How to Fix Nikon 'This Memory Card Cannot Be Used' Error

Jean updated on Nov 18, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

This article is mainly about telling you how to fix the memory card cannot be used on the Nikon camera. Including both the conventional method and method with a third-party tool.

How to Fix This Memory Card Cannot Be Used
Repair Damaged/Corrupted Memory Card
Recover Memory Card Data after Formatting

"My Nikon D5200 is using a 16GB SD card. This morning I got the error message saying [this memory card cannot be used, card may be damaged, insert another card]. I put the card in the card reader and connected to the computer, it didn't show up, either. Great, what am I supposed to do now?"

this memory card cannot be used nikon d5200

Why can't this memory card be used all of a sudden? Usually, when a memory card is no longer usable on a device like a digital camera, Android phone, or a game console, it's probably because it has been locked, corrupted, damaged, or broken.

How to Fix This Memory Card Cannot Be Used

If you got the error message on your Nikon camera, try the following methods first to try to solve the problem.

Method 1. Confirm the Card is Correctly Inserted

Take the SD card out of your camera and put it back again. Make sure the insert direction is corrected. You can hear a click sound with some cameras when the memory card is correctly inserted (usually SD cards).

Method 2. Ensure the Card is Approved

Check the approved memory card compatibility charts of Nikon, make sure Nikon approves the SD card you use.

Method 3. Check the Memory Card Contacts

Take the card out and gently clean the contacts using a soft dry cloth (not applicable to the CF-type cards). Make sure no dust is left on the contacts from the cloth. Re-insert the memory card.

Tried the above methods, but the problem still exists? Then the memory card probably gets corrupted/damaged. Under this condition, to fix a damaged SD card, you have two ways to try. Keep reading and check more details.

Repair Damaged/Corrupted Memory Card

Like Canon's 'card cannot be accessed' error, there are fixes available for Nikon this memory card cannot be used problems. Now you can troubleshoot the problem with two useful solutions.

Fix 1. Format a damaged SD card

  • On your PC, right-click "My Computer" or "This PC" (Windows 10) > Manage > Disk Management.
  • Right-click the SD card and select Format.
  • Choose a file system like NTFS, FAT, FAT32, and perform a quick format.

format sd card in disk management

Fix 2. Repair a damaged SD card using cmd

  • Press Windows + X hotkeys, click "Command Prompt (Admin)".

open command prompt as admin

  • Enter the command: chkdsk [sd card drive letter]: /r, and hit enter. For example:
Click to copy

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

Recover Memory Card Data after Formatting

After you have formatted the memory card, all the pictures on it will be erased. If there is no overwriting, you can still recover the lost files with a professional data recovery tool. Here we recommend EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

Let's check some fantastic features of this tool first:

  • Recover lost or deleted files after formatting, partition loss, OS crash, virus attack, etc.
  • Provides both quick scan and deep scan to cover all your recovery needs.
  • Enables users to preview lost files before recovery.
  • Supports to repair damaged or corrupt JPEG/JPG photos during the recovering process.
If the micro SD memory card is not showing up on your computer, you can go to Windows Disk Management to assign a drive letter to the card. Then it will appear.

Download and install the EaseUS data recovery software. Launch the software after installation.

Step 1. Select the memory card and scan

Connect the memory card to your computer and launch EaseUS card recovery software on your PC. Click "Scan" to start looking for your lost data.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Wait for the scanning process to finish.

After the scanning process, you can check and filter wanted files in this program. Click "Filter" if you are looking for a specific file type.

select the memeory card files

Step 3. Recover wanted files.

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

recover memeory card files

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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.

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.