Top 5 Free SD Card Recovery and Clone Software Tools

1 Recover an SD Card

If you deleted photos from an SD card mistakenly or formatted a card inadvertently, or some pictures on the SD card missed for any reason, you may need to find an SD Card Recovery software to recover the lost files from the SD card.

CardRecovery software from WinRecovery Software is the leading SD Card Recovery software to recover deleted files from SD card or files lost due to other reasons.

Both Windows and Mac versions are available. Other SD card recovery software includes Rescue Pro Software, PhotoRec Software.

SD Card Recovery Features

  • Recover deleted photos & videos from SD cards
  • Recover lost photos & video from formatted memory cards
  • Recover images and video files from smartphone SD card
  • Recover lost photos & videos from corrupted SD card
  • Recovers from Encrypted SD card
  • Repairs your corrupted Photos and video files.

This SD card recovery software will not work if the card is physically broken or is cracked.

Do not try to recover data by any unauthorized software. This may lead to permanent deletion of data; beyond recovery.

DIY SD card recovery software works best in the following data loss scenarios

  • Photos that have been deleted accidentally from SD card.
  • Photos lost due to formatting or "Deleted ALL" operation.
  • Data corruption due to a card being pulled out while the digital camera is on.
  • Data loss when shifting the SD card between different devices (computer/cameras)
  • Data loss due to turning the camera off during write/read process
  • Data loss due to SD card bad sectors
  • Virus-infected data loss

2 Flash an SD Card

When you need to save a system to a Raspberry Pi SD card, or similar device, direct copy does not work. You need a tool to flash the operating system image file to an SD card.

balena Etcher is a software tool to flash OS images to SD cards and flash drives. Etcher is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Emerging flash memory card specifications

The nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) protocol is a specification that permits an SSD to exploit the PCIe bus. NVMe operates at the host controller to define the command set and feature set needed to streamline the I/O stack. The aim is to enable PCIe-based SSDs to deliver low latency, higher throughput, and to consume less power when compared to SAS or SATA SSDs.

The nonprofit NVM Express Inc. is developing the NVMe over Fabrics industry specification to enable the NVMe storage interface to transfer data commands via Ethernet, FC, InfiniBand, and other network fabrics.

3 Format an SD Card

To use a new SD card in cameras, phones, or other devices, it is better to format it first, otherwise, the SD card maybe not supported by the new device, or it does not work in the best performance. It is recommended to use the SD Memory Card Formatter to format SD Cards rather than using formatting tools provided with Windows or Mac OS.

SD Memory Card Formatter

Formatting is the process to create a new file system on the disk, memory card, or flash drives.

Common File Systems:

  • NTFS: NTFS is the file system that Windows uses by default.
  • HFS+: The Hierarchical File System is usually the main file system used by macOS.
  • APFS: It is an Apple file system developed as a replacement for HFS+, with a focus on flash drives, SSDs, and encryption. It is used in the new iPhone OS.
  • FAT32, exFAT: FAT32, and exFAT are the popular and standard file systems used by digital cameras and portable devices.
  • EXT 2, 3, & 4: The extended file systems (EXT) are usually used by Linux.

4 Check an SD Card


There are fake SD cards in the market, e.g. you bought a 128 GB SD card but actually, it is a 16 GB Card with faked labels. If you use it in a digital camera, the card of course stores much fewer photos and videos, it may also cause data loss and your valuable photos may be lost.

You may need a tool to test and detect fake or counterfeit SD cards, or perhaps you just want to test an older storage device for errors and problems. H2Testw is a freeware tool designed to test the card capacity, read/write speed of an SD card, or scan and check for errors.

5 Clone an SD Card

Sometimes, you may need to make an extra copy of an SD Card for backup or another purpose. Win32 Disk Imager is a Windows tool for reading data from an SD card and writing to an image file, also, it can be used to write an image file to an SD card.

You may first use it to create an image file from a “Master” SD card, then write the image back to a different SD card to complete the SD card clone.

Important note: flashing, formatting or some SD card cloning and checking tool will wipe the data on the SD completely. So please use those tools carefully.

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