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Unreadable Micro SD

Discussion of forensic issues related to all types of mobile phones and underlying technologies (GSM, GPRS, UMTS/3G, HSDPA, LTE, Bluetooth etc.)
Subforums: Mobile Telephone Case Law
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Senior Member

Unreadable Micro SD

Post Posted: Nov 07, 15 00:26

One of our guys just got a SW signed on a Kyocera Model C6730. The phone has a 4 digit passcode which we don't have. The only thing they want off the phone is the images so I figure I would try looking at the Micro SD card.

The card is a PNY Micro SD HC 8GB

I've placed the card in several adapters, but when I do the computer I plug the adapter into does not appear to recognize the drive. I do get an audible sound, but nothing pops up and if I go to "Computer" there is nothing visible as far as an additional drive.

I know that the adapters work because I have plugged other cards into them to confirm they work.

The people that owned the phone that this card came out of didn't seem to be all that tech savvy so I am sort of at a loss as to what could be going on.

First off I guess the card itself could be bad? However, when I look at it I cant see any cracks or delamination.

Im also wondering if the issue of the phone having a passcode could have locked down the card? If it had I'm still thinking that if it were placed in an adapter and plugged into a USB port it should atleast be recognized?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

I'm not a cellular technology expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. 

Senior Member

Re: Unreadable Micro SD

Post Posted: Nov 07, 15 00:37

Well, what makes you think that the device is partitioned with a set of partition ID's (or filesystems or both) that Windows will recognize and auto-mount (thus attributing to it/them drive letter(s))?
I am assuming you are using a Windows of some kind from your description of the drive not appearing in "Computer".

First thing check what disk manager sees on it, but even bettter check manually with a hex disk editor if the first sector is a MBR (likely) or a PBR or *something else*.

You might want to open the device as Physicaldrive with a tool *like* DMDE:
that has some good algorithms to find volumes (independently from the Windows Mount Manager) and can read some additional filesystems such as Ext2/3/4.
Much better would be if you make an image (forensic sound" or "dd-like") of the physicaldrive and work on the image.

- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is. - 

Senior Member

Re: Unreadable Micro SD

Post Posted: Nov 07, 15 17:40

Have you tried viewing in a Linux environment? Every now and then we see these cheap micro SD cards which do not function in Windows 7, but will be seen in Linux Ubuntu. You could try Sumuri Paladin?  

Senior Member

Re: Unreadable Micro SD

Post Posted: Nov 09, 15 00:50

I am tempted to think the card has failed physically. If a corrupted, or as Jaclaz suggests a nonstandard file system, windows normally offers to reformat the device. If this chip is dead, this option is not normally seen.

Get some software that will allow you view a raw sector and see if the chip can be accessed and read.

If readable, software might help you, if not you will need to contact a company that can handle Micro SD chips - not a trival task, but possible.
Michael Cotgrove

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