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SD Card Can’t Be Read? Here’s How to Fix It

Having problems with your SD card? SD cards can fail for many reasons. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to fix this problem. Here are some ways to get your SD card back online.

You blame your SD card. But what if the problem is in the card reader?

Check the card reader

If the card fails on only one particular device, it could very well be a card reader problem. Sometimes it is necessary to repair or replace the built-in memory card readers in computers. Examine it and see if there is any physical damage. Use a spare SD card to check if the card reader detects any inserted card.

If you are using an external card reader, try replacing the cables with a compatible one. Defective cables can cause the card reader to malfunction.

Use a different USB port

Some computers have more than one USB port. Check your computer’s I / O. If there are USB ports on the front and back panels, try switching.

If your card reader works with one port but doesn’t work with another, you may have a problem with the USB port and not the SD card as you originally thought.

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You can also try replacing the USB cable with a different one.

Restart the computer

Old but useful, restarting your computer is a time-honored solution that surprisingly solves most of the problems users face. Unplug the card reader, then plug it back in after restart. See if the problem persists.

Drivers update

Most USB card readers will automatically install drivers the first time they are connected. However, manufacturers often update their drivers to fix bugs or improve their product. These updates are publicly available for download but often go unnoticed.

Check with your card reader manufacturer to see if updates are available and install them if available. Let’s see if this helps solve the problem.

Check out my computer

If your USB storage device is not recognized and the drive letter does not appear in My Computer, your computer may be low on memory. Try closing all programs and letting them run for a few minutes in standby mode.

Alternatively, you can use Task Manager (Windows) or Activity Monitor (Mac) to force stopping memory-intensive applications.

If the new drive letter does not appear when you plug in a USB card reader, you may need to manually assign a drive letter using Disk Management.

Turn off write protection

If your SD card is recognized but you find it difficult to modify files, you may just have read / write protection enabled. Memory cards have a physical switch located on the side. You may have accidentally turned it on while working.

Disable read / write protection and see if that solves the problem with your SD card.

Format for the appropriate device

Formatting an SD card or micro SD card will erase all of its contents and restore it to some original state. However, there are format settings that can affect which devices can read the SD card. You may have formatted the SD card to work on, for example, computers and not smartphones.

To be able to read the card on your preferred device, you will need to reformat it. However, keep in mind that it will erase all files currently on your SD card. Formatting should only be done if you are comfortable with losing all your data. Otherwise, you will have to use a data recovery program.

Hopefully one of the tips above will give you access to the data on the SD card. If all else fails, the problem could be with the SD card itself. Try it on different computers and devices, and if none of them can read it, you may have to use third party data recovery software to retrieve the data.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Jjc5kH6hrQ?feature=oembed]

Also check out our YouTube video where we talk about SD card corruption and how to recover data using several different methods.

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