Quick Solutions to Repair Unreadable SD Card

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Summary: SD cards are a common storage solution used in mobile phones, cameras, and other devices. They can hold copious quantities of files in a small chip, they make an effortless way to expand storage capacity as well. But when these SD cards get corrupted, you may not be able to read the data stored. With this article, you will be learning why this happens and how to repair and recover data from unreadable SD cards.

Content Table:

Why Would You Encounter an Unreadable SD Card?

An unreadable SD card is a common issue with SD cards nowadays because it became more popular with people. If you are facing an unreadable SD card issue this can be because the card is corrupted or damaged. SD cards can get corrupted for many reasons, and understanding them will be the first step in troubleshooting the unreadable SD card.

Reason for Unreadable SD Card

As we discuss there are many reasons for corruption, but some of the common once given below,

  • Physical damage in SD card.
  • File system errors in the SD card.
  • Corrupted data in the SD card.
  • Devices are not compatible to read SD cards.
  • Virus or malware infection.
  • SD card drivers are out of date.
  • SD cards are having wear and tear from using for a long time.

How to Fix Unreadable SD Card?

We have now investigated the reasons for the corruption in the SD card, which leads to an unreadable SD card issue, which is the first step of troubleshooting. Now it is time to see how to repair data from unreadable SD cards. We discuss some of the easy methods to solve the situation, follow along if you are facing the issue.

1.     Check the Card Reader or Change the Connection Port

Most of the time the card is not able to read because the card reader or the connection port having issues. You can check the reader to begin your troubleshooting. A card reader is either not connected properly or it is damaged. If you find an issue with the reader, you can change the reader, and this solves the situation.

The next thing to focus on is if the reader is working correctly then there may be issues with the port. You can try and connect the reader to other ports in the system. You can also try and connect to a different system as well if none of your ports are reading the card.

2.     Update SD Card Drivers

If your system is not reading your SD card from any of the ports, this may be because the SD card drivers are out of date. A driver is a software component used to communicate between an SD card and your system. So, if you want to check the driver is up to date, please follow the steps below,

  • Type Device Manager in the search bar on your system and select Device Manager.
  • In the Device Manager window, find the SD driver.
  • Right-click on the driver and select Update driver.
  • Select Search automatically for updated driver software in the pop-up window.
  • Wait for the process to complete and restart the system.

3.     Assign a New Drive Letter

A drive letter is a letter assigned to a drive by the operating system of the computer. This helps to identify the drive and access files and folders in it. So, when your SD card is assigned with a drive letter that is conflicting, then this will cause issues. Follow the steps to repair an unreadable SD card,

  • Press Windows + X keys and select Disk Management.
  • In the Disk Management window, select the drive.
  • Right-click on it and select Change Drive Letter and Paths option.
  • In the window click on the Change button.
  • Select a new drive letter and click Ok.
  • Restart the system and verify the issue is solved.

4.     Run CHKDSK Command

CHKDSK is a utility provided by Microsoft in the Windows operating system to fix file system issues. If the file system of the SD card gets corrupted may have made the SD card unreadable, then with the below steps to repair the issues,

  • In the Windows search bar, type CMD and select Run as administrator.
  • In the Command Prompt, type chkdsk [drive letter]: /r /f.
  • Wait for the process to complete and restart the system.

5.     Use Error Checking Feature

Error checking is a Windows repair tool, used to check for errors such as file system errors, and bad sectors in drives and repair the errors. You can follow the steps and use the tool,

  • Open the File browser and select the drive.
  • Right-click on the drive and select Properties.
  • Go to Tools and click on Check under Error checking.
  • Click on Scan and repair drive on the pop-up window.
  • Once the process is complete and restart the system.

6.     Format Unreadable SD Card

If any of the above methods help you repair an unreadable SD card, the last method you can follow is to format the SD card. Below are the steps to format the SD card,

  • Open the File browser and select the drive.
  • Right-click on the drive and select the Format option.
  • In the Format window, check the Quick format option.

Note: You can change the File format if possible.

  • Now click on Start and wait for the process completed.

How to Recover Data from Unreadable SD Card?

Now that we have tried some repair methods to fix unreadable SD cards and recover data, that is not successful all the time. So, you need to think about recovering the data without repairing the SD card. You need to choose a data recovery tool for this, we recommend SFWare Data Recovery software, a user-friendly tool to deal with tons of data loss scenarios from diverse types of devices.

Recover Unreadable SD Card Using SFWare Data Recovery Software

Download and install SFWare Data Recovery software on your computer and insert the SD card into your computer.

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

  • Launch the tool and select the Recover Files option on the main screen.

  • Select Deleted File Recovery on the next screen.

  • In the next screen, select the drive and click Next.

Note: Once the scanning process is complete, the result will display in a window with a Data view and File type view. You can preview the recovered files by clicking on them.

  • Select the files you want to recover and click on the Next button.
  • Select a different location on your computer to save the data and click Next to save.

Wait for the software to complete the recovery process. This may take some time depending on the size and number of files recovered.


An unreadable SD card is the by-product of corruption in the SD card. With this write-up, first, we have learned about why SD card becomes unreadable. Once we discussed the reasons for the corruption, we moved on to solutions to deal with the issues. We have also looked at the steps to use a professional data recovery tool if you exhausted all the repair methods. Let us know how useful you find the methods in the comment box below.

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