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Computer Won't Read SD Cards - Here Are the Fixes

By Lois Green, Friday, March 06, 2020

Many users sent us emails saying that the computer won't read SD cards:

"My Windows 10 computer does not detect micro SD card inserted in the slot."

"Windows 10 not recognizing my SD card, but my computer does see it in Device Managers. How can I make my SD card show under 'My Computer'?"

As it is a common problem and many users don't know how to fix, let's find out the reasons and solutions of the SD card not showing up on Windows 10.

SD Card

Why is my SD card not showing up on my PC?

SD card not showing up on the computer can be caused by four main reasons, which are:

1. Poor connection

The damaged card reader or USB port may make your SD card fail to be recognized by the PC.

2. Write protected

When the SD card is write-protected, it is locked and will not read by the computer.

3. Outdated driver

Drivers are important for the Windows system to recognize a hardware device. Without updating it, the SD card cannot be detected by the computer

4. Missing driver letter

The SD card cannot be accessed on the PC if its drive letter is lost.

Solutions to fix SD card not recognized by the computer

Since we already knew the reasons why the micro SD card can not show up on the computer, here are eight solutions to solve the problem.

Recognize SD card with programs

When you connect the SD card to the computer and it does not show up in the File Explorer, you can try to use programs to recognize it and drag the files out. Here we take FonePaw Data Recovery as an example.

The program can detect SD card that won't show up in the computer and help you extract data from it. The steps are simple:

Step 1 Download and launch FonePaw Data Recovery.


Step 2 You will see your SD card on the homepage. Select it and hit Scan.

Detect USB Drive

Step 3 Then you will see the file you need in SD card. If you cannot find the file you need, try deep scanning.

Quick Scan Result

Step 4 Choose the files you want and click Recover.


Be careful when you choose the save path. DO NOT save them back to the SD card. Saving them to the folders on your desktop would be better.

Now you should see the files even though your computer cannot read the SD card.

FonePaw Data Recovery can recover all kinds of data like pictures, videos, music, audios, .exe, .bak and more from SD card. It not only save files from SD card that can't be detected by computer but also recover files that accidentally deleted from the computers or external drives.

Restart your computer

This is an old way but it resolves most computer issues.

Unplug the card reader then reboot the PC. Plug the SD card into it again and see if it shows up in the computer now.

Change a new card reader

Sometimes the SD card not recognized by the computer because the hardware problem, such as the card reader is faulty.

Check if your card reader is working and try a new card reader.

Assign a disk letter to the SD card in Disk Management.

If you find the disk letter is missing, assign it to the SD card in Disk Management. Here are the steps:

First, press Windows + R and the Run dialogue will prompt.

Second, input diskmgmt.msc and press Enter to open Disk Management.

Disk Management

Third, locate the SD card and right-click on it. Select Change Drive Letter and Path...

Change Drive Letter Paths

Fourth, in the pop-up window, click Add to assign a drive letter to your SD card.

Add Drive Letter

Remove SD Card Write Protection

When your SD card is write-protected, you will find the computer not recognizing the SD card. Thus, you need to remove write protection from USB in Windows.

Enable SD Card Reader

To enable SD card reader on Windows 10, go to Device Manager and right-click on it.

Device Manager

Select Enable Device and Windows 10 will detect your SD card as usual. If you see Disable Device instead, that means you have already enabled the SD card reader. Skip to the next method.

Reinstall/Update SD Card Driver

It is possible that Windows 10 not recognizing your SD card but you can see it in Device Manager.

Go to Device Manager and check if the card reader in the list. If it has a yellow sign beside it, the problem might be caused by the driver issue. To update the SD card reader driver:

First, connect the SD card to the computer.

Second, navigate to control panel > System > Device Manager > Disk Drivers.

Third, right-click on the SD card > Update Driver

Update USB Driver

Fourth, select Search automatically for updated driver software

Search Automatically For Updated Driver

If it doesn't work, right-click on the device and select Uninstall. Then reboot your computer and Windows will reinstall the driver automatically.

Run chkdsk

Before you use this method, you should be aware that wrong commands may cause severe problems. If you are a computer novice, using third-party software would be a better choice. For example, FonePaw Data Recovery that we mentioned at first. Here is how to run chkdsk:

Step 1 Press Windows + X. 

Step 2 Type cmd > Command Prompt > run as administer.

Step 3 Type chkdsk H:/f and press Enter. Replace H: with your drive letter. 


When the process finishes, reboot your computer.

Those are the detailed reasons and solutions to fix the computer not reading the SD card problem. We hope one of the tips above would be helpful to you. If none of them works, remember to check your hardware like SD card, the card reader, and USB slot.

For those who want to save time and effort or those who know little about computers, the third-party software like FonePaw Data Recovery would be more suitable.    

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