Damaged microSD Card...(this is how I recovered my Data)

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sonarchist

Senior Member
Mar 27, 2011
689
227
Washington, DC


.......right in the middle of a super demanding day, the message "damaged SD Card / Reformat" appeared on my Epic, when I least expected it (inopportune is the word)............ changing firmware is never without its more interesting moments, + this may or may not be a symptom (went froyo to gingerbread), however,........... am sharing this post to the Epic community, as i sense this to be an important enough issue...........no one really knows the specific cause of sd card corruption + failure: it's variable + always somewhat circumstantial (ie, saw it mentioned elsewhere that overheating from an overclocked cpu could cause damage as well)...................so, moving forward I simply want to contribute as a brief description, here, how i was able to recover (most) of the files from my 'damaged micro sd card:'

First, when i saw 'damaged sd card / format card' on the phone, when it became possible 4 me to do so many hours later, instead of 'formatting' I replaced the damaged card for a new one (pny 16gb sdhc class 10)...booted the phone everything was fine (15.91gb space available)........as expected, no files in the SD Card......................next:

(1) placed 'damaged' sd card into the reader that came w/ the device, and mounted to pc, selected the drive (followed by confirmation beep 'device detected' sound, then the language: 'd:\ not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable' came on the screen..........went to RUN and typed CMD........from new window, I typed Chkdsk d: /r and the PC began reading the contents of the damaged SD card (most of the android zip files etcetera were there, as were a number of files w/ no content) + next i typed 'exit' (no quotations, just the letters) to return to the windows desktop.......OK, so now the only files missing are the pix + video mov's (far as I can remember).

..........(2) next, to recover pix + video, from the pc desktop i opened ZARecovery (if you do not already have it go to Data Recovery Software, Solutions, Tutorials, Forum - ZAR Data Recovery and download the free recovery program from that site).

.............(3) from the ZARrecovery main page, selected sd card as device, selected 'next', selected 'root' folder for all files that ZAR was able to detect as recoverable, entered destination folder name (for transfer of recovered pix + video to PC....note: NEVER to sd card itself!), + lastly, selected 'start copying selected files'.........and that was it, closed ZAR + began viewing the content of the recovery folder to get an assessment of what had actually been recovered, and what had been lost.................fortunately 4 me, the loss was minimal, as I tend to create backups (Nandroids, every half year; pic, videos, email attachments = pretty regularly).

Hope this helps those of you that have been experiencing microSD Card damage (from whatever source).

Remember, + not to speak to the Choir, but can not to overstate this: BACKUP............. BACKUP............. BACKUP.............BACKUP
 

mouseglider

Senior Member
May 1, 2010
419
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Eagan, MN
www.kickstand4u.com


.......fortunately 4 me, the loss was minimal, as I tend to create backups (Nandroids, every half year; pic, videos, email attachments = pretty regularly).

Hope this helps those of you that have been experiencing microSD Card damage (from whatever source).

Remember, + not to speak to the Choir, but can not to overstate this: BACKUP............. BACKUP............. BACKUP.............BACKUP

Yikes! I make nandroids before I do anything I consider major like updating Superuser when the reviews are sketchy, or when I do something like apply a new patch, a new tweak, or anything that I think could give me trouble. As I have my phone tuned absolutely perfect, where I want to bring my phone back to normal with a minimum of work.

I guess I am lazy. I nandroid every 3 to 7 days. :eek: :D
 

sonarchist

Senior Member
Mar 27, 2011
689
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Washington, DC
I nandroid every 3 to 7 days. :eek: :D

.....you're awesome!.......my personal history, when I find stability, is to live w/ a perfect set-up for as long as i can surf that wave (hence: nandroid every 6 mo's)........but this is being idealistic.........for example, when testing a beta ROM, an average of at least 6-9 nandroids in the sd card thru several versions of the beta, and at least 3 in the Nandroid Folder in the pc (which is altogether another story: visualizing + creating a pc backup that is operative in a worse-case scenario.)
 
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mouseglider

Senior Member
May 1, 2010
419
50
Eagan, MN
www.kickstand4u.com
.....you're awesome!.......my personal history, when I find stability, is to live w/ a perfect set-up for as long as i can surf that wave (hence: nandroid every 6 mo's)........but this is being idealistic.........for example, when testing a beta ROM, an average of at least 6-9 nandroids in the sd card thru several versions of the beta, and at least 3 in the Nandroid Folder in the pc (which is altogether another story: visualizing + creating a pc backup that is operative in a worse-case scenario.)

I should add that one of the reason I nandroid so often, is that if I do it every 3 to 4 months (on my wife's epic because she travels) when she gets back, I have a ton of updates to catch up on - mine of course is always up to date. :D
 

KennyG123

Senior Moderator / Mod Committee / Spider-Mod
Staff member
Nov 1, 2010
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Right behind you!
I should add that one of the reason I nandroid so often, is that if I do it every 3 to 4 months (on my wife's epic because she travels) when she gets back, I have a ton of updates to catch up on - mine of course is always up to date. :D

Haha! Same with me and my GFs...she never updates! So if your sd card crashes you will seriously need this tutorial since all your nandroids are there.
 

mouseglider

Senior Member
May 1, 2010
419
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Eagan, MN
www.kickstand4u.com
Haha! Same with me and my GFs...she never updates! So if your sd card crashes you will seriously need this tutorial since all your nandroids are there.

I am so paranoid about sd crashes and corruption because I have had my share when upgrading to the next bigger card (had a 2,4,8,16, and now 32gb in each epic) that I sync my epic cards to my PC on two separate drives for both my wife and myself (my PC has three physical (not virtual)l hard drives C, D, E) every 3 to 4 weeks. So for her, I am pretty safe except for those long updates in between her trips home. I feel pretty safe in case I do something stupid, which I do from time to time. :D

I actually tried to convince her to get an iPhone, because I think there would be less updates than Android, but she won't give up the physical KB. Not that I don't like updates, but I set her epic to be a 98% clone of mine, so we each have a lot of apps and each app is eventually updated and often! :(
 
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sonarchist

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Mar 27, 2011
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.........arrival of the backup evangelists!

Thank you to the Mod that stickied this. Sonarchist...you have arrived!

........a hi-5 to the Mods for Sticky'ing this: thanks guys!....... props to kennyglass123 + xopher.hunter for suggesting it to 'em.............nothing more stressful than going down that gopher hole attempting to recover data, it's no picnic!...........so am hopeful that we can salvage some valuable data + find ways to hinder that inevitable moment when the sd card reads 0%.............as they say, there's many more ways than 1 to skin a grape, or in this case, a corrupt microSD Card.
 
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ugothakd

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Jun 12, 2011
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O 'Fallon, MO
There is an undelete beta app on the market. Check it out.


Also, check out testdisk for when the partition table is fried.


Also, recuva. Pretty awesome, by the makers of ccleaner.

sent from my always aosp epic
 
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sonarchist

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Mar 27, 2011
689
227
Washington, DC
I am so paranoid about sd crashes and corruption because I have had my share when upgrading to the next bigger card (had a 2,4,8,16, and now 32gb in each epic) that I sync my epic cards to my PC on two separate drives for both my wife and myself (my PC has three physical (not virtual)l hard drives C, D, E) every 3 to 4 weeks. So for her, I am pretty safe except for those long updates in between her trips home. I feel pretty safe in case I do something stupid, which I do from time to time. :D

I actually tried to convince her to get an iPhone, because I think there would be less updates than Android, but she won't give up the physical KB. Not that I don't like updates, but I set her epic to be a 98% clone of mine, so we each have a lot of apps and each app is eventually updated and often! :(

Gr8 backup regimen..........'best practices' worthy.........given the 1,000 cumulative hrs leading to your perfect setup, worth all the special handling to keep devices singing!
 
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quick99si

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Dec 3, 2007
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Chicago
Mine took a dump today but it may be a total failure. I just got home and this is what the preliminary tests show. I would appreciate any input.

chkdsk
The type of the file system is RAW.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.

testdisk
Capacity incorrectly showed at 8225kb/8032kb (16gb card)
Analyze feature reports a Partition Rear Error

As a sidenote, the TitaniumBackup sync-to-Dropbox feature has probably saved my butt as far as apps/data goes. I highly suggest using it to protect against dead cards.
 

HanMan5000

Senior Member
Nov 6, 2010
147
41
Sadly SD cards and USB sticks are very unreliable when it comes to data. They are easily damage and anything slight can cause them to be corrupted.

This is a great guide, glad you were able to restore your data!
 

sonarchist

Senior Member
Mar 27, 2011
689
227
Washington, DC
Most data in flash type memory cards (excepting physical cracks in the microSD Card housing + damage to the memory chip itself) can be recovered w/ several DIY software programs available on the android market..........ugothkd shared a few of these, several posts up.........in the event that there is NO BACKUP available to you + having exhausted all personal DIY recovery avenues, there are still ways to step-up the process and very likely recover some of your data..........am quoting the following language from Recoverfab (maker of enterprise flash readers to the trade):

'In general, there are two reasons why the data on memory flash devices (cards, USB-sticks, SSD) becomes inaccessible.
Logical damage prevents access to the data/pictures on the drive, but the drive is still physically recognized by the computer operating system. In this case some specialized types of recovery software can help. Sometimes free recovery tools like Zero Assumption Recovery can also solve this problem.
Physical damage causes the drive to be unrecognized by the computer's operating system, making it impossible to access the contents of the flash-memory chip. This type of damage happens in more than 80% of all known cases. These are most frequently caused by electrical problems that lead to physical damage. Flash devices consist of a memory chip and a controller. The controller writes and reads the data from the memory chip. In most cases, recovery is possible from a flash device with a damaged controller and mostly undamaged memory chips.

Formatting is required? The controller of the memory card is not in the position to inform the PC operating system about the characteristics of the memory card. Therefore, the PC assumes that the memory card is not formatted and requests formatting. One might think that the memory card problems would be solved by formatting, but unfortunately it does not work due to the damaged controller. Instead, the computer will communicate that formatting is not possible. Such an error is a clear indicator that no kind of software (including special formatting or rescue software!!) will be able to access the memory card.

.....Recovery Process: If the flash storage device is not recognized in the computer or it is impossible to access the data on it, there is only one way to get the data: unsolder the memory chip from the printed circuit board and directly access the raw data with a programmable chip reader.' <end quote>

OK......that was a long quote!.....worth repeating, if only to begin to address the sort of things that can damage / corrupt SD Cards (+ also to give those of you that really want to recover your lost data super badly some HOPE).

Heat, liquid, dust, some of the things that WILL damage your SD Card (numerous other things can corrupt your data as well) .....then you hear cases of individuals that have NEVER HAD ANY DAMAGE WHATSOEVER...........some burnin' Q's: is the fragile nature of the card itself doomed to failure? ...If the card is going to fail eventually, what kind of data would you be willing to risk storing in there?...... if the data is that important to you, would you be willing to make a 'twin' copy? (twin SD Card could be swapped quickly in case of ER) ..... + lastly, has anyone here found a fail-safe or fairly sound way to run voluminous or frequent data transfers between your device's SD Card + pc?
 
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mouseglider

Senior Member
May 1, 2010
419
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Eagan, MN
www.kickstand4u.com
Most data in flash type memory cards............. if the data is that important to you, would you be willing to make a 'twin' copy? (twin SD Card could be swapped quickly in case of ER) ..... + lastly, has anyone here found a fail-safe or fairly sound way to run voluminous or frequent data transfers between your device's SD Card + pc?

Yup, I have a spare twin identical card Lexar 32gb class 10 waiting in the wings as a backup.

I use a program that can transfer and/or sync in many different ways my card to my PC, which I do every three or four weeks. It is called FolderMatch v3.44. I am sure there is a newer version out, but the one I have does the job

I simply plug my USB cable into my PC and the other end into my epic and simply choose synchronize, then chose make left folder (my PC) to be the same as the right folder (my epic) - depending on how many files you are syncing determines the speed of the sync. Works good for me! :D
 
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sonarchist

Senior Member
Mar 27, 2011
689
227
Washington, DC
Mine took a dump today but it may be a total failure. I just got home and this is what the preliminary tests show. I would appreciate any input.

chkdsk
The type of the file system is RAW.
CHKDSK is not available for RAW drives.

testdisk
Capacity incorrectly showed at 8225kb/8032kb (16gb card)
Analyze feature reports a Partition Rear Error

As a sidenote, the TitaniumBackup sync-to-Dropbox feature has probably saved my butt as far as apps/data goes. I highly suggest using it to protect against dead cards.

ZAR has an 'unformat' option for Raw File Systems, you may want to explore if there is data remaining in your SD Card that you may want to recover (there's a brief tutorial posted on their website) ........ here's a glimpse:

"Unformat is the process of data recovery from a storage device (which can be a hard drive, a camera memory card, an USB pen drive) that was formatted.
The step-by-step tutorial below describes the procedure to recover data when the drive was accidentally formatted and you want to unformat the drive Windows reports "raw filesystem", or the drive is "not formatted" <end quote>

The above makes reference to a specific type of recovery (accidental format of a drive, as an example), but the application will recover from a number of file types + systems............worth checking it out.

*edit* as another example, 'accidental format of a drive' can also refer to split-second decisions we make when we guickly hit 'reformat sd card' on our device the very first time we ever encounter a 'corrupted external card / reformat?' type of message........in the moment, life goes on + it's only later that we begin to think of the lost data..................however, chances are pretty good that the data is recoverable (files are still inside the 'reformatted' sd card, only unreadable, ie RAW).
 
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    .......right in the middle of a super demanding day, the message "damaged SD Card / Reformat" appeared on my Epic, when I least expected it (inopportune is the word)............ changing firmware is never without its more interesting moments, + this may or may not be a symptom (went froyo to gingerbread), however,........... am sharing this post to the Epic community, as i sense this to be an important enough issue...........no one really knows the specific cause of sd card corruption + failure: it's variable + always somewhat circumstantial (ie, saw it mentioned elsewhere that overheating from an overclocked cpu could cause damage as well)...................so, moving forward I simply want to contribute as a brief description, here, how i was able to recover (most) of the files from my 'damaged micro sd card:'

    First, when i saw 'damaged sd card / format card' on the phone, when it became possible 4 me to do so many hours later, instead of 'formatting' I replaced the damaged card for a new one (pny 16gb sdhc class 10)...booted the phone everything was fine (15.91gb space available)........as expected, no files in the SD Card......................next:

    (1) placed 'damaged' sd card into the reader that came w/ the device, and mounted to pc, selected the drive (followed by confirmation beep 'device detected' sound, then the language: 'd:\ not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable' came on the screen..........went to RUN and typed CMD........from new window, I typed Chkdsk d: /r and the PC began reading the contents of the damaged SD card (most of the android zip files etcetera were there, as were a number of files w/ no content) + next i typed 'exit' (no quotations, just the letters) to return to the windows desktop.......OK, so now the only files missing are the pix + video mov's (far as I can remember).

    ..........(2) next, to recover pix + video, from the pc desktop i opened ZARecovery (if you do not already have it go to Data Recovery Software, Solutions, Tutorials, Forum - ZAR Data Recovery and download the free recovery program from that site).

    .............(3) from the ZARrecovery main page, selected sd card as device, selected 'next', selected 'root' folder for all files that ZAR was able to detect as recoverable, entered destination folder name (for transfer of recovered pix + video to PC....note: NEVER to sd card itself!), + lastly, selected 'start copying selected files'.........and that was it, closed ZAR + began viewing the content of the recovery folder to get an assessment of what had actually been recovered, and what had been lost.................fortunately 4 me, the loss was minimal, as I tend to create backups (Nandroids, every half year; pic, videos, email attachments = pretty regularly).

    Hope this helps those of you that have been experiencing microSD Card damage (from whatever source).

    Remember, + not to speak to the Choir, but can not to overstate this: BACKUP............. BACKUP............. BACKUP.............BACKUP
    3
    .........arrival of the backup evangelists!

    Thank you to the Mod that stickied this. Sonarchist...you have arrived!

    ........a hi-5 to the Mods for Sticky'ing this: thanks guys!....... props to kennyglass123 + xopher.hunter for suggesting it to 'em.............nothing more stressful than going down that gopher hole attempting to recover data, it's no picnic!...........so am hopeful that we can salvage some valuable data + find ways to hinder that inevitable moment when the sd card reads 0%.............as they say, there's many more ways than 1 to skin a grape, or in this case, a corrupt microSD Card.
    2
    Good advice, thank you for that. I will look into Skydrive as a potential solution going forward. I am a bit attached to Dropbox because of the excellent Windows client and Titanium Backup's built-in sync capability.

    However, think I would prefer a no-PC setup, storing backups on the phone's SD card and synchronizing them to cloud storage with >2GB of space.

    My Dropbox account has 3GB (1.5GB of Titanium Backup files)
    Box.net account has 50gb (this is how to get it for free)

    Titanium Media Sync is pretty interesting.. it can sync any file or directory via several protocols, including FTP. Hmm, maybe I can trigger automatic backups when I come home and connect to WiFi usig Tasker?
    2
    Check out Microsoft's "Sync Toy" as an easy way to synchronize your SD card to a backup folder on your PC.
    http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=15155

    Its free, Windows only.
    2
    Better yet, load up RIP Linux, use one of the Recovery image copiers to copy the image, than work on that. This way you don't further damage the card.

    RIP Linux is a boot CD, and it's pretty hardcore, but it is far more powerful than anything you will find on the consumer commercial market. If you can find your way around a ADB shell, as BASH is pretty similar to busybox from the command prompt standpoint.

    After you use a rescue utility to make a raw copy of the image, you can then do the work on a copy of that image without risking damaging the data on the original.

    After you get the data off, you can then test the card using a write-mode format with a multi-pass write-read bad-block test. (Linux mkfs is capable of this as is Windows) You may just have some errors in the filesystem, and the card itself is fine. In which case it will pass this test.

    Additionally usually the first set of blocks go bad well before others in a flash chip. Thus after the first batch is bad, you can mark them as such, and use it as something else. Worst case, you have to repartition it to move the FAT forward a few sectors, as FAT32 doesn't allow you to use a partition with one of the first handful of sectors bad.

    Rarely will the partitioning table go bad on a flash disk due to the fact that it is rarely written to, and repetitive writing is usually what causes bad spots on flash memory.

    I highly recommend buying the best flash cards you can when buying a Micro-SD card for a phone. They take a lot of abuse, with excessive write cycles, often in non-ideal temperatures.