How to fix a damaged microSDHC card that will no longer display as a drive.

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On Tuesday, I thought that I would have to buy a new microSD due to frying mine. Doing a quick Google search, I found that others have had a similar issue, but not exactly the same.
For those of us that have a Nook Color, or another tablet that requires you to burn a bootable image onto the SD card, we pose a big risk of burning out our cards to where nothing recognizes them again. I would put it into my phone, and it would just state that the error “SD Card Damaged;” when trying to format within the storage menu, it would just give me a “null” error. When putting my SD card into my SD adapter so I could plug it into my PC, the PC didn’t even show it plugged in, and my reader said there was an error reading the card.

I was ready to cut my losses and go to Best Buy and pick up a new 32Gig, however, something smacked me in the face. Now I don’t know if it was just my wife playing rough, or if it was the fact I was looking right at my Nikon digital camera which takes a SDHC memory card and always prompts me to format when I put a new card in. So, I chanced it. I took the SD adapter, which still had my microSD inserted into it, put it in my camera, turned it on, and to my surprise, the camera read it, and prompted me to format the card. Once I formatted, I was able to pop the card back into my phone, and it picked it right up. Granted, it had the Nikon files on it, so I did a format from the phone just to make sure. Mounted the phone to my PC, and it was able to pick up both internal and external.

And yes, there are applications that you can use to recover your lost data, however, seeing as you formatted the card when you burnt the image to it, using such apps would cause you to come up empty-handed during the recovery process.

So for those of us that have had this issue, or, if you ever have a bad SD due to a bad image burn, this is how you can go about fixing it.

Items Needed:
– A Digital Camera that takes a SDHC Memory Card
– A MicroSDHC to SDHC Adapater
– The Damaged MicroSDHC card
– A Phone :)

About the Author

Bryce Walter
Converting from the iPhone in 2009, I picked up my 1st Android device which was the MyTouch 3G Original. Within 30 minutes I had it rooted, and knew I found a home. I am now a developer for the Samsung Vibrant and LG G2x. Also have built CWM for the SGS4G, G2X, and working on the SK4G.

  • Rayjr

    Lol this us exactly what happened to me when using my phone. Good thing I’m a professional photographer :)

    • http://twitter.com/Krylon360 Bryce Walter

      Yeah, it surprised the heck out of me that the camera saw the SD card when nothing else would.

  • chris crute

    Formatting doesn’t normally wipe the data, it simply re-writes the File Allocation Table (assuming FAT filesystem) and deletes the entries from the root directory. I say normally as I can’t vouch for what that camera does, I’m willing to bet it isn’t a full wipe. 

    Data CAN still be recovered following a format. 

  • Travis Bean

    I have that issue right now, but I can read it Ubuntu, but not in windows or on my phone…

  • Jorge H

    Well  i actually have been interchanging my micro sd card between camera and phone.  i use  one sd card in the camera when its full  i switch in into the phone  becuase  google+ reads the new files and treats then as new pictures in the gallery which it then uploads into google+  and picasa albums…..ive upladed  thousands  of pictures   just by swapping them like this.

  • Agentgb

    Great tip, i’ve searched all over the web tonight, tried about 4 types of software recovery downloads all to no avail.
    Used my Canon Ixus for the same tip, worked a treat.

    Now have my 4gb sd card back to normal for my Blackberry.

    Thanks.

  • Kevin

    Ablsolutely brilliant! works a treat. Formatted a 32GB micro sd card on my android phone, it then said ‘card damaged’ would not work. Put it in my laptop could not format it there in fact it said I now only had 1.99GB available. Searched around the web for solutions and this site was a lifesaver. Put the card in my canon power shot, format and bingo! Thank you Bryce.

  • Kwaku

    what really causes this error that makes the sd unreadable, I was only updating an app on my android phone, and another time I was browsing.yep 2 sd cards unreadable.
    :(
    but I will try ur approach.

  • kwaku Mike

    what really causes this error that makes the sd unreadable, I was only updating an app on my android phone, and another time I was browsing.
    but I will try ur approach.

  • Abbas

    yea we can also format sd card for other phone which is not android but has a slot of sd card :)

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