SD card not recognized: how to repair

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SD cards can help when it comes to portability. This is because they are small cards that can be inserted into computers, tablets, mobile phones, cameras and a host of other devices.

This type of storage device is often used in cell phones and other mobile devices to increase the device’s storage capacity. However, like any other type of storage device, there is the possibility of defects.

What to do when the SD card stops working? What could be causing the error? Is it possible to repair the problem without losing the stored data? Find out the reasons and some solutions to this problem here!

Why isn’t the SD card showing up?

There are several reasons why the SD card does not appear when connected to a computer, cell phone or camera. Such as:

Bad contact between SD card and computer

For the SD card to be read correctly, the contact between the card and the device (computer, cell phone or camera) must be working properly.

When the contact between the two is damaged, this can be caused either by problems with the card or the device itself, and it is necessary to investigate which of the two is at fault.

Poor contact between the parts can also be caused by dirt accumulating on the SD card’s magnetic contacts.

The drive letter of your SD card is missing

All storage drives on the computer have a letter, such as C:, D: or E:. However, due to some formatting error, the SD card may not have a letter assigned to it, resulting in an undetectable device for the operating system.

The SD card’s file system is not recognized or is corrupted

The file system is what makes sure that the raw data on the card is organized in such a way that it can be read by operating systems. When the file system is not compatible with the system being used, it may not be recognized. Another reason that can cause errors when reading the card is if the file system is corrupted in some way.

The device driver is out of date

When the device drivers installed on the computer are out of date, it is possible that the computer will have difficulty reading the data on the SD card.

The SD card is infected with a virus

A number of viruses and malware attack storage units such as SD cards. If your card is displaying read errors, a virus infection could be the problem.

Contacts too scratched

The SD card’s contact is an essential part for the data to be read properly. Therefore, if the part of the card that promotes contact has scratches or other physical damage, the card will not be read correctly.

Formatting was not recognized

For a storage device to be recognized, it needs to be formatted correctly according to the operating system in which it will be accessed. If the SD card is using a format not recognized by the operating system, then the card will not appear in the system when it is connected to the device.

Read more: How to fix hard disk not detected error

What to do when the Micro SD card is not recognized?

Even if your computer or cell phone isn’t recognizing your SD card, there’s no reason to despair. There are a few ways you can repair the card and make it accessible again. And best of all: without necessarily losing any data!

Some alternatives on how to fix SD card problems are:

Test your SD card on another PC or a new card reader

If the problem is poor contact between the SD card and the computer, you can test by inserting the card into another machine. If the card is read correctly on the new machine, it’s possible that the problem lies with the reader on the machine into which the card was previously inserted.

If this is the case, fortunately there is no need to do anything with the card as it is working properly. What you do need to do is seek technical help to replace the reader in the machine so that it can read SD cards properly again.

You can also do this test using a USB adapter for SD cards. This time, the card goes into the adapter, which in turn is connected to one of the machine’s USB ports. If, in this case, the card is successfully read, then the problem lies with the machine’s SD card slot.

Assign the drive letter to the SD card via disk manager

When the problem is that there is no letter assigned to the card and it doesn’t appear in the File Manager because of this, you can assign a letter by following these steps:

  1. Press the Windows + R buttons on your keyboard simultaneously to open the “Run” dialog;
  2. Type “diskmgmt.msc” and press the Enter key to open Disk Manager;
  3. Locate the partition that refers to the SD card and right-click on it;
  4. Select “Change drive letter and path…”;
  5. In the pop-up window that appears, click on “Add” to assign a drive letter to the SD card.

Use CHKDSK to make the SD card detectable

If the card is not being detected by the operating system for some other reason, you can try using the native Windows tool CHKDSK to try to repair the problem.

  1. In File Explorer, right-click on “This Computer”;
  2. Select “Manage”;
  3. Click on “Disk Manager”;
  4. Check in the drive viewer if the system can detect the SD card. If the card does not appear in the drive viewer, proceed to step 5;
  5. Press the Windows + R buttons on your keyboard simultaneously to open the “Run” dialog;
  6. Type “chkdsk D: /f”, replacing “D” with the letter corresponding to your SD card, and press Enter;
  7. Alternatively, you can type “chkdsk D: /f /offlinescanandfix” and press Enter.

This will start a process that will try to correct the possible problems that are preventing the system from detecting the SD card.

Update the SD card driver

If, when you visit the Device Manager, you notice a yellow light next to the SD card drive indicator, it’s likely that the problem is an outdated driver.

To solve this problem, simply right-click on the SD card drive indicator, select “Uninstall device” and then “Check for hardware changes” to update the drivers.

Remove virus or malware

When a virus attacks an SD card, it can hide the SD card from Windows or encrypt the stored data. In order to solve this problem, you need to use cleaning software, such as an antivirus, to remove the virus or malware from the computer and the card.

Once this is done, you can try to recover the files from the card with the following steps:

  1. Connect the SD card to the computer;
  2. In the Start menu, type “cmd” in the search bar and press “Enter”;
  3. In the list of programs that appears as a result of the search, right-click on the program “cmd.exe” and select “Run as administrator”;
  4. Type “attrib -h -r -s /s /d drive letter:*.*”. Replace “drive letter” with the letter that corresponds to your SD card, such as “attrib -h -r -s /s /d F:*.*”.

Recover data and format the SD card for reuse

Finally, if none of the above options worked, you can also try to recover the data from the SD card using data recovery software and then format the card.

Some software you can use to try to recover data from the SD card are EaseUS and Wondershare Recoverit. However, both are simpler solutions that you can try at home, but they don’t guarantee complete success in recovering data, especially the free versions.

Read more: How data recovery works


Repairing an SD card can be easy or difficult, depending on the case. If you’ve already tried to recover data from an SD card before formatting it and were successful, this doesn’t mean that all is lost. You can still seek professional technical help, such as that offered by Bot, to do the data recovery for you.

In addition to hard disks, SSDs and other storage devices, Bot also has experience in recovering memory cards, with more than 100,000 successful cases. What’s more, it’s a multinational with several offices throughout Portugal and free collection from your address.

A company like Bot, which has been recovering data from partitioned hard disks for over a decade, using the latest and safest technology to ensure that the integrity of your device is preserved.

As well as analyzing and giving you a quote within 48 hours, we can answer any questions you may have on our social networks – at any time of the day or night.

Come and become one of our more than 100,000 successfully resolved cases: start your data recovery with us now!


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