Troubleshooting microSD card issues

In the early days of digital cameras, memory cards were very expensive, and many cameras had internal storage areas for storing photos. Fast forward a few decades, and memory cards are cheap and easy to use. But that doesn't mean they never fail. For example, you may have problems with your microSD card. Fortunately, many of these problems can be easily solved with these simple tips.

First, a quick explanation of these tiny storage devices. Memory cards are typically slightly larger than postage stamps and can store hundreds or thousands of photos.

Therefore, any problem with the memory card can be a one wants to lose all their photos.

There are many different types of memory cards used in cameras today, but the most popular memory card model is the Secure Digital model, often called SD.

In the SD model, there are three different sizes of memory cards:

  • SD (maximum)
  • microSD (medium size)
  • miniSD (the smallest card).

SD model cards also come in different formats, including the SDHC format, which allows you to store more data and transfer data faster.

Although most digital cameras use SD memory card sizes, small digital cameras can sometimes use microSD memory cards. Smartphone cameras also tend to use microSD cards.

Use these tips to troubleshoot microSD and microSDHC memory cards.

  1. Carry a hard plastic container or sleeve with you and always keep your microSD card inside so it can be easily found later. One of the biggest problems when using a microSD-sized memory card is misplacing it. Securing it in a container will help you keep track of it.

    If you regularly toss your memory card in your camera bag or tuck it into your pocket when you're done with it, you'll probably lose this little card at some point.

  2. Check if there is a problem with the camera's battery. If your microSD memory card is occasionally having trouble recording certain photos, it may not have anything to do with the card at all. Conversely, if the battery drains all of its charge while copying the photo, you'll lose it.

  3. Keep your camera battery full. Having a fully charged battery is especially important when shooting video, as it takes the camera longer to write video data to a microSD card than it does for still images. Low battery power may eventually lead to microSD card write errors.

  4. Place the microSD carefully. For microSD cards, you typically insert the card into a card sleeve or adapter for use with a card-reading device designed for larger SD-type cards. Make sure the microSD card is always inserted correctly into the adapter. If the card is not installed tightly, it can come loose when you insert the adapter, get stuck inside the device and cause serious problems.

  5. Only use compatible microSD. Sometimes, when using microSD adapters, you find that not all adapters are compatible with all microSD cards. In this case, your computer may read that the adapter is plugged in, but may not be able to access the data on the card. Try another adapter or see if any newer software drivers are available for the adapter you have.

    If this happens, do not reformat the card (even if your computer asks you to format it) because formatting will delete all data on the microSD card.

  6. Keep in mind that some microSDHC cards cannot be read by devices designed to use microSD cards. Although microSDHC and microSD cards are similar in shape and size, the newer microSDHC format is not always compatible with microSD devices. You may also find that by downloading the latest version of the camera's firmware, the manufacturer may have added support for microSDHC.

  7. If necessary, reformat the card. If you receive an error message stating that the directory or file cannot be created, you may need to reformat the microSD card. However, first copy all the files to your computer. Then reformat the device to FAT32.

    When you perform this step, remember that reformatting the card will delete all data on it.

  8. Use data recovery tools. If you accidentally deleted photo files from your microSD card, you can sometimes use a data recovery service or data recovery software to recover them.

    Be sure to try data recovery as soon as possible after an accidental deletion to give yourself the best chance of success.