A Guide to Fix “SD Card Not Showing Up” on Mac and Windows PC

Connie Wisley
time August 10, 2018 Preview 1.5K
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SD Card has greatly increased the capacity of our mobile device, allowing us to save files as many as possible real-time. However, most of us may have ran into a similar problem when trying to back up SD Card files onto a computer, the SD Card is not showing up.

Methods to fix the “SD Card Not Showing Up” can be either easy or difficult basing on the causes. Here we collect a full guide to fix not-showing-up SD card on computer, no matter you are using a Mac or Windows PC, also provide the advanced method to recover sd card files if necessary.

First, Try Restart

If you work with a computer on a regular basis, it would be quite understandable to you that how magical the restarting can be. Personally, I prefer to restart my computer when the system or programs work improperly, even crash. Most of the time, restarting works. No one can tell the exact reason why restarting help solving the problems, but it just works.

And here is another reason why we recommend to restart in the very beginning, the reasons causing no-showing-up sd card can be various and hard to pinpoint, while, restarting is the best way to make things extremely simple, always worth a try.

To restart, you need to take out the SD Card from your computer, then restart your Windows PC or Mac. Once the computer runs properly, insert your SD Card into your computer again. Then wait upon for the magic. But if no magic, continue to read the following guide to solve “SD Card Not Showing Up”.

Restart Won’t Work? Here is The Guide to Fix “SD Card Not Showing Up”

When we read and write on a SD Card, there are 3 items required to complete this job: a computer, a sd card reader and the sd card itself. So, no matter what the ultimate reason is to lead to this issue, it must be relating to any of these items. Consequently, the fixes encompassed in our guide are categorized into 3 types according to the item that may cause the problem.

Basically, if it is the problem of a computer or sd card reader, we can easily detect and they are relatively easy to cope with, but if it is the problem of the sd card, we may need some basic tech knowledge and skill, even professional tools to get it solved.

1. Make Sure Your Computer Works Properly

Case 1 (Ineffective Computer USB Port) 

Test: Connect the sd card reader to your computer via different USB ports.

Solution: If the previously USB port is ineffective, change to connect via another USB port, or connect your sd card reader to anther computer.

Case 2 (Possible Virus Attack)

Solution: Run the anti-virus program on your mac, scan the sd card or your whole computer to check if there is virus attacking your device.

Case 3 (Computer Cannot Show Up This SD Card)

Test: Connect another hard drive or storage device to your computer, to check if it can show up. If yes, your computer just cannot show up this sd card.

Solution: The steps are different for mac and windows pc users

Fix SD Card Not Showing Up On Mac: 

  1. Open Finder from Dock
  2. Go to Finder>Preferences.
  3. Check the box before “External Disks”
  4. Then go to Finder, check if the SD card shows up in the “Device” or on your desktop.show up on mac

Fix SD Card Not Showing Up On Windows 10: 

  1. Connect SD Card Reader to Windows PC;
  2. Right click on Start Menu > Disk Management”.
  3. Press Windows + R" > Type: "diskmgmt.msc" , then hit Enter.force show up on windows
  4. Then check if your SD card appears as a disk with a drive letter. 

2. Check Your SD Card Reader 

It is hard to test why and how your SD card reader results in the issue of “SD Card Not Showing Up” on computer, but the possible reasons can be concluded as following, you can try one by one.

Case 1:Poor contact of SD Card Reader

Solution: As time goes by, there will be dirt and dust accumulated in your sd card reader, which will adversely impact the contact between your sd card, sd card reader and the computer. In this case, lightly wipe your sd card reader with a cotton cloth soaking a little alcohol. 

Case 2: SD Card Reader is disabled

This often happens on a Windows PC, since Mac has a built-in sd card reader and functions excellently. In fact, Windows has enabled card reader by default. However, it is a good idea to check if your SD card is disabled, which may be triggered by some improper actions or modified by malware.

Solutions 1: Enabled your SD Card Reader on Windows 10

(This is applicable when your sd card reader is disabled)

  1. Press Windows+X to open the menu, select Device Manager;
  2. Then expand the “Memory Technology Device” to find your sd card reader;expand memory technology device
  3. Right click on the sd card reader, choose “Enable Device”. If you can only see the “Disable Device”, it means your sd card reader is enabled, go to solution 2.

Solution 2:Disable SD Card Reader, then enable it on Windows 10

(This is applicable when your sd card reader is enabled)

  1. Press Windows+X to open the menu, select Device Manager;
  2. Then expand the “Memory Technology Device” to find your sd card reader
  3. Right click on the sd card reader, choose “Disable Device”, the right click again and choose “Enable Device”.

Case 3: SD Card Reader Driver is not updated (For Windows)


  1. Connect your sd card to Windows PC
  2. Press Windows+X to open the menu, select Device Manager>Expand the Memory Technology Devices.
  3. Find your SD Card, right click and choose “Update driver”.update driver
  4. Once the driver is updated, restart your computer.

If Windows 10 is not able to find the updated driver, go to the website of your card reader provider, download and install yourself by following the instructions.

3.  Fix SD Card Problems

Case 1: Poor contact of SD Card

Solution: Same as that for SD Card reader, try to blow away the dirt or dust clogged deep in the slot of your sd card, or lightly wipe. 

Case 2: SD Card Drive Letter is Not Readable

Solution: Assign a new drive letter to your sd card.

Fix SD Card Not Showing Up On Mac:

  1. Go to Finder>Applications>Utilities>Disk Utility
  2. In the “External” menu, choose your sd card device.
  3. Right click on the sd card icon, choose “Rename” and assign a new letter to your sd card.rename letter on mac

Fix SD Card Not Showing Up On Windows 10

  1. Right click on the “Start” button>Disk Management
  2. Choose your sd card volume and right click to select “Change Drive Letter And Paths”.assign drive letter windows
  3. Choose an available drive letter, click OK.

Case 3: Write Protections

In this case, we need to first make sure that your sd card’s lock switch is in the “Unlock” position, otherwise, there will be meaningless to remove the write protections.


Fix SD Card Not Showing Up On Mac:

  1. Connect your sd card to Mac
  2. Go to Finder>Application>Utilities>Disk Utility
  3. Select your sd card, click “Info” to check if your sd card is Writable or Not. If yes, go to next case.
  4. If not, go to “First Aid”, and click “Run”, it will fix the errors leading to such a write protection.first aid on mac

Fix SD Card Not Showing Up On Windows 10 

  1. Connect your sd card to Windows PC
  2. Press Win + R , input cmd to open Command Prompt.
  3. Input “Diskpart” and hit Enter
  4. Input “list disk” and hit Enter
  5. The disks on your computer will be listed, choose your sd card number(accorording to size of your sd card)
  6. Input “ select disk xx”, the number is your sd card number. For example, you sd card is number 3, you just need to type “select disk 3”, then hit Enter
  7. Input “attributes disk clear readonly” and hit Enter.
  8. Once the text “Disk attributes cleared successfully” appears, close the window and find your sd card on Windows 10.remove write protection

All Methods Fail? Now, Recover Your Files from Your SD Card

If you have tried all these methods, but still cannot access to your sd card, then, your sd card is much likely to be corrupted or damaged. Or your SD card finally shows up on your computer, but you found there was no file available anymore. Then, you will need to recover files from the sd card and backup, then reformat your sd to check if it can be used again.

Recover Files from SD Card on Mac

Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac is the best tool designed to recover various files from SD card, Memory Card, Audio Player, Video Camcorder, USD Drive, Hard Drive and nearly all storage devices. No matter the data loss results from deletion, formatting, corruption, virus attack, etc.

Step 1Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery on your mac, make sure you have connected the sd card to mac.

Free Download

Step 2Choose a “External Drive Recovery” mode. (If the recovery results under this mode fails you ,try Advanced Recovery mode).

choose recovery mode mac

Step 3Select your sd card, click “Scan” to find the files on your sd card.

select sd card

Step 4Preview the found files, you can also select files to recover by checking the box before a document or a folder.

preview found files

Step 5Click “Recover” to get your SD card files back on mac.

Recover Files from SD Card on Windows

Recuva for Windows is a free program allowing users to recover pictures, audios, documents, videos, email and other files from sd card, external hard drive, etc. It is applicable for recovery on deleted, formatted and damaged disk files.

  • Step 1. Download and install Recuva on your Windows PC, make sure your have connected the sd card to Windows PC
  • Step 2. Choose file type to scan.recuva file type
  • Step 3. Choose your SD Card, then click “Scan” to find files on your sd card.
  • Step 4. Preview the files in thumbnail and select those ones you are sure to recover.
  • Step 5. Click “Recover” to get your sd card files back on Windows.recuva to recover


As a sd card user, there are great chances that we may encounter with all kinds of problems, such as sd card not showing up, sd card is damaged, sd card is corrupted, etc. Sometimes, a little trick may help, but sometimes, any recommended fixes won't help even you are a tech professionals. When things come to this, we still have an ultimate tool to recover your sd card files, such as Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac or Recuva for Windows.

While, the good habit of backup regularly will be substantially helpful when you are facing with different sd card problems, including sd card not showing up.

Connie Wisley
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Connie has been writing for Mac productivity and utility apps since 2009. Each review and solution is based on her practical tests, she is aways energetic and trustworthy in this field.

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