SD Card Won’t Format, How to Deal With it?

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“The SD card won’t format even though I bought it a couple of weeks ago. I use this SD card mainly to store my photos taken with the Samsung phone I use. I am not sure what has happened with the SD card.

And I cannot figure out if it is infected with a virus or corrupted in another way. When I connect the SD card to the computer, it says the card should be formatted. Even if I lost data, I tried to format the card through the PC.

But I continuously get the message saying it cannot format the SD card. Can any expert help me out? Please!”

The above paragraph is just a single example that shows an issue associated with SD cards. This issue occurs when you try to read the SD card with the assistance of a computer.

When you insert the SD card, the PC says that the SD card won’t format. As of today, SD cards are becoming incredibly popular because of their miniature size. So, if you’re using an SD card to store valuable data, the above issue can be huge.

Here, we intend to explain how to resolve this matter.

What can cause the “SD card won’t format” issue?

Before we go to the solutions, it is better to look at the reasons behind this issue. There are a couple of general reasons behind this issue, and let’s look at them.

When an SD card has problems and wants to be formatted, there’s something wrong with its file system. In other words, the requirement to be formatted can appear due to a file system incompatibility.

  • For instance, some devices use only the FAT32 SD card.
  • Also, the SD card file format can suddenly turn raw.
  • Windows simply cannot recognize the SD card you have inserted.
  • The SD card doesn’t show up as a mass storage device. Instead, it may appear as unallocated space.

And so on.

Nevertheless, the error message you see would say that the respective SD card should be formatted. Even though the system says so, the same system doesn’t allow you to format the SD card.

According to the research, however, we could end up finding several causes behind this issue.

  • The SD card you are trying to format is write-protected. As a result, Windows cannot make any changes to it. So, you cannot format your SD card until you remove the write protection.
  • SD card is with bad sectors, or it has corrupted due to some reason. As a result, Windows cannot necessarily format a corrupted SD card.
  • You are using the SD card on various devices and computers. As a result, malware, such as viruses, can enter your card and make it inaccessible. When the card is infected with a virus, you cannot format the SD card.

PS: let’s figure out how to format the SD cards on Android.

What Should You Do if Your Sd Card Won’t Format?

In this part, we explain how to fix if your SD card won’t format. The methods we try here will be applied to all the Windows operating systems that are currently in use.

Besides, if you are facing an issue like an SD card not showing up on Windows, here are the top solutions.

01. Using Windows Disk Management.

There is no shortage of individuals who cannot format the SD card for the first time through Windows Explorer. In general, Windows File Explorer should be good enough to format many SD cards.

However, the problem is that the respective method can fail at times. In that case, you should move to an advanced method and get the SD card formatted.

In this case, you should use Windows Disk Management to get the job done.

  • First, you should launch Disk Management in your Windows OS. To do that, you should go to “This PC” or “My Computer” (depending on your OS version). Then, go to the option “Manage” and choose “Disk Management.”
  • Then, locate and right-click on the SD card and select the option “Format.”
  • Make sure you choose the correct format (such as FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT). Then, you should quickly format the SD card. Choose that option and click “OK.”
Use Windows Disk Management to format the SD card

02. Use Diskpart and clean the faulty SD card.

  • Make sure that you press the Windows key + R keys at the same time. Then, in the run box, you should type the text “CMD.” After that, hit Enter so you can open the command prompt.
  • Now, you should enter the text “diskpart” and hit enter so it will run the Diskpart Utility.
  • Enter the text “list disk” and hit enter so you can list the drives on the computer.
Use Diskpart and clean the faulty SD card
  • Now, you should type the text select disk “X.” Please note that the “X” should be replaced by the drive number of the faulty SD card.
Use Diskpart and clean the faulty SD card
  • Enter the text “clean,” so you can run the clean utility. This option will wipe all data on the SD card.
Use Diskpart and clean the faulty SD card
  • Enter the text “create partition primary,” and it will create a new partition on the SD card.
Use Diskpart and clean the faulty SD card
  • Enter the text “format fs=ntfs” or “format fs=fat32,” so the system will format the respective SD card.
Use Diskpart and clean the faulty SD card

Please note that you should hit the “Enter” key after typing each command line.

03. Using EaseUS Partition Master.

If you cannot fix the issue, you should alternatively switch to a professional, third-party tool. This can be used if you don’t want to try the complex command prompt method.

When you choose a third-party tool, however, you must be careful to find a reliable option. In that case, you should do a considerable amount of research and get it done. This is exactly what a third-party tool like EaseUS Partition Master does.

It is highly reputed and trusted by many users across the globe. This tool works perfectly to format the memory card if it is corrupted, damaged, or inaccessible. Also, it can format SD cards that cannot be formatted in the Windows platform.

If you compare it with Windows’ built-in tool DiskPart utility, the functionality of EaseUS Partition Master is impressive. It has an intuitive, wizard-based, very simple, and straightforward SD card formatting functionality to make things easier.

Are you a novice user with little computer knowledge? If so, you can use this tool to troubleshoot the SD card without much hassle.

Below are the steps you should follow to format the SD card using EaseUS Partition Master.

  • First, you should launch EaseUS Partition Master. Then, you should right-click the partition on your external hard drive/USB/SD. That means the card which you want to format. Then, you should choose the “Format” option.
EaseUS Partition Master
  • Now, you should assign a new partition label, a file system, and an appropriate cluster size. Once you have done that, just click “OK.”
EaseUS Partition Master
  • Once the Warning window pops up, you should click “OK” to proceed.
EaseUS Partition Master
  • Make sure that you click on the option called the “Execute Operation” button as well. This option is located in the top-left corner. By pressing this, you can review the changes. After that, click “Apply” so you can start formatting your external hard drive or SD card.
EaseUS Partition Master

04. Change the Driver Letter and See If the Faulty SD Card Is Detected.

We cannot proceed with the process in certain cases because the SD card is not showing up. To get it done and proceed with formatting, you should rectify that issue first. Mentioned below is the procedure you should follow.

  • As the first step, you should connect the SD card (that doesn’t get formatted) to your PC.
  • Now, you should right-click on “This PC” or “My Computer.” Then, go to Manage and choose Disk Management.
  • Navigate to and right-click on the faulty SD card. Then, you should select the options related to changing a drive letter and paths.
  • Once you have done that, just re-select a new drive for the same SD card. Click “OK” and confirm the changes.
Change the Driver Letter and see if the faulty SD card is detected

05. Remove the Write Protection If the SD Card is Write-protected

As we have mentioned, your SD card won’t format if it is write-protected. This is true for hard drives and even for USB flash drives.

This could be the reason for a large number of users experiencing an “SD card won’t format” issue. It can be seen on mobile devices as well as on PCs.

So, if this is the case, you should try to remove the write protection from the faulty SD card. You can either use the CMD interface or EaseUS. Those who aren’t familiar with the command lines can rely on EaseUS.

Thankfully, EaseUS has introduced a new kit to rectify this very issue. It is applicable for your hard drive, external hard drive, or USB flash apart from SD.

This tool is EaseUS Tools M. It is a one-click tool that can solve write-protection issues on your own.

Mentioned below are the steps to follow in order to use this tool and fix the issue.

  • First, you should download EaseUS Tools M and install it (it is free).
  • Then, launch EaseUS Tools M on your PC and select the option called “Write Protection.”
  • You should now select the device which is currently “Write-Protected.” Then, you should click “Disable” to remove the protection. It’s that simple!
EaseUS Tools M

06. Check for Bad Sectors and Repair Them.

There can be bad sectors on your storage media, but there are invisible ones. However, they will prevent you from accessing the data on the device and using the existing files.

To get rid of the bad sectors, you can simply format the respective disk. Well, what if you cannot directly format the faulty SD card that has bad sectors in your Windows PC?

In that case, you should run the command lines to check the number of bad sectors. After that, you can repair them all. Once you have removed the bad sectors from the SD card, it’s time to format it.

  • Invoke the Run utility by pressing the Windows key + R keys at the same time.
  • Then, enter the text cmd in the Run box. After hitting Enter, you will see the command prompt.
  • Once in the command prompt, just enter chkdsk E: /f /r /x. Replace the letter E with your SD card’s actual drive letter.

Other Instances in Which You Cannot Format an SD Card

01. Fixing a RAW SD Card that Cannot Be Formatted

Do you see the SD card in RAW when you have checked it in Disk Management? If so, you should first convert the RAW file system to NTFS or FAT32. Otherwise, you cannot use it normally.

So, to convert a RAW SD card to NTFS or FAT32, you should go for a disk format. You can easily fix this issue with the assistance of Disk Management by using the methods we have mentioned earlier. For instance, you can either use Command Prompt or EaseUS Partition Master.

02. Repairing SD Card Installed on an Android/Canon Camera

Before everything else, you should remove the card from the device. Then, insert it again. If you still can’t format the SD card, take out the SD card once again.

This time, connect it to a Windows PC or laptop. Then, you can choose one of the methods mentioned below and format the SD Card.

  • Disk Management.
  • Use CMD to format the SD card.
  • EaseUS Partition Master.

03. Formatting an SD card Larger than 32GB

You should know that Windows does not allow you to format SD cards larger than 32GB to FAT32. So, if your SD card is larger than 32GB, use EaseUS Partition Master to format it.

Tips for Preventing SD Card Formatting Issues

To avoid encountering SD card formatting issues in the future, consider the following tips:

  1. Proper Ejection: Always eject the SD card safely from devices to prevent file system corruption.
  2. Avoid Interruptions: Do not remove the SD card during read/write operations to prevent potential damage.
  3. Regular Backups: Maintain regular backups of important data stored on your SD card to avoid data loss during formatting or other issues.
  4. Compatible Devices: Ensure that your SD card is compatible with the devices you intend to use it with.
  5. Quality SD Cards: Invest in reliable and high-quality SD cards from reputable brands to minimize the risk of formatting problems.


Dealing with an SD card that won’t format can be frustrating, but with the right knowledge and troubleshooting steps, you can overcome this issue. In this article, we have discussed the common causes of SD card formatting issues and provided you with practical solutions.

Remember to follow the troubleshooting steps, explore alternative formatting methods, and seek professional help if needed. By implementing the preventive tips, you can minimize the occurrence of SD card formatting problems and ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience with your storage device.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can a faulty card reader cause formatting issues with an SD card?
    • Yes, a faulty card reader can potentially cause formatting issues with an SD card. Ensure that the card reader is functioning properly before attempting formatting.
  2. Will formatting erase all the data on the SD card?
    • Yes, formatting will erase all the data on the SD card. Make sure to backup any important data before proceeding with formatting.
  3. What should I do if the SD card is write-protected and cannot be formatted?
    • If the SD card is write-protected, check for a physical write protection switch on the card and ensure that it is in the unlocked position. If the issue persists, use diskpart command-line utility on Windows to remove the write protection.
  4. Is it possible to recover data from a formatted SD card?
    • It is possible to recover data from a formatted SD card using data recovery software. However, the success of data recovery depends on various factors, including the extent of formatting and usage of the SD card after formatting.
  5. Can using a different file system during formatting cause compatibility problems?
    • Yes, using a file system that is not supported by your device can cause compatibility problems. Ensure that the file system you choose is compatible with the device you intend to use the SD card with.

Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.

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