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-   -   Unable to read Sandisk 8GB SDHC Card (

hardeepthind Jan 7, 2010 11:10 AM

Unable to read Sandisk 8GB SDHC Card

I have a canon SD790is camera with an 8GB sandisk card. I was recently on holiday, shooting up a storm. Took the SD card out of camera (all was working ok) and put it into the SD/MMC card slot of my sons portable DVD player to show the kids a slide show. After a few seconds, the DVD player gave me a "Bad Card" message on screen. When I put the card back in the canon camera, I got a "Card error" message on screen. SD card would not work on my other canon digicam either. Looks like the portable DVD player did something to the card....

Installed photorec on PC, but it doesn't see the card in the PC's built in reader (neither does windows).

I had seen some previous posts where JimC had helped people with a similar issue.... HELP, cause my wifey is about to do me bodily harm :(


JimC Jan 7, 2010 11:25 AM

Hey Hardeep.

Are you sure the PC's reader will work with a card that size? Many built in readers are only capable of reading 1GB or smaller Secure Digital cards, and some will only work OK with 2GB SD cards. IOW, if you don't have a card reader that specifically supports SDHC cards, your Sandisk card is not going to work in it.

Is it a relatively new PC? Have you used that same card in it before?

JimC Jan 7, 2010 11:31 AM


I moved your post to a thread by itself, so we're not continuing someone elses thread. Let me know if your built in reader has worked with that card in the past as a first step. Then, we'll go from there.

hardeepthind Jan 7, 2010 11:42 AM

Hi Jim,

Thanks for such a quick response! The PC in question is about 2 years old and I have used the card in it previously. That said, the card reader has been giving me issues recently (and I have been uploading pix by connecting PC to camera via USB cable). I will look into getting a new card reader and trying it out. If that also fails, what is my next step?

JimC Jan 7, 2010 11:55 AM

If a different reader won't see the card, I can talk you through downloading a .iso file for a Linux CD with some additional tools on it that may be able to see the card. Basically, you can burn the .iso file to CD and boot into it (the operating system can run from CD).

There's no guarantee that would work. But, I've had good luck with failing cards that Windows utilities could not see in the past using that technique. Basically, I'd copy the card using a utility designed for failing drives known as ddrescue (which creates an image file of the card, without regards to the file system on it, etc.). Then run photorec against the image file (so that it doesn't need to worry about hard read errors if the card has a component issue).

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you'll see posts from me about how that works:

It sounds harder than it is. LOL

Are you in the U.S.? If so, if a different reader doesn't handle it using photorec under Windows, send me a PM with contact info and I can talk you through it. Otherwise, we can try to do it online (I can let you know what commands to run, you can copy and paste what you see, and I can let you know what to do next).

But, hopefully, it's a simple problem (only file system corruption) and using a different reader will allow you to use something like photorec without the need to do anything else.

hardeepthind Jan 8, 2010 7:47 PM

Hi Jim,

Tried a new card reader- no dice. Seems like we have to go the alt/difficult route. Shoot me an email as to when you have time to go thru- I had sent you my email address via PM earlier.


JimC Jan 8, 2010 8:17 PM

No problem. I'll try to talk you through it.

What I'd do first is download the 32 bit version of SimplyMEPIS 8.0.12 from the link in this press release:

Here's the direct link (same one as the press release shows):

Here's an alternative download link from Georgia Tech if that one is too slow from your location:

The latest 8.5 Beta 4 also has the utilities i want to try on it. But, it's still a bit rough around the edges and it would probably be best to stick with the stable 8.0.12 release for now (the stable release is at the download links I posted above):

After you download the .iso file, you'll need to burn it to CD using a tool that knows how to burn a .iso image to CD. Many products do (Roxio, etc.).

If you don't have a tool that knows how to burn the .iso to CD, you can download a free product to do that for you. One free tool is DeepBurner Free. It's the second download link on this page:

When you install Deepburner in Windows and load it, you'll see a "Burn .iso" choice in the popup menu. Browse for the mepis .iso you downloaded and burn it to CD.

What we'll do is boot into it, then log into the distro using username demo, password demo; open a terminal program and issue some commands to figure out how the card is showing up, then mount your Windows partition to have a place to store an image file of the card, and use a tool called ddrescue from command line to make a copy of the card (writing a sector by sector copy to an image file that's a copy of that card). Then, we'll run photorec against that image file to recover any photos in it.

So, I'd go ahead an download the .iso file and burn it to CD for now. It's quite large (around 700MB). But, it's a full featured linux distribution and is more likely to support all of your hardware OK. Then, we can schedule a time for me to call you and talk you through the rest. I'll send you an e-mail now.

JimC Jan 8, 2010 8:43 PM

E-mail sent.

BTW, as an alternative to doing it over the phone, we could simply use the forums to do it (I could let you know what commands to issue, and you could just copy and paste them into a terminal window, then copy and past the results of the commands back into a post here). As long as your hardware is detected OK, you'd be able to use Firefox while we do it (you'll see it in the menus). Or, we could do both at once. That way, it could help others figure out how to handle a similar issue if we can see the card with Linux.

didalee Feb 19, 2010 11:07 PM

Am having same problem and am interested in a walk through of process. Now downloading MEPIS. . . .

didalee Feb 20, 2010 11:29 AM

OK- burning iso file to disk now and just grabbed ddrescue. Could really use a walk through!

My email address is [email protected]

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