SD cards are great for storage of digital media like cameras, camcorders, music players, and mobile phones. Sometimes, it happens that your SD card does not show up in Windows File Explorer when you insert it into the PC’s card reader. Don’t despair. This is a common Windows problem and it is very easy to fix.
In this article, we will explore the possible causes of SD card not showing up or detected error, and discuss exactly how to troubleshoot the issue and get your SD card functioning properly on your Windows 10/8/7 again. Also, you will learn how to recover deleted files from damaged or corrupted SD card.
Part 1: Common Causes of SD Card Not Showing Up Error
SD card not showing up or detected in Windows could be caused by a great many number of factors, and below we’ve listed some common causes:
- Connection issue due to damaged USB port, card reader, adapter, etc.
- Physical damage of SD card like damaged plastic shell, drop to water, etc.
- Improper operation like removing SD card from device while it is running.
- SD card is write protected and unable to be detected or read by computer.
- Partition on SD card gets deleted and it is full of unallocated space.
- SD card drive letter is missing or corrupted drive.
- SD card is infected with virus.
Part 2: 7 Solutions to Fix SD Card Not Showing Up in Windows
Have you ever experienced the SD card not showing up problem on your Windows PC? Despite the situation is very frustrating, there are few steps you can take to fix this issue. Simply follow the suggested solutions below and find out which one works best for you.
Solution 1: Clean Your SD Card & Reader
While this may seem to be very basic, it is actually a common cause of unrecognized SD card. Accumulated dirt or dust can cause bad contact between the card reader and SD card, then resulting in no detection. To fix SD card not detected issue, you should clean and remove any dust from your SD card as well as the card reader.
- Clean your SD card with a cotton cloth dipped in alcohol or water. Wipe off the surface gently to remove all dirt and dust residue.
- Clean your card reader with a compressed air device. Also, you can buy a contact cleaner on Amazon to remove dust from the reader.
Solution 2: Test Your SD card on Another PC
When encounter the SD card not showing up issue, please check to ensure that there is no problem with either the SD card or the USB port you are inserting it into. Often times, an undetected SD will be a result of connection issue between the USB port and the card reader.
Try inserting your SD card on an entirely new PC and see if it works. If it is detected, then you can be rest assured your SD card is not damaged. However, if it remains undetected, then there is a high probability that it is faulty and you’ll need to replace it.
Solution 3: Check SD Card Lock Switch
Most SD cards come with a mini switch by the side to protect the data on it from being edited or re-written. If this switch is locked, the card will often be unrecognized and may appear to be encrypted. If your SD card is not showing up, check to see if this switch has been slid to the lock position and unlock it. When this is done, insert it again into the port and see if it can be recognized.
Solution 4: Enable Memory Card Reader
Usually the card reader is enabled in Windows by default. If it is disabled, your SD card will not be detected on Windows 10/8/7. In such case, disabling and enabling memory card reader can help to resolve the problem. Follow the steps below:
- Right-click on “This PC” icon on your Windows 10 computer and select “Manage”, then open “Device Manager”.
- Locate the “Memory technology devices” and expand it, then double-click the card reader option.
Select the “Driver” tab on the pop-up window and click on the “Disable Device” button.
- Click on “Yes” from the prompted message, then double-click the card reader again and select “Enable Device” in the Properties window.
Solution 5: Reinstall/Update SD Card Reader Driver
One of the common causes of an undetected SD card is a incorrect, missing, outdated or corrupted card reader driver. Updating or reinstalling the card reader driver is always a good idea to fix this issue. Here’s how to do it:
- Right-click on “This PC” icon from desktop and select “Manage”, then click on “Device Manager”.
- Expand “Memory technology devices” option and locate the card reader. Right-click on it and select “Update driver”.
- Try to search automatically for updated driver software. If there are no new updates, you can visit the manufacturer’s website and follow the installation wizard.
- If the update doesn’t work. Right-click on the card reader again and select “Uninstall device”.
- Select the “Delete the driver software for this device” option and click on “Uninstall” button.
- After that, restart your computer, download the latest driver from the card reader’s website and install it.
Solution 6: Assign/Change Driver Letter for SD Card
If the drive letter is missing, your SD card will not show up on Windows File Explorer. Even with a drive letter assigned, you may still experience the SD card not recognized problem and got error message “Please insert a disk into removable disk”. You can fix this issue by assigning a new driver letter.
- Press “Windows” + “R” simultaneously to open the Run dialogue.
- Type “diskmgmt.msc” and click on “OK” to open Disk Management.
- Locate the SD card and right-click the partition on it, then select “Change Drive Letter and Paths…”.
- On the pop-up window, click on “Change”. Select a drive letter from the drop-down list and click “OK”. If the SD card does not have a drive letter assigned, click the “Add” button.
Solution 7: Remove/Disable SD Card Write-Protection
Typically, the SD card will not be detected if it is write-protected. Here are a few steps to follow to remove the write protection from Device Manager:
- Launch Run window by pressing the “Windows” + “R” at the same time. Type in “devmgmt.msc” and click on “OK” to open Device Manager.
- Expand the “Disk drives” option and locate the SD card. Right-click on the SD card and select “Properties”.
- Find an option related to write policy and turn it off. If this option is unavailable under the General tab, search for it under the Policies tab.
Part 3: Extra Tip to Recover Deleted Files from SD Card
If the SD card is still not showing up in Windows and save your important data, please do not try repairing actions like formatting. You can still recover lost data from the damaged or corrupted SD card. What you need is a professional SD card recovery software, such as, Fucosoft Data Recovery. Using it, you can recover deleted files like photos, videos, and audios from SD card with high success rate.
Follow the steps below to recover files from corrupted SD card:
- Download and install Fucosoft SD Card Recovery software on your computer. Launch it and select “External Devices Recovery” mode.
- Connect your damaged or corrupted SD card to the computer. Select it and click “Start” to begin scanning data from SD card.
- After the quick scan, you can preview some recoverable files. If you cannot find your data, you can go to scan again with “All-around Recovery” mode.
- When the deep scan is completed, preview the recoverable files and select the items you need, then click “Recover” to recover deleted files from SD card.
If you are experiencing the SD card not showing problem then the solutions listed above will help you fix the issue. Simply follow them one after the other and find out which one resolves it.
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