SD Card Not Appearing in PC? Try These 6 Fixes

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Usually, when you connect any external storage media, including SD cards, to your computer, they will appear in File Explorer. However, if your system fails to detect the SD card or its adapter, it will not appear in File Explorer.

This situation can occur due to a problem with the card, the adapter you are using, the port you are using to connect the card, or the system itself.

In some cases, your computer may actually detect the SD card, but you won’t be able to see it in File Explorer. It happens when the media has no allocated space, or your system doesn’t mount it using a drive letter.

Check Connection Issues

It is possible that the SD card reader or USB port is damaged in some way. You may not be able to connect the card to your computer in such a scenario. So you should pay attention to any connection issues before trying the further methods.

In some cases, dirt clogging of the SD card contacts or ports can also block their connection. In such cases, you need to clean this device.

Use Another Port or Adapter

If you’re using the built-in SD card reader, try an external USB SD card reader instead. If you are using an external reader, try connecting to a different port. On PC, try the ports on the front and back. You can also try using another external SD card reader if you have one.

Connect to Other Devices

See if the SD card appears on the camera or phone. If so, then your SD card is working properly, and the problem is actually with the computer or its adapter. If applicable, you can also try connecting the card reader to another computer to see if the SD card appears there. If your SD card is working fine, but it’s not showing up on any computer, the card reader is faulty, and you need to replace it.

Clean Metal Contacts and Ports

The metal contacts on the SD card will slowly build up dirt, which you should be able to see as a black line on the contacts. If there is a lot of dirt, it can block the connection between the contacts and the port on the PC.

In such cases, you will need to clean the metal contacts using a Q-tip dipped in low-concentration rubbing alcohol. Avoid using too much alcohol, as it can erode the plastic area of ​​the SD card.

It’s also possible that the pins in the port have accumulated dirt and dust. So you should also try cleaning this port using compressed air and Q-tips.

Check SD Card in BIOS

The BIOS settings or UEFI settings for some laptops that have a built-in SD card reader also include an option to disable this reader. So you should check these settings and make sure this media is enabled.

I’ll show the steps for a Dell laptop as an example. You can use a similar process and search for relevant options to enable SD card for your device.

Start or restart your computer. Press and hold the F2 or F12 key repeatedly when you see the Dell logo. For other devices, the BIOS key will be different, so I recommend checking official sources if you don’t know the key you need. If you press F12, you have to select BIOS setup on the boot screen. In UEFI/BIOS, expand it System Configuration. Choose Abused Device. Be sure Media Card or Activate Media Card checked. Click apply Then Go out.

Reinstall SD Card Reader or USB Driver

Problems with drivers can also prevent your system from detecting the SD card. This is especially likely if you haven’t used an SD card reader or USB port in a while. You will have to uninstall the driver and then reinstall it to solve the problem.

Open Run by pressing Windows key + R. Type devmgmt.msc and press Enter to open Device Manager. Expand Universal Serial Bus controller. If you use built-in SD card reader on your computer, right click on Card Reader drivers and choose Uninstall device > Uninstall. If you are using a USB adapter for SD card, you will need to uninstall it USB Hubs And controller on the same street. Then, right click your computer name and select it Scan for hardware changes. It will detect all devices currently on your system and install any missing drivers, including the one you recently uninstalled.

Disable Power Management Features

Windows comes with several power management features that suspend ports on the computer, including SD card readers or USB ports, when they are idle.

But sometimes, the port will remain suspended even if you connect a device to it. This usually happens if the USB hub driver fails to test the card reader or USB host controller for any new connections due to temporary issues or updating bugs.

You can bypass this problem altogether by disabling all those power management settings from your computer.

However, keep in mind that doing so will increase the power consumption of your device. So if you disable this feature on your laptop, your battery consumption will increase.

Open Run. Type powercfg.cpl and press Enter to open Power Options. Choose Change plan settings next to your current power plan. Open Change advanced power settings. Expand USB settings > USB selective suspend setting. Change Settings or with battery And Installed to Non-active. Click apply And Okay. Then, open Device Manager. Expand Universal Serial Bus controller. Right click on all hub device and choose Property. Open tabs Power Management and uncheck Allow the computer to turn off these devices to save power . Click OK.

Update Windows OS

One version of Windows 8.1 had a bug where the USB SD card reader would not detect SD card insertion after coming out of sleep mode. Other versions also have another bug where the system will not detect SD card insertion or removal.

So, it is always better to update your system to the latest version available as soon as the update is available.

Open Windows Settings by pressing Windows key + I. Open it Windows update or Update & Security > Windows update. Click check for updates to search for additional updates and Install now if available.

Recover Data and Replace SD Card

If you can determine that the SD card has failed or all of the methods above didn’t help, the only option you’re left with is to try to recover the data on it and switch to another SD card.

If only a few blocks in the storage memory are corrupted, software recovery should be sufficient to retrieve the contents of the SD card.

However, if the card is truly dead, you will need to seek the assistance of a skilled data recovery specialist. Recovering data for such SD cards is a complicated process and can be expensive.


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