Recovering data from Micro SD cards by Tal Eliyahu

As the use of micro SD cards increased, due to their usability in Smart phones and cameras, data loss is a common issue that might be due to corruption of the card or deletion of the data mistakenly or unintentionally. Recovering data from the corrupted micro SD card is somewhat difficult and challenging, compared to other types of data loss.

Corrupted SD card:

Two types of things are to be considered  when dealing with a corrupted SD card. But first, how would you know if the SD card is fully corrupted. The symptoms of a corrupted SD card are that you can’t access any data on the card and it is showing garbage data, like weird named files on the drive.

Now coming back to our cases for the SD card data retrieval activity. Two things would be working on cards, physically and virtually. Check the contacts on the card and clean it with thinner or petrol, etc. But most of the time, it won’t make any difference. At most, it will show you the content some of the time. Also, try using different card readers; at least you can take an image of the drive.

Let’s see what is inside of an SD card and see what and how we can recover the data from it. SD cards are basically solid state devices, as they don’t have any moving parts, as in CDs, DVDs, floppy, etc. It is composed of the flash memory, the circuitry controls the flow of electricity during read\write operations on flash memory (flash chips). Secondly, it has a controller that runs the disk abstraction algorithms. Moving forward, the card has a File Allocation Table (FAT) compatible with all OSs.

Now, back to the recovery process; we have three scenarios. First, suppose that the card case is damaged physically and the controller, as well as the flash chips, are intact. In this case, the data can be recovered if we can manage to change the case of the card. But it depends on how small the card is and how much work can you perform at home on this. Second scenario can be the damage of controller but the flash memory is still intact. This seems to be good luck but recovering the data from flash is not doable at home. Some professional assistance would be required in this case. Last, but not least, would be damaged flash memory. This is something that cannot be done easily and you are totally out of luck here.

You will require some data recovery tool to recover your data from the SD card. The corrupted data on the SD card could look something like this:

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAaQAAAAJGY3ODBiNDMxLWI5YzYtNGNhNy05MWJkLTNlY2U5MzkwNGYyYw

There are many tools available on the market to recover the data from a corrupted SD card. Some of the tools are EaseUS Data Recovery Free Edition/Trial version, CardRecovery, 4 Card Recovery and ZAR X etc. These are free tools that can be used to recover the deleted files form your SD card. Let me show you the interfaces of some software, to give you an understanding of how they work.

ZAR X:

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVhAAAAJGE4MDMyNDFjLTljMTMtNGYxNC1iZTJiLTIyYTBiZTdmOGU2Mg

As you can see, it has some options, like Image Recovery (Free), Data Recovery for Windows and Linux and RAID recovery. You might need the first one and also it is free. This option can recover the deleted files from your corrupted SD card.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard:

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPiAAAAJDQ4ZTg4MDc1LWUzZjctNDFiMS05OGQzLTVkMmUyY2RjNDhlYQ

A free trial is available for data recovery from your SD card. It has multiple options of files that can be recovered from your card. You can recover Images, Audio, Video, Documents, Emails and other archived data from your SD card.

4 Card Recovery:

This is also good software for data recovery from a corrupt SD card. It supports many types of SD cards and recovery with this software is very easy. It supports SD card, microSD card, MMC card, xD Picture Card, miniSD card, CF card and SDHC card, etc. It has the ability to recover photos, audio, video, RAW images, etc.

The best and recommended way to avoid such incidents is to always keep a backup of your data. Keep multiple copies of your critical data or at least two copies of your files on different cards or drives. Also, cloud storage can be used to sync data online and access it whenever and wherever you want.

Demonstration:

For our little demonstration session, we will be using the free version of EaseUS Data recovery. The scenario would be like this. I created two folders on the SD card and then I delete these files. Now I will open my data recovery software and will try to recover these files.

  1. I have created two test folders and a text file inside the Test1 folder.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcWAAAAJDZhMTQzMDFkLWIyNDEtNDRhZC1iZTQyLTgyZDIwODYxNzIxYQ

  1. Now I am going to delete these folders and try to make it look like an accident.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAASzAAAAJDgxN2EyNGY3LTE5YjktNDk2ZS1iZDMyLWI2MzkwNDZmMGJjNQ

  1. Alas, our data is gone now. We have to recover the data. We are using EaseUS free to recover the folders and files.

Select the type of files you are looking for in the SD card. I have selected all files.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcGAAAAJDdiNTdjN2ViLTAzNTUtNGUxYi1iYTEwLWI1NjUwODMzOWYzMg

  1. Click next and it will ask for the drive from which you want to recover the data. I am using E: drive for demonstration purposes, so I select this drive.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAaeAAAAJDMwNDgwNjUwLTdjMjEtNGQzMC1hOGUyLTEyYjYyNGI1M2ZhNQ

  1. Now hit Scan, and it will scan the drive and find all the data it can. After the scan finishes, it will display all the files.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAARCAAAAJGIwZDZhYmY2LTc0ZTAtNDVhYS1hN2Y4LWExZjU5NGE2YjFlYQ

  1. You can see it has found the deleted files, test1 and test2, that were accidentally deleted by us.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAUXAAAAJGU5ZTdiYTM2LTM0YjMtNDAxYS1hMDVlLWIzZDFiZDZmMmM1OQ

  1. Now, select the files you want to recover from this folder.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOvAAAAJGExZTRlYmJmLTQwZmUtNDkwNC1iMDY4LTlkM2UxZDMwZjI2NQ

  1. Select the destination to save the data you have recovered.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVqAAAAJDE1ZTdjNjYwLWQ1YTQtNDExYS1iMGZhLThlYWNmYTg3YTdhNw

  1. And we have successful recovery of the files. The following image shows the recovered files.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAASHAAAAJDgzYWJlYTllLTc4OWYtNGU1NS05YTAwLWU4MjAzNzhkNmFiNw

I hope this helps you recover your data.


About the Author: Tal Eliyahu

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAX1AAAAJDE1YTJhZWM0LTVlZTQtNDRiNS1hMDA0LTdhMWU2MGIzMGY5YQOperational Security Specialist

BugSec

Source: LinkedIn

 

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