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How to Restore or Format SD Card to Full Capacity

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Daisy updated on Dec 11, 2020 Partition Master | How-to Articles

Reasons for SD card not showing full capacity

Similar cases can happen on other storage devices like USB flash drive, pen drive, hard drive, memory card, etc. Why is my SD card not showing its full capacity? How can I restore the SD memory card to the full size? Users always ask questions when they encountered such strange events.

Usually, SD card not showing full capacity happens because some card readers or host devices are not compatible with the larger SDHC and SDXC cards. If the reader or host is not compatible with the larger capacity, the card will be repartitioned to a size that is supported. For example, if your card reader or camera is compatible with an SDHC card with a maximum capacity of 32GB using this reader or camera to format a 64GB SDXC card will result in the card being repartitioned to 32GB (~27GB usable capacity). And SD card not showing full capacity can also occur due to invisible shadow files, formatting overhead, hidden recovery partitions, and unallocated space

If you're experiencing similar issues to the SD card not showing full capacity, don't worry! Here is a solution. You can use a reader or host that supports the full capacity of the card and use a third-party SD card format tool to restore full capacity on SDHC/SDXC cards with ease. What's more, use the Diskpart command to repair it.

Method 1. Restore SD card full size with EaseUS partitioning tool

To help you reclaim lost or unallocated space and restore SD card to full capacity/original size safely and easily, here we recommend you EaseUS Partition Master, a powerful disk management tool that allows you to format hard drives and conventional removable storage devices. Now you can try the following guide to reformat SD card and restore SD card to full capacity with this tool in simple steps.

Notice:
To avoid data loss when SD card not showing full capacity, we recommend backing up important files first. Read on how to backup sd card for data security.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition on your external hard drive/USB/SD card which you want to format and choose the "Format" option.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

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

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3. In the Warning window, click "OK" to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4. Click the "Execute Operation" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting your external hard drive/USB/SD card.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

Additional tips for choosing a proper file system for your SD card:

  • FAT32 – Suitable for 2-32GB memory card. (Optimal choice)
  • NTFS – Suitable for almost all sizes of SD cards, under 2TB.

Method 2. Repair SD card showing less space via Command Prompt

The introduced SD card formatter shall hopefully help you regain the original size of the memory card. Though this is the easiest and most powerful way to deal with a removable hard disk that is showing less disk space than actual, there is still an alternative way to do this. Windows Command Prompt, which requires a higher level of computer skills than using the third-party automated tool, doesn't need to download and install. It's a built-in Windows native tool for everyone with administrator privilege to use.

To troubleshoot the SD card, of which some precious storage was lost somehow, you can use the DISKPART command lines to recreate a new volume by carefully following each step.

Step 1: In Windows 10, for example, type cmd in the search box, you can get the best match called Command Prompt. Right-click on it and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 2: On the Command Prompt black window, type diskpart and press "Enter".

type diskpart to format hard drive with command prompt

Step 3: Now type list disk and press "Enter". All the disk drives will be listed, including your SD card connected to the computer.

type list disk to format hard drive with command prompt

Step 4: Refer to the list disk information, type select disk + disk number, for example, select disk 2 and press enter. You're telling diskpart to format disk 2.

type select disk 1 to format hard drive with command prompt

Step 5: Go on to type clean. This step starts to clean up all files and folders on the selected hard disk.

type clean to format hard drive with command prompt

Step 6: Type create partition primary and press "Enter".

type create partition primary to format hard drive with command prompt

Step 7: After diskpart successfully created the specified partition, type format fs=ntfs (or format fs=exfat) and press "Enter". You're telling diskpart to format the drive with a file system, let it be NTFS, exFAT, etc.

type format fs=ntfs to format hard drive with command prompt

Step 8: At last, assign a drive letter to the newly created partition by typing assign.

type assign to format hard drive with command prompt

Additional tips for running Diskpart without a hitch:

  • You must run Diskpart as administrators. Otherwise, Windows will forbid you to run it properly. There is another access to open Windows Command Prompt: Windows + X keys -> Command Prompt (Admin).
  • Here's how to deal with the other common error: Diskpart has encountered an error access is denied.

Method 3. Repair SD card showing less capacity via Disk Management

In order to restore SD card to factory settings, please follow the steps of disk management:

Step 1. Press Windows+R > Choose Disk Management.

start disk management

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

disk management format

How to restore SD card to full capacity on Mac

When it comes to repair SD card showing less capacity, here is a guide about how to reset a SD card.

Step 1: Open Disk Utility app.

Step 2: Select your SD card and choose Erase.

Step 3: Choose file system > Erase.

disk utility format

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