“I can't format my micro SD card (4 GB). When I try to format it the computer just keeps saying, "Windows was unable to complete the format." The write protection is off. I delete the files on it and when I refresh it the files are still there. What should I do to fix the issue that SD card won’t format?”
When we try to format SD card on Mac or Windows computers, we often receive an error message, telling that SD card won’t format or your computer was unable to complete the format. This issue has bothered many users and caused quite a lot of data loss problems. In this guide, you’ll find reliable methods to fix SD card won’t format error without losing any data.
Basically, we need to format SD card under many situations like SD card file system turns into raw and SD card does not show up as a mass storage device but unallocated space. However, formatting SD card can help fix these problems, but why did we fail to format SD card eventually? Below are the common reasons:
Now it is much easier for you to follow below guide to fix SD card won’t format issue after you figuring out the reasons. And always make sure your SD card is connected to your computer.
Before you fix SD card won’t format, you’d better backup all its data to other places. If your SD card is not accessible or corrupted, you can’t directly copy the files to other places for backup but you can also extract and find all data on it with the help of a data recovery tool like Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac or Recuva for Windows.
Recover data from SD card on Mac
To recover data from SD card or other devices, you need Cisdem Data Recovery. It recovers photos, videos, documents, audios, archives and other files from your SD card and all kinds of other storage devices like HDD, SSD, and USB drive. It is free for you to find the files you want from SD card, try it below!
Step 1. Connect SD card to your Mac and open Cisdem Data Recovery.
Step 2. Choose Basic Data Recovery to quickly find files. If the Basic Data Recovery can’t find the files you want, try Advanced Data Recovery.
Step 3. Choose your SD card and click “Scan” to continue.
Step 4. After scanning, preview and select the files you need, and then hit “Recover” to restore them from SD card.
Recover data from SD card on Windows
Recuva is a free data recovery tool for Windows user to retrieve data from SD card, hard drive, MP3 player, iPod, etc. It supports FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, NTFS5, etc. Follow detailed steps below to restore data from SD card on Windows.
Step1. Download and install Recuva on PC. Then open it.
Step2. Choose Type of file and then choose your SD card for scanning.
Step3. After scanning, it will show all found files. Click each one to preview and then select them. Hit “Recover” to recover and save them on other places.
For Windows users: Click Start and type “regedit”, tap Enter to open Regedit Editor. In the left pane, navigate here: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies and click “WriteProtect” to change the digit in the DWORD value box into "0”, at last click OK to save the change. Now you can try to format SD card in Windows Disk Management.
For Mac users: open Finder and right-click the SD card to choose “Get Info”, then under “Sharing & Permissions”, you will find “Read only” under Privilege. Click the lock icon and enter your administrator password to unlock settings, and then click “Read only” to change it to “Read & Write”. Now try to use Disk Utility to format SD card on Mac.
Use your commonly used anti-virus software to scan the SD card. If you haven’t get one, here I will recommend you Avira. It is one of the newer antivirus apps comparatively speaking. The app comes with the basics, including computer scans, real-time protection, external SD card scans, and a lot more. It works on macOS, Windows, Android and iOS. You can try it to scan your SD card for virus.
Check and fix SD card errors on Windows
For Windows, you can use built-in Disk Check tool to scan through your entire SD card to find and fix errors.
Step1. In File Explorer, right-click the SD card you want to check, and then choose “Properties.”
Step2. In the properties window, switch to the “Tools” tab and then click the “Check” button. In Windows 7, the button is named “Check now.”
Step3. On Windows 8 and 10, click “Scan drive”. On windows 7, you can select Check disk options and then click “Start” to scan SD card. If no errors are found, click “Close”. If there are errors, you also choose to fix them.
Of course you can also use Chkdsk to perform a scan on your SD card and it will fix whatever SD card errors you may have. Click Start and type: cmd > click cmd.exe to bring up Command Prompt, choose “Run as administrator” and then type: chkdsk d: /f /r and hit Enter; (Replace d: with the drive letter of your SD card.)
Check and fix SD card errors on Mac
For Mac users, you can use Disk Utility to find and fix SD card errors.
Step1. Open Disk Utility and then click your SD card on the left column.
Step2. Click “First Aid” tab and choose “Run” when a new window pops up.
Step3. Then it starts to check and fix errors. You can click “Show Details” to view the details of the process.
All above methods can help you fix SD card won’t format without data loss. Now you can format your SD card. If you have any other tips about how to fix SD card won’t format issue, share them with us by leaving comments below!
Jose has been a member of Cisdem since 2012. He specializes in reviews, how-to guides, top lists, etc. on PDF, data recovery and multi-media. On his spare time, he likes to travel or challenge some extreme sports.