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SD Card data recovery

By: Khan

In this article, I will talk about small data storage devices known as SD cards. I will also explain different uses of SD cards and how data recovery is possible when an SD card dies.

SD (Secure Digital) card is a small storage media that is used in mobile devices like phones and digital cameras. These cards can also be used in computers and laptops for data storage like normal hard drives and USB flash media. Usually laptops, iMac and MacBooks have a special slot for SD cards for reading and writing data. These devices were introduced almost one and half decade ago. Some of these cards have a physical lock or switch to protect writing data to the media. There are different companies that make SD cards. These include SanDisk, Toshiba, Kingston, Lexar, Transcend, Panasonic etc.

SD cards are very popular storage devices these days. The most common use is storage in digital and video cameras. Some cameras are coming with built-in hard drives for storing large amount of videos and pictures. Most of cameras are coming with SD cards. Cell phones including Samsung, LG and Blackberry mostly use SD cards for storage in addition to small internal space. SD cards come in different capacities like 512, 1GB, 2GB, 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB or 32 GB. Most cards come in regular 1to 2 inch dimension. There are small cards available which are usually used in cell phones. These cards are known as micro SD cards. Micro SD cards are usually small in size but they can be of bigger capability. Micro SD cards are usually cheaper just like micro USB flash drives. This makes them attractive for buyers.

SD card stores information and if they fail then everything may be lost. What happens if data is lost? Data can be recovered. There may be different kind of problems with SD cards. Data corruption, controller corruption or damaged hardware, are some of the problems. Some time data may be destroyed by accidental format or low battery can cause file corruption. There are all kinds of solutions available for all these problems. If data has been lost due to accidental format or low battery, it can be recovered using different data recovery software. Usually a lot of companies claim that they have recovery software but there are very few that can perform good jobs. It all depends on research and experience before we know which one is the best recovery program. Mostly people try different software for retrieving data which could be dangerous if they are not using the right program. It is always best to go to a data recovery lab for a free evaluation.

An SD card usually consists of a board, a controller and nand chip. Mirco SD card are built differently. The nand chip is integrated into a small plastic piece. These small cards usually suffer from heating issues and are not recoverable if there is hardware issue. Therefore it is always advisable to avoid buying these cards (Micro SD cards) for electronic storage just to be on the safe side in case if it fails. In regular sized cards, there is a controller and chip that holds the information. If controller goes corrupt or if it dies, the information can be extracted directory from the nand chips.

The second kind of recovery is the physical damage. This damage could be a bad controller, dead board or broken connections. Data can be recovered by fixing hardware problem with care. This kind of device recovery needs extensive repair experience because a small mistake can damage the date permanently making the data recovery impossible. The next type is the process of reading nand chips directly and reconstructing the file structure. This kind of recovery is usually very time consuming and needs very high technical knowledge and experience in addition to professional recovery equipment. Recovery from these cards usually cost more like other traditional hard drive recovery.

In this article I explained what are SD cards, their uses, and different ways of data recovery when they fail.


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