Windows Won’t Recognize SD Card – How to Fix

Sometimes Windows cannot recognize the SD card after you connect it to the computer. If you meet the painful situation that the computer is not reading your SD card, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will find out the common reasons why your files on an SD card are not showing on the computer, and some feasible solutions to fix the SD card not showing up in Windows 10.

Many reasons could cause Windows won’t recognize your SD card, for example, improper connection, card reader problem, hidden file, outdated/corrupt driver, virus invasion, etc. When the computer is not reading this SD card, we cannot view the photos, videos that are stored on it. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to get rid of the issue that the SD card is not showing pictures on PC.

1. Try a Different Card Reader or USB Port

If you can see the photos on your camera but have trouble viewing them on the computer, try another card reader. You could also clean your SD card with a cotton or wool cloth that is slightly moistened with alcohol. If there are multiple USB ports on both the front and back panels of your computer, try making the switch. If you still cannot view the files on your computer, read the following solutions.

2. Show the Hidden Files

If the photos and other files on your SD card are hidden, you cannot see them in your computer. You make the hidden files on your memory card visible by doing the following.

Step 1. Click the Start button type control panel in the search box.

Step 2. Now switch the view to Category.

Step 3. Click Appearance and Personalization → tap Show hidden files and folders in Folder Options (see the images below).

Step 4. Now you should check the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option, at last, click the Apply button.

3. Remove Write Protection from SD Card

If your SD card is write-protected for physical reasons, you cannot view the files on the computer. What you need to is shifting the physical lock on the SD card in the opposite direction, then you can reconnect the card to your computer to check if Windows can recognize and read it.

If you find the SD card is stuck in read-only mode, you can use Command Prompt to fix its file attributes and make Windows recognize the SD card.

Step 1. Press the Start button go to Accessories → right-click Command Prompt, then choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type diskpart” and press Enter key.

Step 3. Type “list disk” and press Enter key.

Step 4. Type ”select disk X” and press Enter key. (see picture below, you should replace X with the number from the first column in the list for the SD card you want to perform commands for.)

Step 5.Type ”attributes disk clear readonly”, then press Enter key.

Step 6. At last, type Exit and press Enter.

When the photos on SD card are not showing on computer, you could use the three methods mentioned above to see if the Windows File Manager can recognize your SD card. If the problem persists, read on to find other ways to get your SD card back in working condition.

4. Remove Virus / Malware

If your SD card is attacked by viruses or malware, the files and folders on it may become hidden. If the SD card is not showing up in this situation, you could tackle the issue with the help of command prompt (also known as CMD).

Step 1. Click Start button Search command or cmd.

Step 2. Right-click on the Command Prompt search result choose Run as administrator.

Step 3. Type ”diskpart”and then press Enter key.

Step 4.Type attrib -h -r -s /s /d drive letter:\*.* and press the Enter key (see the image below, you need to know the correct drive letter of your SD card) .

Step 5. it’s the final step, type Exit.

Go and check if you can view the SD card files on your computer. If Windows 10 will not read your SD card photos, then I recommend you to use the photo recovery software because it is a proven and reliable solution to recover the pictures not showing on computer.

As an example, we’ll show you how to use MiniTool Photo Recovery to recover the lost photos. Download the software on the official website, install the program on Windows 7/8/10 computer, and connect your SD card to PC. By following the simple instructions, you can recover the pictures on your SD card.

Step 1. Click the Start button on MiniTool Photo Recovery.

Step 2. Find and select your SD card, go and click the Scan button at the lower right corner.

Before scanning all data in the SD card, you can use the Setting feature to specify the file types that you need. This feature will save you a lot of waiting time during the scanning process.

Step 3. Preview the photos in the scanning results, check all needed photos, and save them in a safe place. (Be beware that you must store the needed photos on another drive to make sure the data will not be overwritten).

5. Update SD Card Driver

Windows cannot recognize the SD card? Follow this tutorial to update the SD card driver.

Step 1.Press the Windows key and R to open the Run dialog box.

Step 2. Type devmgmt.msc  and press Enter key.

Step 3. Now click Disk drives.

Step 4. Right-click your SD card, and choose Uninstall and click the OK button (see picture below as a reference).

Step 5.When that is done, right-click another drive (in my case, I right-click WDC WD5000AAKX-22ERMA0 ATA Device), afterward, choose the Scan for hardware changes option to refresh the drives.

6. Make SD Card Files Visible Using Disk Management

When the files in your SD card do not show up on the Windows computer, you could try the Disk Management tool and run CHKDSK. Refer to the instructions below to fix the error.

Step 1. Right-click My Computer or This PC, then click Manage.

Step 2. Click Disk Management, then find your device in the drive viewer and write down the drive letter of your SD card.

Step 3. Press Win + R type cmd and hit Enter key.

Step 4. Type chkdsk Drive Letter: / F and press enter key. (In my case, I type chkdsk K:/F because K is the drive letter of my card).

Step 5. Finally, type Exit and press enter key. That is all.

7. Format the SD Card

The last method to solve “SD card is not showing pictures on PC” error is formatting the SD card. Pay attention – formatting operation will clean all files on your SD card. That means you should recover missing photos before formatting the SD card.

Step 1. Recover pictures that are not showing on the computer

You could use third-party data recovery software like MiniTool Photo Recovery to efficiently recover the data first.

Step 2. Format the SD card

Windows built-in tool Disk Management can be used to format SD cards, but it is somewhat difficult for less tech-savvy people.

We will show you how to use an easy-to-use SD card formatter tool MiniTool Partition Wizard Free to format your SD card/memory card to other file systems, including NTFS, FAT32, FAT, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, Linux Swap, etc. Besides, this software can help you quickly change create/delete partition/merge/split/resize partitions, convert partition style, etc. 

Connect the SD card to your computer, and then launch MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Right-click the SD card and click the “Format Partition” option on the left side.

Set the partition label, select file system (NTFS or FAT32) for the SD card,  then click OK, at last, click the Apply button to start to format the SD card.

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