Recovering an SD memory card

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by macfilm, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. macfilm macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #1
    Hi, I have an Integral 64GB SD XC memory card that I was using with my Sony HX60 when I suddenly got the message 'Unable to read memory card. Reinsert the memory card'.

    This message just stays on the screen and there is no options to select or do anything. Reinserting the card simply shows me the same message again.

    When I put the card into my iMac via the card reader or even hooked up through the camera it fails to mount or recognise the card whatsoever.

    What can I do in this situation?!! I know there may be no other answer but to send it to a professional data recovery company but I'd rather not spend several hundred bucks on it, even though the images stored on that card are highly precious.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #2
    So, I deleted an image on my camera while it was writing a new image to the card at the same time. Managed to corrupt the filesystem on the card and lost a whole days shooting. Cameras are not great at handling parallel I/O operations.

    I downloaded Disk Drill and it managed to get them all back. Then once I got them back, I reformatted the card and all is well again.

    Maybe try that? when you put the card in your imac, go into Disk Utility and see if it can see the physical card. If it can then something like Disk Drill may be able to help you. If not, then it may be a physical controller on the card issue.

    Good luck!
     
  3. MacBadger.com macrumors newbie

    MacBadger.com

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    #3
    Hi @macfilm!

    Hopefully you don't need professional data recovery.

    The software I'd recommend is Data Rescue by Prosoft. They have a free version that can recover 2 GB data.

    If you search for your data with Data Rescue and it doesn't find it, your local repair shops won't be able to do it. (This is the type of tool that they'll use.) If it's recoverable, it would need repair to the circuit board inside the SD card, which is highly specialized.

    After you've tried it out, let us know how it went! I hope some of this info @kenoh and I provided helps.
     
  4. oblomow macrumors 68020

    oblomow

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    Netherlands
  5. macfilm thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #5
    Thanks for your replies. However the key problem here is the computer literally cannot see the card and all the data recovery programs seem to want you to select the card to perform a recovery :-/
     
  6. MacBadger.com macrumors newbie

    MacBadger.com

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    #6
    If you open the Disk Utility application and it doesn't list the SD card at all, you'll need professional data recovery.

    However, if the card shows up in Disk Utility, an application like Data Rescue should be able to attempt recovery.

    Does your card not even show up in Disk Utility?
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    WARNING:
    Do the following at your own risk.

    Insofar as file recovery goes when the Mac "can't see" the volume that you're trying to recover...

    I once had a Mac-formatted drive partition (with mp3 files on it) "disappear" on me.
    Wouldn't mount on the desktop any more.

    What I finally did:
    I re-initialized THE ENTIRE DRIVE into 1 partition.
    IMPORTANT: I -DID NOT- choose to "zero out" the data, I just did a quick initialization.

    At this point, the drive would "mount up" again on the desktop.
    With the drive mounted, I used "DataRescue" on it.
    Even though the drive showed as if it were "empty" (no files with a brand-new directory), DR was able to "look beyond" the directory and "go right to the sectors" of the drive, find the data that was still "out there" (remember, I didn't zero out the data), re-assemble it, and save it onto a scratch drive.
    Result: I got the data back.

    I don't know if this could work on an SD card as well, because I believe SD cards are initialized in "PC Format" (Fat32?), not Mac HFS+ format.

    I'm not sure if DataRescue (on the Mac) can recover Fat32.

    However, it -might work- if you re-initialized to Fat32 and THEN took the card to a Windows machine and used data recovery software on that platform.

    Again, just not sure.

    Have you tried anything on the card such as PhotoRec yet?
     
  8. MacBadger.com macrumors newbie

    MacBadger.com

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, FL
    #8
    @Fishrrman, I'm glad that worked for you, but erasing a drive to recover data is not only unnecessary, it could cause permanent data loss. It sounds like the recovery software you used didn't show the drive because it wouldn't mount. However, most decent data recovery software has the option to scan an entire drive even if it doesn't show on the Desktop. Formatting the drive will destroy photos whose files are fragmented. There is no benefit whatsoever to initializing or formatting the drive. I don't want to step on any toes, @Fishrrman, but it's heartbreaking when customers accidentally destroy the very data they're trying to recover.

    If Disk Utility sees the card at all, Data Rescue can scan it. Yes, it can scan FAT32 drives. Yes, it can scan drives that won't show on your Desktop. For the small amount of data you're probably trying to recover, Data Rescue is free. If you can't afford to have a professional attempt recovery for you, this is the best option. Recovering files may be somewhat technical, but if you're patient and careful, you may be able to do it yourself.

    @macfilm, before you go further, it'd be very useful to know if the card shows up at all in Disk Utility. If it does, run a Deep Scan in Data Rescue, and see what it says. If it doesn't show up AT ALL in Disk Utility on your computer or another computer, the card needs to be physically repaired in order to get your data.

    We're happy to help with more advice. Just post back to mention whether it shows in Disk Utility and we'll go from there.
     
  9. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #9
    I concur with MacBadger.com. I think @Fishrrman was a lucky guy that one time. There is no need to get a filesystem back in order to recover data. That can go wrong in so many ways.

    What you need to do, like I said originally in post #2. Start Disk Utility and plug in the card. If Disk Utility sees that there is a device plugged in, then you have a chance with software data recovery like Disk Drill (that one worked for me). If it doesn't appear in Disk Utility, then the card may be physically damaged. Do not go adding filesystems or any such other steps that involve writing ANYTHING to the card.

    SO, can you see the device appear in disk utility when you plug it in?
     
  10. macfilm thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #10
    Yes even in Disk Utility it cannot see the card. There seems to be a serious issue with the card, however, physically it's fine.
     
  11. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #11
    Oh dear. It is knackered then by the sound of it.
     
  12. MacBadger.com macrumors newbie

    MacBadger.com

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
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    #12
    That's really disappointing, @macfilm. Since it doesn't show up, a do-it-yourself recovery isn't possible.

    In most cases, a data-recovery firm can recover the data, but it can cost a few hundred dollars. Most people would cut their losses unless the photos are super-important.

    Sorry it wasn't an easy fix.
     

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