Need to recover data on an SD card or hard drive? Try Data Rescue 5


I had a student come to me the other day with a problem, they had formatted their SD card with all their photos and wondered if there was any way to get it back.

This wasn’t the first time in 20 years I’ve gotten the question. I’ve gotten it on an annual basis for years since we switched to digital cameras.

While I knew there were recovery tools out there, for some reason I just had never prioritized researching them to find one that would work.

For whatever reason, the spirit moved me this time to find a program that I could download for staffers to use if they needed to try and recover files.

I reached out to some other advisers and tech friends and landed on giving Data Rescue 5 a try after some solid recommendations. The program works with Mac and Windows.

While I was hesitant to fork over $70 for a program, I trusted those who recommended it and figured if it could save a few tears and some stress, it would pay for itself quickly.

Editor’s Note to everyone: Don’t use your SD card as the only place to save your files. The files can become corrupted. The SD card can get lost. The card can get formatted accidentally. 

I took the student’s SD card. She had formatted the card thinking it was empty, but actually it had a few different assignments on it that were nowhere else.

I went ahead and had Data Rescue 5 do a scan of the SD card for any files it could find. Much to my surprise, a few hours later, I was able to recover all the missing files the student lost.

While I’ve only had a need for it once, it is 1/1 in recovering data and one of the assignments was something that could not be reshot. So, it was worth it. And maybe, I’ll have a chance to make the application worth itself again down the road. Hopefully, I won’t have a need for it, but odds are I will.

For those who have used data recovery software before, what have you used and what kind of success have you seen? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 26th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He is the 2023 JEA Teacher Inspiration Award Winner and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on X and Instagram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

Aaron Manfull has 865 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull

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