Solved Ran Chkdsk on SD Card, Files Invisible Now?

June 11, 2017 at 06:12:13
Specs: Windows 10, Intel Core i3 CPU M 330 @ 2.13GHz / 3.00 GB (2.86 GB usable) RAM
It was recommended I run chkdsk on an SD card that said it was corrupted or unreadable. It says it recovered 1696 files, the space is still used on the card, but it appears empty when opened through Windows Explorer. The card is from a digital camera and there are no back-ups because I had just gotten home from taking the photos. I would really like to recover the files, as I won't be able to take similar photos again. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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✔ Best Answer
June 11, 2017 at 22:32:48
This worked well for one user here who had a similar situation:

Use the demo version.

June 11, 2017 at 06:47:21
First thing I would recommend is to make a copy of the SD card somewhere, possibly even a couple. Then use those copies for the recovery process.

Look in Windows Disk Management at the SD card to see how it is shown there. Post any information shown there.

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June 11, 2017 at 07:07:15
CHKDSK is not the best tool to recover files. It is a tool to recover space on a corrupted drive.

To demonstrate, I will explain by using the older terms. While it works a bit differently now, this will give you an idea.

The disk keeps track of the files on it with two tools. The FAT (File Allocation Table) keeps track of which areas of the drive currently are in use by files, and therefor cannot be written to. The remaining areas can have data written to it, but is not in use, since that data is from deleted files.

The other tool is the Directory, which keeps track of what files exist on the drive, and where they can be found. (It also keeps track of deleted files, which thereby can be recovered.)

A corrupted drive has areas allocated to files in the FAT that does not correspond to any entries in the Directory. Hence portions of the drive is occupied and cannot be written to, but its not allocated to any files.

CHKDSK with the proper switch finds those allocated areas and give them file names in the directory, usually FILE0001.CHK, FILE0002.CHK etc. Alas, the drive is no longer corrupted.

These files contain the data formerly used by actual files, but as fragments. The files can almost never be rebuilt into the files they originally belonged to. They are supposed to be deleted, to recover the space they occupied into usable free space on the disk.

That is why CHKDSK is a disk tool and not a file tool.


Wind slow

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June 11, 2017 at 07:45:42
@OtheHill I am not sure how to make copies of a disk that shows as empty. There is nothing to copy.
In disk management the SD card shows as follows:
Volume- (F:) Layout- Simple Type- Basic File System- FAT32 Status- Healthy (Primary Partition) Capacity- 29.53GB Free Space- 23.36GB % Free- 79%

A copy of what Chkdsk said when it was run:

@Nigel Thank you for the information. I will keep it in mind in the future.

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June 11, 2017 at 11:16:10
Ok, then try this instead. Create a bootable USB flash drive with Ubuntu installed on it. See the link below to learn how. You will NOT be installing Ubuntu onto your hard drive but running a live version of it from the flash drive.

Linux should be able to read and copy files off that SD card if they exist.

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June 11, 2017 at 22:32:48
✔ Best Answer
This worked well for one user here who had a similar situation:

Use the demo version.

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June 12, 2017 at 19:17:17
@OtheHill I happened to already have a bootable USB of Ubuntu, but was not even able to get it to boot on this computer. Not sure why, as it worked on my last one.

@DAVEINCAPS Thank you very much for your reply. I was able to recover almost all of the pictures off the memory card.

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June 12, 2017 at 20:32:02
You're welcome. I'm glad it worked out.

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