How Do I Get My Computer to Recognize an SD Card?

By Jasmine Carpenter

An SD (secure digital) card is designed to store data. The portable card can be used with numerous types of compatible SD devices. Applications can display or play the media on the card. But if you're having problems getting your computer to recognize your SD card, you can use an SD card adapter to avoid the possibility of installing a pesky application that may not be able to decode the media.

Things You'll Need

  • SD card adapter


Step 1

Insert the SD card into the slot on the USB SD card adapter.

Step 2

Turn on your computer and wait until it has finished booting up. Then, plug the SD card adapter into a USB port. Make certain that the SD card adapter's power light is on.

Step 3

Wait for Windows to display a message that says “A new device has been detected on your computer.” Follow the on-screen instructions. Windows will automatically display the SD card adapter as a removable disk. You may need to assign a drive letter to the device.

Step 4

Click the “Start” button on your taskbar. Highlight and select “My Computer” from the drop-down menu. Double-click on the “Removable Disk” icon. Next, drag the files onto your desktop or to a folder, and copy the files there. Depending on the type of media that is on the SD card, choose an application that will allow you to open, play or edit the files.

Step 5

Remove the SD card adapter. Before you physically unplug and remove the SD card adapter from your computer, click the “Removable Disk” icon on your taskbar and follow the on-screen instructions to safely remove the device.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have an older computer, it may not be able to recognize a high-definition SD card. Try using a multiple USB card reader to get the card to work with your computer. Also, when using an SD card, make sure that it is not locked--otherwise, you may see an error message that says “Cannot copy the file...the disk is write protected” on your display screen.