My SD memory card is corrupted. What can I do to fix it?

I’ve tried to use the camera to format it but it wont even recognize the card at all. I own a Nikon D90 and it displays an error with the letters "CHA," and it states "This memory card cannot be used. Card may be damaged. Insert another card."

I’ve tried putting the card into my computer’s memory card reader slot or insert the card into an external reader, and both times a window pops up telling me the disk needs to be formatted before it can be used. When I select to format it windows tells me it is unable to complete the format.

I’ve also tried many recovery utilities and still no progress.. Some utilities I have used are:

Driver Restore Professional
Panasonic SD Formatter

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  1. Curious says:


    SD and SDHC cards are so inexpensive you can cheaply buy replacements.

    One thing to keep in mind (that may be part of your problem) – do not delete pictures you’ve offloaded to computer from the card while it is still in the computer. Copy and paste from the card to your computer’s hard drive. Then, remove the SD/SDHC card, put it back in your camera, and delete or reformat in the camera (once you’ve ensured the pics did indeed transfer to your hard drive).

    But, just a tip, because it’s easy for memory cards to fail don’t store your pics on them. At the end of each "shooting day" offload your pics to a computer and back up those files too. Ensure that you don’t lose special memories. I personally wouldn’t rely on CDs as my backup medium because they can easily fail too. I recommend an external hard drive and/or Web-based options.

    Good luck.

  2. insider says:

    Since you are trying to format it, I gather there are no pictures you wish to recover.
    Throw the card. Buy new.

    They’re cheap enough…
    Your pictures depend on a reliable card.

    EDIT *******************************************

    CHA means that the camera has had a problem writing to the card. In this case, as you can’t use an external device either, it’s the card. Check that the contacts on the card are clean and bright. It’s possible that finger oil can be insulating them from the tiny voltages used.

  3. fhotoace says:

    Cards can become corrupted for many reasons, chiefly when the user is in the habit of filling the card and then to make more room, delete certain images.

    This is the work flow that will help prevent this in the future.

    * at the end of the day, copy all the image files from the memory card to the computer
    * once they are safely on the computer, format the memory card using the format feature on the camera.
    * do NOT try to format the card using your computer. 1) the computer will not add the necessary file folders for your card to work in your camera and 2) Mac uses a totally different formatting scheme than digital cameras (in fact once a card has been initialized by a Mac, it is toast

    Formatting a card using the cameras formatting tool is the way to assure good performance from the card for many, many years.

    The utility that has worked best for me when doing recovery tests is Lexar’s Rescue4

    Since SD and SDHC cards have exposed electrical contacts, many times sticky fingers can leave deposits on those contacts, making the card unusable.

    MOST memory cards have at least a five or ten year warranty, some lifetime.

    Until you can recover the images on the damaged card, use one of your other cards. Cards are so inexpensive now, carrying a spare in your pocket is a good plan.

    Here is a 4-pack of 2 gb cards … a good start for under $15

  4. ffung898 says:

    no one fix SD card, you just replace it with a new one. it’s surely cheaper to get a new one than repair it.

  5. keerok says:

    You don’t fix memory cards. You replace it.

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