[GUIDE] Using chkdsk to fix a corrupted SD card

UJ95x

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While Google has removed support for SD cards since the release of ICS, some OEMs (namely Samsung) have gone against that and continue to include an SD slot for expandable storage. This is a good thing for many reasons; users can store pictures, movies, music, contacts and/or documents on here and not have to worry about their internal storage being taken up.

Unfortunately, this also leaves room for problems with the SD card, most notably with corruption of the content stored on the cards. Many apps and programs claim to be able to retrieve corrupted information but for the most part, don't help much and require that you have the program set up before any corruption happens.
While I don't guarantee that this guide will help you retrieve any personal information, you might be lucky and at least save some of what was lost, and prevent any more corruption from happening. I have used chkdsk before and was able to retrieve several pictures and a couple hundred songs :D

Now before we get started, you'll need a couple of things; the corrupted SD card, and a computer running Windows. (I'm using Windows 7 for this demonstration)

Ok, ready? Let's start
First off, you'll need to go to the start menu on the bottom left of your computer screen
Click on that and there will be a search bar. Type in the word "cmd" and hit enter
You should see something named "cmd. exe" under a list of programs
Right click that and hit "Run as Administrator" as is shown below
Admin.jpg

This will open a command windows that will allow you to do a plethora of things, but most importantly, fix our SD card :)
The window will look something like this:
CMD.png

Now before you insert the SD card, make sure the card isn't write protected as this will prevent the program from having access to the card
[NOTE] This is only if you are using an SD card adapter for your micro SD. If your desktop/laptop have a microSD slot, you do not need to do this [/NOTE]

Look at your SD card, on the side there will be a "switch." Make sure it is as far up as it can go (The letters on the card should be readable, not upside down)
Once you have checked for this, you can insert the card into your PC's card slot
Doing this will open a window on your PC, showing the name of the card and asking if you want to open it or transfer any files to and from the card. Close out of the window
Now go back to the start menu and open "My Computer." There will be a list labeled "Devices with removable storage" under which you will find your SD card and the drive letter. You'll need the letter for when we use the chkdsk command.
RD H.jpg

In my case, the SD card has the driver letter "H:"
Your letter may be different, so make sure that you type in your specific one.

Now you will go back to the command window and type in "chkdsk" then your card's drive letter, followed by a colon and /f
It should now look something like this:
Untitled.png

After this is typed in, hit enter and wait for the program to go to work and find then fix any corruption on the card. This can take a few minutes, depending on the amount of corruption and on the storage size of the card
When it is done, you should see this in your command window:
chkdsk.png

In this example I have no corruption, so the wait time was very short and I didn't get any reports of data being retrieved or fixed.
Cards with corrupted data will get any recovered data stored in the directory lost.dir in the SD card's list of folders
Now we're all done :)
Hopefully this helped out some of you with the recovery of any info and/or with preventing any further corruption.
I also recommend reformatting the SD card once you use it again as it will do so in the appropriate format for your specific device.
 
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KevroniCoal

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Very nice! I may want to try this on a card I have.

Would this technically work if I copy corrupt files from my computer onto the card? (I had the SD card itself hold the corrupt files after they got ruined on the card from the phone. I then copied those corrupt files onto my computer so I could have them just in case I can retrieve them.)

If your want a reference, I have a thread about my issue I've had with SD card corruption here:
http://forums.androidcentral.com/showthread.php?t=315699

Thank you again!

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk
 

UJ95x

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Very nice! I may want to try this on a card I have.

Would this technically work if I copy corrupt files from my computer onto the card? (I had the SD card itself hold the corrupt files after they got ruined on the card from the phone. I then copied those corrupt files onto my computer so I could have them just in case I can retrieve them.)

If your want a reference, I have a thread about my issue I've had with SD card corruption here:
http://forums.androidcentral.com/showthread.php?t=315699

Thank you again!

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk

You can try that. It's not a sure fix but always worth a try :)

Sent from my Galaxy S4 running SlimKat 4.4.2
 

jayjay sevilla

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i did what you asked... but there's a difference what is in the screenshots that you have.. mine asked some yes or no question about turning my folder into files something like that... then it finished but when i insterted it to my phone it didnt read it it only says blank sd card.. when i tried it again the y/n questions were gone it was just like your but still my phone doesnt read it but my computer does...:confused:
 

UJ95x

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i did what you asked... but there's a difference what is in the screenshots that you have.. mine asked some yes or no question about turning my folder into files something like that... then it finished but when i insterted it to my phone it didnt read it it only says blank sd card.. when i tried it again the y/n questions were gone it was just like your but still my phone doesnt read it but my computer does...:confused:

Sorry for the late reply. Do you remember what the question was asking, exactly?
If your card is now blank, you might want to format it inside of the phone. Your PC might have reset it into a non-supported format for your phone.

Sent from my Galaxy S4 running SlimKat 4.4.2
 

hjoyful

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I have a 32 gb sandisk drive that suddenly said it was damaged/corrupted. I followed your steps and it says "Cannot open volume for direct access." Is there anything else I can try to recover my photos? Unfortunately I have not backed up in a while and I'm going to be devastated at losing all of my newborns photos. =( Thank you for your help.
 

UJ95x

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I have a 32 gb sandisk drive that suddenly said it was damaged/corrupted. I followed your steps and it says "Cannot open volume for direct access." Is there anything else I can try to recover my photos? Unfortunately I have not backed up in a while and I'm going to be devastated at losing all of my newborns photos. =( Thank you for your help.

Welcome to Android Central :)
Before running chkdsk did you make sure you didn't have write protection on the SD card? There's a small "switch" on the side that prevents access to the card. Make sure it's in the off position before trying it again.

Sent from my Galaxy S4 running SlimKat 4.4.2

cannot open volume for direct access...please help

Check my reply directly above this one.

Sent from my Galaxy S4 running SlimKat 4.4.2
 
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rtoozy

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I too have the dreaded "cannot open volume for direct access"
I have used 4 SD card adapter and a micro SD reader. Same thing.
And yes the lock is up. I super glue a couple up.
 

Rosakn

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I think I may love you!!! :-*
I am running Windows 8 but followed your steps and I can now access the card! You are a life saver!!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
 

UJ95x

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I too have the dreaded "cannot open volume for direct access"
I have used 4 SD card adapter and a micro SD reader. Same thing.
And yes the lock is up. I super glue a couple up.

Are you trying to recover data from the card or just get it working again?

Sent from my Galaxy S4

I think I may love you!!! :-*
I am running Windows 8 but followed your steps and I can now access the card! You are a life saver!!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Awesome. Glad it was of help to you :)

Sent from my Galaxy S4
 
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grayceworks

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I have a 32gb brand new Samsung SD card. I had just finished transferring files and documents for client projects onto it, from an older 32gb SD card that was failing. Everything looked fine. I use this in my android tablet, and then also on a Win7 machine, depending where I am.

So after transferring all my files, I used it a total of 3 times, and the next time I went to insert it on the Win7 machine, it says "The disc in drive E is not formatted, would you like to format it now?" and I tried running chkdsk, and it gives the error that the disc is in RAW format and that chkdsk cannot be used on drives with RAW format.

Help!

Ok, so I was able to partially recover it so far. I used TestDisk, and it found that the MBR was corrupted, and restored the backup copy. Now I can see HALF of my files. The other half are stuck in this single file named with a jumble of letters with an almost 4GB file size. Any ideas how to straighten THAT mess out?

Eh, I spoke too soon. Many of the folders in the half I could see had "unrecoverable errors" and could not actually be opened, even though they were visible. And running chkdsk kept asking me if I wanted to convert all the folders to files. Ummm..... Any other ideas? I'm guessing the SD card is kaput?
 
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UJ95x

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Eh, I spoke too soon. Many of the folders in the half I could see had "unrecoverable errors" and could not actually be opened, even though they were visible. And running chkdsk kept asking me if I wanted to convert all the folders to files. Ummm..... Any other ideas? I'm guessing the SD card is kaput?
Yeah, running CHKDSK should fix any corruption errors, but I've seen a few situations where it doesn't help.
There may be other data recovery programs that can work. I've heard Recuva is pretty good.
 

oldschoola

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so i have a galaxy s5, with a 128gb sandisk micro sd card.
out of the blue today it says "blank sd card"
i cant mount it, it only asks to format it(the phone does that is).

would this help me recover this card so i can read it again and not lose any data?

also does anyone know of any good "auto backup of pictures and music" software? ive heard of kies but not too sure about it. i just want something i can plug into my mac and let it download all the photos and music automatically, over wifi woudl be nice as well. hey like itunes and iphoto! lol.
thank you in advance!!
 

B. Diddy

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Welcome to Android Central! Don't format it, because that will definitely wipe the card. Follow these steps:


  1. Remove it from the phone, then insert it into your computer (using a fullsize SD adapter).
  2. If the computer can read it, backup all of the card's data onto your computer.
  3. Put the card back into your phone and reformat it.
  4. Unmount the card (in the Settings>Storagemenu), remove it again, and insert it back into the computer.
  5. Transfer your backed up data back onto the card.
  6. Put the card back into your phone and see if it works.
 

oldschoola

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yes if the computer can read it that would be great. ill let you know.
but what if the computer CANT read it either?
will this chkdsk article work? or any other ideas?
 

B. Diddy

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Samsung devices are a little notorious for causing SD card corruption, so if the computer can't read it, it might be difficult to recover.

Posted via Android Central App--please excuse the brevity and any typos!