Memory comes in many different forms and fashion. When digital cameras were first produced they came with a type of memory that was installed on a chip, about as wide as two fingers. This fast, reliable form of data storage soon began being used not only in cameras but in phones and other multimedia devices. Eventually, the original issue of these SD cards began to fail and users were faced with the conundrum of either buying a new one or trying to recover data from the old one. Many users of cameras of that golden era had pictures stored on their camera’s SD card when it went bad and deeded the information on it recovered. Eventually, software manufacturers picked up on the need for recovery and a plethora of recovery software became available, ranging in price from free to relatively expensive, depending on how attached to the data on your card. As we explore the recovery of data on SD cards, we should first take a look at how long these cards last.
Expected Life Span of an SD card
An SD card is usually expected to have a regular operating life of just under 2 years reliably. Every day after that two year mark means taking a chance on the operating fidelity of the card. Now as this is an average figure, it is not impossible for an SD card to last in excess of five years. Depending on how often the card is used and what sort of condition it’s kept in, it can easily outlive the two-year limit on the average life expectancy. SD Cards usually become most optimal a few weeks after their initial activation. In the case of most storage medium, the amount of time the medium exists usually affects the fidelity of the data on the disc. An SD card is significantly different from regular storage medium. The longevity of an SD card depends mostly on how often data is erased and rewritten to the card. It explains why professional photographers tend to have to replace their cards every few months. With every write cycle, the card becomes a little more “used”. Write-cycle technology built into the card makes it possible to have a card lasting for many years, because writing is spread across the entire capacity of the card and not focused on wearing out one particular block. This is termed ‘wear leveling’.
Possible Causes of SD Card Failure
Although the card does have a possibility of being worn down through consecutive write cycles, it is not the only way that the SD card can fall victim to data failure and corruption. Most of the other cases have to do with the physical housing of the card or corrosion on the pins that form the interface between the hardware and the card. The SD card is housed in plastic and if this plastic is exposed to large amounts of heat and humidity it can become brittle and crack or break, making it unsuitable for use in any hardware medium. The pins that are used for interfacing the card with the devices can also be corroded due to high humidity or oxidation in the atmosphere. These situations usually lead to the actually card being inaccessible and so the data contained therein can be counted as a lost cause.
SD Card Recovery Options
Recovery options for an SD card containing photos can vary. Prices on software that is designed to recover card information vary greatly. Many of these are able to recover cards that have basic read/write memory problems or problems in their formatting. Information on these discs can be directly removed and saved on another storage device to maintain its usability, should the SD card fail completely. However, these software solutions are of no help when there is a physical defect in the card or if the card’s partition information is missing or damaged. In such a case the best idea would be to approach recovery specialists such as eProvided. These specialists can guarantee that the info on the card is retained, even though the card itself may end up unusable. SD card recovery can be a very simple procedure if the card is readable. However, when the card becomes unreadable, the only way to recover the data is to consult an expert.
Through the march of technology, there have been massive advances in compact storage solutions. Ten years ago, it was expected that the average size of an SD card would be about 128MB to 256MB. Currently, SD cards span up to 128 GB of information, a thousand times the storage size of ten years ago. This introduces another problem to having long-living SD cards. As we advance in the electronic age, older discs will become less and less relevant as they cannot support the size of data that new devices would be able to produce. In this sense, it may be better to let your old SD card die, after you remove the data that you already have on it and trade it in for a better model. It’ll save you the hassle of data recovery and it’ll keep you abreast of current technology at the same time.