SD Card Won't Read or Open on My Computer

Abby Haines updated on Sep 12, 2019 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


Does your SD card fail to read or open on your computer? Here are proven ways on how to fix the 'computer cannot read the SD card' error step-by-step. If you worry about a data loss disaster, try EaseUS Data Recovery software to rescue your files by following these simple steps.

Many users are complaining that their SD card always worked fine, but suddenly cannot read or open on their computer and are asking for help online. Here’s a real story of a user from the Microsoft community:

"Today I've been trying to use my Toshiba SD card on my laptop, but the computer won't recognize it. Nothing comes up on my computer or anything. Any idea on how to fix it?"

If you are suffering from the same issue and worrying about the unreadable SD card, you are in the right place. We provide tried-and-true solutions to fix the issue without data loss.

Part 1: Recover Data When the Computer Cannot Read or Open SD Card 

Before you get down to fix the "SD card not opening" issue, you should recover data first to avoid further data loss. How to recover your data? now EaseUS disk data recovery software can help! After data recovery, you can go to Part 2 to learn how to repair a Micro SD card that can't be read. 

When you find your SD card can't be read on your computer, right-click This PC --> choose Manage --> select Disk Management. Check if the memory card is listed there. If yes, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help you retrieve your valuable data by following a few simple steps.

Stop using your SD card immediately once you lost files on it. Continuing using the card would hugely increase the chance of data overwriting, which makes data unrecoverable.

Step 1: Connect the SD card to PC

Insert the SD card to a card reader, and connect the card reader with your SD card to a healthy computer.

Step 2: Run SD card recovery software and scan the card.

  • Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your PC and select your SD card under the External Devices column.
  • Then click Scan to start finding lost data on your SD card now.
Run SD card recovery software.

Step 3: Check found SD card data.

After the scanning process, you can preview and find your lost SD card files from below listed tabs:

  • Deleted Files: List your deleted files there.
  • Drive X: All lost files can be found here.
  • Lost Partition Files: Check first if it's for formatted recovery.
  • Extra Files: Finds files that lost names or paths.

And you can use Filter and Search to quickly find your files.

Find lost SD card files.

Step 4: 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 an external storage.
Restore lost SD card files.

Part 2: Fix SD Card Won't Read or Open on My Computer

After retrieving all your data, you can fix the "SD card can't be read or opened on the computer" issue step by step. 

1 - Not Opening SD Card Becomes RAW

Your SD card can be recognized under Disk Management, but it's inaccessible. That is to say, the device becomes RAW. You can fix it through two ways - use CHKDSK or format the SD card.

① Run CHKDSK to Fix SD Card Not Reading (Fix the File System Error)

If the SD Card is detected but cannot open, run CHKDSK to scan for errors!

  • Step 1: Connect the SD card to PC via an SD card reader.
  • Step 2: At the start, type cmd and right-click Command Prompt. Click "Run as administrator".
  • Step 3: Type "chkdsk h: /f". Replace h with your SD card drive letter.

use chkdsk to fix the sd card not rad issue

After this, you can try again to see whether you can open it or not. If not, format the SD card.

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 to try an automatic command line alternative.

EaseUS Tool 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 Tool M for Free and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select "File Fixing" on the left pane. 

On the right pane, choose the drive and check off the box at the bottom - "Check and fix file system error". Then, click "Fix" to start repairing the error.

Step 3: Wait until the operation completes. Wait until the operation completes. After the operation completes, click the "View" button to check the drive. 

select the drive and check off file system error

② Format the SD Card (Can Also Solve Lost Partition Issue)

SD card can be recognized under Disk Management, but it's inaccessible or the partition is lost. SD card formatting can solve it easily:

SD card formatting will cause data loss. Recover data from formatted SD card if you want to get back important data.
  • 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 wanted file system for the SD card and click "OK" to confirm.

format the sd card to make it readable

2 - SD Card Shows No Media

If your SD card shows 0 bytes in Disk Management, you'll need to take your device to a local data recovery service center and ask for help.

sd card shows no media

But you can still try to update the drivers to fix it. Most users say it works.

  • Step 1: Connect the 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 no media sd card, choose "Update driver".
  • Step 3: Select "Search automatically for updated driver software" and wait patiently till the process completes.

update sd card driver

3 - SD Card Showing as Unallocated

If the device is showing as unallocated, the computer certainly cannot open the sd card. For this case, things could be easier. All you have to do is create a new volume for the SD card. The steps below are manual steps. If you prefer to using the software, refer to this page - create a new partition using the software

  • Step 1: Connect the unallocated SD card to PC. Right-click on This PC/My Computer > Manage > Disk Management.
  • Step 2: Locate and right-click on the unallocated space of the SD card, select "New Simple Volume".
  • Step 3: Set partition size, drive letter and file system (NTFS), etc. Click "Finish" to complete the process

create a new volume to repair the sd card

4 - Other Fixes for SD Card Won't Read Issue

  • If the SD card partition doesn't show up in Disk Management but can be found in Device Manager:

① Update the SD card driver

② Change SD card reader, adapter or USB port

  • If both the Device Manager and the Disk Management cannot recognize your SD card:

① Send it to a local device repair center

② Give up this SD card and buy a new one

That's all about how to fix the "SD card won't read or open" issue. 


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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.

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