Rescuing photos from a "damaged" SD card with Android
July 3, 2014 3:05 PM   Subscribe

I have a Macbook; my friend has an old Android phone. I plugged his phone into my computer to get some videos and photos. He unplugged it before I could properly eject it, and his phone now doesn't recognize the card. It says it's damaged and asks him to reformat. Is there any way for me to rescue the files on this card?

The phone is probably a Chinese rip-off, and the card is an 8GB SD Micro. If I use an adapter and plug it in to my mac again (without the phone, it doesn't work with the phone), the card has what appears to be a set of default phone folders that are empty, where before it had a lot of folders full of files.

I tried searching Google but I'm only getting results for software you pay for or suggestions to buy specialist tech, neither of which are possible right now.
posted by Kutsuwamushi to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've had enormous luck with TestDisk and PhotoRec in this sort of situation. They are command line applications that don't hand-hold; but if you read the instructions carefully and pay attention to the menu choices it should be relatively straightforward.
posted by bcwinters at 3:17 PM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding testdisk, that program has repeatedly worked magic for me. Make sure to read the instructions first though, and keep them open the entire time you're using it. It is not point and click simple.

I've never had it not recover files for me in this corrupted-from-ejecting scenario. And it's gotten 100% of the files every time, as long as i hadn't used the disk for anything since the incident.
posted by emptythought at 4:00 PM on July 3, 2014

Testdisk has made me look like Computer Jesus so many times I can't even tell you. It's really awesome, but emptythought above has the cogent info.

emptythought: "as long as i hadn't used the disk for anything since the incident."

Make damn sure you don't do anything at all to the drive until you get a chance to run Testdisk on it. Do not overwrite anything. Do not reformat.

Good luck.
posted by Sphinx at 4:29 PM on July 3, 2014

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