How to Fix Unreadable SD Card and Recover Data

Roxanne updated on Oct 13, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

When the micro SD card becomes unreadable on cellphone, tablet, music/video player or PC, stay calm. On this page, you'll find reliable solutions to fix 'Unreadable' SD card with different symptoms and restore valuable data with EaseUS file recovery software in 3 steps.

SD card shows up in Disk Management but inaccessible (RAW)
SD card shows up in Disk Management as unallocated space (lost partition)
Unreadable SD card shows as No Media in Disk Management
SD card shows in Device Manager, not in Disk Management
SD card can't be detected by Device Manager, Disk Management, nor File Explorer

Overview of Unreadable SD Card

Many users use a Micro SD card inside their phones or digital cameras to save their data. It is the most efficient way to expand the storage space of a device. 

However, sometimes when the Micro SD card gets corrupted, it will become unreadable. At this moment, you are not allowed to access the card on your computer, smartphone or digital camera. Here is a list of symptoms of an unreadable SD card when it's connected to PC:

  • SD card becomes RAW 
  • SD card lost partition
  • SD card shows as No Media in Disk management
  • SD card shows fail to show up or can't be detected by PC

Have you ever encountered such a problem on the Micro SD card in your daily life? If you have not found an efficient solution, follow this page fix the unreadable SD card without losing data with provided methods and professional SD card recovery software in the below.

How to fix and recover unreadable SD card

If you are troubled with a Micro SD card unreadable problem, the easiest solution is to recover your data from the unreadable SD card first and then format it for re-use. However, as the causes of unreadable SD card are diverse. The solutions toward different cases are also different. 

Follow the unique cases with provided solutions here fix unreadable SD card with ease:

Case 1. Unreadable SD card shows up in Disk Management but inaccessible 

Applies to: SD card becomes RAW, unsupported file system, access denied

SD card shows as raw.

# 1. Run CHKDSK command to fix the file system error on SD card

  • Step 1: Connect the SD card to PC via an SD card reader.
  • Step 2: Right-click the Windows icon, type cmd in the search bar, hit Enter to bring up Command Prompt.
  • Step 3: Enter your administrator account and password if necessary.
  • Step 4: Type: chkdsk /X /f sd card letter: or chkdsk sd card letter: /f, for example "chkdsk /X /f G:" or "chkdsk h: /f".
  • Fix unreadable SD card file system.

After this, you can re-open the File Explorer to check if the SD card is accessible. If not, continue with the repairing process.

If you don't have any technical know-how and want to minimize data risks, using third-party software could be a better choice. The Command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause severe problems. Therefore, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative.

EaseUS Tools M is a practical computer fixing tool that is safe and light-weighted. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to solve your computer issues.

To fix file system error or disk error:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tools M for Free and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select the "File showing" option. 

Step 3: Choose the drive and wait for repairing. After the operation completes, click the "View" button to check the drive. 

select the drive and check off file system error

# 2. Recover data from unreadable Micro SD card

Don't rush to format the SD card. If you have saved data inside the SD card, apply reliable file recovery software to scan and restore data before formatting.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard supports to recover the inaccessible data from your unreadable Micro SD card within 3 steps. This program has powerful data recovery capabilities and an intuitive user interface. It allows you to easily retrieve your unreadable SD card data at home, on your own. 

Step 1. Run SD card recovery software and scan the card.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your PC and select your SD card. Then click "Scan" to start finding lost data on your SD card.

select the sd card and click scan

Step 2. Check found SD card data.

After the scanning process, you can click "Filter" to quickly find wanted files.

find wanted sd card files

Step 3. Restore SD card data.

You can check and preview found files by double-clicking each one of them. Then click Recover to save found SD card files to a secure location on your PC or external storage.

recover sd card files

# 3. Format SD card to FAT32

  • Step 1: Connect the SD card to your PC.
  • Right-click on This PC/My Computer, select "Manage".
  • Step 2: Click "Disk Management", locate and right-click the SD card, then choose "Format".
  • Step 3: Select FAT32 as the file system for the SD card and click "OK" to confirm.
  • format the sd card to ntfs with the build in tool

After this, you can save data back to the SD card and reuse it on your PC, mobile phone or camera, etc. devices again.

Case 2. Unreadable SD card shows up in Disk Management as unallocated space (lost partition)

Applies to: SD card lost partition, became unallocated

# 1. Recover data from unallocated SD card

When the SD card lost partition, none of you can be able to view nor view the saved data in the SD card. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will help you restore valuable data from the unallocated space on the SD card:

Step 1. Select the lost partition on SD card

Connect the SD card to PC and Launch EaseUS data recovery software.

Select the lost or deleted disk partition on SD card from which you want to recover data and click "Scan" to search for all the lost data.

select the deleted partition in the lost partition option

Step 2. Scan the lost partition on SD card

The data recovery software scans the lost partition automatically after you click the "Scan" button.

scan the deleted partition

Step 3. Recover data from the lost SD card partition

After the scan, choose what you want to recover.

Click the "Filter" button to find what kind of file you want to restore. Select the wanted files and get them back by clicking the "Recover" button.

recover the wanted data from the deleted partition

Save files to another secure location before making the SD card readable again.

# 2. Create a new partition on the unallocated SD card

  • Step 1: Connect the SD card to PC and open Disk Management.
  • Step 2: Right-click on the unallocated space of your SD card and select "New Simple Volume".
  • Partition Windows 10 free 1
  • Step 3: Enter the New Simple Volume Wizard interface, click "Next" to continue. 
  • Assign Drive Letter or Path, then set the SD card file system to FAT32. Click Finish to complete the process.
  • Partition Windows 10 3

Now the SD card is accessible and available for you to store and save files again.

Case 3. Unreadable SD card shows as No Media in Disk Management

Applies to: SD card shows up in Disk Management as "No Media", no partition detected

SD card shows as no media.

To fix this issue, you can try the below two methods for help: 

# 1. Update SD card driver

  • Step 1: Connect the unreadable SD card to PC. Right-click on This PC/My Computer icon, select Manage and go to Device Manager.
  • Step 2: Expand Disk drivers, find and right-click on the 0 bytes hard drive which displays as no media, choose "Update driver".
  • Update SD card driver.
  • Step 3: Select "Search automatically for updated driver software" and wait patiently till the process completes.
  • Restart the PC if necessary.

# 2. Take the SD card repaired at a local device repair center

If the SD card partition doesn't show in Disk Management, you'll need to take it to a local device repair center for help.

Case 4. Unreadable SD card shows in Device Manager, not in Disk Management

Applies to: SD card only shows up in Device Manager, not detected by Disk Management nor File Explorer

# 1. Update SD card driver

# 2. Change SD card reader, adapter or USB port

By changing a new SD card reader, adapter or USB port, you may have a chance to make the SD card readable again. 

# 3. Take SD card to a local device repair center

If the card still doesn't show up, take it to a local repair center. Professional manual repair service providers may have a solution to resolve your problem.

Case 5. Unreadable SD card can't be detected by Device Manager, Disk Management, nor File Explorer

Applies to: SD card can't be detected by Device Manager, Disk Management nor File Explorer

# 1. Change SD card reader, adapter or USB port

# 2. Take SD card to a local device repair center

# 4. Change a new SD card, give up the old SD card

When all the possible ways have been tried, the SD card still not work, you'll have to buy a new SD card to replace the old one.

Bottom Line

To sum up, when the SD card becomes unreadable, first, let's look at what can help you fix an unreadable Micro SD card:

  1. 1. Check file system error
  2. 2. Format SD card to FAT32
  3. 3. Create a new partition on unallocated SD card
  4. 4. Update SD card driver
  5. 5. Change a w SD card reader, adapter, USB port.
  6. 6. Take SD card repaired at a local repair center

Next, the most important thing is to apply a reliable data recovery software for help. EaseUS data recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard supports to rescue your data with ease. 

This proficient recovery tool also works well in other storage media data recovery cases. For example, recover formatted USB drive, recover deleted files from pen drive and so on.

Last, it's always important to back up valuable data from the SD card on an external hard drive or a secure location on PC. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

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

6. 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.

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