SD Card not being recognised in Windows 10 [EASY GUIDE]

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
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how to fix SD Card not being recognised in Windows 10
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A while ago we were sharing with you that SD Card Readers were not working in Windows 10 for some Lenovo users, but it seems that the issue isn’t affecting only Lenovo users.

More and more postings suggest that a lot of Windows 10 users are being affected by SD card not recognised problems.

If you also are experiencing problems with your SD Card or SD Card reader not being recognised in Windows 10, below are the steps that you need to follow.

How can I fix SD Card problems in Windows 10?

Not being able to access your SD card can be a big problem, and in this article we’ll show you how to fix the following issues:

  • SD card not showing up Windows 10 – According to users, it seems that their SD card isn’t showing up in Windows 10 at all. This can be an annoying problem, but you should be able to fix it using the solutions from this article.
  • Micro SD card not reading – Several users reported that Micro SD card is not reading their files. This can be a big problem and completely prevent you from accessing your files.
  • External SD card not recognized – Sometimes you might have difficulties with your SD card. According to users, external SD card wasn’t recognized on their PC. This is a relatively common problem, and you should be able to fix it using one of our solutions.
  • SD card not recognized after format, partition – Several users reported that their SD card wasn’t recognized after formatting. This can occur if you select incompatible file system.
  • SD card not detected in any device – If your SD card isn’t detected in any device, your card might be faulty or locked. This issue can also occur if you select an unsupported file system.
  • Kingston, Kodak, Verbatim SD card not recognized – This problem can occur with various SD cards, and many Kingston, Kodak and Verbatim users reported this problem.
  • SD card not showing up, detected, working, writable, erasing, ejecting, reading, transferring, connecting, holding data – There are various problems that can occur with your SD card. Fortunately most of these problems can be easily solved by using one of our solutions.
  • SD card is write protected – If you’re getting this error message on your PC, the problem is most likely a locked SD card. However, you can fix this issue simply by pressing the lock switch on your SD card.

Solution 1 – Run the hardware troubleshooter

Sometimes you can fix this problem simply by running the hardware troubleshooter. This is relatively simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to the Update & security section.
    Micro SD card not reading
  3. From the menu on the left select Troubleshoot. Now select Hardware and devices and click on Run the troubleshooter button.
    External SD card not recognized

After the troubleshooter is finished, the issues with your SD card should be resolved completely.

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.

If the Troubleshooter stops before completing the process, fix it with the help of this complete guide.

Solution 2 – Make sure that your drivers are up to date

Download the Windows 10 drivers from the Manufacturer’s website and install them in compatibility mode:

  1. Right click on the driver setup file and select Properties.
    SD card is write protected
  2. Select Compatibility tab. Check Run this program in Compatibility mode and select previous version of Windows supported by the software, from the drop down list. Then click on Apply and OK to save changes.
    SD card not showing up Windows 10
  3. Now run the setup file and install the driver.
  4. Then restart your computer and check how it works.

Did you know that the majority of Windows 10 users have outdated drivers? Be a step ahead using this guide.

Updating drivers manually is very annoying, so we recommend you to download this driver updater tool (100% safe and tested by us) to do it automatically. Thus, you will prevent file loss and even permanent damage to your computer.

Solution 3 – Change the drive letter

If your SD card still isn’t recognised in Windows 10, you might be able to fix it simply by changing its letter. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and choose Disk Management.
  2. Locate your SD card and right click it. From the pop-up menu choose Change Drive Letter and Paths or Add Drive Letter.
    SD card not showing up
  3. Assign it a drive letter or change the drive letter.

After doing that, your SD card should be recognised and always ready to use.

Solution 4 – Make sure that your SD card isn’t locked

If Windows 10 can’t recognise your SD card, the problem might be that the card is locked. Many SD cards have a tiny lock switch on their side that will prevent you from using the card.

If Windows can’t recognise your SD card, be sure to move this switch and check if that helps. This is a relatively common problem, so be sure to check if your SD card is locked.

Solution 5 – Try to access your reader before you insert the card

If your Windows 10 can’t recognise SD card, you might want to try this simple workaround. According to users, you just have to access your card reader before you insert your card.

Your PC will inform you that the drive is empty and ask you to insert your card.

After inserting the card you’ll be asked to format it. Click on OK and the card should be now recognised and ready to use. Keep in mind that formatting the card will remove all files from it, so be sure to back them up beforehand.

Solution 6 – Use Disk Management to format your card

If Windows 10 doesn’t recognise your SD card, you might be able to fix the problem simply by formatting it. You can do that from Disk Management by following these steps:

  1. Right click the Start Button to open Win + X menu. Now select Disk Management from the list.
    External SD card not recognized
  2. Now you should see the SD card available. Right click it and choose Format.
    SD card not recognized after format
  3. A warning message will appear telling you that formatting will delete all files from your card. Click on Yes to proceed.
    D card not detected in any device
  4. Set File system to FAT32 and click on OK.
    Kingston SD card not recognized

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After formatting the card, the issue should be completely resolved and your SD card will become recognised. Keep in mind that FAT32 file system has its limitations, and if you want to save files larger than 4GB, you might want to use NTFS instead.

You can’t open Disk Management on Windows 10? Check out this article to quickly solve the problem.

Solution 7 – Make sure that you’re using an SDHC reader

Sometimes your PC can’t recognise SD card because of your card reader. Many high capacity SD cards aren’t compatible with card readers that use older standards.

For example, if you’re using SDHC or SDXC card, you’ll need to use a reader that supports these types of cards.

If you’re looking for a new card reader, we’ve got a list of the best card readers, so be sure to check it out.

Solution 8 – Use Command Prompt

According to users, you can sometimes fix this problem simply by using Command Prompt. Malware can sometimes change the security permissions on your SD card causing it to become unreadable. However, you can fix this problem by doing the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu. If Command Prompt isn’t available, you can use Powershell (Admin) instead.
    SD card not recognized after partition
  2. Once the Command Prompt opens, you need to enter the following: attrib -h -r -s /s /d X:*.* . Of course, be sure to replace X with the letter that matches your SD card.
    SD card not detected in any device

After running this command your security permissions for your SD card will change and the card should become recognised again.

PowerShell stops working on your Windows 10 PC? Solve the issue with a few simple steps from this complete guide.

If you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look on this guide.

Solution 9 – Disable your card reader

If your PC can’t recognise your SD card, you might have to disable your card reader temporarily. Many users reported that this solution worked for them, so we encourage you to try it out.

To disable your card reader, do the following:

  1. Open Device Manager. You can do that quickly by pressing Windows Key + X and choosing Device Manager from the list.
    SD card not showing up Windows 10
  2. Once the Device Manager opens, you need to locate your SD card reader. Right click it and choose Disable device from the menu.
    Micro SD card not reading
  3. Now wait for a few seconds, right click the disabled device and choose Enable device from the menu.

After doing that, your SD card will be recognized again. Keep in mind that this is just a workaround, so you might have to repeat it if the issue reappears.

Solution 10 – Check your BIOS

If your PC has a built-in card reader, the issue might be related to your BIOS. According to users, if your PC can’t recognize an SD card, be sure to check your BIOS configuration.

Sometimes your card reader might be disabled in BIOS, so you’ll need to enable it.

To see how to access BIOS and how to change your SD configuration, we highly recommend you to check your motherboard manual for detailed instructions.

In several instances resetting the BIOS to default fixed the problem, so you might want to try that as well.

Accessing BIOS seems too big of a task? Let us make things easier for you with the help of this amazing guide!

Now, let us know in the comments section below what worked for you and what didn’t. If you have any other questions or suggestions, leave them there, as well.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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  • On tower computers there is generally a much simpler cause for this. The connector for the headers on the motherboard usually has two heavy cables connected to it and the design of both the plug on the cable and the socket/header on the motherboard is very poor. The plug sits very loosely in the socket and the weight of the cables can easily unseat the plug slightly in the socket. All it takes is a little vibration or even just the effect of time.

    Before trying anything else, always shut down and unplug the computer and then unplug and replug the USB cables connecting the card reader to the motherboard. In most cases this will be the cause of the card reader suddenly not being found.

  • I upgraded to Windows 10 a few months ago on my Dell Latitude XT3 and just found out the SD card reader was broken. I didn’t even realize Windows had a hardware troubleshooter. I ran it, and it’s completely fixed! Great article.

  • Not sure why this article bothers to mention Windows 10 in the title when the body of the article only addresses Windows 8 and 8.1.

  • i was struggling with similar problem, until i changed the SD adapter from Samsung brand Adapter to Sony brand and the problem immediately resolved. So if you’re using certain brand SD adapter with Micro SD inserted in it, then i’d suggest you to change the SD Adapter reader. in my case it did resolve the problem. so it’s worth a try. like i said, initially i was using 64GB Micro SD card inserted into a Samsung SD Adapter in my Fujitsu Lifebook T935 with Windows 8.1 pro on board, and it wouldn’t read. and not only that but also it would freeze the machine. but when i changed the SD card adapter to a Sony brand, then all of a sudden it started recognizing and reading the card. what i am getting at is that you try putting Micro SD card into a different SD card reader/Adapter. thought just to share with you.

    • Thank you, This is what I had to do. No matter that the one adapter I was using works fine in my camera and digital picture frame.

  • Thank you very much for the guidance on how to bring my sd card reader back to being visible. Very easy steps.

  • If you are using acer, search for acer recovery management. Then click on Reinstall Drivers or Applications then click on Card reader chip.After that, it should work as good as new !

  • Tried all the above, nothing works. I have had this computer for a little over a year and never had a problem with this until today. I even set my computer back to 3 days ago when I know it worked. Now what?

  • I know this is an old thread, but just wanted to say that I had this problem where my card reader just disappeared and I tried everything to get it working but then took your advice and ran the hardware troubleshooter which fixed the problem. Apparently it wasn’t finding the chipset??? Even though it had been working for the last year. Thanks 🙂

  • My Realtek card reader is recognized, and it can read cards just fine through 32gb, but under Windows 8.1, all SDHC memory cards show up as read-only. The same cards, in the same model laptop (HP Envy dv6) work fine under Windows 8.