How to Repair an SD Card That Cannot Format?

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Summary: SD cards are a popular and convenient storage option for our digital lives. Whether for photos, music, or important documents, an SD card can hold much data. However, like any technology, SD cards can encounter issues, including the frustrating “cannot format” error. This error can prevent you from using your card. In this blog, we’ll explore how to fix an SD card that cannot format and recover your data, so you can get back to enjoying your digital life.

Content Table:

Why Can’t I Format My SD Card?

There are several reasons why you may not be able to format your SD card, including:

  • Write protection: Some SD cards have a write-protection switch that prevents them from being formatted or written to.
  • File system errors: If your SD card has file system errors, it may prevent it from being formatted. This could happen if the card is not ejected properly from a device.
  • Bad sector: When you attempt to format an SD card with bad sectors, the formatting process may stall or fail altogether. This can happen because the operating system is unable to write the necessary data to these damaged areas.
  • Virus/Malware: Once a virus or malware infects your SD card, it can cause file system errors, corrupt important system files, and prevent the card from being formatted. The virus or malware may even try to lock your SD card and prevent you from accessing your data.

How to Fix an SD Card Cannot Format?

If you are experiencing the “cannot format” SD card error, there are several potential causes to consider. It’s important to identify the root cause of the issue to take appropriate steps to fix the SD card format error. Depending on the cause, there may be different solutions to try. Understanding the reasons behind the error and taking proactive steps can increase your chances of successfully formatting your SD card and recovering any important data.

Method 1: Remove Write Protection

One potential solution for fixing the SD card cannot format error is to remove the write protection. Write protection is a security feature that prevents the card from being written to or modified. If your SD card is write-protected, you may not be able to format it. Remove write protection by try using the physical switch on the side of the card (if it has one) to toggle the write protection setting. If your card does not have a physical switch, you can use DiskPart to disable write protection.

  • Connect your SD card to your computer and open Command Prompt.
  • Type DiskPart and press Enter.
  • Then type list disk and press Enter to see a list of connected disks.
  • Identify the disk number of your SD card and type select disk X, and press Enter.

Note: Where X is the disk number of your SD card

  • Then type attributes disk clear readonly and press Enter to remove write protection.

Keep in mind that some SD cards may be permanently write-protected due to a hardware issue or manufacturer defect, so this method may not always be successful.

Method 2: Using Disk Management

A potential solution for fixing cannot format error on an SD card is to use the Disk Management utility on your computer. This utility allows you to manage and format the drives on your computer, including external devices like SD cards.

  • Connect the SD card to your computer.
  • Open the Disk Management utility by pressing the Windows key + X and selecting Disk Management from the menu that appears.
  • Locate the SD card in the list of drives in the Disk Management window.
  • Right-click on the SD card and select Format from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose the file system you want to use for the SD card.

Note: Make sure the Quick Format option is selected.

  • Click OK to begin the formatting process.

Wait for the formatting process to complete. Once the formatting process is complete, eject the SD card safely.

Method 3: Change the Drive Letter

If your computer does not detect your SD card, it may be difficult to format it. However, one solution is to try changing the drive letter assigned to the SD card.

  • Connect the SD card to your computer and open the Disk Management
  • Locate the SD card in the list of drives in the Disk Management
  • Right-click on the SD card and select Change Drive Letter and Paths from the drop-down menu.
  • Click Change and select a new drive letter for the SD card.
  • Click OK to apply the changes.

Try formatting the SD card, and if the formatting is not successful, there may be a problem with the SD card that requires other solutions.

Method 4: Using the Diskpart Command

Another method that can use to fix an SD card that cannot be formatted is to use the Diskpart command. Diskpart is a command-line tool built into Windows that allows you to manage disks and volumes on your computer. Here are the steps to use the Diskpart command:

  • Connect the SD card to your computer and open a Command Prompt as an Administrator.
  • Type diskpart and hit Enter to open the Diskpart command-line tool.
  • Type “list disk” and press Enter to list all the disks in your computer.
  • Identify the disk number for your SD card from the list and type select disk [number] and hit Enter.
  • Type clean and press Enter to remove all partitions and data on the SD card.
  • Type create partition primary and hit Enter to create a new partition on the card.
  • Once the process is complete, type format fs=fat32 quick and press Enter to format the SD card with the FAT32 file system.

Note: You can replace fat32 with exfat or ntfs depending on your preferences.

  • Wait for the format process to complete, type exit, and hit Enter to exit the Diskpart tool.

Method 5: Repair Bad Sector

If all the above methods fail, it may indicate the presence of bad sectors on the card. Fix this issue by repairing the bad sectors using the command prompt on your computer.

  • Connect the SD card to your computer.
  • Click on the Windows Start button and type cmd in the search bar.
  • Right-click on the Command Prompt icon and select Run as administrator.
  • Type chkdsk [drive letter]: /f /r /x in the Command Prompt window and press Enter.

Note: Replace [drive letter] with the drive letter assigned to your SD card.

The process may take some time to complete, depending on the size of your SD card and the number of errors found. Once the process is complete, try formatting the SD card again using your preferred method.

How to Recover Data from a Formatted SD Card?

If you have accidentally formatted your SD card and lost important data, there are several steps you can take to recover it. First, stop using the SD card immediately to prevent further data overwriting. Next, you can try using data recovery software like SFWare Data Recovery to scan the formatted SD card and retrieve lost files. SFWare Data Recovery has a user-friendly interface and provides a preview option to view recovered files before restoring them. With its powerful scanning algorithm, this software can effectively recover lost data even from severely damaged or corrupted SD cards.

Steps to Recover Data Using SFWare Data Recovery Software

Start the process by downloading and installing SFWare Data Recovery software on your computer. Then insert the SD card into your computer.

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  • Launch the SFWare Data Recovery software and select the Recover Files option from the main screen.

  • In the next screen, you should select Deleted File Recovery.

  • Select the drive from the next screen and click Next.

Note: Wait for the scanning process to complete. Once the scanning process is complete, the result will be displayed in a Data view and File type view window.

  • You can preview the recovered files by clicking on them.

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

Note: Make sure to activate the software to complete saving the recovered files.

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


Encountering the SD card cannot format error can be frustrating, but several methods can help you fix the issue. There are multiple solutions available to help you resolve the problem. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can regain access to your SD card and protect your important files from permanent loss. Remember always to back up your data regularly to prevent data loss in the future. Let us know helpful this article for you in the comment box.

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