Summary: A memory card is a flash storage device used for storing photos, media files, and any other data. They are solid state (that is no moving parts) and used in smartphones, tablets, cameras, and drones. Standard-size cards measure 32 x 24 x 2.1 mm. They may be SDC (up to 2 GB), SDHC (from 2 to 32 GB) or SDXC (> 32 GB). There is a micro form factor that measures 15 × 11 x 2.1 mm.
FAT32 is a file system. It is an acronym for File Allocation Table for 32-bit. Though Windows likes to use NTFS and Mac XFS partitions, the advantage of FAT32 is that the memory card can be read by both Windows and Mac desktops and laptops.
Android devices and Android fork devices (e.g. Fire Stick) can also read FAT32, making it truly platform independent. Needless to say, most users prefer to use FAT32 when formatting their memory cards.
5 Proven Methods for FAT32 SD Card Recovery
Use Stellar Photo Recovery Software
You can lose valuable data on a FAT32 SD card for multiple reasons, including:
1. Download Stellar Photo Recovery Software from here
2. Install on your desktop or laptop
3. Run the software
4. Select the drive and click Scan
5. Preview the image or video file
6. Use Deep Scan to locate files you cannot see
7. Click Recover and save the retrieved files to a storage device
To activate the stellar photo recovery software, you need to purchase a licensed version from the official website. This photo recovery software is available for 1-month, 1-year, and 2-year license versions.
CHKDSK is an inbuilt tool to repair file systems.
Use a card reader to attach the memory card to the PC.
Note the drive letter, e.g. E of the memory card
Type CMD in Windows search box
Right-click and select “Run as administrator”
In the window that opens, type CHKDSK E: /f/r
Hit Enter and the process will start.
Windows will now try to find and repair faults in the file system. If the memory card has a lot of files, it might take several hours to complete the task.
A driver is software that lets hardware interact with the operating system. A memory card is a plug-and-play device. It carries no special driver (inside the original packaging). The operating system provides the driver.
Search for Control Panel
Click on Hardware & Sound
Click on Device Manager
Expand Disk Drives
Select the FAT 32 memory card
Right-click and select Uninstall > OK
Remove the memory card
Restart the PC
Insert the memory card and wait for the driver to reinstall
Remember not to uninstall the wrong storage by mistake. It might disconnect or corrupt the boot drive.
Formatting removes old data and wipes a drive clean. It also establishes a partition type.
Insert the FAT32 memory card into the card reader.
Formatting takes a few seconds. But if you don’t tick the Quick Format, it might take an hour. Quick Format does not actually delete data but rewrites the File Table and Master Boot Record.
Assign a new drive letter
When you connect the SD card to the PC it automatically assigns a drive letter. If you want you can assign a new drive letter and try to access the memory card.
Right-click on the Start button
Click Disk Management and the console will open
Select the memory card and right click
Click Change Drive Letters And Paths
Click and change the drive letter
Do not use A, B (reserved for floppy disks), and C (reserved for systems drive)
Do not use any letter already in use by another drive or partition
Close Disk Management
How Does FAT32 Memory Card Become Corrupt?
Back from a trip to Himachal, you connect your memory card to the laptop. Time to share pictures of your trip on Facebook. But the card does not respond. There are many reasons why a FAT32 SD card can become corrupt.
1. OS Issues
Android devices add system folders to your card. Attaching it to Windows or Mac devices can cause corruption. Anytime memory cards migrate between different operating systems, there is a possibility of corruption.
2. Logical Issues
Files may have been accidentally deleted.
You may have mistakenly formatted the card.
3. Physical Issues
The card might have been damaged.
There might be moisture inside the card.
The connectors might have been bent.
Removing the card when the card is in use (e.g. transferring 5 GB of images to a laptop) can also cause corruption. Corruption does not mean the data has disappeared. Usually, corruption means the File Table no longer has an address for the files being sought. The data is intact and you can recover data from a FAT32 memory card. Not to worry. Stellar Photo Recovery Software can easily set right almost all problems with a memory card (except where the card has been physically damaged).
Use the free trial version to scan and preview the deleted material. Easy to use and highly affordable, Stellar Photo Recovery Software is the best solution for data recovery from a corrupt FAT32 memory card.
Watch How to Recover Deleted Photos and Videos with the help of Stellar Data Recovery Software:
Vandita Jain is a Technology Writer at Stellar. She is a Tech enthusiast, holding one+ year of experience in Data Recovery domain. She loves researching and providing DIY solutions and tips & tricks to solve Windows technical issues. Besides, she enjoys traveling and trekking.