How to Check an SD Card for Errors

By John Michael Thomas

You can check an SD card for errors quickly with Windows Check Disk, or more thoroughly with the free Windows utilities H2testw and FakeFlashTest.

You can quickly check an SD card for errors using the built-in Windows Check Disk utility. For a more thorough test, you can use the free utilities H2testw and FakeFlashTest.

Windows Check Disk

Open Windows Explorer and find the drive for your SD card in the folder panel. Right-click on your SD card drive and select Properties.

Error checking section of the Tools tab in the File Properties dialog

Select the Tools tab and click the Check now... button in the Error-checking section.

Check Disk dialog

If you only want to scan the SD card without making any changes to the card, uncheck both Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors. If you want Check Disk to correct only file system errors it finds, check Automatically fix file system errors. If you want Check Disk to do a lower level scan of the SD card and correct any errors it finds, check both boxes.

Tip

If you have important data on your SD card that you do not want to lose, uncheck both boxes to ensure Check Disk makes no changes to your SD card. If you have a standard-size SD card, you may also want to set the physical write protect switch on the SD card to prevent accidental changes.

Press Start to begin the scan. When the scan is done, Check Disk displays the results.

Check Disk results dialog

Click See details to show more details about the scan, including which scans were performed, any errors found and fixed, the memory capacity of the SD card and the number of files and folders on the SD card.

Check Disk detailed results

Press the Close button in the results dialog to close Check Disk.

Tip

Some SD cards may claim to have a high memory capacity but actually have a much lower capacity. These counterfeit SD cards are specifically designed to fool the standard Windows tools, so Windows Check Disk may not detect problems with these cards. If you suspect your SD card may be counterfeit, or you continue to have problems with your SD card even after Check Disk shows no errors, continue to More Thorough Tests, below.

More Thorough Tests

H2testw

H2testw main screen

Open H2testw. Select your language (German or English), press the Select Target button and select your SD card from the dialog.

Select all available space in the Data volume section and press the Write + Verify button.

H2testw Progress dialog box

H2testw displays the progress and results in the Progress dialog box. Press the OK button to finish.

FakeFlashTest

Start FakeFlashTest.exe and click the OK button on the About Fake Flash Test dialog.

FakeFlashTest main window

Click List all drives and select your SD card from the drive list. Press the Test Empty Space (Slow) button.

FakeFlashTest displays the progress of the test in the list box and displays a dialog box with the results when the test is complete.

Tip

Depending on the memory capacity of your SD card, the speed of your SD card and the speed of your computer, it may take a long time for these tools to run. FakeFlashTest runs faster than H2testw but performs a less thorough test; so for the most complete test, run H2testw and wait for the test to fully complete.

You can perform more thorough tests on your SD card using free tools including H2testw (English translation) and FakeFlashTest (from RMPrepUSB.com). These tools take longer to run than Check Disk but more thoroughly test both reading and writing to your SD card by copying files to your SD card and then reading the files back.

Tip

These tools access only the free space on your SD card. H2testw works best when your SD card is empty and FakeFlashTest will not work at all unless your SD card has been formatted. So for best results, before running either of these tools, first copy the data off your SD card to another drive and then format your SD card.