SD Card not recognized by PC [Solved]

Camilla Mo, in Common errorTechnical Tips

If your SD card doesn’t appear in Windows File Explorer when you plug it into your PC’s card reader, don’t despair. This is a common Windows problem, and despite being very frustrating, it’s usually very easy to fix.

Below is a list of the fixes that have worked for other Windows users. Start at the top of the list and work your way down until you find the fix that works for you.

Method 1: Update your drivers
Method 2: Clean your SD card & reader
Method 3: Check if your card reader is disabled
Method 4: Test your SD card in another PC

Method 1: Update your drivers

The most common cause of an unrecognized SD card is a faulty, incorrect or outdated card reader driver. So the first thing you should do it check that your drivers are in good health. You can do this either manually or automatically:

Manual driver update – You can update your drivers manually by going to the manufacturer’s website and searching for the most recent correct driver. Note that for some drivers, you may need to try both the manufacturer of your PC and also the manufacturer of the card reader itself. If you don’t have the time, patience or computer skills to update your drivers manually, you can, instead, do it automatically with Driver Easy.

Automatic driver update – Driver Easy will automatically recognize your system and find the correct driver for your card reader. You don’t need to know exactly what system your computer is running or who your card reader’s manufacturer. Nor do you need to risk downloading and installing the wrong driver, and you don’t need to worry about making a mistake when installing. You can simply update your card reader driver (all your drivers, actually!) automatically with either the FREE or the Pro version of Driver Easy. But with the Pro version it takes just 2 clicks, and you get full support and a 30-day money back guarantee:

1) Download and install Driver Easy.

2) Run Driver Easy and click Scan Now button. Driver Easy will then scan your computer and detect any problem drivers.

3) Click the Update button next to all flagged devices to automatically download and install the correct version of their drivers (you can do this with the FREE version). Pay close attention to whether your card reader appears in the list.

Or click Update All to automatically download and install the correct version of all the drivers that are missing or out of date on your system (this requires the Pro version – you’ll be prompted to upgrade when you click Update All).

If your card still isn’t working after updating your drivers, move onto Method 2.

Method 2: Clean your SD card & reader

Another very common cause of an unrecognized SD card is a very simple one: a dirty SD card or a dusty card reader. Either will cause a poor contact between card and reader.

So the second thing you should do is give your card a clean, and remove any dust from the reader, then try the card again.

  • To clean your card, dip a cotton cloth in a little alcohol or water, and lightly wipe the dirty area, paying particular attention to the metal contacts.
  • To clean your reader, use a compressed air device to blow the dust out of the reader. Alternatively, you can buy contact cleaner on Amazon, which you can use to clean the reader.


If the card still doesn’t work, move onto Method 3.

Method 3: Check if your card reader is disabled

If you’ve tried methods 1 and 2, and your PC still isn’t recognizing your SD card, it’s possible your card reader is turned off in your BIOS.

To check, restart your PC, and at the splash screen (the first screen you see after restarting), look for an instruction that tells you to press a certain key on your keyboard to enter your “BIOS” or “Settings” (e.g. F2 or Delete). Every motherboard manufacturer has their own unique BIOS with its own keyboard shortcut, so we can’t say exactly which key to press to get in.

Likewise all manufacturers organize their BIOS settings their own way; there’s no standard way of doing it. So we can’t tell you exactly what setting to change, and how to find that setting. But once you’re in the BIOS, it shouldn’t be too hard to find the ‘on/off’ switch for your card reader. Just look for a section related to devices or storage, and within that section look for something like “SD Reader” or “Card Reader”. Enable that setting if it’s not already enabled, then save and exit the BIOS. (Be sure to save as you exit. Some manufacturers make it very easy to leave the BIOS without saving your changes, and if you do, you won’t have changed anything.)

Once your computer has restarted and you’ve logged into Windows, test your card again. If it’s still not recognized, move onto Method 4.

Method 4: Test your SD card in another PC

If your SD card is faulty, your PC won’t recognize it. To check, you’ll need to locate another PC with a card reader, and test your SD card in that computer, to see if it works.

If your SD card doesn’t work in the other PC either, it’s probably faulty, and you’ll need to replace it.

If it does work in the other computer, then it’s not a faulty card, but it may be that your card reader is faulty.

We hope these tips help you fix your unrecognized SD card problem. Please comment below if you have any questions or suggestions. We’re always happy to hear of new solutions!

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  • Hunzala Shahid

    Hey. I tried using Driver Easy. Its good but the thing is that im a bit confused about how to install the driver. Any suggestions about how to do it ?

  • Kim S

    Restart the android device with card inserted. It worked for me. 🙂

  • Nader Hoary

    tried cleaning contacts and worked huge thanks ^_^

  • Dalton Brown

    What if you have insert the SD card into the slot, but the “card” reader is not on the list. Then what do you do??

  • vismax maximum vision

    SDHC card recorded from video camera not recognised by win 7 PC. How to fix this card.can recover videos

  • Richard

    I don’t have sd host adapter in my device manager, any idea what’s going on?

    • Nightcore Games

      i dont either im not sure what to do

  • rexxtix

    If none of the above steps work…..go to diskmanager format the sd card and allocate a drive letter to the sd card. Most of the time the sd card lacks a drive letter and can’t be seen by Windows explorer.

    • Nightcore Games

      it wont let me select format when i go to all tasks…

      • rexxtix

        1)Type disk on the windows 10 search bar.
        2) select the option written “create and format hard disk partitions”, a software named “Disk Management” will open.
        3) If your sd adapter is working properly and all drivers are installed properly your sd card will appear as ” Disk 1,2,3…..” with the name “Removable” below the disk allocation number.
        4) Right click on it and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths”
        5) Select the Drive letter.
        6) You are good to go.

  • Geoff Schultz

    After many hours of trying to resolve this problem, I ended up resetting the resetting the BIOS configuration to solve this issue.

    • Bill Evans

      Would you mind giving me the complete instructions that you used to get the reader working.. I am not too sharp on putters as I am only 80 yrs old.. So walk me thru it, REAL SLOW!! Bill

    • James Miller

      Do you know why my computer will Not read my sd card?

  • Chase

    I have a 2016 hp touch screen laptop and bought a brand new Lexar platinum ii ad card, when inserting it it does not read at all or even acknowledge that the card is in. In other laptops it does, but not in mine, anyone know how to fix this?

  • Lorraine

    It worked for me to disable and then enable the sad card in device manager. My photos popped right up when I did.

    • Sue

      How do you figure our which one is your sd card in device Manager so you can disable it?

    • Le Hax

      LOL it actually worked for me, thank you!

    • amin

      thanks worked 4 me.

  • Proxy

    A bit old here but,

    i bought a 32GB SDHC Card and the Reader came with it (bought it like 30min. ago). i can see it in the Manager, but i can’t access it.
    The product is from Hama, you can look at the Stats yourself with the Item Num.: 114788

    All i want is to Replace the SDHC Card in my 3DS and copy all Data onto it.

  • Alan Darlington

    Easy solution for me: ASUS X551C, Win10, 16G SD:
    Go to device manager as above — when I do it there is no SD Host Adapters but there is Memory Technology Devices under which there is RealteK PCIE Cardreader. Select this then click Driver then on the Disable, acknowledge the popup, then back at the driver screen click on the Enable and its popup — the SD card now appears as it did previously & is accessable.
    Don’t know why this works but it did for me.

    • mohammed adel

      Thank You Very Much U R my hero You SOlved my problem

    • A Ngui

      ya. it worked. thanks

    • Dflyboy

      This fixed my situation too, thank you

    • Kaushal

      Thanks Alot Man! Worked & Fixed My Issue

    • Inga

      Worked for me too. Thank you very much!

    • Rauni

      Worked as a charm!

    • Kathy

      Thank you! Worked for me…

    • Arul

      Awesome, it worked and saved my money

    • Kent

      It worked for me, too. I disabled the device, then took the card out of the card reader, then enabled the device, then put the card back in. It works for me!

    • Citizen J

      Worked for me! Thank you!! HP Pavilion M6 Notebook Windows 10

      • Camilla Mo

        Hi Citizen J,

        I am glad that it helps.

    • Matěj Mezera

      Thank you, it worked! 🙂

    • Muneer M

      Thank you it worked for me

    • Christiane Baars

      Thank you so much, worked for my Asus as well. You are a star! 🙂

    • Mitchell Evans

      Worked for me windows 7 Dell

  • Mamatha

    when i connect D1mini to my laptop it is not showing port what should i do

  • Dubbis

    Hello,
    I got a 32g sd card about a month ago and have been using it without any issues. However a couple of days ago, I got a pop up on my phone saying something about formatting my sd card. I tried formatting it but the phone was not detecting it. I’ve tried it with a couple of phones and a windows 10 pc but it still don’t detect it. Any advice?

    • betty

      that happened with me too. did u find a way to fix it?

  • Uzair

    I have a 32gb sd card, it was working fine, but suddenly it stop working, starting to heatup, but only card adaptr area, then i tried to plug it in to my laptop with the help of card reader but it not even showing to my laptop but my card reader start heating up. i dont know whats the problem with it.

  • Shanice

    i have an 8gb SD card that I was using in my Huawei p8. both internal and SD card memory has been full for a while and a few days ago I got a pop up on the phone saying something about the SD card that I paid no mind to, I then realised that it was no longer reading on the phone. I tried taking it out and inserting on my laptop via adaptor slot. but doesn’t read there as well. Does this mean that SD card just stopped working or somehow broke while I n my phone?

    • Felipe

      I have the very same issue since today. My phone is a Moto G3 and I used a SanDisk 32Gb. Really bad situation… luckily I have back-up of all photos.

  • Yitzchak

    I had the same issue after upgrading to Win 10. I went into the Device Manager. Went to the SD Card Controller and disabled and then enabled and it read the card.

    • kim ashton

      This solved my problem on a sony vaio thanks very much !

    • abartus

      fix sdcard issue to work

    • S

      Worked! Thanks

    • Tariq

      Thanks it worked

    • Nightcore Games

      i dont even have the SD Card Controller in my Device Manager

      • Camilla Mo

        Hi Nightcore Games,

        It indicates the card can’t be detected by Windows 10. Please try plugging the card again.

  • maurice sinclair

    All my drivers are up to date and I can see the SD drive in devices but when I install the SD card I cannot hear the normal ding acknowledging that the card has been put into the drive. I can read the card on other laptops (one is exactly the same set up as mine with WINDOWS 10 and same brand of computer etc.Does anyone have any other ideas on how to read the card?

  • Tone

    My problem seems to be even more acute!

    My Win7 64bit PC does not show up two SD 8 GB Kingston cards. If I plug one of them in the SD slot I can hear a “ding-ding” (mount?) soon followed by a “ding” (dismount?).
    However:
    – Both cards can be mounted, read and written on USB port of the same PC (via the USB adapter)!
    – Both cards can be mounted, read and written on other PCs (Win7 and Win10)!
    – Other SD cads can be monuted, read and written on the Win7 64bit PC!

    I checked all the drivers on the PC, I switched of the Security Defender (I thought of some security issues), I formatted and rewritten the cards on other computers… and so far nothing made the two cards work on the particular PC via SD slot.

    The two cards are in function of the SDs of a Garmin device and have been since ever successfuly serviced on the particular PC. The PC is therefor equiped with the appropriate SW, while SD in the most apprpriate port for the operations.

    Please help! I run out of knowledge and ideas of what what would possibly prevent those two SD cards to work on that particular PC?

  • dan

    hi,
    I have a 64gb sdxc card in my note 4 as external. and recently while making videos i needed to make some space in my external sd card, so i started to delete some movies i had copied in the card by ES explorer.
    and maybe i was deleting rather quickly and something corrupted in the card and it stopped deleting two folders. and then i checked with root explorer and AMaze and all failed to delete those two folders. then i connected my phone via MTP and tried to delete those folders via windows and it also failed to do that.
    so i thought that i need to use the CHKDSK commmands to FIX the SDCARD. so i removed the card from phone and inserted it in laptop via Sd card adapter in the sd card slot. the laptop picked it up and displayed it as E drive. i tried to delete one of the stubborn folders and it was deleted easily. hmmmm.
    then i right clicked the sd card E drive and selected TOOLS/error checking/ with fix option and it ran for few sec and returned all is well results. it didn’t find anything out of ordinary. hmmm.
    so i opened up a CMD window and ran the commands to fix the card from DOS.
    “chkdsk /x /f E:”
    it ran but stopped response in the start. and i waited for it to show it going through any files and folders by nothing… it normally takes few seconds to do this task but i waited almost 5 to 10 minutes then i closed the task with CTRL~C but nothing. then i had to close the CMD window with clicking X in the corner and CMD went away. but the E drive was now showing stalled or sort of stuck (no letter) then i removed the card from the laptop and reinserted, nothing happened. i tried another sd card with 32Gb and it was picked up by windows easily. then i tried the 64gb card again and no response. hmm.
    I tried the CMD commands again but got the dreaded “cannot open volume for direct access.”
    I put the card back in the phone and it showed all the data intact. i played some videos, worked ok.
    i unmounted the card and remounted then it said card has problem and it needs to run “SETUP” hmmm (it didn’t say format card)
    so reinserted it and now phone picked it up easily.
    I tried to use the card and adapted in another laptop and it was also easily picked.
    so my first laptop sd card reader has somehow stopped reading 64gb card.
    I then bought a generic USB card reader for microSD cards and the windows also picked it up easily via new SD card reader in USB port.
    anyways, I copied the data from the card and formated the card in the phone and then transfer the data back into the card. and seems all is well.
    so what’s up with my laptop builtin card reader?
    I had reinstalled the drivers and still no go?
    cheers.

  • Eric Houseworth

    I am running windows 10. Until about a week ago I was able to put an sd card in my slot and it worked. Now every card I use, it says that it needs to format the card…but doing so will erase all information. Any suggestions.

    • Dale

      I had a similar issue today with Win 8. I disable the card reader, restarted, and enabled. Seems to work.

  • Executive Personal Consierge

    I experienced this problem today. Having lost internal Audio after HP assisted in upgrade from Windows 7 64-bit to Windows 10, the first assumption made after inserting the SD card into Notebook and it didn’t read/recognize or indicate it was an activated device–was that Windows 10 was revealing another flaw. However(!), after a Cortana query as to reasons SD drive wasn’t indicated–there were blogs about BIOS and other convoluted SEARCHES for resolution requiring many IT Developer/Code Writer capabilities—I decided to use personal Trouble-shooting expertise, start with the card itself–my card actually was a Micro SD card (from a burner phone) and my Adapter for Full-Size card was a different (generic) brand–assumed One-adapter valid for any micro SD; since there was No Recognition of the SDcard with the microSD insert, the error posed that it was like using a Cadillac Key to try and start a Lincoln Continental and wonder why it didn’t work—so, The FIX(yay!!): Found the Actual authentic SD adaptor (same manufacturer as the microSD card)inserted the microSD (key) into the full-sized SD adaptor, pocketed it in the HP Notebook CardReader Slot–and BAM when I went to File Explorer–Listed under the PC Drives was the SD (activated/Recognized/Read-Capable)—Without any file tweaking or BIOS or system file machinations. So, this may work for someone–I hope so. The internal Card has to align with the cardReader slot: first microSD to MacroSD to PC Slot. Note: The microSD was able to be read in my phone as well as my TABLET –so files could be transferred via Bluetooth (if running PC/Notebook & wanting to use Bluetooth–search INTEL Windows 10 Bluetooth–download from INTEL site & check YouTube for help on how to proceed). Signed/A Solutionist

  • Steven Nico Mendoza

    I used my SD card on my PSP. I have not encountered the problem before but just recently. After I plug my SD card in the computer, it shows that it is connected but when i try to open it in my computer, it does not open and just hang up. Then I tried to plug it in back into my PSP but my PSP does no longer read the card. What should I do? Please, I really need your response. Thanks.

    • camilla mo

      Hi Steven Nico Mendoza,

      Try updating the drivers.

  • Phil

    Sometimes the problem may be hardware.
    I have a PQI ‘travel flash’ card reader which I have had for some years ( ~W98 era, possibly USB1.1). I frequently use it to read CF and SD cards. I have recently ‘updated’ to W10 and found that the reader wasn’t recognised when connected to a USB3 port (add-in card).
    Just as a test I connected it to a USB2 port (on the motherboard) and it worked fine.
    It may be that new USB ports cannot always successfully read older devices even if they claim to be compatible.
    I believe there is a drive voltage difference between the various USB specifications.

    Intel i5-750 on Gigabyte P55M-UD2, W10 pro 64
    PCI-e USB3.0rev1.0 Host card – NEC Renesas driver

    Not tried accessing via USB3 port in W7 yet.

    Phil

  • jessica

    THANK YOU!!<3

  • Barbara Meadows

    I have no SD card reader listed under Device manager…Do I need to download one?

    • carrie

      Same issue. USB, yes (but that isn’t working either), but nothing in the card reading department.

    • Sajid Bhuiya

      It could be outdated. Try using Driver Easy to update the driver.