The ability to capture and store videos instantaneously is something that’s easily taken for granted by many. While many devices may only have internal storage only, many others still rely on SD cards for primary or additional storage.
SD cards are user-friendly, compact, and affordable to the point where you can get one without having to break the bank. Because of their simplicity, they can be found in a whole range of devices, from smartphones to professional-grade cameras and camcorders.
But, what happens when you lose video files from your SD card? Well, in most cases, they can be recovered, even after deletion.
To give yourself the best chance at recovering your video files, refrain from using the SD card until you have read this article, as active use can cause your files to be overwritten, rendering them unrecoverable.
Want to skip the introduction and jump straight to the recovery guide? Click here.
Can I Recover Deleted Videos From my SD Card?
To answer this question, it is necessary to understand how your video files become lost or deleted in the first place. The chances of recovering your videos or footage directly depend on how exactly it was lost. Let’s take a closer look at a few popular scenarios.
😑 Accidental file deletion
Humans make mistakes. In the context of the media stored on an SD card, it could simply be that the files were accidentally deleted. Video files deleted from a memory card are in most cases easily recoverable if they have not been overwritten.
🔃 Formatting of the SD card
When an SD card is formatted, all contents on that card are removed. It’s the more effective alternative to simply selecting all of the files on the card and deleting them. In most cases, formatting is done on a computer. However, some cameras actually have a formatting function built-in, which serves almost the same purpose. But even formatting, especially quick formatting, does not erase video files forever and you still have the possibility to restore them.
⚠️ Memory card corruption
Your memory card can become corrupted for a variety of reasons. In most cases, it’s unavoidable and strikes at random. No matter the reason, you can still recover data from a corrupted memory card using a reliable software tool that can scan SD cards with a damaged or RAW file system.
⏏️ Improper removal from a device
When removing a storage device like an SD card from a device (namely a computer), it’s recommended that you eject the storage media safely rather than simply pulling it out. This is because the storage media could still be in the middle of a read/write action, and removing it can cause file corruption, which makes it difficult to recover because the video file itself may be damaged, not the device.
🔨 Physical damage
As with most electronics, SD cards are susceptible to physical damage. Repeated dropping and mishandling can gradually reduce the integrity of the SD card over time, and cause problems with its reading and writing functions. In such a scenario, DYI methods may not help and you will need to contact a data recovery service.
How to Recover Deleted Videos from SD Card on Windows 10/11
Recovering lost or deleted video files from an SD card can be tricky, so it’s best to use specialized recovery software. There are many options out there, but we recommend using Disk Drill Data Recovery due to its user-friendly interface, proven reliability, and robust functionality. Not only can Disk Drill recover deleted videos on your computer, but it can also help recover deleted videos from external media, like an SD card.
Disk Drill is a freeware product. That means you can download it for free and use the trial period to recover your videos. Should the total size of your videos exceed the free trial limit of 500 MB, you can still use it to verify that your video files are recoverable before you upgrade to PRO.
Before you start, make sure your SD card is not write-protected. If it is, you won’t be able to save anything to the SD card while it’s on your computer. If the card is currently write-protected, flip the switch on the side of your SD card to disable it. You can read more about removing the write protection here.
Step 1. Download and install Disk Drill to your Windows PC
To start, download and install Disk Drill for Windows.
Step 2. Insert the SD card and find it inside Disk Drill
Connect the SD with deleted videos on it to your computer. If your computer doesn’t have a built-in card reader in its case, you can use a USB card reader. Alternatively, you can try connecting the device that uses the SD card to the computer directly to see if Windows allows you to access the SD card through it as a storage device.
Step 3. Initiate the scan
With your SD card connected, select it in Disk Drill, then click on the ‘Search for lost data’ button. Disk Drill will begin its scan.
Step 4. Review the results
At the end of the scan, Disk Drill will display the recoverable files it has discovered on the card. Go through the file list, and select the video files that you’d like to recover by checking the box next to their names.
Step 5. Recover the files
When you’ve selected the files, you can click on ‘Recover’ or ‘Recover all…’ to begin the recovery process. From there, you will need to specify a location where the files can be recovered to. Ideally, the specified recovery location will sit outside of the SD card (like on your computer’s hard drive, or a USB).
How to Recover Deleted Videos from SD Card on Android
Smartphones, particularly those that run Android, are popular for their ability to house SD cards to expand their storage. While not all phones can accept SD cards, there is a good number that can.
If you’ve accidentally deleted videos from the SD card in your phone, there’s a chance that they can still be recovered if you act fast enough.
DiskDigger is an app available on Android that can search for and recover lost photos and videos from your device’s internal memory and SD card. It features similar functionality to Disk Drill but is designed to work directly from your Android smartphone.
In order to recover videos using DiskDigger, your device must have root access. If your device doesn’t have root access, DiskDigger’s basic scan will only be able to detect and recover photos.
Step 1. Install DiskDigger
Install DiskDigger to your smartphone from the Google Play Store.
Step 2. Start a basic scan
Once you open the app, you’ll be met with a few options. Choose ‘Start Basic Photo Scan’ to begin DiskDrill’s scan of your device. Before the scan starts, you will also need to give DiskDigger permission to access your storage, which will appear as a prompt after you start the scan.
Step 3. Review the results
When the scan is complete, you will be met with the files that DiskDigger was able to find on your device (and SD card).
At this point, you can begin going through and selecting the files you’d like to recover by tapping on them.
Step 4. Recover the files
Once you’ve chosen the files you’d like to recover, tap on the ‘Recover’ button. You will be prompted to choose a recovery location. To ensure the files can be recovered safely, it’s suggested that you use a cloud-based platform to store your files, like Google Drive or Dropbox. Otherwise, restore them to your Android device and move them to a different storage media afterward for safekeeping.
If you have access to a PC, you can make use of data recovery software like Disk Drill or DiskDigger for PC to scan and recover the files on your SD card. In order to do so, you will first need to connect the SD card to the computer, either through an SD card reader or by connecting through a media that allows the computer access to the SD card. Once your computer has access to the SD card, you can follow the steps mentioned earlier to select your SD card and attempt recovery.
Recovering Lost Videos from Digital Cameras & GoPros
The great thing about SD cards is that they can be used in a wide range of devices. If you have a camera from Nikon, Sony, Canon or even GoPro, chances are that camera uses an SD card to store photos and videos. Using recovery software, you have a good chance of recovering the files you lost or deleted as long as the camera hasn’t been used since the files were lost.
You can do this by either removing the SD card and connecting it to your computer using an SD card reader, or by connecting your camera directly to the computer as a storage device (applicable to older devices using the UMS (USB Mass Storage) data transfer protocol). Connecting your camera to the computer as a storage device allows recovery software to access the SD card, even though it’s still inside your camera.
Once your SD card is connected to your computer, you can then make use of SD card recovery software to scan and recover the files that were lost or deleted from the SD card.
Keep Your Files Safe
SD cards do a great job of storing your files, but they’re not perfect. They’re still susceptible to physical damage and corruption, and either of these can happen at any moment. Because of that, it’s good to make sure that you’re taking care of the files you store so that in the event of file loss, you’re prepared.
- Backup important media files – Instead of keeping your media files on an SD card exclusively, you can make copies and store them on other media like an external hard drive, or even cloud-based storage like Google Drive or Dropbox.
- Store your SD cards appropriately – If you have multiple SD cards, consider buying a case to organize and house them safely. Otherwise, make sure your SD cards are stored in a space that’s safe from exposure to excessive heat or moisture.
- Safely eject from your computer – Removing your SD card without first safely ejecting it can interrupt the read/write process, causing files to become corrupted.
- If errors appear, stop using the card – If you start having issues with your SD card, stop using it immediately and get any files off the card. Errors are a sign that the SD card is failing, and continued use could cause catastrophic file loss.
Here’s how you can perform an SD card video recovery procedure:
- Download and install Disk Drill.
- Connect your SD card to your computer.
- Select the memory card in the device list and run the scan.
- Preview and mark the files you need to recover.
- Finish the SD card deleted video recovery.
If you don’t have access to a computer, you can use the Android app DiskDigger to recover lost or deleted videos from your SD card. Bear in mind that in order to recover videos, your device needs to have root access.
- Download and install DiskDigger.
- Start a basic scan.
- Review the files that DiskDigger can recover.
- Select the files you’d like to recover and specify an output location.
If you have a Mac, you can recover lost or deleted videos from an SD card using Disk Drill. Otherwise, if Disk Drill doesn’t work out for you, check out the alternatives here.
- Download and install Disk Drill on your Mac.
- Connect your SD card to the computer.
- Start a scan of the card.
- Wait for the scan to complete.
- Select the files you’d like to recover, as well as an output location.
Recovering deleted videos from an SD card can be challenging. Because of this, it’s highly recommended that you use recovery software to get the job done. There’s a large selection of recovery applications out there, each with their respective benefits and drawbacks, though all largely similar in function.
The best applications to recover deleted videos from an SD card are:
Losing video files can be devastating, and at some point or another, it happens to everyone. Luckily, using the above solutions, recovering your files has never been easier thanks to recovery tools like Disk Drill and DiskDigger.
To ensure that your files stay safe from corruption and accidental deletion, it’s good to establish a proactive backup routine. This way, even in the event of file loss, you can get yourself back up and running in no time.
Jordan Jamieson-Mane is a freelance content writer with a passionate interest in technology. Starting from a young age, this interest gradually turned into a career, with Jordan studying in the field of IT and moving into a technical role right out of tertiary education. After gaining first-hand experience in the field, he started his journey as a freelance content writer. As a tech enthusiast, his interests within the realm of technology include hardware, networking, smart technology, and consumer electronics.
Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor for Handy Recovery. Andrey is a software engineer expert with extensive expertise in data recovery, computer forensics, and data litigation. Andrey brings over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair to the team.