Perhaps your smartphone has stopped detecting your SD card abruptly or you have encountered an error report while trying to access it.
Perhaps your files have disappeared all of a sudden.
Maybe you can view the files, but you can’t locate or modify them.
Any of the above scenarios can be stressful since they signal that the end of your SD card’s life is near.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t work around it.
Read on to find the most common reasons for this situation and relative ways to fix it.
SD Card Stopped Working (Causes, Fixes)
If your SD isn’t working, it doesn’t always mean it’s defective; sometimes, the problem isn’t even with the card itself.
Here are a few reasons that can render an SD card unrecognizable or non-usable.
- Corrupt or improper format.
- Unexpectedly removing the SD card while in use.
- Sharing the peripheral on several devices.
- Drive letter disagreement.
- Dust or physical connectivity problems.
- Hidden file configuration.
- Outdated or invalid system drivers.
- Physical impairment due to an accidental fall or shock.
- Second-rate or dying SD card.
Depending on what factor is to blame for your situation, you can apply one or more of these methods to eliminate the issue.
First, however, you should perform a few checks to see where to start from.
Quick Tests Before Repairing
Before going through any troubleshooting, try your SD card with another device.
If it seems fine, the problem is most likely with your android phone, and you should navigate our first section for a possible solution.
However, if the problem persists on the other device, there might be an issue with your SD card which can be repaired using the methods of the second section.
Finally, if you’re using the SD card only on the PC, skip to the third section for recommended fixes.
A. SD Card Stopped Working on Mobile Phone
1. Restart Your Smartphone
A non-working SD card may be caused by an overloaded or stalling operating system.
Much like other software interruptions, you can alleviate this situation with a simple reboot.
Turn off and on your mobile phone and see if the issue lingers.
If so, go on with the next remedies.
2. Unplug And Replug SD Card
An undetected memory card may also result from a loose connection with the port.
Therefore, if your card seems to work with other devices, try reinserting it.
Turn off your mobile and extract the card.
Use a lint-free cotton swab to wipe any dust away from the card’s metal contacts and the SD card slot in your device.
Do this gently so you won’t scratch or damage the gadget.
After making sure it’s clean, reinsert it to the slot and switch on your phone.
3. Unmount And Remount The Card
One tested solution for the “memory not recognized” error is remounting the SD card through settings.
For this, make sure your smartphone isn’t connected to your PC.
Then, go to your android phone Settings, and navigate to the “Storage” section.
Scroll down to the SD card segment, and choose “Unmount SD card.”
Restart your phone, and return to the same settings to “Mount SD card” once again.
It’ll likely set the trouble right unless there’s something wrong with the SD card.
4. Use An Android Antivirus Application
Virus intrusion or unwanted malware installations can harm your SD card or mobile phone.
In both cases, you may lose access to your media while getting a notification saying “SD card unexpectedly removed.”
However, with a reliable antivirus app, it’s super easy to detect and eradicate infections from your system.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Avast Mobile Security
- Bitdefender Mobile Security
- Norton Mobile Security
Note: Even if your mobile phone antivirus doesn’t work, you can connect the SD card to a PC and run a virus detection there.
5. Format Your SD Card
If your memory card has stopped working just after using it with another device, reformatting can resolve it.
Unlike computers that are compatible with almost all formats, mobile phones, cameras, and other devices may not be able to read your SD card unless it’s formatted in their own specific way.
Therefore, when you insert the SD card into a new device, it may automatically convert it to a state that’s only detectable by itself.
It may also format it with a file system that your phone’s OS cannot support.
Whatever the reason, swapping your SD card between devices can make it unreadable for one or many of them.
The following steps help you reformat and reuse your memory card.
- Insert your SD card into a PC and wait until it recognizes it.
- Open “This PC,” right-click on the SD card drive and select “Format” to open the Format Option window.
- Expand the File System category to choose a file format.
- If your SD card is 32 GB or less, choose the “FAT32” format, and if it’s any larger, set it to “exFAT ‘‘ preferably.
- Click OK or Start to initiate the process.
- Once finished, eject the SD card, and put it into your phone to see if the issue is gone.
Note: Even if you don’t share one SD card across several devices, reformatting can help since it’s a common fix for corrupt SD cards.
However, you need to remember that doing so will erase all your stored files on the card.
Therefore, you should only adopt this solution as your last resort, and create a backup if possible.
6. Reset Your Phone To Factory Settings
Factory reset is a one-size-fits-all solution for most software-related issues.
It definitely revives your SD card reading capabilities unless the issue has nothing to do with your phone.
Head on to your phone Settings and track down the “Backup and reset” option.
Then, press Factory Reset and wait a few minutes, so the OS does the rest.
Note: This approach deletes everything in your internal storage, including your media, messages, phone numbers, apps, and chat histories.
Don’t forget to get a backup of everything.
Note 2: If you’ve enabled FRP (Factory Reset Protection) feature, you’ll need your Google or Samsung account credentials to factory reset your system.
B. SD Card Stopped Working On Any Device
1. Reveal Hidden Files Via Computer
Some types of malware and viruses can hide your data in SD card, making you assume the memory is suddenly empty or undetectable.
When this happens, you may see an error that says, “Blank SD Card,” but if you check the properties, you’ll see the storage space is partly taken up.
Unhide the invisible files and then clear the infection to work around this problem:
- Insert the SD card into a card reader and attach it to the USB port on your computer.
- Go to your “File Explorer” and switch to the “view” tab at the top.
- Then, select “Options” at the top right to open your “Folder Option.”
- In the new window, head to the “view” tab and scroll down to see “hidden files and folders.”
- Mark “Show hidden files, folders, and drivers” and press OK to save the changes.
Open your SD card and if your files are back, remove any possible viruses so you won’t see the issue again.
2. Exploit Windows To Repair SD Card
Computers have a built-in utility to check your SD card and other drives for possible glitches.
Just remove your memory card from your smartphone, connect it to your PC using a card reader, and go along with the following steps.
- After going to “This PC,” right-click on your SD card drive and tap “Property.”
- Under the “Tools” tab, find the “Error checking” segment.
- Click “Check” and then “Repair drive.”
- Wait until the system troubleshoots your SD card.
- Make sure to eject it once the process ends and plug it back into your smartphone.
3. Use Your Computer’s Check Disk Tool
The Windows Check Disk utility can locate bad sectors in your disk, recover its readable information, and fix errors on your disk:
- Insert your SD card.
- Press Win and R keys together to launch the administrator command box.
- If your system fails to recognize the SD card, type “cmd” and press Enter.
(If your computer recognizes the SD card but doesn’t let you open it or apply any changes to the files, skip this step.)
- type “chkdsk n: /f” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
(Note that n is the drive letter of your memory card, so you will need to change it accordingly).
- Safely remove the SD card, mount it in your phone, camera, etc., to check if the issue disappears.
- If the problem persists, insert the card into the PC again, open the Run box, and this time, input “hkdsk n: /f /r /x.”
- Repeat step 5.
This trick will probably make the problem go away, but if it didn’t, try the following methods next.
4. Rename Your SD Card Driver letter
- Right-click on “This PC” or “My Computer” and click “Manage.”
- A console tree will appear letting you reach the Disk Management section.
- In the new window, spot your SD card driver and right-click.
- Choose “Change drive letter and paths.”
- Press the “Add” button, allocate a new drive letter, and click “Change” to confirm your choice.
- Reboot the computer, unplug the SD card, and insert it again to see if the issue persists.
5. Deactivate And Reactivate The SD card
- Attach the SD card to your PC.
- Go to the Windows search box, type “Device Manager,” and open it.
- Navigate to your SD card’s name and right-click on it.
- Select “Disable,” wait a few moments, and then “Enable.” the disk.
- Reboot your system so that the adjustments take effect.
6. Disable Write-Protection
You may have accidentally engaged write protection on your SD card, hence blocking some of its functionalities for yourself.
Write-protection is a physical mechanism on your memory card—such as a controller or switch—that prevents deletion, addition, or any type of data modification on it.
Therefore, if writing and erasing contents is not an option with your SD card, but reading and copying are available, you should remove your SD card to unlock this feature.
Just find the switch, glide it to the opposite side—upward or downward—and recheck the memory card.
Even if your memory card doesn’t include a physical switch to turn off this feature, you can disable it through the Diskpart command tool.
- Make sure your SD card is connected to the PC.
- Press Start Key + R to open the Windows Run box.
- Then, type “cmd” and press Ok to bring up a Command Prompt.
- Type the command “diskpart” and hit Enter.
- Input “listdisk” and press Enter.
- Type “Select disk + your disk number” (e.g., Disk 1) to choose the write-protected disk and hit Enter.
- Type “Attribute disk clear read-only” and strike the Enter button.
- The system will note that the disk isn’t write-protected anymore since you’ve removed the attributes.
- Click Enter, reset your computer, and get the SD card.
7. Use An SD Card Data Recovery Solution
If most of your anxiety comes from losing your data rather than the SD card itself, it’s worth trying a recovery tool to restore your photos, videos, docs, and other files.
They do so with no charge, no matter if your SD card is corrupt, out of reach, or formatted—the only no-no scenarios are when the card is physically damaged or overwritten.
C. SD Card Stopped Working On PC
1. Reboot Your Computer
Like the Android operating system, Windows may become unresponsive if you don’t reset it for a long time.
This malfunction sometimes translates to not being able to read your SD card and other peripherals.
Therefore, restarting your device should be the first recipe to overcome an “SD card not recognized” problem.
If it didn’t come out right, try our next methods.
2. Check The Card Reader
- Push the Card a Bit Further
Memory card adapters come with various designs, and although they house standard slot sizes, some may be less flexible than others.
Therefore, you may need to apply a bit more pressure when working with one.
Try squeezing your memory card further than what you normally do to see if the computer can discover it.
However, you need to be careful not to thrust it vigorously as it may damage both the SD card and memory reader.
- Detach and Reattach USB Connector
An insecure connection between the USB jack and input can prevent your PC from recognizing your SD card, leading to a false assumption that it’s not working.
To see if this is the issue, take off the card reader and attach it back to the port several times.
Removing and reinserting the SD card can also do the same job.
- Open the Lock Toggle
Just like SD cards, microSD to SD card adaptors and some card readers come with a little switch lock on their side.
When in a locked position, this switch will transform your SD card to a “Read Only” state, which means you won’t be able to edit or delete items on the card.
Slide the lock toggle up and see if the memory card is working again.
- Use an Alternative USB Port
If nothing’s wrong with the adapter and you’re a hundred percent sure about the SD card functionality, chances are the problem lies within your USB port.
Switch the card from the front to the rear port—or vice versa.
Alternatively, you can use a friend’s PC to see if everything works properly.
If it works fine with other ports, your computer port is loose and should be replaced by a technician.
If it doesn’t work with any port, buy a new adaptor.
3. Reinstall The SD Card Driver
All hardware components—including your memory card—need a specific driver to communicate with your computer OS.
Otherwise, it doesn’t know how to use or control that piece.
In most cases, your device automatically installs a compatible driver as soon as you insert a new peripheral.
Other times, however, you need to get the driver from its manufacturer’s website and install it manually.
That’s because your SD card may show a better function with its dedicated drivers.
Here’s how to install drivers:
- Go to your “Device Manager” through the Start menu.
- A list will pop up in which you can see “Disk drivers.”
- Expand the little arrow on the left, so various disk drivers show up.
- Find your SD card’s name and right-click.
- Click Uninstall.
- Go to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver version (don’t forget to extract the files before installation).
Note: You may need to do the same process for your card reader driver.
4. Update Your Driver
Even if you have official drivers on your system, they may lose their capabilities if you don’t update them regularly.
Other than that, drivers get corrupted after a while and become troublemakers for your system.
In this case, you have to open Device Manager, right-click your SD card driver, and go to its “Properties.”
Then, press the “Update Driver” under the “Driver” tab, so the system automatically searches for the most recent files.
Continue with the on-screen directions.
Note: After upgrading the driver, you may want to turn on the auto-update to avoid similar issues in the future:
- Go “Control Panel” by clicking on its name in the Windows search bar.
- Click “System and Security” and then click “System.”
- Look through the new sidebar on the left to open “Advanced system settings.”
- In the new window, switch to the “Hardware” tab and press “Device installation settings.”
- A message will ask you permission to automatically install the manufacturer’s apps.
- Check “Yes (recommended)” and save changes.