Computer Doesn’t Recognize SD Card? Try These Tips

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computer won't recognize sd card

Have you tried to reinsert your SD card multiple times, but still wondering why your SD is not showing up on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 OS? If your computer doesn’t recognize the SD card or says “SD card not detected” after you insert it into the PC, there are a few easy fixes you can try.

However, before you try to access your SD card by applying fixes, it’s important to recover data on your SD card just to be safe. In this guide, you’ll learn how to recover data and fix your SD card within minutes.

Is It Possible to Recover Data If Your SD Card Is Not Detected?

Yes, it’s possible. You can verify if you’ll be able to recover data from your SD card by checking if the SD card appears in the Disk Management console with the correct size.

Search for disk management in the Start Menu and select the Best Match called Create and format hard disk partitions. This should launch the Disk Management console.

searching for device manager in start menu

Look for your SD card in the Disk Management console.

checking sd card size

If the SD card shows up with its correct size, you’ll be able to scan the card and possibly recover data from it. If everything looks good so far, you can go ahead and start the recovery process. We’ve illustrated the process step-by-step below for your reference.

Step 1. Download Disk Drill

The probability of you successfully recovering data from an SD card that was not recognized on your PC is largely dependent on the tool you use for recovery. An intelligent tool like Disk Drill will help you safely recover data from your SD card, provided the data is recoverable. To get started, download Disk Drill and install it on your PC. You’ll be able to recover 500MB of data using the free version.

installing disk drill

Step 2. Launch Disk Drill and Select Your SD Card

When you launch Disk Drill, you’ll see the list of disk partitions on the home screen along with your SD card. Select your SD card from the list.

selecting sd card on disk drill

Step 3. Start Scanning the SD Card

Once you’ve selected the SD card, select a recovery method from the right of the Disk Drill interface. By default, Disk Drill uses the All recovery methods option, which is recommended in most cases. However, you do have the option to choose a quick or thorough scan. Once you’ve selected a recovery method, select the Search for lost data button to start the scan.

selecting recovery method

Step 4. Start Recovering Files

Disk Drill shows you the files it detects in real-time as it scans your SD card. You can preview the files during the scan by clicking the Review found items button at the top.

reviewing found items during scan

The scan will also find deleted files, but you can choose to only recover Existing files by selecting the relevant folder. If you want to recover select files only, check the boxes next to the relevant files. If you want to recover all files, check the box to the left of the Name column label to select all files. Once the files are selected, click on the Recover button.

selecting files for recovery

Step 5. Select Recovery Location

The final step in the process is to select a target location where you want to save the recovered files. Ideally, you should always choose a location different from the one you’re recovering files from to avoid overwriting any data on the SD card. Select a location and click OK to start recovering.

selecting recovery location

How to Fix SD Card That Won’t Read

Once you’ve recovered the files, you can start fixing your SD card. Your SD card may not show up on your Windows 10 computer for several reasons. Therefore, the fix depends on the cause. You can try to fix the problem in the following ways depending on what is causing the SD card to not show up:

Method 1: Check the Card Reader

Before you blame your SD card, check if your card reader is working properly. Try inserting a different card into the card reader and see if your PC detects the SD card and is able to read it properly.

If the other card doesn’t work either, clear any accumulated dust from the card reader. If cleaning the card reader doesn’t work either, plug the card reader into a different USB port to confirm if the card reader is functioning properly.

Method 2: Restart PC

As simple as it may sound, a restart might just fix your issue. Disconnect the card reader, restart your PC, and then plug it back in once your PC restarts.

Method 3: Disable and Enable the SD card Reader Device

Sometimes, just enabling and disabling the device does the trick. You can enable and disable the SD card reader from the Device Manager. Search for device manager in the Start Menu and open the Best Match.

searching for device manager in start menu

Look for your SD card reader in the list of devices. It should be under Memory technology devices. If you don’t see this category on the list, click on the tiny arrow to the left of Disk drives. You’ll see your SD card under Disk Drives. Right-click on it and select Disable device.

disable sd card device

Next, right-click again and select Enable device.

enable the sd card device

If this doesn’t fix the problem, try updating the drivers.

Method 4: Update Drivers

Windows almost always automatically installs drivers for all devices that you plug in. However, if the manufacturer has rolled out an update later to fix bugs, installing them can potentially fix your problem. You can use the built-in driver update feature in Windows, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to look through the manufacturer’s website to see if there’s a newer version of the driver and install it.

To try updating from within Windows, you’ll again need to use the Device Manager. Right-click on the SD card or SD card reader in the Device Manager and select Update driver.

update sd card driver

Windows will ask if you want to search automatically for drivers or browse the computer for drivers. Select the first option.

searching for drivers automatically

If Windows finds any updated drivers, it will install the drivers automatically. However, Windows isn’t that great at finding drivers. If it says the best driver is installed already, try looking through the manufacturer’s website for an updated driver.

Why won’t My Computer Recognize an SD Card

There are several reasons that can cause your computer to not recognize an SD card when you insert one. Following are some common reasons that can cause this problem:

  • SD card reader isn’t functioning as it should
  • SD card reader hasn’t been connected properly with the computer
  • The SD card reader drivers installed on your PC are outdated
  • SD card has been infected with a virus or has become corrupted
  • The SD card has been physically damaged

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Arjun is an Tech ninja, codes HTML and CSS, and has received an honorary mention as the family’s go-to tech help during get-togethers. He has been writing guides for about six years and he’s currently a contributor on major Tech websites like MakeUseOf, HelpDeskGeek and 7 Data Recovery.
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Senior Data Recovery Engineer. Master's degree in Physics, Information Technology for Science Experiments.