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Can’t Format SD Card – 8 Best Solutions

can't format sd card

Tools such as an SD card hold great importance in the technological world. It is because of the storage space such tiny tools offer. These memory cards are compatible with devices like laptops, PCs, cameras, or mobile phones. 

They are designed to store data that people like to have on their technical devices. But, as this tool is technical, facing some errors is common. One most prominent error people encounter is the SD card won’t format error. 

There could be many reasons, like the card readers not working. You could try various solutions like data recovery, remote write protection, or quick format. It could even be a corrupted SD card. 

So, today we will guide you through some ways to help resolve this error. Just keep scrolling to find the solution that may work for you.

Reasons Behind Can’t Format SD Card Issue

Whenever you encounter this error, you won’t be able to format your SD card on other devices. In short, you may also face this error on your PC or phone. Some probable reasons that cause this particular error are:

  • When the memory card is write-protected.
  • Severe damage was caused to the SD card.
  • Windows won’t work when the memory card is corrupted.
  • When a virus has infected your SD card.

Severe and irreversible damage caused to the card means you need to change your SD card. Making changes to your SD card would be impossible if it’s write-protected. 

To disable the protection, you must slide down the slider in the corner of the memory card. Afterward, you must format the card through a MAC or Windows device. 

Solutions- Can’t Format SD Card

  1. Check For Anti-Virus By Running An Anti-virus Software On Your Device
  2. Unlock Or Disable The write-protection On Your Card
  3. Perform A Force Format On Your SD Card
  4. Perform CHKDSK Format
  5. Modify the Drive Letter and Paths
  6. When SD Card Won’t Format On Camera
  7. When SD Card Won’t Format On Android or Mac
  8. Use Third-Party SD card Formatter Tools

1. Check For Anti-Virus By Running An Anti-virus Software On Your Device

A third-party antivirus tool for phone

It doesn’t matter the kind of device you use; a virus can be responsible for the said error on any technical device. So, the foremost thing you need to do while encountering this error is to run an antivirus program

You can install it online from an authentic source if you do not have one. After running the virus check, you can again try formatting your card. You might want to try other solutions if the error doesn’t disappear.

2. Unlock Or Disable The Write Protection On Your Card

using command prompt to remove write protection from SD card

If your SD card is locked, then it means that your card is write-protected. So, you can’t change your card if it has enabled write protection. All you have to do is remove write protection to fix this error. To do that, follow these instructions:

  • Examine the exterior of your SD card. You will see a lock switch on its left side.
  • The lower position of the switch indicates that your card is write-protected.  To disable it, slide the switch lock upward.

Now go back and check if it resolved the error or not. You can also try the alternate method given below:

  • On your PC, click on the Computer icon on your desktop.
  • Find your SD card in your computer’s folder and right-click on it.
  • Select Properties.
  • Change the permission settings from Read-only to Read & Write.

Changing the permission of your SD card also disables the write protection. Thus, this method should work if the previous one didn’t work.

3. Perform A Force Format On Your SD Card Storage Device

Formatting SD card on windows 10

You can try the method of force formatting the SD card. Many users use this method to overcome the Can’t Format SD card error. This is also the first thing you should do if your card is not write-protected. To execute this method, follow these instructions:

  • Navigate to the search box by clicking on the Start Menu button.
  • Search Command Prompt in the search bar and hit the enter key on your keyboard.
  • Click on the Command Prompt option once you search for it.

Type the following commands in the command prompt window field:

Type: diskpart and hit the enter key.

Then type list disk and tap on the enter key.

Type: Select disk 1 (in place of 1, type your SD card’s drive number) and hit the enter key.

Type: clean and press the enter key.

Type: create partition primary and press enter.

Type: select disk 1 (again, in place of 1, type your SD card’s drive number)

Type: active and hit the enter key to activate the SD card’s partition.

  • Now to format type: fs = NTFS. Or you can also type format fs = fat32. Press the enter key.
  • Type: Assign letter = F and press enter.
  • To end the process, type: exit and hit the enter key.

Performing all the above commands will help format the SD card. But, there are still bad sectors that need fixing. To fix it, you must complete the CHKDSK format explained in the next method.

4. Perform CHKDSK Format

Using CHKDSK command on SD Card

Many times bad sectors on your SD card remain undetected. As a result, you might face this error. The simple way to overcome the can’t format SD card error is to fix the bad sectors present in your card:

  • Open Command Prompt.
  • Type the following command as an admin:

chkdsk E:/f/r (in place of E, you need to type your SD card’s drive letter) and press the enter key.

It will take some time to complete the process, depending on the size of the card’s storage. Once the process is complete:

  • Exit the command prompt window and go to the Disk Management tool.
  • Locate the SD card and right-tap on it.
  • Choose Format Volume from the drop-down menu.
  • Now reset the SD card’s file system and the drive letter.
  • Tap on OK to confirm the action.

Ensure to be careful and not miss any command while performing the abovementioned instructions. Both the processes mentioned in this section will format and fix the existing bad sectors on the SD card.

5. Modify the Drives Letter and Paths On Windows PC

changing drivers letter in Windows 10

If you are lucky enough, changing the drive letters and paths might work for storage media. Some users have reported executing this method, which worked like a charm. Besides, trying a method worth a shot won’t be wasted when nothing seems to work. 

To execute this method, you need to:

  • Connect your SD card with this issue to your PC or laptop.
  • Right-tap the This PC option and select Manage, then open Disk Management.
  • Locate your SD card, and once you find it right-click on it.
  • Choose the Change drive letter from the drop-down list.
  • Open Paths.
  • Change the drive letter by re-selecting another drive letter.
  • Click on OK to confirm the changes.

Go back and use your SD card on the device you were using it on. Check if the can’t format SD card error persists.

6. When Micro SD Card Won’t Format On Camera

Format SD card on Camera

Most of the time, when you insert your memory card into the camera, it instructs you to format the card. It could happen because of various reasons. The main reasons include a virus-infected SD card or a card with bad sectors.

If formatting an SD card on the camera doesn’t work, you can connect your SD card to the PC or laptop. And then try the methods mentioned earlier to fix the issue.

7. When SD Card Won’t Format On Mac Device Or Android Phone

Formatting SD card on MacOS

Many methods mentioned above can work for Android users, such as Force format. You can also try modifying the drive letter and path or disabling the write protection. As for Mac users, they can only rely on the disabling method of write protection.

8. Use Third-Party SD Card Formatter Tools

homepage for SD card organization

If you have tried all the methods, then the last thing you can do is use the third-party tools. All thanks to the advancement in technology, today, you can find many tools to help format your SD card. 

But, search for the exact tool compatible with your device. For instance, if you are using Windows 10, then search for Windows 10 SD card formatted. 

You may find plenty of options online. Thus, choose the best and the ideal one for your task that doesn’t cause any damage to your SD card.

Conclusion

Sometimes the data stored in an SD card is of no use. As a result, you might want to delete the useless data. In such cases, being unable to format the card can be frustrating.  You could use a USB card reader and see if it works. Many options are available to recover data through backup and other options like Diskpart utility

Either way,  you can try the earlier methods to overcome this error. We hope that you find the solution that works for you. 

But, if nothing works, it might be because of the damaged exterior of the card. And in most cases, it’s irreversible. If it’s the case with you, it leaves you with no other option than to replace your SD card with a new one. 

FAQs

Why Can’t I Format My SD Card On Camera?

It may be possible that you have enabled the write-protection, or it’s already enabled on your SD card. Another reason could be that you might have inserted the SD card incorrectly. Try reinserting it correctly. 

How Can I Fix An SD Card That Won’t Format To FAT32?

To format a 32GB SD card, many users perform FAT32. If you can’t seem to use it, you should try the Disk partition utility on your PC.

How Do You Fix The SD Card That Won’t Format Pm Android Devices?

If your SD card doesn’t format, connect it to your PC or laptop with Windows 11/10/8/7 through an SD Card reader. Navigate to Disk Management and right-tap on your SD card. Select the format from the context menu and choose the appropriate file system—for example, NTFS, FAT32, or exFAT. And then click on OK to start the formatting process.

How To Fix SD Card Won’t Format On Android/Canon Camera?

If you are facing the can’t format SD card error on your camera, you can clean the card by connecting it to a PC. Afterward, you can insert the SD card back into your camera. Then, navigate to Storage from settings and choose the Card option. Now tap on the three-dotted settings icon and select Format as internal. Lastly, reboot your camera after choosing the Delete and Format option.