Founded in 1988, SanDisk is an American manufacturer of flash memory products such as memory cards, USB flash drives, and solid-state drives. They are currently the third-largest manufacturer of flash memory products in the world.
SanDisk products offer an excellent price to performance ratio, so it’s no wonder that SanDisk is the first choice of so many professional and regular content creators and computer users alike. However, even storage devices from premium manufacturers such as SanDisk are not immune to corruption and data loss.
Fortunately, there are many SanDisk recovery software tools that can help you get back lost or corrupted files from not only SanDisk storage devices, including SD cards, CF cards, and USB flash drives but also storage devices from other manufacturers.
The goal of this article is to provide the most comprehensive guide to SanDisk data recovery, teaching you everything you need to know to get back lost data and perform a corrupt file recovery if needed. Don’t worry: no expert-level skills or knowledge are required to apply our memory card recovery methods—you just need one of the best SanDisk recovery software tools listed below.
How to Choose the Right SanDisk Recovery Software
SanDisk recovery software, also referred to as compact flash recovery software, is a term used to describe data recovery applications with support for flash-based storage devices, such as memory cards, USB flash drives, and eMMC storage.
Such applications are available at a variety of price ranges, from free to professional, and they all share the same goal: allow you to recover permanently deleted files that haven’t yet been overwritten. But even though data recovery tools share the same goal, their approaches to achieving it are sometimes very different.
Here’s what you need to pay attention to when choosing SanDisk recovery software:
- 💾 File format support: Some of the most common file format types stored on SanDisk memory cards include images, audio, and video, and each of these types can be represented by dozens and dozens of individual file formats. That’s why you need to select software that supports all commonly used file formats.
- 💿 File system support: FAT32 is perhaps the most popular file system for memory cards, but it’s certainly not the only option available. For larger SanDisk SD cards (SDXC and SDUC), exFAT is commonly used because it supports larger file sizes and volumes while maintaining compatibility with a wide range of devices and operating systems. To ensure the recovery of lost data from any SanDisk memory card you encounter, it’s essential to select data recovery software that offers comprehensive support for various file systems.
- 👩💻 Data recovery algorithms: All memory card and flash drive recovery tools rely on slightly different data recovery algorithms, which is what determines their performance. Because there are many different data loss scenarios you may come across, it’s always a good idea to choose a tool with multiple algorithms, including one for performing quick & easy scans and one for in-depth recovery attempts.
- 💯 Data recovery limits: Free SanDisk data recovery software typically has certain limits on the amount of data that can be recovered. If you exceed these limits, you will be asked to unlock unlimited recovery by purchasing a license.
- 🍎 Operating system compatibility: In this article, we focus on Windows recovery techniques and tools, but you should know most of the SanDisk recovery software applications described below are also compatible with macOS.
8 Best SanDisk SD Card Recovery Software
After conducting hands-on tests of numerous data recovery tools, our team has meticulously identified the top 8 SanDisk recovery software options currently available on the market. Below, we detail the unique features and capabilities of each tool, enabling you to make an informed decision on the best software for your specific file recovery needs.
1. Disk Drill (Windows & Mac)
Supported file systems: APFS, HFS, HFS+, NTFS/NTFS5, FAT/FAT32/exFAT, EXT2/EXT3/EXT4, BTRFS | Supported file formats: over 400 | Price: $89 for Disk Drill PRO, free version for Windows available (recovers up to 500 MB)
After our team’s in-depth evaluation, we found that Disk Drill delivers a smooth recovery process for both Windows and Mac platforms. Our hands-on experience showed its exceptional strength in recovering RAW files, marking it as a leader for SanDisk SD card recovery. This evidence of excellence makes it a number one pick for professional photographers and videographers, who heavily rely on the data recovery of their SanDisk SD cards.
The free Windows version of this file recovery software tool can undelete up to 500 MB of data and preview an unlimited number of files. To recover more data, you need to upgrade to Disk Drill PRO for just $89.
- Excellent ease of use.
- Support for many different file formats and file systems.
- Recovers up to 500 MB of data for free.
- Verifies recoverability using the “Preview” feature.
- S.M.A.R.T. monitoring features helps users stay informed about the health of their SD cards.
- No portable version available.
- Doesn’t support Linux.
2. Recuva (Windows only)
Supported file systems: FAT, exFAT, NTFS, Ext2, Ext3, and Ext4 | Supported file formats: less than 100 | Price: Recuva is free, but you can pay $19.95 to upgrade to Recuva Professional
The glory days of Recuva might be over considering this once extremely popular and well-rated file recovery application hasn’t been updated since 2016, but that doesn’t mean Recuva isn’t worth your time anymore. When it comes to simpler data recovery jobs, Recuva is still a fantastic option because it can restore an unlimited number of files free of charge. For a comprehensive software test, refer to our Recuva full review here.
- Portable version available.
- Unlimited free recovery.
- Straightforward to use.
- Preview options are very limited.
- Unable to scan disks formatted with a RAW file system.
- Signatures are outdated, failing to recognize modern video and photo formats.
3. R-Studio (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Supported file systems: NTFS, NTFS5, ReFS, FAT12/16/32, exFAT, HFS/HFS+ and APFS (Macintosh), Little and Big Endian variants of UFS1/UFS2 (FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD/Solaris) and Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 FS (Linux) | Supported file formats: several hundred | Price: from $79.99 (the free version can only recover files up to 256 KB)
R-Studio is an advanced memory card recovery solution that supports virtually all Windows, Mac, and Linux file systems you may come across. It also runs on all of the three operating systems we’ve just mentioned, so you can perform the recovery on just about any laptop or desktop you want. Just keep in mind that each platform requires a separate license, so you better carefully evaluate your purchase decision before you finalize your order. You can check our complete R-Studio software test here.
- Advanced features, such as a built-in hex editor.
- Can recover networked storage devices.
- Supports virtually all commonly used Windows, Mac, and Linux file systems.
- Home users may find it confusing.
- Each platform requires a separate license.
4. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard (Windows, Mac)
Supported file systems: FAT(FAT12,FAT16,FAT32), exFAT, NTFS, NTFS5, ext2/ext3, HFS+, ReFS | Supported file formats: over 1,000 | Price: $69.95 a month or $99.95 a year (the free version can recover up to 2 GB)
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard has been around since 2004, collecting hundreds of positive reviews from users and professional reviewers alike. The free version of this SanDisk recovery software can retrieve up to 2 GB of data, and it supports more than 1,000 file formats. You can use the tool to address all kinds of data loss scenarios, including deletion, formatting, and file system corruption, among others. For a more in-depth analysis and our user experience, check EaseUS Data Recovery review here.
- Simple user interface.
- Great recovery results.
- Generous free version.
- Scan time is always irrelevant.
- Not many file formats can be previewed.
- Windows and Mac versions require a separate license.
5. SanDisk RescuePRO (Windows, Mac)
Supported file systems: NTFS and FAT file systems | Supported file formats: images, documents, mail, standard definition video, music, and more | Price: from $39.99 a year
RescuePRO software, which comes bundled free with SanDisk SD cards for recovering lost files and is also available separately, was put to the test by our team. In our testing, RescuePRO proved good at simple recoveries, easily handling lost files on various SanDisk cards. However, its performance fell short in more complex situations, such as attempting to recover data from SD cards with corrupted file systems. Despite this limitation, the entry-level version of RescuePRO sufficiently meets the needs for basic memory card data recovery.
- Special-purpose SanDisk recovery software.
- Supports 1 TB+ micro SD card recovery.
- Commercial versions available.
- To recover RAW formats or videos you need a Deluxe edition ($59,99/year).
- Non-intuitive user interface.
- Only suitable for recovery in simple, basic cases.
6. Stellar Data Recovery (Windows, Mac)
Supported file systems: APFS, HFS, HFS+, NTFS, FAT & ExFAT | Supported file formats: over 200 file formats | Price: from $49.99 a year (the free version can recover up to 1 GB of data for free)
With over 3 million customers around the world, Stellar Data Recovery is a stellar choice when it comes to all kinds of data loss scenarios involving logical damage. The tool has a highly intuitive user interface, and it boasts the ability to retrieve data even from RAID 0, 5, and 6 arrays. The setup process is breezy, but scanning can take some time, so be patient and don’t interrupt it unless you absolutely have to.
- Intuitive user interface.
- Several extra features included.
- Responsive customer support.
- Limited RAW formats supported.
- Limited preview options for video files.
- It takes a long time to process the scan results.
7. Minitool Data Recovery (Windows)
Supported file systems: FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, VFAT, NTFS, NTFS5 and ISO9660, Joliet, UDF | Supported file formats: several hundred | Price: from $69.00 a month or $89.00 a year
Minitool Data Recovery is a well-rounded recovery utility for Windows and Mac. It supports internal hard drives as well as external devices such as HDDs, SSDs, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, and others. Whether you need to recover lost data after unsuccessful formatting, a devastating virus attack, or a critical hard drive failure, Minitool Data Recovery is always ready to help.
- Addresses all common cases of data loss.
- Frequently updated.
- Support for Windows Server operating systems.
- Mac users can recovery only 1 MB for free.
8. PhotoRec (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Supported file systems: FAT, exFAT, NTFS, and ext2/ext3/ext4 | Supported file formats: supports more than 480 file extensions | Price: free and open-source
If you’re a fan of open-source software, then PhotoRec is a must-try recovery tool. Our tests confirmed PhotoRec’s efficiency in standard recovery scenarios, effortlessly restoring files from various SanDisk cards. However, it’s worth noting that in complex recovery tasks, such as dealing with corrupted SD card file systems, PhotoRec might face challenges. Despite this, its straightforward, text-based interface and solid recovery capabilities make it a noteworthy option for basic SD card recovery tasks.
- Source code publicly available.
- Can repair file system issues.
- Completely free.
- Command-line user interface.
- The least intuitive SD card recovery software on this list.
How to Recover Data with SanDisk Data Recovery Software
To illustrate an SD card recovery process, we’ll use Disk Drill with a SanDisk storage device as our example:
- Install Disk Drill on your Windows or Mac.
- Connect SanDisk SD card to your computer.
- Launch Disk Drill and select the SanDisk memory card from the list of drives.
- Click the Search for lost data button to scan the selected storage device. The scan process may take a while depending on the size and speed of your storage device, but you can pause & resume it at any time.
- Find & select lost files. Using Disk Drill’s scan results filters and the handy preview feature, select all files that you would like to recover. If a selected file can be previewed, it means that it hasn’t been overwritten yet.
- Recover your files to a safe destination. To recover lost files, all you need to do is click the Recover button and select a safe recovery destination. Essentially, any destination that’s not on the same storage device on which the files you’re recovering are located is suitable.
- Back up the recovered files. Now that you have your data back, you should take the steps necessary to prevent further data loss. More specifically, you should back up the recovered data to at least one extra location, such as a cloud storage service.
Common Scenarios That Lead to Data Loss from SanDisk Storage Devices
There’s nothing revolutionary about the concept of prevention being better than cure. Even though SanDisk data recovery software can solve even the most desperate data loss situations (as long as they don’t involve mechanical damage or overwriting), you should still do as much as you can to avoid them, and understanding the most common scenarios that lead to data loss from SanDisk storage devices is a great first step:
|To err is human, and some user errors can lead to data loss. For example, most users have accidentally selected the wrong file when bulk-deleting multiple files in a rush. Fortunately, most user errors can be solved even without SanDisk recovery software because modern operating systems come with many data protection features.
|Formatting gone wrong
|Formatting is a potentially risky operation because you can lose all data just by making one fatal mistake, such as formatting the wrong storage device. As permanent as formatting may seem, the fact is that formatted storage devices are not actually as devoid of data as they seem. It’s just that the space occupied by your files has been marked as empty.
|File system corruption
|Just like an unsupervised toddler can turn a neatly organized stack of documents into a huge mess, a badly programmed software application can do the same with any storage device, causing file system corruption that results in your files not being accessible. In some cases, corrupted devices can be repaired, but you need to use the right repair method otherwise you could make the situation even worse.
|There are many destructive strains of malware that can infect your SanDisk memory card or flash drive and cause data loss. Perhaps the most sinister type of malware that you can encounter is called ransomware, and it can perpetually block access to your files unless you pay a ransom using a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
|While modern storage devices are fairly resilient against magnetic fields, dust, and even moisture, they can still be completely destroyed just by being dropped onto a hard surface or squashed inside a bag. Unfortunately, physical damage can rarely be repaired at home, so it’s best to let data recovery professionals handle it.
As you can see, data loss caused by SanDisk corruption isn’t always permanent. There are many excellent SD & microSD card recovery techniques and tools that can save the day without much effort, and we described those you definitely need to know about in this article.
To recover files from your SanDisk SD card:
- Install SD card recovery software on your computer.
- Scan your SanDisk memory card or flash drive.
- Find & preview lost files.
- Recover your files to a safe destination.
Selecting the best SanDisk SD card recovery software is no easy task because we all have different preferences and priorities. That said, here are the top 3 recovery tools based on our own independent testing:
- Disk Drill (Windows & Mac)
- Recuva (Windows)
- R-Studio (Windows, Mac, Linux)
- EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard (Windows & Mac)
- Stellar Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)
You can quickly and easily recover data from SanDisk Cruzer using Disk Drill:
- Download and install Disk Drill.
- Connect your SanDisk Cruzer to a PC or Mac.
- Launch Disk Drill on the computer you’ve connected the USB flash drive to.
- Select your SanDisk Cruzer in Disk Drill.
- Click Search for lost data.
Both Windows and macOS can fix a corrupted SanDisk SD card without any third party software.
- Launch Command Prompt.
- Enter the following command and press Enter: chkdsk X: /R (make sure to replace X with the letter assigned to the SanDisk SD card you want to fix)
- Wait for CHKDSK to finish.
- Open Finder and go to Applications > Utilities.
- Launch Disk Utility.
- Select your SanDisk SD card in the sidebar and click First Aid.
That depends on what’s wrong with it. If you don’t know, you can go through the following general USB flash drive troubleshooting steps:
- Connect the USB flash drive to a different USB port.
- Scan the USB flash card using CHKDSK in Windows or First Aid in macOS.
- Troubleshoot USB drivers.
- Try accessing the SanDisk USB from a different operating system.
- Format the drive.
You can recover deleted files from any SanDisk USB storage device using data recovery software:
- Download your data recovery application of choice.
- Install the downloaded application on your computer.
- Connect the SanDisk USB to your computer.
- Launch the installed data recovery software.
- Scan the SanDisk USB and recover your data.
In some cases, a broken SanDisk USB flash drive can be fixed, but we don’t recommend you attempt it yourself at home because a single mistake could quickly make data recovery impossible. Instead, hire data recovery professionals to recover your data for you using state-of-the-art equipment.