SD Card Not Showing up on Windows 11: How to Fix it

Give a try to these quick methods now

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Key notes

  • Several users have reported that their Windows 11 PC isn’t recognizing or reading the inserted SD card.
  • Several factors could be the reason behind this issue such as the presence of viruses or malware, corrupt SD card system files, outdated SD Card drivers, etc.
  • You can follow this guide and apply the solutions, one by one, and possibly resolve the issue on your Windows 11 PC.
Software to format corrupted SD cards

You insert the SD card into the built-in or external card reader only to find that your Windows 11 PC isn’t reading or recognizing it.

SD cards are your best companions when you want to store some important data, such as photos, videos, documents, etc. as a backup so that you have a copy of them if things on your PC go south.

While there are USBs and HDDs available, not everyone invests in them, as most modern-day devices, including smartphones and cameras, come with an SD card slot.

It can be frustrating when the SD card of your phone or camera, when inserted into the card reader of your Windows 11 PC, doesn’t show up and you are unable to transfer files from it.

There are multiple reasons why your Windows 11 PC is not reading the SD card. Well, that is exactly what we are going to discuss in this guide.

Here, we will list down some of the best solutions that will help you fix the Windows 11 not reading SD card issue. Let us get right into it.

What are the reasons my Windows 11 PC is not reading the inserted SD card?

If you are experiencing this problem, then, for better or worse, you are not alone. There are multiple user reports on official Microsoft forums indicating that many users are facing similar issues on their Windows 11 PCs.

Just like every other Windows 11 problem, your PC not reading the inserted SD card could arise due to multiple reasons, some of which are listed below:

  • Your external SD card reader is not properly connected to your PC.
  • The external SD card is damaged.
  • The in-built SD card reader has damaged pins.
  • The SD card you are using is corrupt.
  • The SD card is infected by a virus or malware.
  • You are not using an updated device driver.
  • Proper drivers are missing on your PC.
  • The drive letter is missing from the SD card.
  • The Write Protection switch is not disabled.
  • Presence of bad sectors on your PC.
  • The SD card that you are using is physically damaged.

The above list includes possibly all the common reasons why you are experiencing Windows 11 not reading SD cards.

The good thing about this is that there are a bunch of solutions that we have listed in this guide that will help you possibly fix the problem at hand.

How can I resolve the Windows 11 not reading SD card problem?

1. Clean SD card and re-insert

If the SD card that you have isn’t clean and contains dust or small debris, it won’t be recognized by your PC.

The reason is pretty simple, the pins of your SD card and the card reader you are using will not properly connect, thereby not establishing a proper connection.

The dust would lead to poor connection, and even if your Windows 11 PC is reading the SD card, your will experience multiple other problems.

To cure this, we would advise you to clean the pins of the SD card as well as the pins of the SD card reader, then try to connect the card again.

2. Try on another PC

Windows 11 not reading SD card could be because of the interface or support problems. If your SD card is not recognized by your PC, chances are that your PC doesn’t support the interface of the SD card.

We would suggest you try inserting or using it with another PC, and if it detects your card, then you can carry on with your tasks. Unfortunately, if this doesn’t help then you can check out the next solution.

3. Download the latest drivers

  1. Open the Start menu and search for Device device manager
  2. Expand the Disk Drives section.disk drive
  3. Right-click on your SD card. If it is not recognized by your PC, then it will have a yellow exclamation mark.
  4. Choose Update drivers.
  5. Select Search automatically for drivers.
  6. Restart your PC.

Alternatively, you can also use a trusted third-party tool, called Outbyte Driver Updater. It is a one-stop solution for all your driver-related needs. The app interface is clean and easy to understand.

All you need to do is perform a simple click and the software will scan for all outdated and missing drivers. Moreover, it will show you all the outdated or missing drivers, and prompt you to install or update them. All this happens without you needing to exit the software.

Other features of Outbyte Driver Updater include fixing errors related to faulty or broken driver files, updating old device drivers, locating missing drivers, etc.

⇒ Get Outbyte Driver Updater

4. Change the drive letter of the SD Card

  1. Right-click on the Start menu icon and select Disk Management.
  2. Right-click on your SD card and choose Change Drive Letter and Path.
  3. In the Add Driver or Path window, click on Add.
  4. Select a drive letter and click OK.
  5. Close the Disk Management tool.

After assigning the drive letter to your SD card using the Disk Management tool, you can now check whether your unrecognized SD card is showing up on File Explorer or not.

If everything worked well, then with the set drive letter, the SD card will appear in the File Explorer along with other disk drives on your Windows 11 PC.

5. Run CHKDSK to fix corrupt files

  1. Press the Win + R keys to open the Run dialogue.
  2. Type the below command and press Enter. cmd
  3. Execute the below command.chkdsk C: /f /r /xchkdsk-command windows 11 disk error
    Make sure to replace /x with the drive letter of your SD card.
  4. Close command prompt.
  5. Restart your PC.

CHKDSK utility scans for any errors in the file system and automatically fixes any logical system file errors if found.

There are chances that due to a corrupt system file, the SD card isn’t recognized by your Windows 11 PC. So, to fix this, simply run the CHKDSK command and see if this fixes the issue or not.

6. Ensure your card reader supports the SD card

One of the main causes that Windows 11 is not reading SD card issues pops up is because users insert an SD card that is not supported by the card reader.

High-capacity SD cards, such as SDHC or SDXC cards, require modern SD card readers that support them. Make sure that you have an SD card reader that supports the card format that you are inserting into.

7. Format SD card

  1. Right-click on the Start menu icon and select Disk Management.
  2. Right-click on your SD card and choose Format.SD card not recognized after format
  3. Click Yes on the warning message that appears.D card not detected in any device
  4. Choose the file system and click OK.Kingston SD card not recognized
    • Do note that to store files larger than 4GB, then you need to select NTFS file format instead of FAT32.
  5. Close the window.

Once you format your SD card, it should be recognized by your Windows 11 PC. Formatting heals the corrupt sector of your SD card, which could have been causing issues.

8. Disable Write Protection

  1. Press the Win + R keys to open the Run command.
  2. Type the below command and hit Enter.devmgmt.msc
  3. Located your SD card under the Disk Drive section.
  4. Right-click on it and select Properties.
  5. Under the Policies tab, make sure to check the box next to Enable write caching on the device.

Write Protection switch or feature is available on SD cards to prevent deletion of the data stored or addition of new data on it.

Usually, SD cards come with a physical Write Protection switch located on their sides. If the SD card has a button, then you should slide it to the OFF position.

In case your SD card does not come with a Write Protection switch, then you can follow the above steps and disable Write Protection for your card.

9. Scan your PC for viruses or malware

  1. Click on the upward arrow button on the bottom-right taskbar.see all apps
  2. Select Windows security
  3. Click on Virus & threat protection.virus and threat protection steam error e502 l3
  4. HIt the Quick Scan button and let Windows Security scan your PC for viruses and malware.quick scan
  5. You can also select the Scan options button.Performing Scan to address WSL error on Windows 11
  6. Under Scan Options, choose Full scan to deeply scan your PC for viruses or malware.

You can make use of the Windows Security Defender to scan your Windows 11 PC for viruses or malware. But there are multiple third-party antivirus applications that you can install and scan your PC for viruses. 

For instance, ESET HOME Security Essential is one of the best antivirus software that you can use. It comes with payment protection, firewall, parental control, anti-phishing, multilayered protection, and more.

But the above steps would give you an idea of how you can perform a scan to check for any viruses or malware present on your PC.

How can I avoid the SD card from getting corrupt or being undetected in Windows 11?

There is a good chance that if your SD card is worn out, or not used properly, then you will come across Windows 11 not reading SD card problem, now and then.

While you can always buy a new SD card and get on with your task, we have a few tips for you that you can apply to your existing SD cards and make them fit to be used for a long time.

  • Keep your SD card away from moisture or places where there is a chance that water might slip in.
  • Prevent exposing the SD card to extreme heat or freezing temperatures.
  • Ensure to keep the pins of the SD card protected. You can make use of a pouch, case, or plastic cap that usually comes with the SD card to store them.
  • After every data transfer session, ensure you take out the SD card properly from the card reader.
  • Avoid using your SD cards on a virus or malware-infected PC. Perform a quick scan often to detect viruses and fix them.

We recommend a routine SD card health check to catch such issues in their infant stage. Let us know in the comments below which one of the above solutions helped you fix the Windows 11 not reading SD card issue.

If you followed a different solution and it worked for you, then you can share that solution with us in the comments section below as well.