Fix SD Card Not Showing Up or Recognized in Windows 10/8/7

A connected SD card failing to show up in Windows 10/8/7 is a pretty common problem that can occur for a variety of reasons. In this article, we will take a look at this problem and share with you some proven solutions to fix SD card not showing up. Also, you will learn how to recover lost data from damaged/corrupted SD card.

Part 1. Why SD Card is Not Showing Up?

Let’s begin with the causes of SD card not showing up problem. Although the main reason why your computer doesn’t recognize SD card is often physical damage to the drive, there are a variety of other reasons behind this problem. These include the following:

  • The SD card may not be properly connected to the computer due to damaged USB port, SD card adapter or reader.

  • If the SD card is locked and write-protected, your computer will not be able to recognize it.

  • Improper use of the SD card can also cause this issue. Most SD card can sustain hot plugging (inserting or removing the SD card while it is still running), but doing this too often can cause significant damage to the device.

  • If the drive letter assigned to the SD card is lost, Windows will not be able to access it or recognize it.

  • If the SD card doesn’t show up in Windows Explorer but you can see it in Device Manager with a yellow mark next to it, it is possible that there is something wrong with the device’s drivers.

  • You may also not be able to see the SD card in Windows Explorer if the partition on the SD card is deleted.

  • If the SD card is logically or physically damaged, it will also not show up in Windows Explorer.

Part 2. Fix SD Card Not Showing Up or Recognized

Here we have collected 10 effective methods to fix the SD card is not showing up, recognized or detected issue. Keep reading and choose the most suitable method for you.

1. Clean the SD Card and Card Reader

Dust and dirt that accumulates on the SD card can often cause it to malfunction and therefore not appear in Windows Explorer. Therefore, if you haven’t been using the SD card for quite a while, it may be a good idea to give the device a thorough cleaning before inserting it into the computer.

To clean the SD card, use a clean cloth to carefully wipe all the components of the card. We recommend you using a dry cloth, but when there are stubborn stains, you can use alcohol. Cleaning must be done very carefully to avoid scratching the SD card. To remove dust from the SD card adapter, simply blow into the adapter to remove any dust.

Once this is done, connect the device back into the computer to see if Windows can recognize it.

2. Test SD Card on Another PC or Card Reader

It is also possible that the connection points on your computer or the adapter you’re using are faulty or broken. In this case, it is a good idea to change the SD card reader or adapter that you’re using. If you do that and Windows still doesn’t recognize the device, then connect the SD card to another computer to see if the device is the problem or if the connection points are the problem.

3. Place SD Card Lock Switch in Unlock

Many SD cards will often come with a physical switch at the edge of the device. The switch is meant to turn write-protection on/off. Therefore, if Windows doesn’t recognize the card, check to see if this switch is available. If it is and it is set to “Lock” you will not be able to access it in any way and in some cases, you will see a message saying the card is encrypted. Just put the switch in the “Unlock” position. Once this is done, connect the device to the computer again to see if Windows will recognize it.

4. Remove SD Card Write-Protection

If the SD card is write-protected, it will not show up in Widows 10/8/7. It may therefore be a good idea to remove the write protection on the SD card. Here’s how to do that:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows Key + R to open the Run dialogue. Type in “devmgmt.msc” and click “OK”.

  2. In the window that opens, find and expand “Disk Drives”. You should see the SD card in question. Right click on the card and go to “Properties > General”.

  3. Here you should see an option related to write protection. If you do, turn it off and then click “OK”. If you don’t see it under “General”, look for it under “Policies”.

5. Enable Memory Card Reader

This option is often enabled by default in Windows, but if Windows doesn’t detect the card, disabling it and then re-enabling it can help to fix this issue. Follow these simple steps to do this:

  1. Right-click on the Start menu and select “Device Manger” from the options that appear.

  2. Expand “Memory technology devices” and double-click the card reader. In the window that pops up, click on the “Driver” tab and click “Disable.”

  3. When you see a message saying “Disabling this device will cause it to stop functioning. Do you really want to disable it?” Click “Yes”.

  4. Now double-click on the card reader again, choose “Properties” and then select “Enable Device” to re-enable it.

disabe memory card driver

6. Change the Drive Letter of SD Card

You can also easily fix this problem by changing the drive letter that is associated with the SD card. To do that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the Run dialogue box again by pressing the Windows Key + R on your keyboard.

  2. Type in “devmgmt.msc” in the run dialogue box and then press Enter to run Disk Management.

  3. In the “Disk Management” window that opens, locate the SD card and right-click on its partition. Then choose “Change drive Letter and Path…”.

  4. Click “Add” in the popup window that appears to assign a new drive letter to the SD card.

change drive letter and paths

7. Update or Reinstall SD Card Driver

If you see a yellow sign next to the SD card in Device Manager, then it is possible that there is a problem with the card driver. Updating the drivers should fix the problem:

  1. Connect the SD card to your Computer.

  2. Open the Control Panel and then go to System > Device Manager > Disk Drivers.

  3. Locate the SD card, right-click on it and choose “Uninstall”. Then click on “Scan for Hardware changes” to launch the driver update process.

scan for hardware changes

8. Run CHKDSK to Fix Unrecognized SD Card

Running CHKDSK can also easily fix an SD card that is not recognized. Follow these simple steps to do it:

  1. Press the Windows Key +R on your keyboard to open the Run dialogue. Type in “cmd” and hit enter.

  2. In the Command Prompt window that opens, type in “chkdsk D: / f” (without the quotes and with “D” representing the SD card’s drive letter. Then hit enter.

fix corrupted sd card with chkdsk

If there are any errors, this process will find them and recommend solutions for you to implement.

9. Force SD Card to Show Up from Virus or Malware

A virus or malware attack can sometimes hide the SD card and therefore cleaning the device of any viruses of malware can be beneficial. Follow these simple steps to do it:

  1. Connect the SD card to the computer.

  2. In the search function, type in “cmd” and press enter, right-click on “cmd.exe” and choose “Run as Administrator”.

  3. In the Command Prompt window, type in "attrib -h -r -s /s /d drive letter:\*.*" (replacing the “drive letter” with the actual drive letter for the SD card”).

  4. Hit enter and Command Prompt will find and remove any viruses and malware affecting the function of the device.

10. Format SD Card to Make it Detectable

If the SD card is still unrecognized by Windows, then you may need to format the device. It is possible that some of the data on the SD card is corrupt and cause the connection error. To format the SD card, we recommend you using AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, a third-party tool that can be used to format drives even when they don’t appear in Windows Explorer. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Install the program on to your computer and run it. Locate the SD card, right-click on the partition and select “Format Partition”.

  2. Choose the file system you would like to use under “File System” and then click “OK”.

  3. Click “Apply” and the “Proceed” to format the drive.

aomei partition assistant

Part 3. SD Card Still Not Showing Up? Try Data Recovery

If the SD card is still not showing up even after formatting, then the card may be damaged and can’t be fixed. In this case, the best you can do is try to recover the data on the card. To do this, you will need a third-party data recovery tool that is designed to recover data from external storage devices. We recommend FoneGeek Data Recovery, one of the most effective tools to recover data from any storage device, including a damaged or corrupted SD card.


Follow these simple steps to recover data from damaged/corrupted SD card:

Step 1: Install FoneGeek SD Card Recovery on to your computer and launch the program. In the main interface, select the SD card that inserted to the computer. Click “Start” to begin.

select location external device

Step 2: The program will immediately begin scanning the selected SD card for the missing data. The scanning process may take some time depending on the amount of data on the device.

start scan

Step 3: When the scan is complete, the program will display all the recoverable files in the SD card. You can click on a category to the left to preview the files in details. When you’re ready, select the files you need and then click “Recover”.

recover deleted files

We recommend you saving the recovered files on another separate storage device to avoid losing or corrupting the data.

John C. Richards
Wednesday on Sep 30, 2020, 21:48:34 GMT / Post By John C. Richards to Windows Tips

John has more than 11 years of blogging experiences in the field of computers. He is committed to providing helpful tips and solutions related to Windows and Mac computers.

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