SD card RAW recovery

An SD card differs from a regular USB flash drive only in its form factor - it is usually much smaller, as it is used inside other devices, such as phones, mp3 players.

In terms of data storage, an SD card is no different from a regular hard drive: when the card is connected to a computer, the operating system recognizes it as an external storage and can apply the same actions to it as to a hard drive, namely creation and deletion partitions, formatting partitions into file systems available on the computer.

RAW partition in Disk Management

If the SD card is small, then the operating system may not offer file system options, but simply set the default to FAT.

Since an SD card is the same storage device as a hard drive, it means that it is subject to the same logical failures as any other storage deivce, namely:

  • Accidental deleting a partition
  • Boot sector corruption due to a logical failure, for example, when the operating system fails to complete updating data in the boot sector due to loss of connection to the device, as in the case of removing it without the Safely Remove option.
  • Formatting an existing partition by mistake
  • Corruption of basic file system metadata, such as an invalid pointer to a FAT table from a FAT boot sector

Of course, there are also purely mechanical problems, but we do not consider them here, since such things must be repaired in a special laboratory, and not at home.

Any metadata corruption, both in the boot sector and in the main file system metadata records, can lead to the so-called RAW SD card problem, when in Disk Management your SD card is marked as having a RAW file system and access to the files and folders on card is denied.

RAW sd crad is not accessible

There are two ways to fix such an error and get data from the card: recommended and safe, which involves using software to recover data from an SD card, and highly no recommended, related to editing metadata on the card in the hope that the operating system will pick it up and provide access to the data on the card. The second method is described in detail here and here.

The data recovery option requires almost no special knowledge about file systems, metadata, and the like. All you need is:

  1. Find software for data recovery from RAW SD cards. Read our Top 5 RAW disk recovery tools for more information.
  2. Download and run the software.
  3. Start the recovery of data on your SD card, such tools always work in read-only mode, which means that it will not cause any harm to your card and the data on it.
  4. Wait until the program brings folders and files and evaluate the quality of recovery. It is usually recommended to use the Preview option and evaluate files like pdf documents or pictures like jpg, png or tiff. If they look good in preview, then the recovery is successful.
  5. Buy a license key and copy the data from the card to a safe place. After copying, the card can be formatted again and continue to be used as before.

Read also the detailed instructions on how to recover data from an SD card using ReclaiMe File Recovery.

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