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What Are the Best Tips for Memory Card Data Recovery?

A SD card.
Leaving memory cards in devices puts them in danger of heat or water damage.
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  • Written By: S. Reynolds
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 19 December 2014
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The best tips for memory card data recovery include drying out the memory card and using a good recovery program. Memory cards are generally safe for record keeping, but problems do occur that necessitate data recovery. The cards, also called SD cards or USB memory cards, are small pieces of hardware that save all kinds of data. They are commonly found in digital cameras, cell phones and handheld gaming devices.

In the event that a memory card becomes inaccessible or has data deleted from it, one must act as quickly as possible to start a memory card data recovery procedure. The first thing to remember is to get the memory card dry if it got wet. One way to dry out a memory card is to bury it in a jar of dry rice for one or two days. The rice will pull out the moisture from the card.

If the data on the memory card was simply deleted or corrupted, there is a way to possibly restore it. The first step is to download and install a memory card data recovery program onto a computer. There are free versions or paid versions available online. Next, one should insert the memory card into the PC's card slot and open the data recovery program.

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Every data card recovery program is different, so reading the directions first is important. Most programs ask the user to choose the location on the computer to restore the memory card data and then to press the "recover" button. All of the files that can be restored will go into the saved location on the computer hard drive.

The reason that memory card data recovery is possible is because when a piece of data is deleted, it does not disappear forever. A tiny piece of data remains on the card, which enables the recovery program to restore it. One way to prevent accidental deletions is to "lock" the memory card. Some cards have a small lever on the side. If one pushes the lever to the other side, the card data cannot be overwritten or deleted.

Another way to prevent data corruption is to keep the memory cards in plastic containers that prevents them from getting damaged. One should not leave memory cards inside the device because it is too easy for someone else to delete or overwrite the files. Leaving memory cards in devices also can result in heat damage.

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Logicfest
Post 3

@Terrificli -- And some recovery tools are better than others. Some of the best tend to be in the Linux world, but there are so many variations of that operating system that you might have great tools built into your OS or you might not. Still, you can usually do some research to find the best tools and install them.

Things get easier in the Windows and Mac OS worlds. Those have standard tools built right in, and you might be surprised at how well the Windows stuff works. I only mention that because Microsoft used to release recovery tools that were terrible. Instead of using an effective disk data recovery program, you wound up using something that could actually damage your data beyond repair.

Fortunately, Microsoft has improved in that respect, at least.

Terrificli
Post 2

Before you go too crazy in searching around for good data recovery programs, start with the tools that are built into your operating system and are available for free. You might be surprised at how good those programs actually are. They work because they are designed by the same company that built your operating system and knows the most common problems people have that need to be solved through data recovery.

If those tools don't work, you will find some great commercial ones out there. Still, when it comes to file data recovery, start with the stuff that's free and save yourself a few bucks.

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