[Fixed] Unable to Format SD Card, SD Card Won't Format on PC

Formatting your SD card is one of the best ways to fix the numerous problems that can affect your SD card. But sometimes, it can be difficult to format the SD card. You may see the error message “unable to format SD Card” or “SD card won’t format” when you try to format the SD card.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to fix this problem and format the SD card. In this article, we will take a look at the reasons why you’re unable to format SD card and some of the fixes you can have a try.

Part 1. Why Windows Can’t Format SD Card?

SD card is widely used in portable devices like mobile phones, digital cameras, media players and can be formatted easily in most situations. The following are some of the reasons why you’re unable to format SD card:

  • Your SD card could be write-protected.

  • There are bad sectors on your SD card, preventing you from editing it.

  • Your SD card might be infected with malware and viruses.

  • Your SD card might be corrupted due to file system errors.

Part 2. Recover Data from SD Card with Formatting Error

This SD card formatting error has been known to cause data loss. Therefore, before we get to the solutions you can try, we thought we’d share with you a great way to recover data from an SD card with problems. This solution is involved in using FoneGeek Data Recovery, which can recover deleted photos, videos, audios, documents and more from SD card, USB drive, external hard drive or other data storage devices. Download and install the SD Card Recovery software on your computer, then follow the simple steps below to recover data from a problematic SD card:


Step 1: Connect the SD card to the computer and then launch FoneGeek SD Card Data Recovery. In the program’s main window, click on the SD card to select it and then click Start to begin.

select location external device

Step 2: The program will begin scanning the SD card for the missing data. The scanning process can take a while, but you can click Stop or Pause at any time during the process if you see the missing files.

start scan

Step 3: When the scanning process is complete, preview the recoverable files in the next window. Select the files you want to recover and then click Recover to save them to your device.

recover deleted files

Part 3. 5 Easy Solutions to Fix SD Card Won’t Format

The following are 5 easy but effective solutions you can try to fix an SD card that won’t format:

3.1 Remove Write Protection from SD Card

The most common reason why you cannot format SD card is because the SD card is write-protected. In this situation, you can remove the write protection to fix the SD card won’t format error. To do that, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Hit the Windows Key + R on your keyboard to open the Run window. Type in diskpart and hit Enter.

Step 2: This will open the diskpart window. Type in the following commands and remember to hit Enter after each command:

  • list disk

  • select disk X (X represents the SD card with the formatting problem)

  • Attributes disk clear read-only

If the process was successful you will see Disk attributes cleared successfully and you can go ahead and try to format the SD card.

remove write protection on sd card

3.2 Format SD Card in Windows Disk Management

If you are trying to format the SD card in Windows File Explorer but failed, then it may be a good idea to try a different formatting method. Follow these simple steps to format the SD card in Windows Disk Management:

  1. Open Disk Management on your Windows 10/8/7 computer. You can do that by going to This PC > Manage > Disk Management.

  2. Find the SD card and right-click on it, then choose Format.

  3. In the popup window, select the appropriate file system like FAT32 or NTFS and then click OK to begin quick formatting the drive.

format sd card in disk management

3.3 Run Diskpart to Clean SD Card That Won’t Format

You may also want to clean the SD card to remove any corrupted file systems that could be interfering with the formatting process. Follow these simple steps to clean the SD file in Diskpart:

Step 1: Open Command Prompt on your computer. You can do that by typing cmd in the search function in Windows and clicking on the most appropriate result.

Step 2: In the command prompt window that opens, type diskpart and hit Enter.

diskpart format

Step 3: Type list disk and hit Enter to list the drives on your computer.

diskpart format

Step 4: Type in select disk X and hit Enter. X represents the drive number of the SD card you want to clean.

diskpart format

Step 5: Type clean and hit Enter. This will wipe all the data in the SD card.

diskpart format

Step 6: Type create partition primary to create a new partition on your SD card.

diskpart format

Step 7: Finally, type format fs=ntfs or format fs=fat32 to format the partition in the file system that you desire.

diskpart format

3.4 Run CHKDSK to Check and Repair Bad Sectors

Since this problem can be caused by bad sectors, you may need to repair some of the bad sectors to fix it. Here’s how to run CHKDSK to find and repair bad sectors on your SD card:

  1. Open the command prompt on your computer. To do that, hit Windows Key + R on your keyboard and then type in cmd in the Run dialogue box that opens.

  2. Click OK and the command prompt window will open.

  3. Type in chkdsk E: /f /r /x, replacing “E” with the actual drive letter assigned to the SD card.

fix corrupted sd card with chkdsk

3.5 Change Drive Letter and Paths to Detect the SD Card

If you are unable to format the SD card because it is not showing up at all, then you may need to change the Drive letter paths to allow the computer to detect the SD card. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Connect the problematic SD card to your computer.

  2. Right click on This PC and then select Manage > Disk Management.

  3. Find the SD card from the list of storage devices, right-click on it and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.

  4. Choose a new drive letter for the SD card and then click OK to confirm.

change drive letter and paths

John C. Richards
Sunday on Aug 23, 2020, 15:23:52 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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