Strangest thing happened with a SD card...

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by carlsson, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. carlsson macrumors regular


    Jul 18, 2001
    I have recovered a lot of deleted files and broken hard drives over the years, but this time I'm buffled.

    A friend of mine asked if I could help her to recover some files she accidentally deleted from her 8 GB SD Card. No problems, I thought, and ran the card with Data Rescue 3 (that have helped me a lot during the years).

    However, Data Rescue couldn't find any files at all on the card. This is strange I thought, downloaded a trial of another rescue application (Mac Data Recovery Guru and Photo Recovery Guru) and tried those. They both found a lot of files on the card. Several hundreds, actually.

    So, I mailed the Prosoftengineering Support with my problem. But I didn't have the patience to wait for an answer, so I tried Data Rescue again. And Again. And that and some other apps... I got different results every time.

    I also switched the "anti-delete" switch on the card to be sure that nothing was deleted/overwritten by mistake. Unfortunately I didn't do that from the beginning.

    However, I wonder if any of you guys know what's up with the card?

    I am using the built in SD Reader on my MBP 2010. OS X 10.9.1, Data Rescue 3.2.2.

    The card is quite old, so I'm thinking it maybe is physically corrupted. But why could I see several hundreds of files before, and not now?

    Anyone that have any good idea what I should try, or have I done anything to the card that I'm not aware of...?
  2. pitabox987 macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2014
    Armidale, NSW
    This might be a stupid question but can you try reading the card using an external card reader, or perhaps on a different machine?

    If you can, try the card on a Windows machine? As the filesystem on the card is probably a FAT scheme.

    I've seen a similar issue with a desktop HD I have, the issue there was a bad file directory (that might not be helpful, but It's. What I've got. From experience.)
  3. carlsson, Jan 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014

    carlsson thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 18, 2001
    Thanks for the answer!

    I have tried with:
    - My MBP and its internal card reader, OS X 10.9.
    - a Mac Mini and its internal card reader, and OS X 10.8.
    - Another card reader on my MBP.

    My plan now is to try with a Windows machine (Yes, it's FAT32). Are there any free recovery software for Windows?

    Repairing the file directory is my final plan, since that will write to the card, and there's no turning back from that.

    The strange thing is that Data Rescue actually says that it is finding files (approx. 1000), but they are not shown in the Save dialogue. I am having a conversation with their support at the moment.

    At this moment I am more curious about the fault, than to actually find the files. I have already told her that they are gone.
  4. carlsson thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 18, 2001
    Just an update; I tried the application "Piriform Recuva" for Windows, and it found 886 files on the card that are now recovered.

    This makes me think; What's the best app for Mac file recovery? What do we have for alternatives? Is it behaving like this because it's FAT32? Shouldn't a Mac application be able to find files on such a card?

    I'm happy that I found all the files, but I'm sad I couldn't find anything better for Mac. :(
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Iv'e used PhotoRescue in the past. There may be better (or worse) apps, but in googling this, I found it and it worked great for me. There website is very lackluster but the app works really well
  6. MacTCE macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2013
    I have had the same thing happen where the Mac apps I used didn't find any/all of the files but a Windows PC could. Even booting into Win 7 via bootcamp worked. I find it odd on a card that's formatted in FAT.
  7. carlsson thread starter macrumors regular


    Jul 18, 2001
    I guess that Windows developers are smarter than Mac dittos... ;)
  8. MacTCE macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2013
    Unfortunately in this case is appears so... ;)
  9. pitabox987, Jan 3, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014

    pitabox987 macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2014
    Armidale, NSW

    Honestly I think the developers from both companies are on par... :p

    My guess is the issue residing in the FAT 32 format, personally I hate it, It's one of the most annoying file systems around. — Well ok, It's not bad for 10-15 years ago, but developers should have consigned it to the technological graveyard; it is a true legacy format.

    Lastly this is just my personal advice, since in use both Mac OS X and Windows 7 on my Mac Pro. — install a small Bootcamp partition, or use an emulator to keep a copy of Windows handy.

    It's sad to say, but it does have It's uses at times... :eek:


    Piriform makes good data recovery software for Windows. — As for data recovery software on my Mac, It's been several years since I've needed it, I use Time Machine now so I'm not sure.

    Though I've used Data Rescue in the past. - it does what It's supposed to - as for others I'm not sure, for good data recovery software though just remember you could end up paying a bit.

    I'm not that familiar with software for memory cards, but if you want a recommendation for software for keeping your Mac in the best working state, then I highly recommend Disk Warrior from Arcsoft. — It will fix things that even Apple Support cannot... :D — Perhaps I will try it on some of my own memory cards to seeing it will also work with them. (I think it is limited to hard drives)

    My guess would be the behaviour of the card (not finding files etc) may have something to do with the FAT 32 (lucky It's not FAT 16! :p), I admit I'm still running Snow Leopard but even it can have issues with FAT filesystems.
  10. OcelotWreak macrumors member


    Jul 20, 2011
    Might be the SD Card OS

    It is strange getting different results (files found/no files found) depending on whether you are using OS X Vs. Windows. However, there is another factor at work, which may play a role in choosing an appropriate recovery platform and process.

    Most people don't know that there is actually a microcontroller on the SD card that manages the actual memory on the chip. Because a SD card can have a lot of 'bad memory' on a new chip, the controller is used to cleverly mark out the bad memory blocks and read/write the usable portions of the memory chip.

    It may be that it is actually the microcontroller on this old SD card that is not playing nice with the OSX FAT read requests, while it is 'happier' talking to Windows FAT access requests.

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