SanDisk memory SD card is widely used to extend the storage so as to save more pictures, videos, music and other types of files. However, things may go wrong on the SanDisk SD card due to various issues, among which, 'SanDisk SD card unable to format' is a top concerned case.

On this page, you will learn:

  1. 1. Why won't SanDisk SD card format?
  2. 2. How to Fix Sandisk Unable to format error?

Follow the provided solutions to remove SanDisk won't format issue and format SanDisk successfully on your own.

Causes of SanDisk SD Card Unable to Format Error

Accordingly, SanDisk SD cards are used on Android smartphones, digital cameras (DSLR), GoPro cameras, and many digital devices that support external storage. One day, you might find that your phone cannot play the music on the micro SD card, the camera cannot take pictures and save to the SDHC card, or the GoPro sends strange errors, keeps telling you "SD card not formatted".

Here is a list of causes that explain why is your SanDisk SD card has 'Windows was unable to complete the format, and you need to format it in another way' issue:

  • SD card won't mount
  • SD card unexpectedly removed
  • SD card is damaged or corrupted due to bad sector
  • SD card has an unsupported file system
  • SD card is write-protected or read-only
  • SD card is infected by virus or malware
  • Windows cannot format SD card larger than 32GB to FAT32

If you are having the same issue on your SanDisk SD card or other brands of memory cards, follow through the next two parts, you'll remove the "unable to format SanDisk SD card" error and format your SD card to the desired file system successfully.

Part 1. Recover Data from SanDisk SD Card (with) Unable to Format Error

Applies to: Restore precious data from SanDisk SD card which is unable to be formatted.

Before you start fixing SanDisk SD card won't format or unable to format issue, it's highly recommended that you take care of your precious data saved on the card first. EaseUS EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is able to scan and recover data from inaccessible or not formatted SD card, as long as your computer can recognize the memory card.

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Recovery Rate 99.7%Trustpilot 4.7

Download and install this software to let it scan and restore everything on your SanDisk SD card immediately. It only takes 3 steps for the recovery:

Step 1. Select the SD card to scan

  • Download and install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your Windows PC.
  • Use the proper way to connect your SanDisk/Lexar/Transcend SD card to the computer. 
  • Open EaseUS SD card recovery software and choose SD Card Recovery on the left panel. All connected drives will display here. Select your SD card and click "Scan".
select the sd card and click scan

Step 2. Check for scan results

  • Wait for the scanning process to complete.
  • Specify one or several file types to show up, like Pictures or Videos.
  • Click "Preview" to check if they are the wanted files.
filter the lost photos

Step 3. Recover SD card data

  • Preview the recovered files and click "Recover".
  • Choose a different location to save the recovered files instead of the original SD card.
Recover lost photos

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Recovery Rate 99.7%Trustpilot 4.7

Consult with EaseUS Data Recovery Experts for one-on-one manual recovery service. We could offer the following services after FREE diagnosis:

  • Repair corrupted RAID structure, unbootable Windows OS and corrupted virtual disk file (.vmdk, .vhd, .vhdx, etc.)
  • Recover/repair lost partition and re-partitioned drive
  • Unformat hard drive and repair raw drive (BitLocker encrypted drive)
  • Fix disks that become GPT protected partitions

Part 2. How to Fix 'SanDisk SD Card Unable to Formatted' Error (3+ Methods)

Applies to: Fix 'SanDisk SD card is unable to be formatted' error caused by the corrupted file system, bad sector, write protection, virus infection.

In the below part, you'll get three methods that are exclusively provided to fix SD card not formatting issue:

  1. #1. Run CHKDSK
  2. #2. Remove Read-Only or Write-Protection
  3. #3. Clear Virus

You can apply the methods to many other brands of memory cards, or flash drives. Note that if you hare having SanDisk unable to format issue on your Android phone or camera, take it off your device and connect it to your Windows PC. Then try the methods below to fix this issue immediately.

Method 1. Fix Corrupted File System & Bad Sectors on SanDisk Using CHKDSK Command

If Windows warns that Windows is unable to complete the format as SanDisk SD card has corrupted file system or bad sectors, you may try to run CHKDSK command as shown below to fix these two errors:

Note that the CHKDSK command will permanently remove all saved files while fixing device errors. So make sure that you apply reliable EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover all files first.

Step 1. On the PC, press Windows + R keys to open "Run". Type cmd and hit Enter key.

Step 2. Right-click Command Prompt, and select "Run as Administrator".

Step 3. Type chkdsk f: /f /r /x (replace f with your own SanDisk SD card drive letter)

check sd card bad sectors

Step 4. Type exit to close the window when the prompt completes the command.

Check if you access your SD card, if yes, go to Part 3 and choose one SD card formatter to format it to NTFS or FAT32.

Method 2. Remove Write Protection from SanDisk SD Card

There are two options that can help you remove write protection from the SanDisk SD card: 1. Using Diskpart Attribute Clear Readonly command; 2. Use EaseUS write-protection removal tool.

Let's see how to remove the write protection that causes SanDisk unable to format issue now:

Option 1. Use DiskPart to Clear Read-Only from SanDisk SD Card

Step 1. Open DiskPart by typing cmd in Windows search and right-click Command Prompt > Run as Administrator.

Step 2. Type diskpart and hit Enter.

Step 3. Type the following command lines one by one and hit Enter each time:

  • list disk
  • select disk *
  • attributes disk clear readonly

Remove write protection from SanDisk SD card

Step 4.  Type exit to close the window.

After this, you should be able to format your SanDisk SD card to the desired file system.

Option 2. Use EaseUS Write Protection Removal Tool

If you don't consider yourself a pro-computer user and you're not familiar with command-lines, don't worry. There are graphical-based solutions to help you remove write-protection from your hard drives, USB drives, and even SD cards.

EaseUS CleanGenius is one of these tools that helps you fix aforementioned issues on your drives without knowing a thing about command-line.

Here's an easy-to-follow guide on how to use this tool to get your issues sorted:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD and install EaseUS CleanGenius (free) on your computer.

Step 2: Run EaseUS CleanGenius on your PC, select Optimization and choose the Write Protection mode.

disable write protection

Step 3: Select the device that is write-protected and click Disable to remove the protection.

Disable Write Protection from storage devices.

Option 3. Use Diskpart - Clean SD Card and Create a New Partition

Step 1: On the PC, press Windows + R keys to open "Run". Type cmd and hit Enter key.

Step 2: Type diskpart to bring up DiskPart utility.

format sandisk sd card in diskpart

Step 3: Type list disk and hit Enter.

format sandisk sd card in diskpart

Step 4: Type select disk 2 and hit Enter. (Replace 2 with the drive number of your SD card)

format sandisk sd card in diskpart

Step 5. Type clean and hit Enter.

format sandisk sd card in diskpart

Step 6: Type create partition primary and hit Enter.

format sandisk sd card in diskpart

Step 7: Type format fs=ntfs or format fs=fat32 and press "Enter".

format sandisk sd card in diskpart

Step 8: After this, type exit to finish the process.

Method 3. Clear Virus that Cause SanDisk SD Card Unable to Format

Sometimes, virus infection or malware may block you from formatting your SD card. In this case, it's highly necessary that you run antivirus software to clear Viruses or malware that cause the "SanDisk SD Card unable to format" issue.

Step 1. Download and install antivirus software, like avast, avire, etc.

Step 2. Scan and clear virus from SanDisk SD card or your computer.

Step 3. Exit the antivirus program once completes.

Note that if you are familiar with Windows Defender, you may also apply it to delete and remove virus without antivirus tools.

Part 3. Format SanDisk SD Card after Fixing Unable to Format Error

Applies to: Format SanDisk SD card after fixing the unable to format issue.

In this part, you'll see 3 easiest way to format your SanDisk SD card after fixing the unable to format issue:

  1. #1. Use EaseUS SD Formatter
  2. #2. Use Windows File Explorer to Format
  3. #3. Format SD Card with Disk Management

You can apply anyone to format your SanDisk to the desired file system again.

#1. Use EaseUS SD Card Formatter  - Best Recommend

EaseUS Partition Master is the best option for you if you are unable to format SanDisk card to FAT32 as it's bigger than FAT32. It also allows you to format the SD card which contains an unsupported file system to a normal one.

Download and apply it to format your SanDisk SD card now:

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.

#2. Use Windows File Explorer to Format SanDisk SD Card

Step 1. Connect SanDisk SD card to PC. Right-click on the SD card and select "Format".

Step 2. On the format window, select a proper file system among NTFS, FAT32 or exFAT.

Step 3. Click "Start".

format SD card on windows 10 using file explorer sd card formatter

#3. Format SanDisk SD Card with Disk Management

Windows Disk Management gives you another chance to re-format the SanDisk SD card to a normal state again. Connect SanDisk SD card to your PC and let's start the formatting:

Step 1. Right-click on "Computer" or "This PC", select Management and then Disk Management under the Storage section.

Step 2. Right-click on the SD card partition and select "Format".

format sandisk sd card in disk management

Step 3. On the format window, check the box of Perform a quick format, and in the same way you need to choose a file system and allocation unit size.

Step 4. Click "OK".

You may find that the "Format" option grayed out", which means that Disk Management is not available to use at the moment. You can refer to:
Disk Management Format Option Greyed Out for help.


On this page, we explained why you are unable to format SanDisk SD card, and provided you with several practical fixes to help you out of this issue.

Note that if you have precious data saved on this card, remember to use EaseUS data recovery software or other brands of data recovery tool to restore the saved data first.

Free Download

Recovery Rate 99.7%Trustpilot 4.7

Then you can apply the listed fixes on this page to fix this issue and reformat SanDisk SD card to a normal state again. If you are having the same issue on other brands of SD memory card or USB, these fixes and methods also work to help.

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Updated by Cedric

Cedric Grantham is a senior editor and data recovery specialist of EaseUS. He mainly writes articles and how-to tips about data recovery on PC and Mac. He has handled 10,000+ data recovery cases and is good at data recovery of NTFS, FAT (FAT32 and ExFAT) file systems, and RAID structure reorganization.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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