Why can't the card reader see the SD card in Windows 10

Why can't the card reader see the SD card in Windows 10

Cause 1: Card reader/slot problem

The most common reason for a card reader not seeing the SD card is a physical problem. Try to clean the contacts from dust and dirt with a cotton swab moistened with alcohol. If the card is detected by other devices, please check if your laptop card slot is dirty.

When the problem is software, the SD card will also not be detected by the computer. In some cases, formatting the card can be helpful; in others, you may have to use special software to get it working again. Our separate article explains how you can recover your SD card.

Read more: How to recover your memory card

Don't forget to check that the adapter is working as well, as it is also prone to mechanical breakdowns and malfunctions. This is easy to check: just use another microSD card that is definitely not damaged, for example from your phone, and see if it works in the adapter.

Reason 2: Write protection not removed

Rarely but occasionally, an SD card is not detected by the card reader because its write protection has not been removed. In some cases it is blocked for other devices if, for example, it has only been used on one camera. When only physical protection is enabled, it can be removed by switching the special lock on the side where "Blocking". means lock.

If it is a software problem, further action may be required as you will have to resort to various methods using commands, editing local policies in Windows 10, or changing settings in Windows XNUMX. "Registry Editor".. We have a detailed tutorial on our website, in which the author has broken down 6 effective ways to remove memory card write lock using built-in system tools.

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Read more: How to remove write protection from your memory card

Reason 3: File system conflict

There are situations where the operating system has detected the SD card, but when you try to open it, a window appears notifying you that the drive needs to be formatted. This usually occurs when the card has been used in a still camera, mobile phone, or still camera.

Formatting the SD card will completely erase the data on it. If the card has been completely erased, you will no longer be able to recover the data.

When the file systems of Windows and the drive are found to be incompatible, it will not be possible to read the information on the SD card. As long as the data is not too important, format it with a conversion to the NFTS file system, which will communicate with the OS without further problems. Confirm the procedure in the window that appears when you try to open the card or right-click on its name in "Explorer".and then click the format element.

In the new window, select the desired file system and confirm by clicking "Start"..

If you're using an SDXC-formatted drive, your laptop won't be able to communicate with it through the built-in SD card slot. In this case, only an external universal USB adapter that supports all flash drive standards can help.

Cause 4: No drive letter

Another common issue is that the SD card does not have a drive letter or is assigned a drive letter by the system that already exists in Windows. This causes a conflict that can cause the card reader to not see the drive. In this case, manual modification of the data through the firmware application will help. "Disk management"..

  1. Right click on "Start". and in the context menu select "Disk management".. In the list of volumes, look for the removable drive - it should be there. If you can't identify it among the others, use the volume as a guide. If it appears in the list, right-click and select "Change drive letter or drive path ..."..
  2. Click the add button in the new window.
  3. Another system window will open, where with the letter assignment option checked, display the menu opposite and select the desired option. The list usually contains free options from A to Z. Use "OKAY".to confirm the change.
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Once the drive letter is changed, you can close the app "Disk management". and go to "Driver".to check if the card reader detects the SD card.

Reason 5: Card reader is off

It is possible that the SD card reader itself is programmatically disabled for some reason. This occurs due to virus software activity or system crashes. Check if the component in "Device Manager":

  1. Run "Device administrator via PCM on "Start". and expand the menu Disk devices.
  2. Find the card reader. It can receive different names, in our case it is "Generic USB Device-SD/MMC/MS PRO". If an arrow icon appears next to the name, it means that it is disabled. Right-click and select "Enable device"..

Sometimes it also helps to turn the device on and off manually, using the button "Device administrator".. In this case, you just have to select the corresponding items in the context menu: "Disconnect".to deactivate the equipment, "Enable" – to get it working again.

Reason 6: Driver Problem

An outdated or malfunctioning card reader driver often causes problems. You can download an updated version of the software using the operating system's built-in media:

  1. Through "Device Manager" locate the card reader and open the context menu by clicking the right mouse button, where you use "Update driver"..
  2. In the new menu, click on the auto search bar. The system will automatically find the necessary software for the device from official sources, namely Microsoft servers. However, the PC must have Internet access.

If there is no current driver for the card reader, you will be notified accordingly.

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Instead, you can try to revert the driver to its previous state, as sometimes errors occur when installing an update. Highlight the device in "Device administrator left mouse button and press the key "Get in".. In the new window select the tab "Driver". and if the button "Undo". is active, click on it.

You can update your card reader driver using special third-party software. They differ in functionality, interface and other features. Typically, these types of programs scan your entire system for outdated software, and then offer to download and install the latest versions for various computers and components. Our separate article provides detailed descriptions of such apps as well as download links.

Read more:
How to update your computer drivers
Software to update your PC drivers

Reason 7: Virus Activity

If there are malicious utilities on the system, its operation is interrupted: hardware and devices stop working properly, and software components start to hang and fail. For this reason, it is not uncommon to have a problem where the card reader cannot see your SD card in Windows 10. Try to scan your PC for viral applications and files, using a proprietary protection tool or specialized software from third parties. Our authors have gone through all the ways to scan the operating system for viruses, as well as methods to remove them.

Read more:
Fight against computer viruses
Methods to remove a virus from a Windows 10 computer

Reason 8: Card Reader Failure

If the internal card reader itself has failed on your computer, the SD card will not be detected by the system. Try to insert the device into another laptop or PC, if possible.

You can use your mobile phone as an intermediary by inserting the flash drive into it (if it is microSD), and then connecting it to PC via USB.

Also read: What to do if your mobile phone or tablet does not see the SD card?

If your computer has detected the hardware and none of the methods in the article have worked, the card reader may have mechanical damage. There are special external USB adapters that can be used to connect various drives, including SD cards. You can use such a solution to replace a faulty card reader. But it is best to bring the laptop to a service center to have the broken component repaired or replaced.

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