How to fix a damaged SD card on an Android phone without losing any data

How to repair a damaged SD card on an Android phoneHave you ever gotten that mildly heartbreaking “SD card damaged / You may have to reformat it” message on your Android phone? Alas, I’ve seen it quite a few times on my HTC Desire.

I don’t know if it’s the actual device that causes the error, my 16GB SD card or even Android itself. I’m starting to think that the green bot is to blame, because every time I’ve received the “SD card damaged” message on my Android phone, I’ve been able to put the “damaged” memory card in an old Symbian or WinMo device, and it has worked just fine. Here’s how you hopefully can fix a broken SD card on Android without losing any precious data.

The (likely) solution in one sentence: put the SD card in another phone (or a memory card reader), connect it to your computer as a disk drive, run a Windows disk check on it, backup its contents and then put the memory card back in your Android phone. Voilà!

1) Make sure the SD card is connected

First of all, try to simply take out your SD card, put it back in and then start your device and check if Android recognizes it. This will likely not fix the issue, but since it would be the quickest solution, it’s worth a try.

2) Put the card in another phone

If the above didn’t help, find one of your old phones, or use a friend’s, that supports the SD card in question. Now take the allegedly damaged memory card, put it in the other device and connect it to your computer in mass storage mode (mount it). If you have a memory card reader with a USB interface, you can of course use that instead.

If your SD card really is damaged, it may not work in the other phone either. But every time Android has complained about my SD card being broken, it has worked flawlessly in a Symbian or WinMo device. So chances are that will be the case for you as well.

3) Scan the SD card for errors

If you now can access the SD card via your computer, use your operating system’s tools to scan the memory card for errors. On Windows XP, this is done by right-clicking on the SD card in the file manager, then clicking Properties > Tools > Error-checking > Check Now. Under Check disk options, select the “Automatically repair errors in the file system” check box and click Start. Your computer will try to fix all potential errors in the file system.

4) Make a backup

If you want to make sure that you won’t lose any data, then make a backup of your SD card by copying its contents to your computer’s hard drive. If a certain file cannot be copied for whatever reason, there’s a slight chance it may be to blame for the Android hiccup. If it’s not a terribly important file, delete it from your SD card.

5) Put the SD card back in your Android, hope for the best

Now put the SD card back in your Android phone again, and hopefully it will work fine now. If it doesn’t, then at least you have a backup of it now, and you can let Android format the card. Restore the backup from your computer later, and everything will be back to normal.

Ideally, there would be an app that can fix what Android believes to be a damaged file system straight from your phone. Do you know any more ways to fix a damaged SD card? Feedback is appreciated.
  • Lynn

    Still says “Damaged SD card”. Please help! I don’t want to lose my data. Can someone please help me!

  • disqus_eCV84uBzBO

    i can’t scan my sd card on my computer!! plz someone helps me ! i don’t wonna loose my data :(