How to Back Up, Recover and Repair a Corrupted SD Card

Your SD card allows you to expand your Android phone storage. You can store files, PDFs, images, and videos. Memory storage ranges from 2GB to 1TB. You can use any of them depending on your cell phone’s supporting capacity.

A critical problem with SD cards is that they can become corrupted. When this happens, you may find some files become partially unreadable. In some cases, the entire card may be destroyed. In many cases, you can recover the files.  And always, the card can be cleared and used again. So you do not have to purchase a new SD card.

Here are some steps to follow if you have a problem with your SD card:

Back up your data

The first thing you need to do is back up the entire SD card to ensure you do not lose any further data. Here are steps to do it:

  1. Connect your Android device to your PC using a USB cable. Your phone may prompt you for the type of connection and if it does, select Mass Storage Mode.
  2. On your PC, open My Computer to see all your folders. You should now see a folder associated with your Phone. The Phone folder should show you a specific folder for your SD card.
  3. In the Windows Control Panel, in Folder Options, in the view tab, make sure it is set to show hidden files/folders
  4. Select Ctrl-A to select all files and folders in this drive.
  5. Select Ctrl-C to copy all the selected files
  6. Move to a folder on your PC drive.  If needed, create a folder.  Then press Ctrl-V to paste all the files to your PC. 

Attempt Data Recovery using chkdsk

A chkdsk will scan the drive and try to recover files in the case of a corrupted folder structure. The advantage here is that files may be retrieved. The disadvantage is that they may lose their file name, and so you will have to open each file to figure out what is stored there.


  1. Connect your Android device to your PC using a USB cable and if needed, select “Mass Storage” mode.
  2. On your PC, go to My Computer and find out the Drive Letter assigned to the SD Card.
  3. On the PC, use the Start menu to get a command prompt. So click on Start and type “Command” to get the Command Prompt option.
  4. Once in the Command Prompt, run “chkdsk [SD card drive letter]: /r

Format your SD card

Formatting your SD card will remove all the data on the card. Also, you want to be sure to format the right card. So be very careful when formatting to select exactly the right device.

  1. Right-click on your SD card drive in Computer or My Computer and select “Format…”
  2. Leave all default settings and select Start.
  3. When the format completes, copy all of your data (previously backed up above) back on to your SD card

We hope this guide has helped you recover your data and re-use your SD Card.  Memory cards are expensive, so it is good to use them as long as possible. However, if your card is often failing, every month or every week, you will need to consider getting a new card to save you the time of data recovery.