SD card cannot be read by your phone or PC? This post will show you what to do when an SD card cannot be recognized by a phone or PC. If you are worried about data loss, you can try using MiniTool Software to recover data from SD card that cannot be read.

Is your phone not reading your SD card? How about your computer? Are you also facing the same problem? Browsing forums, we will find many users complaining that their micro SD card cannot be read by phone or PC.

Now, in today's post, I am going to show you how to fix the two following issues:

  • SD card can't be read by PC.
  • SD card can't be read by phone.

Part 1. How to Fix - SD Card Cannot Be Read by PC

First, let's see a true example from

Q: SD memory card won't read on my computer?
I have a 512mb SD memory card and it always worked fine but today I've been trying to use it on my Toshiba laptop for the first time in months and the computer won't recognize it, nothing comes up in my computer or anything. Any ideas why this is happening or how it can be fixed?

What should we do if our SD card cannot be read by our computer?

Generally speaking, people who successfully solve the SD card not reading in Windows 10 issue always do two things very well:
First, they recover data from the SD card that cannot be read by PC.
Second, they fix the SD card not reading on computer issue via several solutions.

Top Recommendation: When it comes to the issue of SD card not reading in Windows 10 issue, we want to share another common issue -SD card or other external HDD not recognized in windows 10. You may not have encountered this issue, but you will have heard of this. Now, if you happen to meet this problem, you can find answers from this post: Solved - External Hard Drive Not Recognized.

Now, you are probably wondering:

"How to recover lost data when PC can't read SD card?"

Step 1. Recover Data from A Micro SD Card That Cannot Be Read

Today, with the rapidly developing data recovery technology, recovering SD card data is easy. Many data recovery programs are now made available in the market to easily and effectively recover lost data. For instance, both MiniTool Power Data Recovery and MiniTool Photo Recovery can help to effectively recover SD card data without affecting the original data because of their excellent performance, high security and simple operations. Here, in my case, I prefer MiniTool Photo Recovery since I only stored photos and videos on my SD card. The steps are shown below:

Attention: Before recovering data from SD card that cannot be read by PC, we should download MiniTool Photo Recovery from its official website, and then install it on computer according to prompts. After that, connect the SD card to PC via card reader.

Free Download

A step-by-step guide to recovering data when PC can't read SD card

Launch MiniTool Photo Recovery, and then click Start button to start SD card photos and videos recovery.

MIniTool Photo Recovery

From the main interface, we can find that MiniTool Photo Recovery not only can recover data from SD card but also supports USB drive/computer hard drive data recovery. More importantly, camera users can directly connect their digital camera to computer and then run this software to recover lost data. For more information, please refer to How to Recover Photos from Digital Camera Memory Card.

Next, select the SD card that cannot be read by PC and then click on Scan button located at the lower right corner to begin scanning on the device.

scan sd card

In this window, you can click on Setting feature to specify needed file types before clicking on Scan button. For instance, if you only want to recover JPEG photos, you can only check JPEG Camera File (*.jpg) and JPEG Graphics file (*.jpg), and then please click on OK button to confirm this setting, as shown below.


After scanning, you will see this scan results in a tree view as shown below, and the types of recovered files are displayed in the left list. Now, you can preview picture by double-clicking on it, select all the pictures you need as well as other SD card data, and click on Save button to store them. It is recommended to store selected files on another drive! Otherwise, the lost/deleted data could be overwritten!



Note: The free edition of MiniTool Photo Recovery can only recover 200MB data. Thus, you should choose the advanced edition if you want to recover more data. And, MiniTool offers three options: Personal, Deluxe, and Ultimate to cater to the needs of different people. If you don't know which one to choose, you can refer to this page: Welcome to MiniTool Photo Recovery 3.0!

If you decide to get an advanced edition, you don't need to close MiniTool Photo Recovery. After that, you can easily click on Register Now button after receiving the license key MiniTool sent to you via email, copy and paste the license key to register, and continue to save selected files.

register now

"Hi! Good News! I effectively and quickly recovered data from my SD card that cannot be read by my Phone/PC without damaging the original data! Want to know the secret? Try MiniTool Photo Recovery! This professional and read-only tool will surprise all of you!"Click to Tweet

After getting lost data back, it is time to fix SD card not reading in Windows 10 issue.

Step 2: Fix SD Card Can't Be Read by PC

Method 1. Format SD card

Open Windows Explorer, right-click the SD card, and then choose " Format…" button.


Now, specify file system, volume label and check Quick Format, and then click on Start button.

quick format

After that, you will receive an error message that reads: "WARNING: Formatting will erase ALL data on this disk. To format the disk, click OK. To quit, click CANCEL." Here, as we have recovered lost data from this SD card, we just need to click on OK button to continue.


Finally, you can click on OK button when you get a message saying: "Format Complete." Thus, all work has been done.

format complete

If this method doesn't work, you can try running CHKDSK to scan for errors!

Method 2. Run CHKDSK to repair corrupted or unreadable micro SD card
Press Windows+X to open the Power User menu, and then click on "Command Prompt (Admin)."
In the new Command Prompt window, type chkdsk E: /f /r /x. Here you should replace E with your micro SD card letter.

chkdsk E f r x

If your computer still can't read your SD card after you try the above two methods, I am afraid you might need to purchase a new SD card as a replacement. SD cards fail over time. Like any other storage media, SD cards deterioriate over time depending on how much use it gets and where it is used.

Now, let's talking about another issue - why phone can't read SD card and how to solve it.

Part 2. How to Fix - SD Card Cannot Be Read by Phone

As we know, SD card is widely used to increase internal storage space of Android. (Here, I guess you might be interested in this post: 7 Methods to Increase Internal Storage Space of Android.) However, sometimes, users will get in the trouble that phone can't read SD card even after a few times plugging. Now, check the following situations to see what the problem is and how to solve it.

Situation 1. SD chip is dirty.
Sometimes, there will be dust or dirt because of the careless protection for chips, thus your phone cannot read SD card. It is recommended to check that if the metal area is black or there is any spot on it. Once you find any spot, you can wipe it gently by using cotton with alcohol or water, and then insert it in when it gets dry.

Situation 2. The wires inside of the slot rust or bend over.
Some phones support hot-plug. BUT, frequent plug-in and out makes the wires bend over, and then you will find that the SD card can't be read by phone. If the wires are at the same position, you should check the slot under light, and try to bend the wires back.

Situation 3. The slot is squeezed.
For some ultrathin phones, the design of slot is very delicate. The slot will be squeezed if the thickness of battery exceeds certain requirement. In this case, you can change the battery to the original battery and use something to reshape the slot so the SD card could be read again.

Situation 4. SD card is formatted improperly.
The forms of phones and computer formatting are different. For instance, FAT32 won't be read in Lenovo Motorola E680. Therefore, if your SD card is formatted with FAT32, you should reformat it to FAT16 to make E680 recognize it.

Attention: Formatting will delete all your data on SD card. Thus, you had better back up your data before formatting.

Situation 5. SD card gets infected with a virus or spyware.
If the SD card gets virus on computer, your phone will no longer be able to read it. The secret to solving this issue is this:
Recover data from SD card that cannot be read by phone, and then format it on computer to FAT16.


To recover data from SD card after virus invasion, you can try using MiniTool Photo Recovery. More information, please refer to part 1. Alternatively, you can also try other tools to recover data from Android SD card. For instance, you can try MiniTool Mobile Recovery for Android Free 1.0 because it offers an excellent feature - Recover from SD-Card to help you effectively restore data from SD card that cannot be read by Android.

Free Download

Here are the steps:
Download, install and launch MiniTool Mobile Recovery for Android to enter its main interface and then click on "Recover from SD-Card" to restore data when phone can't read SD card.

recover from sd card

Connect SD card to the computer which you have installed this professional Android data recovery software via a card reader, and click on "Next" to continue.

connect SD card to pc

Select the SD card you want to recover its data and then click on "Next" button to start the scanning process.

select the inserted sd card

Now, MiniTool Mobile Recovery for Android will analyze SD card. After analyzing, this software will automatically scan the data saved on the card.

ready to scan

scan sd card data

Select all needed files and then click on "Recover" button to store them in a safe place.

adr recover

Situation 6. The phone is broken.
Sometimes, your phone can't read your SD card is because your phone is broken. In this case, you should send your phone to repair.

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Bottom Line

After reading this post, I guess you might know what you should do when your SD card cannot be read by phone or PC. Hope these advices can help you.

If you have any other solutions to solve the SD card not reading on computer issue or phone can't read SD card issue, please feel free to leave comments below, thanks. If you have any questions about recovering data from SD card that cannot be read, you can directly send us emails via [email protected]. We will solve it as soon as possible.

SD Card Not Reading FAQ

?️What do you do if your SD card is not reading?
  1. Check the Card reader.
  2. Try using a different USB port.
  3. Restart PC.
  4. Check write-protection.
  5. Format the SD card.
  6. Purchase a new SD card as a replacement
?Why is my SD card not showing up?
  1. Poor contact between SD card and PC.
  2. The file system of the SD card is unrecognized or corrupted.
  3. The drive letter of SD card is missing.
  4. The device driver of SD card is outdated.
?️How do I fix a corrupted SD card?
  1. Check the file system.
  2. Change drive letter with Disk Management
  3. Format SD card.
  4. Perform a surface test on SD card.
?How do I get my Android to recognize my SD card?
  1. Change your file manager.
  2. Format your memory card.
  3. Check SD card compatibility.
  4. Use a card reader.
  5. Check the card for physical damage.
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