How to Fix Windows 11 Not Reading SD Card

Trying to read an SD card on Windows, but it just won’t work? Troubleshoot a fix if Windows 11 isn’t reading your SD card using the steps in this guide.

We’re seeing fewer SD cards these days, with more focus on cloud storage or easy-to-use USB drives. However, there are times when you need to transfer files from a device that uses one. For instance, you might need to transfer data from an older Android device to your new PC.

It can be frustrating when you need to transfer files from an SD card, but Windows doesn’t see the files. If that happens to you, whether you’re working with a standard or micro card, you’ll want to fix Windows 11 not reading SD cards.

Whatever the reason for using one, if Windows 11 isn’t reading an SD card, we’ll show you how to fix the problem.

Make Sure SD Card Isn’t Locked

Your SD card comes with a sliding switch on the side that prevents unwanted changes to the drive. But if it’s locked, Windows will likely be unable to read it.

Check the small switch on the side of the card and ensure it’s not in the locked position. Once unlocked, see if you can access its files.

Fix Windows 11 Not Reading

Reseat Card and/or Adapter

Once you know the card is unlocked, you can remove it and plug it back in. Check for any damage to the card and if you have an adapter like a micro-SD adapter or SD Card to USB adapter. Ensure the connections are solid and plugged in correctly until the Windows “chime” indicates it’s recognized.

Also, try to plug it into a different known working port on your PC and see if it’s readable by Windows. In addition, if you have another computer available, plug it into that one and see if it works.

Run Hardware Troubleshooter

You can run the built-in hardware troubleshooter utility that will check for problems and fix them for you. While not specific to SD cards, it can detect and resolve issues with the SD card readers.

To run the hardware troubleshooter on Windows 11:

  1. Press Windows key + R to launch the Run dialog window.
  2. Type in the following command and click OK:
    msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic

  3. Click Next to kick off the troubleshooter.Fix Windows 11 Not Reading
  4. Wait while the troubleshooter detects and repairs issues and follow any onscreen prompts.
  5. Once the troubleshooter is complete (a restart may be required), reconnect the SD card and see if you can see it in File Explorer.

Change the SD Card Drive Letter

When connected, Windows dynamically assigns drive letters to your external drives (including SD cards). However, when you use several different drives, your SD card might not get a letter assigned correctly.

To resolve the problem, you can change the drive letter to one that’s available.

select drive letter windows 11

Once you change the drive letter, the SD card should be recognized by Windows 11, and you can access its data.

Update the SD Card Driver

An outdated or corrupt SD card driver could be the problem with it being unreadable. You can manually update or reinstall the device driver to resolve the issue.

To update or reinstall the SD card driver:

  1. Press the Windows key, type device manager, and select the top result.
  2. When Device Manager opens, expand the Disk drives section.
  3. Right-click the SD card and select Update Driver.Fix Windows 11 Not Reading
  4. Select the option to search automatically and follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. If updating the driver doesn’t work, you can reinstall it. Right-click the SD card in Device Manager and select Uninstall device.Fix Windows 11 Not Reading
  6. Click the Uninstall button when the verification message appears.
  7. After the driver is uninstalled, restart Windows 11, and the driver will be reinstalled during the reboot process.Shut Down Windows 11 Start Button
  8. Open Device Manager and select Action > Scan for hardware changes from the top menu.Fix Windows 11 Not Reading

Check the SD Card for Errors

If you continue to have problems with the SD card, you can have Windows check it for errors and fix common issues. It’s just like checking other drives for errors.

To check an SD card for errors on Windows 11:

  1. Launch PowerShell as Administrator.
  2. When the terminal launches, type chkdsk /f (drive letter) and press Enter. For example, our SD card is using the drive letter D, so we’re using the command chkdsk /f D: instead.
  3. Wait while the scan is completed—the results will appear underneath.

Fixing SD Card and Drive Errors on Windows 11

If you are having trouble with an SD card, you can fix Windows 11 not reading it using the above options. It’s also important to note that the problem could be a bug, and you can check Windows Update for the latest security and bug fixes.

While starting to fade in popularity, SD cards can be used in different situations. For example, you can use a micro SD card for extra storage on Roku. If you are a Mac user, you might be interested in how to format an SD card on Mac.

If you have a supported Fire HD 10, you can add a microSD card for more storage on your tablet. Don’t worry—if you’re not on Windows 11 yet, check out how to encrypt an SD Card on Windows 10 next.

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