1

So I just came back from a shoot, put my SD card in my card reader and copied the files from the card to my computer. At least I tried to, but after the first image Windows reported an error message that the connected media was not formatted in a recognisable file system.

The photo recovery software is running now and it looks like I've gotten lucky this time. Now I'm wondering if I should toss that SD card or if it's a good idea to try to format it and continue using it. I.e. is it likely there is something physically broken, or is it probably just a random error in the file system that can be fixed by formatting the card? It was a pretty expensive Sandisc Extreme 64GB card, so I don't feel like just tossing it (I bought it through Amazon, not sure if any kind of warranty applies …)

  • Did you use the card on different operating systems? Apart from your Windows system? – Pavan Manjunath Jul 5 '17 at 21:44
  • @PavanManjunath Nah, never. Put it right from my camera into my PC (Windows 10). I've used this card for a while with that camera & PC and never had a problem as wel. Also I don't think I damaged the card in any way, so this came as quite the surprise ... Also nothing recognises the card, it looks rather like a bad file system than a file system WIndows doesn't know – MoritzLost Jul 5 '17 at 21:47
  • 1
    When is the last time the card was formatted, preferably by the camera? – Michael C Jul 5 '17 at 22:45
  • @MIchaelClark I always format the SD card with the camera before a shoot, always with the Deep Level formatting option as well (Canon EOS system) – MoritzLost Jul 6 '17 at 19:56
2

Can I keep using a corrupted SD card?

Well, you could. But you might not like the results from doing so.

Based on the rest of your description, though, before you toss the card you probably need to establish that the card, and not something else, is the actual source of the problem.

Here's a checklist of things you should look at:

  • How was the card originally formatted? You should always format a new card in the camera in which you are using it. (Note: you can also format the card with a computer as long as you use the correct file system and create the correct folder structure that the camera requires - but it is a lot easier just to use the camera to automatically do all of that.)
  • When was the last time the card was reformatted? Not reformatting flash memory cards periodically can lead to file corruption. When a flash memory card is formatted the controller maps out sectors marked as bad so they are not reused.
  • Have you confirmed that the card reader is not the issue? Do other cards have similar issues? Or do other cards work fine?
  • If the card reader is a portable one, have you tried using a different cable to connect it to the computer? A different port?
  • Have you recently updated the USB (or Firewire, or whatever interface you are using) drivers?
  • Did you remove the card from the camera or card reader while the card was being written to? This can cause corruption of files. It may or may not have also damaged the hardware of the card.

If you've eliminated each of these possibilities then the chances are pretty good the card was corrupted.

  • Thanks, that sounds like a reasonable approach. The card was formatted by the camera before the shoot. I didn't remove the card while it was being written to, so that's out. No updates either, unless Windows 10 did some hidden update magic and broke something, though I find that unlikely. I guess I'll check the card reader & cables for problems before I toss the card. Thanks! – MoritzLost Jul 6 '17 at 19:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.