Fix 'Can't Format Memory/Micro SD Card' Error on Windows PC/Android Phone

Tracy King updated on Aug 04, 2019 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


This page describes reasons and solutions to all kinds of SD card is not formatting issues. The occurrence of the problem can be seen on an Android phone, a Windows PC and a digital camera. Anyway, you are going to complete the format with effective tools as recommended here. One accompanying issue with not formatted SD card is data loss. Whenever formatting SD card erased data, or you cannot access data because of being unable to format, use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for recovery.

Some Scenarios of SD Card Not Formatting

We use so many types of a memory card in portable electronic devices, such as micro SD card (also known as TF card) on an Android phone/tablet/music player, SD card on a digital camera (and DSLR)/video game consoles...

A memory card plays the role of expansive storage, backup storage and so on. And one fact of using a portable SD card is the short lifespan, especially you use it on multiple devices. After frequently pulling in and pulling out, it's very likely to corrupt, asking you to format it, to get ready to use the next time. Usually, a corrupted memory card on different devices sends different errors. Following are some examples.

On a camera:

On an Android phone:

On a PC:

Recover Data from SD Card with Formatting Error

Formatting SD card will erase data on it, but if you don't perform the quick format as the error message suggested, you cannot access data at all. In both situations, when you have important photos, documents, music, games or other types of files you're unwilling to lose, use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for recovery.

It's acknowledged to be the best SD card file recovery software that enables you to fully restore all missing and hidden files from the inaccessible SD card, USB or even external hard drive with a few simple clicks.

Just download and install it on your PC and try to recover data with the guide here.

Usually, deleted or formatted data is not permanently removed. Stop using the memory card once you lost data on it. With powerful memory card recovery software, you can hopefully get lost data back.

Step 1. Run memory card recovery software

  • Connect the memory card on which you lost your files to your computer and launch EaseUS card recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard on your PC.
  • Select your memory card under External Devices and click "Scan" to start finding your lost files.
Select memory card to scan and find lost files.

Step 2. Scan to find all lost files from memory card

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will fully scan your memory card and find all your lost data on it.

Scan memory card to find lost files.

Step 3. Scan to find all lost files from your memory card.

After the scanning process, you can check and preview found files in this program.

  • Underneath Deleted Files, you can find your deleted memory card files there.
  • And if you formatted the memory card, you can check those files under Lost Partition Files.
  • And Filter will help you quickly find your lost files from Graphics, Documents, Videos, Audio, and Email, etc.

You can directly double-click the files to preview and see if found files are all right. After this, you can choose those files and click "Recover" to restore them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

Restore lost memory card data.
Do You Need Specialized Data Recovery Services?
You may need further help for tough data loss situations like reformatting drive, RAW disk, partition loss, repartition failures and system boot error. Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts for cost-efficient one-on-one manual recovery service. They could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:
1. Unformat the drive
2. Repair the RAID, RAW disk or operating system
3. Recover lost partition (the one that cannot be recovered by software)

Practical Solutions to SD Card Not Formatted Error [for Windows users]

Before going deep to apply the troubleshooting methods, there is one simple examination and fixes for you to check, if you're using a micro SD card which has a lock switch, make sure that it's not on. This is an essential step to remove SD card write protection.

remove write protection

Next, try the provided solutions one by one until your SD card is formatted eventually. Whatever error message in the above list you've encountered, the two general troubleshooting methods are applicable. 

Method 1. Format and reset SD card to FAT32/NTFS

Now that you can retry to use Disk Management or CMD command to format the SD card on your computer again:

1. Connect and insert the SD card into your computer.
2. Press Windows + R keys and type: [diskmgmt.msc] and hit Enter.
3. In the Disk Management, locate and right-click on the SD card that you want to format, choose Format Volume...
4. Reset the file system on your SD card into FAT32 or NTFS and click OK to confirm.

format sd card in disk management

Besides Windows Disk Management, you can also format SD card using cmd and SD card formatter.

Method 2. Repair bad sectors and file system error on memory/SD card

1. Insert the SD card that you want to format to your PC.
2. Press Windows + X keys and select "Command Prompt (Admin)".
3. Sign in as an administrator, and type: [diskpart] hit Enter.
4. Type: [chkdsk D: /r ] and hit Enter. (Replace D with the drive letter of your SD card.)

repair sd card with chkdsk command

Wait for the process to complete and then all bad sectors or corrupted file system will all be fixed by this command.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

2. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

3. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

4. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

5. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.