I have a SD card that was in my Android phone. Unencrypted. With app data and pictures on it. Then one day it was not recognized anymore and it was empty. I wasn't worried because I have backups but I thought it might be a good possibility to check whether I am able to recover the data. That's why I put the card into the Linux machine of mine (unmounted) and tried a few tools.

dmesg gave me no warnings or errors concerning my SD card (dmesg | grep mmcblk).

First of all I made raw images of it with ddrescue and safecopy. Both with very passive options (ddrescue with -n and safecopy with --stage1). Both made perfect images without any read errors / bad blocks.

sudo ddrescue -n -v /dev/mmcblk0 dr.img dr.log

For further steps I made a copy of the file.

cp dr.img dr_working_copy.img

Then I took testdisk. It was not able to find any ppartitions. Even after the deeper search.

sudo testdisk dr_working_copy.img

Then I used photorec and foremost. Both were not able to find any file.

sudo photorec dr_working_copy.img
sudo foremost -I dr_working_copy.img

The question now is: Am I too stupid to use these tools? Can you confirm that this was a viable attempt to recover files or did I messed up something? And do you have any idea of what could have caused the data to be that damaged that I cannot find it anymore?

  • 2
    These devices fall in the category of non-robust disposable. Probably not much you can do in this case.
    – John
    Sep 17, 2022 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


You did reasonable work to recover the information. But as it is mentioned in comment SD cards are non-reliable disposable storage. Especially if they are used for a lot of write operations. So replace the card and next time keep backup copy (on different storage) of valuable information.

Of course you can go to some data recovery company but this can cost you good amount of money. This is the moment you should ask yourself: how much time/money I am ready to spend for recovering this information.

And one more recommendation: don't be tempted to format it and use it again. Because the fail (again) may surprise you this time more badly. I throw SD cards for my photocamera on first fail. I value my photos more than single SD card.

  • 1
    Alternatively look for a reputable data recovery company. Not cheap, no guarantees, but they can disassemble & pick data off surviving components if you pay them enough. …and as already warned, nothing on an SD card is a "backup" it's a disposable data carrier & should never be the only repository for any data you don't consider temporary.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 17, 2022 at 13:49
  • 1
    @Tetsujin, right. In this moment the question is: now much time/money the OP is ready to spend about recovering this information. Sep 17, 2022 at 13:59
  • 1
    I know the OP said the data was backed up, so it's probably just a case of a short flight into the bin. Not worth fighting ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 17, 2022 at 14:14
  • 1
    Thank you for your explanation:-)
    – stev-e
    Sep 18, 2022 at 7:33
  • 1
    @stev-e, such cards often fail due to firmware / translator issues. LBA addresses are mapped to PBA addresses using a 'table'. I do not mean FAT, I mean at firmware level. If this table or translator is corrupted controller may return zeros whatever LBA you read. Have you used a disk editor and verify you see any data at all (rather than 00 00 00 or FF FF FF etc.)? Oct 18, 2022 at 17:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .