How to Fix a Bad SD Card

By Charles Jackson

SD cards are the most popular type of storage for use in digital cameras and mobile devices such as smartphones and PDAs. There are various types available, including the tiny MiniSD and the even smaller MicroSD cards. To be able to read SD cards on a computer, you will need a card reader. This is supplied with most newer desktops and laptops. To read MiniSD and MicroSD cards, you will need a small adapter. This should be included with the card when you buy it. An SD card can be damaged due to many different reasons, but most commonly because of removal during reading or writing to the card. There are, however, several ways to fix a bad SD card that generally work most of the time.

Things You'll Need

  • SD card reader
  • Computer

Step 1

Insert the SD card into your computer's card reader. Recover your data from the SD card before you attempt to fix it. Download a data recovery program which is suitable for working with SD cards. You can obtain PhotoRec, a fairly reliable and completely free recovery program from Run the program and follow the on-screen prompts to recover your data.

Step 2

Insert the SD card into your card reader. Double click "Computer" on the desktop or open it from the right-hand pane of the Start menu. Right-click on the SD card under "Devices with Removable Storage." Click "Format." Make sure that "Quick format" is selected and leave all other settings at their defaults. Click "OK" to begin the format. Remember that formatting will delete any data on the card.

Step 3

Download the specialized SD card formatter from if the format fails in step 2. Run the formatter and attempt to format the SD card. Most of the time this will work, but if it does not, your memory card will likely need replacing.