Photo Recovery

Fix: SD card not working after Format

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    Summary: The issue of the SD card not working after formatting occurs due to a physically damaged card or card reader, file system error, or virus attack. Check the card compatibility, reformat the card, or update the driver to resolve the SD card not recognized or working issue. Read this blog for more comprehensive solutions. Also, learn how to recover lost photos from the formatted SD card using professional photo recovery software.

    “I formatted my micro SD card to the NTFS file system from my laptop. But when I connected my SD card reader to the PC, the SD card did not work. How can I fix the problem?”

    It’s not unusual that an SD card does not work on a camera, Windows/ Mac, or any other storage device. If you, too, are facing a similar problem, then it can be due to poor connectivity, virus infection, outdated device driver, faulty card reader or USB port, etc.

    No matter what causes the issue of SD card not working after the format, you can easily fix this problem with the methods shared in this post.

    Why is the SD card not working after the format?

    There can be several reasons why your SD card is not working after format, such as –

    • Your SD card is not formatted correctly.
    • File system of the SD card is not supported.
    • The SD card may not be compatible with your device.
    • SD cards may be physically damaged or corrupted.
    • Virus-infected SD card or device.
    • SD card drivers are not updated.
    • Faulty card reader or SD card slot.
    • The SD card reader is not properly connected to the PC.
    • No drive letter has been allocated to the SD card.

    Methods to Fix SD card not working after format

    Now that you know why your SD card is not working after Format, let’s look at some of the best solutions to fix this problem.

    Check the card reader or SD card slot.

    Often, a faulty SD card slot or card reader can be the reason why your memory card is not working after format. Test if your SD card is working with the same card reader on another system; if your card is accessible, then the SD card slot can be faulty. Try using a different card slot on your PC to see if the memory card is working.

    Check the SD card compatibility.

    Ensure your SD card is compatible with the device that you are using, be it an Android phone, digital camera, computer, etc. For this, check the user manual or official website of your device used for connecting the SD card.

    If your card is compatible with the device but not working, try to use a different SD card to rule out the possibility of a damaged or faulty SD card.

    Reformat the SD Card

    If your SD card is not working on the digital camera or Android phone, it can be due to a file system error. Moreover, if your SD card is corrupted or not formatted correctly, your smartphone or camera can’t read it. Try reformatting the card again to resolve the file system or corruption issue in the SD card.

    Read more – How to format SD cards on different devices?

    Perform CHKDSK Scan

    CHKDSK is a Windows command-line tool that automatically checks and repairs many file system errors of an SD card. This scan is an efficient way to repair damaged or corrupted SD cards. Here’s how to run CHKDSK Scan:

    • Connect your SD card with your computer.
    • Type CMD in the Windows search and click Open to launch Command Prompt.
    • Type chkdsk X: /r /f and press Enter. (Here, X is the affected SD card.)
    10 chkdsk in cmd

    Run Windows Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

    Windows built-in Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter feature helps fix issues related to system hardware and external devices. Run this troubleshooter to check if the SD card is showing up in Windows.

    • Insert the SD card into the card reader and connect it to your Windows PC.
    • Open Settings > Update & Security.
    • Select Troubleshoot from the left pane.
    • Click on Hardware and Devices on the right pane.
    • Then click Run the troubleshooter button.
    run troubleshooter

    Now, check if the problem of the SD card is working after the format is fixed. If not, move to the next step.

    Update or Reinstall the Card Reader Driver

    If your SD card is still not showing up in Windows, an outdated device drive may be the culprit. Try to update or reinstall the SD card reader driver to solve the issue.

    • Press the Windows + X key together to open the Quick Link menu, and select Device Manager.
    • Select your SD card under Disk drives, right-click on it, and select Update driver.
    • Next, select Search automatically for updated driver software. If any update is available, install it.
    Select automatically for updated driver software
    • After that, restart your Windows and check if your SD card is working on Windows.

    Change the drive letter of the SD card.

    If your SD card is still not showing in the File Explorer, then maybe Windows fails to assign drive letters to the connected memory card. Often, if the drive letter of your SD card is already in use by another removable drive, your SD card will not show up. In such a situation, assign the drive letter to your memory card manually. Here’s how to assign a new drive letter to your SD card:

    • Press the Windows + R key together to launch the Run dialog box.
    • Type diskmgmt.msc and click OK.
    • If no drive letter is assigned to your SD card, right-click on it and click Change Drive Letter and Path.
    change drive letter to sd card windows
    • Click Add.
    • Tick the checkbox next to ‘Assign the following drive letter.’
    Assign new drive letter
    • Choose a drive letter for your external card and click OK. Then, exit from the Disk Management tool.

    Now disconnect your SD card and connect it back to your PC; your card should now show up in Windows File Explorer.

    Bonus Tip: How to Recover Data from a Formatted SD Card?

    If you format the SD card without saving its data, you can recover those lost data by using professional SD card recovery software. Stellar Photo Recovery can help restore lost photos, videos, and audio files from formatted SD cards.

    This photo recovery tool can even recover lost or deleted media files from formatted, corrupted, damaged, inaccessible SD cards, compact flash, and other storage devices. Moreover, it can restore photos, videos, and audio files of popular formats, including JPG/JPEG, MPVE, MP4, RAW, etc.

    Download for Windows Download for Mac

    Here’s how to recover photos from a formatted SD card:

    • Connect the formatted SD card to your computer using an SD card reader.
    • Download, install, and launch Stellar Photo Recovery software on your Windows or Mac.
    • Select the SD card from where you want to recover your lost files. Click Scan.
    Select location to Scan - Stellar Photo Recovery
    • Once the scan is completed, you can see the scan result and preview the recoverable files.
    Preview the recovered images in Stellar Photo Recovery
    • Select the media files you want to restore, click Recover, and browse the location to save them at a desired location.
    Saving recovered photos in Stellar Photo Recovery


    If your SD card is not working after formatting, ensure there is no error related to a card reader or USB port. Assign your SD card a drive letter, run a CHKDSK scan, and update or reinstall the SD card driver to fix this issue.

    Besides, if the problem continues, stop using the problematic SD card and get a new card and card reader, if required.


    1. SD card won’t mount or recognize error?

    If your SD card slot is damaged, the USB port is not working, or the USB cable is broken, then your SD card won’t mount or be recognized. You can perform a CHKDSK scan or Disk Management Utility to fix any error associated with the SD card.

    2. Why my pictures on the SD card are showing on the camera but not on the PC?

    There could be many reasons why your SD card is showing on camera but not on PC:

    • SD card slot or reader is faulty or not working.
    • Photos are hidden
    • File system error on your computer.

    3. How to fix a corrupt SD card?

    You can try to connect the SD card to another device, format the SD card, try the chkdsk command, or reinstall the device driver to fix the corrupt SD card.

    4. Why does your “SD card need to be formatted”?

    There can different reasons why you need to format your SD card:

    • Corrupt or damaged SD cards.
    • SD card reached the maximum number of write cycles
    • Presence of a bad sector
    • Interruption while using the SD cards.

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    About The Author

    Vishakha Singh linkdin

    Vishakha Singh is a Senior Writer at Stellar Data Recovery with half a decade of experience in writing content in diverse verticals. She's a tech enthusiast who loves creating photo/video recovery & repair tutorials. Vishakha also specializes in writing full-blown iPhone and Android guides.

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