How to Recover Formatted SD Card Free

Home > HowTos > File Recovery Tips Updated by Nancy on May 13, 2024 | Approved by Jennifer Allen

Losing all your important data can be a nightmare - especially due to formatting your SD card by mistake. But don't panic just yet! There is still hope for regaining your photos, videos, and other files without spending a penny. Here, you will learn about the entire process of erasing a memory card and how to recover a formatted SD card for free.

Table of contents
Part 1: Overview of Formatting an SD Card and What It Does
Part 1: Common Reasons Why You Format the Memory Card
Part 2: Can Erased Memory Card Files Be Recovered
Part 3: 4 Ways to Recover Formatted SD Card Free by Tool
Part 4: 2 Ways to Formatted SD Card Recovery without Software
Part 5: Tips to Help You Avoid Re-Formatting Your SD Card in the Future
Part 6: Frequently Asked Questions About SD Card Format Recovery in PC/Mac/Android

Overview of Formatting an SD Card and What It Does

Formatting a memory card is a process that erases all data on the card and sets up a new file system, making it compatible with your device. It's a crucial step when using a new card or when an existing one is not working correctly.

Here's a general overview of what happens when you format an SD card:

Common Reasons Why You Format the Memory Card

Whether you have formatted the SD card intentionally or accidentally, your precious memories, shots, and other files are lost. Don't give up, and there is still hope of retrieving data from a formatted SD card free.

Can Erased Memory Card Files Be Recovered?

Yes, you can restore the formatted SD card free. When you format it, the file system marks the space as available for new data, but the original files are still there until new data overwrite them.

It's worth noting that even if a memory card has been formatted multiple times, file recovery might still be feasible. But the chances of complete recovery are significantly reduced. Therefore, you can follow the following tips for the success rate of SD card format recovery free.

How to Recover Formatted SD Card Free by Tool

Losing all your data due to accidental formatting of your memory card can be frustrating, especially if you don't have a backup. To rescue lost files, using free data recovery software is your best option. Here, you can use iBeesoft Free Data Recovery. Here are its main features:

Your Best Free Formatted SD Card Recovery Software

(Trust Score 4.7 by 1695 Users)
  • It's designed with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to navigate to recover a formatted SD card free.
  • You can preview files before saving them, which helps in selective recovery and saves time.
  • The free format recovery software supports many file types, like photos, videos, documents, audio files, archives, etc.
  • Best of all, it can also automatically repair damaged items, an option not available with other formatted SD card recovery software.
Download for Windows Download for macOS

Free download and install iBeesoft recovery software, and then follow the steps below to recover data from a formatted SD card free:

  1. Connect Your formatted SD card to your computer.
  2. Open the iBeesoft data recovery software.
  3. Select your SD card from the list of available drives to scan.

  4. Once the scan is complete, select the recoverable items and click "Preview" to check them.

  5. Select the lost files and click 'Recover' to choose a safe location on your computer to save them.

3 Alternative Tools to Formatted SD Card Recovery Free

Although iBeesoft has a high success rate in recovering lost files from formatted memory cards, other options exist. Therefore, you can also consider the following three alternatives.

Alternative 1. Recuva

It is a free file recovery software developed by Piriform, the creator of CCleaner. It can help recover files from a pen drive, memory card, disk, or any other drive that Windows can read. While Recuva does offer a simple wizard for initial setup, its interface can be confusing for beginners.

Here are the detailed steps on how to recover formatted SD card in Windows 10/11 free using Recuva:

  1. Launch Recuva on your Windows PC.
  2. Click the 'Next' button to start the free SD card format recovery process.
  3. Choose the type of file you want to restore. This could be pictures, music, documents, videos, emails, or all files.

  4. Click on the 'In a specific location' option, select your memory card, then click 'Next.'

  5. After the scan is completed, select the recoverable files you want to save and click 'Recover.'

Alternative 2. Stellar Free Data Recovery

It is a comprehensive tool that helps restore lost data from various storage devices. The free SD card recovery software supports recovery from numerous data loss scenarios, such as accidental deletion, drive formatting, system crashes, virus attacks, etc. However, the scanning process can be slow, particularly when scanning larger storage devices.

Here are guides for using Stellar to recover lost files from a formatted memory card on a Mac or PC:

  1. Download Stellar Free Data Recovery from the official website and install it on your system.
  2. Open it on your computer and select what to recover.

  3. Select your formatted SD card and click on 'Scan' to start the scanning process.

  4. Once the scan is done, you can preview these files before recovering them to ensure you're restoring the correct ones.
  5. Select the files you need and click 'Recover' to choose a destination to save the recovered files.

Alternative 3. Glarysoft File Recovery Free

It also known as Glary Undelete, is an accessible and user-friendly recovery software developed by Glarysoft Ltd. The free formatted SD card recovery software supports multiple file systems, including NTFS, FAT, NTFS + EFS, and more.

Here's how you can use Glarysoft File Recovery to retrieve deleted files from an SD card after formatting free:

  1. Launch Glarysoft File Recovery on your computer.
  2. Select the card you want to scan for lost files and click 'Scan.'

  3. After the scan, a list of recoverable files will be displayed. You can find target items through conditional filtering.
  4. Select your lost files and click on 'Restore.' After this, you must select a location to save these recovered data.

How to Formatted SD Card Recovery without Software

Although the free and easy way to get erased files is to use the tool, is it possible to recover data from formatted SD card free without using any software? Yes, you can! So, keep scrolling below to check them out.

Method 1. Restore Formatted SD Card Free with Command

This method will only work in some situations, but it's worth trying. Here is the step to recover deleted files using CMD:

On Windows PC:

  1. Type 'CMD' in the search box in the lower right corner of the screen.
  2. Find 'Command Prompt' in the list that appears and click 'Run as administrator.'

  3. In the CMD window, use the cd command to navigate to the formatted memory card. For example: 'cd *:\' is the drive letter of your card.
  4. Type 'attrib -h -r -s /s /d' and press Enter.

On Mac:

  1. Click Application at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Navigate to Utilities > Terminal and open it.
  3. Types 'cd ~/.YourCard' > 'mv filename ../.' and press Enter.

  4. Go to the formatted memory card to see the files that appear.

Method 2. Recover Files from a Formatted SD Card Free by Backup

This method only works if you have backed up the memory card before formatting. Here are the steps on how to extract lost data from backup:

In Windows 10/11:

  1. Find your SD card in File Explorer.
  2. Right-click and select 'Properties' and switch to 'Previous Versions.'
  3. Select your most recent backup in 'Folder Versions' and click 'Restore.'

In macOS:

  1. Connect the external drive that serves as an SD card backup to your Mac.
  2. Open the 'Time Machine.'

  3. Use the up and down arrows on the right side of the screen to browse the backed-up data.
  4. Select what you need and click 'Restore.'

You can recover the formatted SD card for free through the above methods. But to avoid such a disaster from happening again, you can also check out the following tips.

Tips to Help You Avoid Re-Formatting Your SD Card in the Future

Remember, an SD card, like any other storage device, has a limited lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions About SD Card Format Recovery in PC/Mac/Android


In today's digital age, SD cards have become a common commodity in our daily lives. From storing our photos and videos to saving important documents and files, they have become an integral part of our lives. However, the memory card is not invincible, and sometimes it can be accidentally formatted, leading to data loss. If you want to regain these precious memories, it will be easy and free to recover formatted SD cards in Windows 10/11 and Mac through the multiple methods provided in this article. So act quickly to avoid your data being lost forever.