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What Does Format SD Card Mean | How to Format & Unformat SD Card

Updated on Mar 21, 2019 by Tracy King to Format Recovery


Many users are interested in what does format SD card mean. Given that, we will show you what happens when you format an SD card, how to format an SD card in all possible ways and how to unformat SD card with data recovery software in case you need.

What Does 'Format SD Card' Mean
How to Format SD Card
How to Unformat SD Card

What Does 'Format SD Card' Mean

Generally speaking, 'format an SD card' means destroying all the existing contents on it, assigning a new file system to the SD card, and preparing the storage device to store data. Based on this understanding, you will know what will happen after your format an SD card - the existing files on the device will all be lost.

In most of the cases, when you get a new SD card, it is pre-formatted and you can use it to store files directly. However, along with the process of using it, you may accidentally format the SD card or have to format it in some situations. For example, to fix an unreadable/corrupted SD card, to remove the virus on the memory card, or to when you fix an SD card with the RAW file system, you will need to format the storage device. If you intend to format an SD card, how will you do it? There are several ways for you to choose.

How to Format an SD Card

Based on the experience, there are four ways you can apply to format an SD card. As mentioned above, formatting an SD card will delete all the files on it. You'd better back up your SD card with free backup software in advance to avoid data loss, or, if you have formatted your memory card already, you can learn how to unformat SD card to recover your lost files.

Method 1. Format an SD Card via This PC

Step 1. Insert your SD card into a card reader and connect the card reader to your computer.

Step 2. Go to "This PC", right-click your SD card and then choose "Format".

Step 3. In the window, assign a file system (FAT32 for smaller SD cards and exFAT for larger cards that are more than 64GB) to your SD card and enter the volume label. After the settings, click "Start" > "OK".

Method 2. Format an SD Card via Disk Management

Step 1. Insert your SD card into a card reader and connect the card reader to your computer.

Step 2. Right-click "This PC", choose "Manage" > "Disk Management".

Step 3. Right-click on your SD card and choose "Format".

Step 4. In the new window, choose a suitable file system and input the volume label. Then click "Start" > "OK" to format your SD card.

Other than the two methods above, you can also format an SD card using CMD or reliable formatting tool.

How to Unformat an SD Card

Can you unformat an SD card? Are the files recoverable on the formatted SD card? Actually, formatting a memory card does not really erase the data on it. The data is not immediately destroyed and they still exist in the data area. If the data area is not overwritten by new content, you can successfully unformat the SD card. However, if the formatted data is overwritten, there is no way to retrieve the lost data. Thus, If you formatted an SD card, to ensure the maximum change of recover your files, stop using the device and perform data recovery immediately with one of the two ways below.

Method 1. Unformat SD Card with Professional Data Recovery Software

The proven way to unformat an SD card is to use the trustworthy external storage device/hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Whenever you need to unformat an SD card, USB flash drive, hard drive, or other conventional storage devices, you can apply this software to get things done. In addition to performing formatted file recovery, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard also enables you to:

  • Recover files after reinstalling Windows, OS crash, virus attack and many other tough data loss situations
  • Recover files that are permanently deleted by using Shift-Delete or emptying recycle bin
  • Retrieve lost photos, videos, audio files, Microsoft Office files, Adobe files, emails, and more (200+)

Now, follow the video tutorial or detailed steps provided below to unformat your SD card with three steps safely and quickly.

Video Tutorial: How to Unformat SD Card with EaseUS Data Recovery Software

Detailed Steps: How to Unformat SD Card with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

Step 1. Use a card reader to connect the micro SD card to your computer so that Windows can recognize the card and assign it a drive letter.

Step 2. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. Under "External Devices", select the SD card that you performed a quick format on it. Then, Click "Scan".

select your sd card and click scan

Step 3. Wait until the scan is over. And check the results in "Lost Partition Files" at first. Also, check the other results as well if necessary.

scan the lost data on the sd card

Select the wanted files. A double click allows you to preview the files before recovery. Next, click "Recover" after making the decision.

select files and click recover

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, an easy data recovery software, allows you to recover formatted USB hard drive, memory stick, hard drive, SD card, USB drive, etc. It can scan your formatted device thoroughly and recover all your lost files according to your needs. Download the software and unformat your SD card with it immediately.

Method 2. Unformat an SD Card with Command Prompt

As mentioned above, you can format an SD card using CMD. Similarly, you can also unformat the SD card with it. Here is the way.

Step 1. Press "Win + R" keys or go to Search and type: cmd, hit "Enter" to open the Command Prompt window.

Step 2. Type: chkdsk F: /f and hit "Enter". (Replace F with the drive letter of the formatted SD card.)

Step 3. Type: Y and hit "Enter" to continue.

Step 4. Type: F and hit "Enter" again.

Step 5. Type: F:\>attrib -h -r -s /s /d *.* and hit "Enter".

After this, you shall be able to view and check all data on the formatted SD card. If command prompt is not working on your computer, use method 1 instead.

Unformat SD Card

You now know all about what does 'format an SD card' mean, how to format an SD card, and how to unformat the SD card to recover your data. Formatting, deleting, and erasing are common ways that cause data loss. Luckily, after formatting or deletion, you can still retrieve your files. However, if you erase data, the change to get back your lost files is rather slim. Thus, be careful when you do these operations and grow a habit of backing up your important content regularly since data loss occurs frequently. Hope this article is helpful to you.