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How to Fix SD Card Needs to Be Formatted Error [Step-by-step]

Do you want to learn how to fix SD card needs to be formatted error? This article provides several methods for you to solve this problem.

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Updated on Jun 20, 2024

While moving files from an SD card to my hard drive (Windows 10), the process stopped, and Windows showed me the error "SD card needs to be formatted". - Reddit

SD cards have been widely used as external devices to store or transfer data in this digital era. When inserting your SD card into your devices, errors such as "SD card needs to be formatted" mentioned above might occur. This often indicates that there is something wrong with your SD card, which makes your SD card inaccessible. Don't worry. EaseUS will explore the potential reasons for this error and provide several methods for you to fix the problem. 

What Causes SD Card Needs to Be Formatted Error

When you encounter the "SD card needs to be formatted" error, you won't be able to read or write any data on the SD card. There are several reasons for this error. Here is a brief list:

  • Incorrect insertion: If you insert your SD card in the wrong direction or it has fallen, it might not be accessible. 
  • Incorrect removal: If you ejected your SD card improperly before, corruption might remain.
  • Physical damage: Check your SD card physically for visible damage, such as bent pints. 
  • Virus or Malware attack: If your SD card is attacked by a virus or malware, it will likely malfunction. 
  • Bad sectors: Large chunks of bad sectors on an SD card can cause serious damage. 
  • File system corruption: If the file system is corrupted, your SD card won't work successfully. Click to learn what happens if an SD card is corrupted.
  • Incompatibility issues: If your SD card has an unsupported file system, such as RAW, your computer might fail to recognize it.

How to Fix SD Card Needs to Be Formatted Error

Encountering the SD card needs to be formatted error can be frustrating, especially when you need to access the data. In the following section, we will provide several methods to solve this problem for you. You can find a suitable way to take control of your SD card.

Method 1. Reconnect SD Card

Sometimes, a simple restart can be helpful. You can make some adjustments to make your SD card work again.

  • Use another USB port: Try inserting your SD card into another compatible USB port to see if the error persists.
  • Reinsert the SD card: Insert your SD card more carefully. Make sure it is placed in the right direction. This helps determine if the error is caused by improper insertion or the card itself. 

Method 2. Check and Fix the Error with EaseUS Partition Master

If the "SD card needs to be formatted error" persists after you reinsert the SD card, it is indicated that the card itself needs to be examined. To manage your SD card comprehensively, you can use a third-party tool - EaseUS Partition Master Professional. It has a "Check file system" feature, which can help you check your SD card for any potential errors. Any bad sectors or corrupted file system will be detected and repaired by its advanced algorithm.

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This tool is user-friendly, so you don't have to be an IT professional to use it. With a few clicks, you can check SD card for errors and access your SD card on your devices after repair.

Here is a guide for you:

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master on your computer. Then, locate the disk, right-click the partition you want to check, and choose "Advanced" > "Check File System".

choose Check Partition

Step 2. In the Check File System window, keep the "Try to fix errors if found" option selected and click "Start".

check the pop-up instructions

Step 3. The software will begin checking your partition file system on your disk. When it completes, click "Finish".

finish partition check

In addition to checking the file system, this tool can help manage your SD card and fix other problems. Click the buttons to learn:

Method 3. Run CHKDSK to Fix the Error

An effective way to check your SD card is to use the Windows built-in tool, CHKDSK. It is designed to check hard drive errors caused by bad sectors or other factors. You can use it to fix the SD card that needs to be formatted errors.

Here is a step-by-step guide for you:

Step 1. Insert your SD card onto your computer.

Step 2. Search for Command Prompt from the Start Menu. Click "Run as administrator".

run cmd

Step 3. In the command window, type the command chkdsk d: /r /f.

💡Note: "D" here represents the drive letter of the SD card. Note the letter for your SD card and use the correct one.

use chkdsk

Step 4. Press Enter and wait patiently.

Wait for your CHKDSK to identify and fix the corrupted sectors on your SD card. After the process completer, you can insert your SD card again to see if the fix succeeds or not.

If your CHKDSK is not working, read the article below to get help:

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Fix CHKDSK Not Working Issue in Windows 11/10/8/7 in 2024

Reliable and free CHKDSK alternative method is available here to fix CHKDSK not working issue with ease now.

fix chkdsk not working

Method 4. Use File Explorer to Format SD Card 

If the above methods fail to unlock the SD card, you can consider formatting it. By formatting your SD card, you can bring it back to its original state. However, the data stored on it will be lost. This is what happens when you format an SD card. You can use data backup software to help you make a copy of your SD card when it is inaccessible.

One efficient way to format your SD card is to use File Explorer. You can follow the steps below:

Step 1. Insert your SD card onto your computer.

Step 2. Right-click on your SD card and select Format.

Step 3. Choose a file system from the list and set the allocation unit size.

Step 4. Select "Quick Format" under the "Format" options to begin the process.

format sd card in file exploere

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Method 5. Use Disk Management to Format SD Card 

Another effective tool you can turn to is Disk Management. It has multiple functions to help you manage your disk. When you try to fix the "SD card needs to be formatted" error, you can resort to Disk Management.

The steps to format your SD card are below:

Step 1. Connect your SD card to the system.

Step 2. From the Start Menu, choose Disk Management.

Step 3. Find your SD card and choose Format by right-clicking on it.

Step 4. Choose a file system and the allocation unit size from the list. You can choose the default allocation unit given in the box.

Step 5. Click on "Perform a quick format", and hit "OK" to begin the process.

format sd card in disk management

In addition to formatting your SD card, you can also use Disk Management if you can't delete partition on SD card.

Method 6. Format SD Card with a Third-party Tool

A simpler and easier way to format your SD card is to use a reliable tool. You don't have to execute the task through complicated procedures. EaseUS Partition Master will perform the task for you. It won't take too much time before you can access your SD card once more.

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You can follow the instructions to format your SD card:

Step 1. Find your SD card and right-click the partition you want to format and choose "Format".

Step 2. Set a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Step 3. Click "Yes" on the pop-up window to continue.

Step 4. Click the "Execute 1 Task(s)" button on the toolbar, then click "Apply" to start formatting your SD card.

Method 7. Check SD Card with Anti-virus Software

When you encounter the "SD card needs to be formatted" error, it is possible that a virus attacked your SD card. You can run anti-virus software to detect if there is any virus affecting your SD card. If not, you can try to fix the issue using the methods mentioned above. 


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On this page, we provide several methods for how to fix SD card needs to be formatted error. You can first determine whether it is the issue with the insertion method or with the card itself. To check and fix for errors, Windows built-in tools can be effective. If you want to solve the problem in a quicker and easier way, using EaseUS Partition Master can be a good choice. You can use it to repair or format your SD card to make it workable without too much hassle. 

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

FAQs about How to Fix SD Card Needs to Be Formatted Error

In the following part, we list some questions about how to fix "SD card needs to be formatted" error. You can continue to check the answers if you are interested.

1. Why does my SD card suddenly say it needs to be formatted?

Several factors can lead to such a problem, such as improper use, malware, bad sectors, and physical damage. If you do not find any physical damage, you can use tools such as EaseUS Partition Master to help detect the problem.

2. Why is my SD card formatting stuck?

If your SD card is stuck in formatting, it indicates potential issues with the card or the device. You can try to cancel the formatting process and retry minutes later. If the issue persists, inspect the SD card for physical damage. In addition, you can use File Explorer or CHKDSK to examine your SD card.

3. Can a corrupted SD card be fixed? 

Yes. You can fix a corrupted SD card. The command-line utility CHKDSK can perform such a task.

Here is a guide:

Step 1. Search for Command Prompt from the Start Menu. Click on "Run as administrator".

Step 2. In the command window, enter the command chkdsk x: /r /f.

Note: Replace X with the letter for your SD card on your computer.

Step 3. Press Enter to wait for the results.

The process may take hours, depending on the size of your SD card.

How Can We Help You

About the Author

Updated by Cici

Cici is the junior editor of the writing team of EaseUS. She accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS for over one year. Now, she wrote a lot of professional articles to help people resolve the issues of hard drive corruption, computer boot errors, and disk partition problems.

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