.
  • Use high-quality SD cards to reduce the risk of physical damage or failure.
  • Avoid using one SD card in multiple devices frequently to reduce wear.
  • Ensure your data recovery software is up-to-date and from a trusted source.

Following these tips can help mitigate the risk of permanent data loss and ensure your recovery efforts are effective.


Additional Information

When dealing with the challenge of recovering permanently deleted files from an SD card, it’s essential to arm yourself with the right tools and knowledge. In addition to the methods mentioned, the software landscape is rich with alternatives tailored for specific needs.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is another excellent software that offers both free and premium versions. It supports a wide array of file formats and is capable of recovering data from different types of storage media, including SD cards. More information can be found at

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is another highly recommended option that provides a free version catering to basic recovery needs. The software excels in deep scanning and finding lost partitions. Check their offerings at

For users dealing with physically damaged SD cards or complex data loss situations, taking professional help from data recovery services might be necessary. Always ensure to choose reputed services to avoid damage or loss of data.

Preventive measures play an enormous role in safeguarding your data. Investing in high-quality SD cards and following proper handling protocols can save you from the hassle of data recovery. Always ensure your devices and cards are correctly formatted, and avoid using them across multiple devices without proper ejection methods.

Understanding the cause of data loss – whether it’s due to accidental deletion, file corruption, or physical damage – can help determine the most effective recovery method. By staying informed about the tools available and utilizing proper prevention techniques, you can ensure that your crucial data remains safe and retrievable.


The journey of recovering permanently deleted files from SD cards for free need not be overwhelming. By following these practical methods, you can retrieve your valuable files without spending a dime. From using basic tools like the Command Prompt to advanced software like Recuva and Disk Drill, various options are at your disposal. Always remember the importance of preventive measures to protect your data. For more detailed guides and software options, exploring resources such as EaseUS and MiniTool can provide additional support. By staying prepared and informed, you can tackle data loss effectively and ensure your files are never truly lost.


One efficient method is using free data recovery software like Recuva or PhotoRec, which allows you to scan and recover deleted files from an SD card.

To prepare for data recovery, ensure you have a card reader and connect the SD card to your computer. Avoid writing new data to the card to prevent overwriting.

It's possible to attempt a recovery through the Recycle Bin or, for some devices, using the device's built-in recovery features. However, results are limited and not always successful.

Immediately stop using the SD card to prevent overwriting deleted files. This maximizes the chances of a successful recovery using recovery tools or software.

If software methods fail, consider a professional data recovery service. These services use advanced techniques to recover files, but can be costly. Try software and DIY methods first.

Popular options include Recuva and PhotoRec. Both offer efficient recovery tools for various file types from SD cards.

Using a card reader allows direct access to the SD card from your computer. This enables data recovery software to thoroughly scan and recover deleted files.

Yes, command-line tools like TestDisk can be used to recover files. It requires more technical knowledge but can effectively recover deleted files from a variety of storage devices.

During recovery, save the recovered files to a different storage device. After recovery, regularly backup your data to avoid future data loss and facilitate easy recovery.

Yes, regularly backing up data and properly ejecting the SD card from devices can prevent file loss. Avoid using the card in multiple devices to minimize risk.