How to Restore Deleted Files from a Memory Card

Close-Up Of Memory Cards On Paper

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If you use a memory card such as a MicroSD in your MP3 player / PMP to store your songs on, you might think they are safer than on a hard disk or CD. While it is true that flash memory (including USB drives) is more robust, the files on them can still be deleted (accidentally or otherwise). The file system used on a memory card can also become corrupted -- e.g., a power cut during a read/write operation could cause the card to become unreadable. If you find that you need to restore media that has vanished, then this memory card rescue tutorial will show you how to try and get your files back.

Restoring a Deleted Song

  1. Download PC Inspector Smart Recovery and plug your portable device (containing your memory card) into your computer. Alternatively, insert the flashcard into a card reader if you have one.
  2. If you are running PC Inspector Smart Recovery on a version of Windows higher than XP, you might need to run it in compatibility mode. To access this feature, right-click the program's icon on the desktop and choose the Compatibility menu tab. Once you have run the program, you need to ensure the media format list is up-to-date, click the Update menu tab and choose Update Format list.
  3. In the Select a Device section use the drop-down menu to choose your MP3 player, portable device, camera, or flash card (if plugged into a card reader).
  4. In the Select Format Type section, choose the type of media you want to search for. For example, if you have lost MP3 files on your memory card, then choose this option from the list. There are also other audio and video formats to choose from like MP4, WMA, WAV, JPG, AVI, 3GP, and more.
  5. Click the button in section 3 to choose a location for the recovered files. It is advisable to choose a separate location such as your computer or an external hard drive so you don’t overwrite data on your card. Type in a name for your recovered files or accept the default. Click Save when done.
  6. If you need to recover files that are larger than 15Mb (e.g. audiobooks, podcasts, videos, etc.), then click the File menu tab and select Settings. Enter a large value (full size of your card will suffice) in the field next to Limit the Size of Recoverable Files. Click OK.
  7. Click Start to begin scanning. This stage will take quite a long time on a large memory card so you might want to go get a coffee and come back!
  8. Once the process has completed, go to your destination folder to see what has been recovered. If the results are disappointing, you can try a more aggressive recovery method. To do this, click the File menu tab and select Settings. Click the radio button next to the Intensive Mode option and click OK. Click the Start button again to see if your files are recovered this time.

What You Need

  • Flash memory card
  • PC Inspector Smart Recovery software
  • Free space on your computer's hard drive or another external storage device