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How to Fix Can't Format SD Card Error?

Formatting an SD card becomes important in many cases like SD card corruption, changing a file system, etc. But what if your SD card shows a cannot format error? In this article, find out why your SD card is showing a can’t format error and how you can fix it for free. Also, learn how to recover data from SD card showing the formatting error using Remo Recover.

“Can’t Format SD Card error” is a mysteriously annoying error. Most of the time it is quite difficult to deduce the reason for the error; the SD card can be damaged or corrupted.  How to tackle such an issue, if you cannot format it, SD card is of no use. Hence, we bring you this comprehensive content on how to fix the error “Can’t format SD Card” on Mac and Windows.

Note: With deeper investigation, this format error was found to be more prevalent in SanDisk SD cards. Even SanDisk users can make perfect use of this article to fix the error.

Table of Contents:

      1. How to Recover Data from SD card showing can’t format error?
      2. How to Fix “Micro SD Card Cannot format” Error?
      3. Fix SD Card Won’t Format on Camera.
      4. Fix SD Card that Can’t Format on Mac or Android.

Why Can’t I Format My SD card?

“Why can’t I format my SD card on my computer, camera, or phone?”

When you experience this specific error you won’t be able to format your SD card not only on your computer but also on any other device. It could be due to the following reasons;

  • Memory card is write protected
  • The memory card is severely damaged

If your SD card is write-protected, you cannot make any changes to it. This also includes formatting the SD card. However, you can disable write protection by bringing down the slider at the corner of an SD card and starting formatting the SD card on Mac or Windows.

But, if the error is due to SD card corruption, then your first priority must be recovering SD card data. When you format an SD card it means mounting a new file system that tracks the storage on your SD card. But if your SD is severely damaged, it will reach an extent where it can’t even mount a file system. This clearly indicates that damage or corruption is the reason why your SD card is not formatted. And, at such times, you can neither access the SD card nor the data saved in it.

“Considering the fact that SD cards are majorly used on cameras or mobile phones, they store the most important memories, not just the data. This is the reason why recovering files from corrupt SD cards becomes a priority before fixing it.”

SD card is showing can’t format error- How to recover data from it?

Download Remo Recover, the best SD card recovery software. With more than 15 million downloads, Remo is one of the trusted data recovery tools in today’s market. This software works with Deep Scan algorithms to recover data safely from severely corrupted, formatted, or unreadable micro SD cards, SDHC/ SDXC cards, etc.

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Steps to Recover Data from SD Card showing Cannot format Error

  1. Download Remo Recover software and connect SD card showing format error.
  2. Launch the tool and click on the Recover Partitions option.
  3. Select the SD card from which you want to recover data and click Scan.
  4. After the completion of the scanning process, select the files which you want to recover and click on the Save button.

How to Fix “Micro SD Card Cannot format” Error?

As previously mentioned, two main reasons for this error are write-protected SD cards and Severely damaged SD cards. The following are instructions on how to fix this error.

Unlock the Micro SD Card

A micro SD card is locked is one of the terminologies used for a write-protected SD Card. As discussed earlier, when a micro SD card is locked or write-protected you cannot make any changes since it works in read-only mode. You can disable the write protection on the SD card to fix the error.

An SD card can be severely damaged due to

The best method to fix an SD card that won’t format is by force formatting the SD card using CMD.

How to Force Format an SD Card?

Open Command Prompt by right-clicking Start >Command Prompt (Admin)or search cmd from Start.

  • Type: diskpart to bring up DiskPart utility.

Click on diskpart to fix cant format SD Card

  • Type: list disk and hit Enter
  • Type: select disk 1 and hit Enter (Replace 1 with the drive number of your SD card)

Type list disk to fix cant format SD Card

  • Type: clean and hit Enter

Type clean to fix cant format SD Card

  • Type: create partition primary and hit Enter
  • Type: select disk 1 and hit Enter (Replace 1 with the drive number of SD card)

Type create partition primary to fix cant format SD Card

  • Type: active to make the SD card partition activate
  • Type: format fs = NTFS or format fs = fat32 and hit Enter

Type format fs=ntfs to fix cant format SD Card

  • Type: assign letter = F
  • After this, type exit to finish the process.

After force formatting the SD you need to fix the Bad sectors using the CHKDSK on the SD card.

CHKDSK Format SD card

CHKDSK is one of the most prominent utilities on windows that will help you fix all the bad sectors that exist on your SD card. The following are the instructions on how to do it.

  • Right-click on Start to select Command Prompt (Admin) or click Start and type: cmd > click exe to bring up Command Prompt.
  • Sign in as an administrator and type: chkdsk E: /f /r and hit Enter; (Replace E: with the drive letter of your SanDisk SD card)
  • Wait for the process to complete (Process time might vary based on the size of the SD card)
  • Exit CMD and enter Disk Management tool, find SD card, right-click on it, and select Format volume
  • Reset file system and drive letter of the SD card, click OK to confirm the format action

Both the aforementioned methods can be used on all brands of SD cards such as SanDisk, Sony, Kingston, Transcend, etc. It also works on all formats of SD cards such as Micro SD, SD, SDHC, SDXC.

Fix SD Card Won’t Format on Camera

Generally, when you insert an SD card into a camera sometimes it will prompt you to format the SD card. This will fix any errors in incompatible file system errors. However, in this particular case, even that won’t fix the error.

Even to fix the error that the SD card will not format on camera you need to use the methods mentioned above. Make sure you use the perfectly working SD card adapter or card reader while connecting it to a computer or laptop.

Fix SD Card that Can’t Format on Mac or Android

You can use the same methods mentioned above to fix SD cards not readable or format errors on Android. However, in the case of Mac, there is no specific fix other than unlocking the SD card or disabling the write protection on Mac. Nevertheless, the most crucial aspect to remember is to recover the data from the SD before fixing it. Remo Recover is also available on Mac. Hence, you can even download Remo on your Mac and successfully recover the data from it.

Finally, if you are unable to fix the error, it means that your SD card is unfixable. If your SD card is still under warranty time, better contact the brand, and claim to exchange the memory card. But, don’t forget to recover your data from the SD card on Mac before exchanging it.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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