SD (Secure Digital) cards are one of the most widespread storage formats in recent times. They are used in most of today’s electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, cameras, or game consoles. Almost all models of these devices have a slot to insert this type of card in any of its formats.
Despite the fact that they are very robust devices, it is true that they are not eternal elements. Precisely for this reason, if we do not want to lose the data that we have been storing, it is advisable to make good use of them, because a serious error can make the card unusable forever.
For this reason, the first recommendation we give you is to buy a card suitable for your needs, since it is not the same to use it in a camera on a one-off basis than to use it to record 4K video on a recurring basis. Normally they usually report some symptoms that can help us detect that they are degrading. In this way, we can anticipate and make a backup of our information so as not to lose it.
Symptoms that something is wrong
One of the first symptoms that predict that our SD is reaching the end of its life cycle is, without a doubt, that it begins to give random read and/or write failures. In this case, we would be facing a slight breakdown, so if we can still access the files, it is advisable to copy them to another device, to avoid their total loss in the event of a definitive breakdown.
Another sign that our card could be on the verge of death could be that our device does not recognize it. If the damage is not serious, this may occur from time to time and not continuously. Before assuming that it is damaged, it is advisable to carry out some checks to see if the fault is really with the card. In everything, we strongly recommend that you make a backup copy of the data before starting any type of verification.
The first thing we must do (and although it seems too obvious) is to extract the card and check that it was inserted correctly.
It is also important to turn off the device in which we have inserted the card, remove it and insert it again. Then we turn on the device again. If performing this type of check there are times that it recognizes it and others that it does not, it is a clear indicator that the card is damaged or damaged. In this case, try to make a backup of the files and change them to another storage device as soon as possible.
Another evidence that indicates a fault is that although our device (a camera, for example) does not recognize it , when it is inserted into a PC it is recognized but you cannot access the files it contains.
Although the SD cards are not prepared to report internal errors, one of the indicative symptoms that they are not in optimal condition is that the device in which we have inserted it reports a “system error” or similar. The source of this error is never specified, especially on older devices.
In most modern devices, the error that is displayed usually refers to the “storage”. In some cases, it will even show an error in “reading and/or writing” or it will directly show us a failure icon.
In the event that the PC recognizes the card, but gives us an error when reading or writing files (or does not show them directly) we have to enter “My computer” or “My computer”, depending on the version of Windows that we have installed.
- Once inside, we right-click on the icon of the card unit that we have inserted
- In the pop-up menu, we select “properties”.
- In the window that opens we must go to tools and then click on “check”
If the dialog shown tells us that “the card is blocked” , we must remove the card and move the tab located on the side. This tab locks or unlocks the card against writing.
If the card was unlocked but does not show any files:
- Enter the card’s root folder from the PC
- On the notification bar click on “folder options”
- Select the “view” tab
- Click on “show hidden files, folders and drives”
How to fix the fault
If we are sure that the fault is with our storage device, there are several ways to recover the data, although they do not always work. And it is that if it is a very serious failure, it will be impossible to recover it.
To try to recover the data without the need for specific software or applications, we can use Windows tools. Normally all these cards have hidden files to guarantee the operation of this card, if there is no file it is a clear indicator of failure.
In case the files on our card are damaged, we can try to repair them using the Windows file repair tool. To do this, once we have it entered on our PC, we will go to the start bar and type “command prompt” or “CMD” to open the command console.
- Once inside we write the following command: SFC / SCANNOW
- We press the Enter key
- A scan of the files will begin and if necessary they will be repaired.
If the file damage is minor, this feature can repair the files and allow us to access the stored data.
If, on the other hand, we cannot recover our files in this way, we can look for a dedicated repair application, although not all of them are completely safe, and also, they are paid.
What if it’s not the card?
In most cases, when these types of errors are detected, we usually attribute them directly to the card, but let’s not ignore that the error could also be from the device’s own reader. In this case, we recommend inserting the card into another device for testing or using a card reader. If one or more devices recognize the card without a problem, we must check the operation of the electronic device in question.
It is better to prevent…
In general, to avoid degradation and breakdowns, we recommend making good use of them.
- Avoid removing it from the PC without ejecting it safely
- Avoid removing it from the device without turning it off first
- Never turn off or restart the PC with the card inserted