The SD cards play a more and more important role in this digital age. They can be used to increase the storage space of your Nintendo Switch and camera, as well as to transfer data among various devices.
However, sometimes you have to face the problem “Why is my SD card not working?” This is a common issue and you can deal with it in many ways, as long as you figure out the primary cause. We will introduce the possible causes in this post, and you can check them one by one. Then, detailed tutorials will be introduced to help you fix the error once and for all.
Common Reasons Why My SD Card Stopped Working
No matter if you use a phone or computer to utilize the SD card, for the reasons that the card stops working, there are many causes. The two biggest causes are that something happens to the card itself, the reading device, or between the connection of the two. Let’s see some details of the reasons and how to deal with them.
Certainly! Here’s the information presented in a table format:
|Some external factors, like water or heat, may cause harm to SD cards.
|Different devices support different types of SD cards and different limitations on the maximum SD card capacity.
|File System Corruption
|When the file system of the SD card gets corrupted, it will stop working as the organization of its data has been damaged.
|Virus or Malware
|If the boot sector on your SD card is damaged by the malware, the operating system may fail to recognize and then properly initialize the memory card.
|The outdated drivers may not be compatible with the latest hardware and file systems of new types of SD cards.
Use this table to systematically troubleshoot the issues with your SD card by checking each potential cause.
How to Fix SD Card Not Working on Windows & Mac
According to the causes, we have different solutions to deal with the card stop-working problem. The built-in tools on both Windows and macOS can solve most of the SD card problems. Besides them, there is also helpful third-party software. This part will introduce the solutions to you one by one.
Solution 1. Fix the Corruption of SD Card
As powerful operating systems, Windows and macOS offer users enough solutions to fix data corruption, such as some built-in tools and command prompts. Read this part to know more.
1️⃣ Error-Checking SD Card on Windows
First of all, you need to connect your SD card to your Windows computer. Then, only a few clicks are required to run the error-checking program on your computer. Follow the steps to fix the corruption of your memory card.
Step 1. Choose This PC or My Computer from your desktop.
Step 2. Right-click the SD card drive and then select Properties.
Step 3. Click on the Tool tab and choose the Check option in the “Error-checking” section.
Step 4. On the pop-up window, choose the “Scan and repair drive” option to find if there is any error on the card.
Step 5. Wait for the computer repair to complete. Then, restart the computer.
2️⃣ Troubleshoot your SD card on Windows
Besides the tool mentioned above, you can also find a built-in troubleshooter in the “Update & Security” part. This is a versatile program that can fix the errors of a blue screen, Bluetooth, as well as hardware and devices. Follow this tutorial to have a try.
Step 1. Click the Windows button.
Step 2. In the Windows Settings, there is an Update and Security part.
Step 3. Choose the Troubleshoot option and then click on the Run the Troubleshooter button in the lower right corner of the window.
Step 4. Wait for the whole process to end and restart your computer.
3️⃣ Use Chkdsk on Windows
Many people may know that there is a command-line interpreter which is called Command Prompt in a Windows system. This tool enables users to execute various commands to set the system configuration, check the network condition, and so on. For users who want to fix the error on the SD card, CHKDSK is the command that can be used to check the logical integrity of the SD card’s file system.
Step 1. Type cmd in the search bar in the start menu.
Step 2. Click on the Run as administrator option.
Step 3. Type chkdsk F: /f /r /x in the Command Prompt ( make sure you replace the X with your actual SD card drive letter you want to fix.)
Step 4. Wait for the whole process to end, and it may take a while depending on the size of the card > restart your computer.
4️⃣ Run First Aid on a Mac computer
For Mac users, there is also a built-in tool that comes with your operating system, and it’s named First Aid. As an important part of the Disk Utility application, this powerful program can diagnose and fix the issues with storage devices, including hard drives as well as the SD cards that are connected to your Mac.
The following tutorial will guide you through fixing the errors of SD cards by running First Aid.
Step 1. Connect your SD card to your Mac.
Step 2. Launch Disk Utility. You can go to the Launchpad and search for Disk Utility.
Step 3. Select the SD card from the left list and click First Aid at the top.
Step 4. Click on the Run button to start and wait for the end of the process.
Solution 2. Fix SD Card Drive Letter Conflicts
When a storage device is connected to your computer, the operating system will assign a drive letter to it. With the drive letter, users and applications can access the storage device and interact with it. However, due to some errors, the drive letter assigned to the SD card may be already used by another drive. Thus, there will be a drive letter conflict.
In the case of SD card drive letter conflicts, the operating system cannot access the SD card. Therefore, you may assume that the SD card will not work. But don’t worry. This part will offer you detailed tutorials to fix this error efficiently.
1️⃣ Resign a New Drive Letter to the SD Card on Windows
As mentioned above, this issue is caused by the repeated drive letter. Therefore, the most straightforward solution to this problem is to resign the drive letter to your SD card. For Windows users, the following tutorial will teach you how to do that step by step.
Step 1. Type disk management in the search bar in the start menu.
Step 2. Select Create and format hard disk partitions.
Step 3. Right-click the SD card > select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
Step 4. Click the Change button and select a new drive letter you like. Don’t forget to confirm the settings by pressing the “OK” button.
Step 5. Again, choose K from the drop-down menu and click on the “OK” button to change the drive letter.
Solution 3. Release Write Protection of the Card
Write protection is a practical function to protect the SD card. But, it makes the card unable to be written or read because you can not make any changes to it.
When you are trying to perform a write operation, such as copying, deleting, or formatting data, on the SD card with the write protection, there will be a message that “The disk is write protected.” In this situation, there are several ways to release the protection.
1️⃣ Sliding Up the Physical SD Card Lock
Some SD standard cards have a switch that turns on and turns off the physical write protection. You may sometimes not even notice that you have enabled the feature. So, when you can not read or write the card, the first thing is to check the position.
Step 1. Find the lock switch on your SD card.
Step 2. Slide the SD card and write the lock to the unlock site.
Step 3. Connect the write unlocked SD card to the device to check if the problem is solved.
2️⃣ Use CMD Command to Remove Write Protection
This method is especially practical when the GUI (graphical user interface) provided by the operating system or file explorer doesn’t offer you the necessary options to remove write protection. In this case, it’s recommended to bypass the potential limitations of GUI using Command Prompt.
Step 1. Type cmd in the search bar in the start menu > click Run as administrator.
Step 2. Type diskpart in the window, and then list disk to view all the drives in your computer.
Step 3. Type select disk *. (change the * to your actual SD card number). Then, press Enter.
Step 4. Type attributes disk clear readonly > press Enter.
Step 5. Wait for the process to end > check if the problem is solved.
3️⃣ Disable the BitLocker Encryption
If your computer has enabled the BitLocker, the above methods probably will fail. Because BitLocker interferes with the removal of the write protection on Windows. So, what we should do is to disable the BitLocker.
Step 1. Type manage BitLocker in the search bar in the start menu > click it to open.
Step 2. Click Turn Off BitLocker.
Step 3. (Optional) If your drive is locked, click Unlock drive > type the password to turn off the BitLocker.
Step 4. Click Turn off BitLocker to confirm.
Solution 4. Fix Physical Damage to the SD Card
If your SD card is damaged physically, your card may be dead. The card may be inaccessible, and any devices cannot detect it in any way. Then, you should contact a professional to help you solve the problem. Plus, if you don’t fix the problem by yourself, you can just seek customer service at the beginning.
Solution 5. Solve the Connecting Issue/Reading Device Issue
Sometimes, the SD card is functional but there may be something wrong with the card reader, the driver, or the connection between the card and the device. In this situation, reinstalling the SD card driver can be a good idea to avoid conflicts between the updated system configurations and the outdated driver.
Step 1. Type device manager in the search bar in the start menu. Then, click it to open.
Step 2. Find your SD card drive under Portable Devices and then choose the option to Update driver.
Step 3. Click Search automatically for driver software.
Step 4. Select Update Driver.
Step 5. Wait for the process to end > restart your computer to check if the problem is solved.
In this post, we introduced the most common causes that can lead to the issue of SD cards not reading and working. Then, we also offered several solutions to help you fix the errors easily. Whether you are a Windows user or a Mac user, there must be a practical method that fits your situation.
However, some methods may also lead to unexpected data loss, and that may be a disaster for people who never back up their files. If you are facing this situation, don’t worry, you only need to turn to versatile data recovery software like ONERECOVERY. This tool is the optimal choice for both Windows and Mac data recovery.
FAQs About SD Card Not Reading
If you still want to know more about the question of why is the SD card not detected, the following FAQs are suitable for you.
Q1. How to recover lost data from a corrupted SD card?
The best and simplest way is to utilize data recovery software, e.g., ONERECOVERY, Disk Drill, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, etc.
You can read details in this post: >> Top 6 SD Card Data Recovery Software.
Q2. Is it possible to fix a corrupted SD card on Android without a computer?
Yes, you have the chance to fix the SD card on an Android phone. But, there is still a possibility of failing.
Q3. Why is my SD card not recognized?
Your card may be logically corrupted, or physically damaged, and there is a possibility that the card reader or the connecting devices malfunction.
Vanessa is a professional editor with a strong foundation in computer information technology. Since graduating, she has dedicated her career to create content in IT fields. In the past three year, she has accumulated sufficient knowledge in data recovery, computer problems troubleshooting and application of multimedia software.
She has been trying her best to bridge the gap between complex technical concepts and accessible, reader-friendly content.