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GoPro SD Card Error: How to Fix It and Recover Your Data?

GoPro SD Card Error: How to Fix It and Recover Your Data?

Having used my GoPro extensively for all my action-packed adventures, I’ve encountered my share of SD card errors. From cards appearing full to corrupted data, I’ve seen it all. Navigating these issues can be frustrating, especially when you’re worried about losing irreplaceable footage. GoPro cameras can experience SD card errors. These errors can be caused by improper formatting, incompatible cards, or write protection. An effective tool that has come to my rescue is Disk Drill, a powerful data recovery software. In this how-to guide, I’ll walk you through understanding why these errors occur and how you can recover your precious data with Disk Drill. Also, for an understanding of common SD card errors, be sure to check out resources that detail these challenges.


Common Scenarios:

Card Full Error 🚫

  • One frequent scenario is when the SD card in your GoPro displays that it’s full, despite the fact that you have just deleted files or know that it should have space available.
  • This could be due to the card’s directory file not updating correctly after file deletion, causing the GoPro to misread the storage space.
  • Another possibility is fragmented files taking up space in the background without your knowledge.

Corrupted SD Card 😵

  • Another familiar issue I’ve confronted is the SD card corruption error. This often happens after an abrupt power loss while the GoPro is writing to the card, or when the card is ejected without properly turning off the camera first.
  • Bad sectors on the SD card can also lead to corruption, as they prevent certain areas of the card from being read or written.

Format Error 😖

  • A Format Error, displayed as ‘SD ERR’ on the GoPro, can happen if the SD card is improperly formatted or not formatted for the camera’s file system, often required to be FAT32 or exFAT.
  • Using an incompatible or counterfeit card that cannot keep up with the GoPro’s write speeds can also cause this error.

Step-by-Step Guide. Gopro Sd Card Error:

Method 1: Check GoPro’s Compatibility List 📑

  • Ensure your SD card is compatible with your GoPro by consulting the official GoPro SD card compatibility list. Using an unsupported card is a leading cause of errors.
  • If your card is not on the list, replace it with one that is. Verified cards generally provide better performance and stability.

Note: This step won’t recover data but can prevent future issues.

Conclusion: Compatibility is key to avoiding SD card errors.

Method 2: Disk Drill Recovery Software 🔄

  • Download and install Disk Drill for your operating system.
  • Connect your faulty GoPro SD card to your computer using a card reader.
  • Launch Disk Drill, select your SD card from the list and click ‘Recover’ to begin the scanning process.
  • Once the scan is complete, review the recoverable files, select the ones you wish to restore, and click ‘Recover’ to save them to a new location on your computer.

Note: Do not save the recovered files back onto the same SD card, as this may overwrite data and render some files irrecoverable.

Conclusion: Disk Drill is a user-friendly and effective tool for data recovery from GoPro SD cards.

Method 3: Reformat the SD Card 🛠

  • If your GoPro prompts a format error, first attempt to format the SD card in the GoPro itself. This often resolves the issue and makes the card usable again.
  • If the camera cannot format the card, use a computer to perform the format with the correct file system (FAT32/exFAT).
  • Ensure to backup any wanted files before formatting, as this process will erase all data.

Note: This step will not recover data but can fix format errors.

Conclusion: Properly formatting the SD card is crucial for functionality and should resolve format errors.

Method 4: GoPro’s Built-in Error Correction 🛁

  • When facing card full or corrupted errors, power up the GoPro with the affected SD card inside. Sometimes, the GoPro’s firmware can identify and fix simple file system errors on its own.
  • This step is easy and convenient as an initial troubleshooting measure.

Note: This method may not solve more severe corruption issues.

Conclusion: Utilizing GoPro’s error correction feature is a great first-line solution.

Method 5: Check Disk Utility on Windows 🖥

  • To tackle errors without data recovery software, Windows users can utilize the built-in Check Disk utility (chkdsk).
  • Plug the GoPro SD card into your PC, then open ‘This PC’, right-click on the SD card, select ‘Properties’, click on the ‘Tools’ tab, and under the ‘Error checking’ section, click ‘Check.’
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to let the utility check and repair file system errors.

Note: This process does not guarantee data recovery but can fix certain errors on the SD card.

Conclusion: The Check Disk utility is a handy tool for error checking and can resolve some SD card issues.


Precautions and Tips:

Safeguard Your Memories 🛡

  • Always power off your GoPro before removing the SD card to prevent data corruption.
  • Regularly back up your GoPro footage to other storage devices or cloud services.
  • Use high-quality SD cards that meet GoPro’s recommended speed class to avoid errors and data loss.
  • For extensive information on preventing data loss, understand the importance of SD card speed classes and their impact on performance.

Keeping Your Data Safe

Preserving the footage captured on GoPro cameras means safeguarding the SD card that holds these precious memories. Data loss is far more preventable than one might think, and with the correct practices, your exhilarating adventures’ records can be kept intact.

To bolster data security, familiarize yourself with handling practices. Simple habits such as safely ejecting the card from your computer, avoiding exposing the card to extreme temperatures, and keeping it in a protective case can make a significant difference in preserving its lifespan.

Knowing how to properly store and maintain your SD card is also crucial. For example, keep the card away from magnetic fields and static electricity, as these can corrupt data.

For those who want to know more about the technical aspects, including file systems and formatting, the SD Association offers a wealth of information. Understanding these concepts can give you a better grasp on how to manage SD card health and recover data when necessary.

Another beneficial action is to regularly format your SD card within your GoPro, which can extend its life and keep it performing optimally. Just make sure to save all desired files beforehand.

In instances where data is lost, don’t panic. Solutions like Disk Drill and other methods I’ve discussed hold the potential to retrieve what was believed to be gone. Always remember, prompt action can often be the difference between a lost memory and a saved one.


To sum up, GoPro SD card errors like a card appearing full, corrupted data, or format errors can be overcome with the right approach and tools. Understanding what causes these issues is half the battle. Recovering your data, should an error occur, is possible with software such as Disk Drill and built-in utilities provided by your operating system.

While these steps are formidable in addressing and fixing common GoPro SD card problems, the best defense is always a good offense. Take preventative measures by using compatible, high-quality SD cards, regularly backing up your data, and adhering to proper storage and maintenance practices. This way, you’ll ensure your GoPro is ready to capture all the action without the interruption of unintended data loss.

Lastly, if you find yourself in need of further reading on data protection and SD card care, don’t hesitate to delve into sources that offer in-depth understanding of these subjects. By being informed and ready, you can focus on capturing your next adventure with peace of mind, knowing your footage is secure.


Typical signs include error messages like 'SD ERR' on the camera screen, inability to save or read files, and intermittent camera freezing.

First, try ejecting and reinserting the SD card. If that fails, connect the card to a computer and attempt file recovery using data recovery software.

Yes, GoPro recommends using UHS Speed Class 1 (U1) or UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) SD cards with a minimum V30 rating for optimal performance.

Formatting the card in-camera ensures compatibility and can help to prevent file system errors that could lead to SD card issues.

Yes, updating the GoPro's firmware can fix bugs and compatibility issues that may cause SD card problems. Always ensure your firmware is current.

Contact GoPro's customer support or visit the official GoPro Support Hub for further guidance regarding persistent SD card issues.

Absolutely, counterfeit or faulty SD cards may not meet the required speed and capacity standards, leading to errors when used with GoPro cameras.

If the card repeatedly causes errors, fails to format, or has physical damage, it's time to replace it with a new, compatible SD card.

Use recommended SD cards, keep the camera's firmware updated, and safely eject the card from devices to minimize the risk of corruption.

Refer to the official GoPro website for a list of recommended microSD cards that are tested for use with GoPro cameras.