What to do when you can’t format SD card

SD memory cards have surfaced as standard cards for digital cameras and microSD as phone standard memory cards. Most people have and use at least one daily, so naturally copying files and even formatting SD cards is a natural thing to do, but what if you cannot copy files or format SD cards?

SD cardsFear not because we had this issue and tried several things in order to overcome the problem and after some time here is a list of what can you do if you are facing this exact issue. The list is written from most simple solutions to more complex ones and it is advisable to follow it as presented. That being said, let’s dive into solving the problem.

1. Remove Write Protection on SD card

First and in my experience the most usual thing preventing deleting, copying files, and formating SD card is due to write protection. Take an SD card out of the laptop, camera, or card reader and visually inspect it. On side of almost every SD card, there is a hardware lock switch and mark where it needs to be positioned in order to be locked. Even if the switch is positioned on unlocked state, switch it to locked and then back to unlocked. Sometimes this easy moving of switch can resolve some contact issues and the card will start working normally.

Another type of lock that could be turned ON is a software one. If for any kind of reason data protection has been turned ON, you will need to turn it off in order to be able to format an SD card. In order to do this follow this guide:

  1. Press ⊞ WINDOWS + R to open the Run dialog
  2. In run dialog type in diskpart and press ENTER
  3. Once diskpart is opened in command prompt type in: list disk and press ENTER
  4. Locate your SD card and type in select disk x, where x is disk number followed by ENTER
  5. After the SD card is selected type in: attributes disk clear read-only and press ENTER

This process will clear the software lock on the SD card, after following this method try to format the card again, if the problem still exists go to the next solution.

2. Format SD card using Command prompt

Command prompt is a great tool and can perform some commands that are not been able to be completed using file explorer or another tool inside Windows.

  1. In the taskbar search box, search for cmd and select the Command prompt
  2. On the right part select run as administrator
  3. If needed click on YES on UAC prompt
  4. Inside command prompt type in diskpart and press ENTER
  5. type in list disk followed by ENTER
  6. Select your SD card by locating its number in the list and typing select disk X, where is X SD cards number in list and press ENTER
  7. Once SD card is selected type in format fs=ntfs quick and press ENTER

This should format SD card but if for reason even this step is provided as unproductive, go to the next solution.

3. Format your card with the Disk Management tool

  1. Go into the taskbar and search for Disk Management and open it
  2. Select SD card partition that you wish to format
  3. Right-click on the partition and select format
  4. After the format is done, enter the volume label, file system, and allocation unit size. Confirm with OK
  5. Press OK again to confirm the formatting process.

If you have not managed to format your SD card even with this method go to the next solution.

4. Repartition card with Disk part

If all previous solutions have failed there is a chance that the SD card has bad sectors on it. If this is the case that we will need to partition cards in order to isolate bad sectors and use healthy ones.

  1. Press ⊞ WINDOWS + R to open the Run dialog
  2. In run dialog type in diskpart and press ENTER
  3. Once diskpart is opened in command prompt type in: list disk and press ENTER
  4. Locate your SD card and type in select disk x, where x is disk number followed by ENTER
  5. Type in Clean and press ENTER
  6. Type in Create partition primary and press ENTER
  7. To select a new partition type select partition 1 followed by ENTER
  8. Make partition active by typing active and pressing ENTER
  9. Format the drive by typing format fs=ntfs label=SDCard quick followed with ENTER
  10. Assign a letter to drive by typing assign letter=h followed with ENTER
  11. Type exit to close Command prompt followed again by ENTER and open File Explorer to check if the drive is active

5. Try a dedicated SD card formating fool

If anything failed so far, one last thing you could do is to download and try a dedicated SD card formatting tool. One that I would recommend is SD Memory Card Formatter, which is free software make specifically for formatting SD memory cards.

On the other hand, if your computer is going through some system-related issues that have to get fixed, there is a one-click solution known as Restoro you could check out to resolve them.

This program is a useful tool that could repair corrupted registries and optimize your PC’s overall performance. Aside from that, it also cleans out your computer for any junk or corrupted files that help you eliminate any unwanted files from your system. This is basically a solution that’s within your grasp with just a click. It’s easy to use as it is user-friendly. For a complete set of instructions in downloading and using it, refer to the steps below

Perform a full system scan using Restoro. To do so, follow the instructions below.

  1. Download and install Restoro from the official site.
  2. Once the installation process is completed, run Restoro to perform a full system scan.
  3. After the scan is completed click the “Start Repair” button.
restoro application screen
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