Have you been experiencing issues with your SD card? It may indicate a corrupted card if you cannot access your files or connect it to your device. This phenomenon may occur due to physical damage, system shutdown, and other software and hardware issues.

Luckily, we have prepared a guide for you that will have your valuable items and fix your corrupted SD card without formatting. However, before we jump to the solutions, you should keep a few things in mind.

In this article
    1. Change card reader or USB port
    2. Try to read it with another computer or device
    3. Check if your SD card is write-protected
    1. Use the Chkdsk Command
    2. Reinstall Your SD Card Drivers
    3. Use Diskpart Command
    4. Change the Drive Name
    5. Use Windows Repair
    6. Toggle the Physical Switch

Why Does Your SD Card Asks to Be Formatted?

If you have inserted your card into a device and see a pop-up window asking to format it, it may be a sign that it is corrupted, either because of file system errors, viruses, etc.

In most cases, this message will mean that your SD card isn’t formatted correctly or at all. However, if you have already formatted it and still receive the message, it is a sign of a bigger problem, as mentioned above.

an sd card asks to be formatted

Why Fix the Corrupted SD Card Without Formatting?

a corrupted sd card

Formatting your SD card implies preparing it for use by a specific operating system. For example, if you are using the Windows OS, you will likely format your SD card to FAT32 or NTFS to ensure your card is compatible with your PC.

However, formatting will permanently delete all the data on your SD card. Thus, fixing your corrupted SD card without formatting is essential if you have valuable memories or sensitive data on your card.

Since corruption can occur even if you have previously formatted your card, you shouldn’t format it again because you will lose all your data.

However, you can still choose methods to recover and back up your data to preserve your files if something goes sideways. We will present a data recovery method below.

How To Recover SD Card Data Without Formatting

Putting your valuable data at risk of damage or loss is stressful. No matter your professional tools and methods, you cannot escape the unpredictable. Thus, as a risk management method, you should always recover the data from your SD card beforehand. That will ensure all your data stays intact while you fix your card.

One of the best tools to recover your SD card data without formatting is Recoverit Memory Card File Recovery. This versatile tool will deeply scan your SD card’s content and find lost files you can save to your device.

Wondershare Recoverit - Leader in Data Recovery

  • Recovers data from all types and brands of memory cards, including SD, micro SD, CF, MMC, Memory Stick, etc.
  • Handles 500+ data loss scenarios, such as deletion, formatting, SD card damage, virus attacks, etc.
  • Recovers lost or deleted files, photos, videos, music, emails, and other 1000+ file types effectively, safely and completely.
  • Recovers full HD, Ultra HD, 4K, and 8K videos without corruption.
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Free Download

To successfully recover your data, you should first download Recoverit to your PC from Wondershare’s official website, then proceed by following this guide:

  • Step 1: Open Wondershare Recoverit on your PC;
  • Step 2: Select Hard Drives and Locations and insert your SD card;
choosing an sd card
  • Step 3: Select your SD card and wait for the program to scan your device;
scan the sd card
  • Step 4: Preview your files and select the ones you want to recover;
preview files
  • Step 5: Click on the Recover button to finish the process.
Free Download
Free Download

After successfully recovering the data from your SD card, you can jump into the fixing process.

Initial Procedures for Fixing a Damaged SD Card Without Formatting

Before heading to more complex solutions, you should do initial prepping to ensure your card isn’t corrupted. Here are some examples:

1. Change card reader or USB port

Sometimes, your card may not be the one causing issues. You may use faulty readers or USB ports that make your card look corrupted. Instead, you should try another card reader or a USB port to see the state of your card. If the card still isn’t working, it may be a sign of a corrupted device.

sd card reader

2. Try to read it with another computer or device

Even if another reader or a USB port doesn’t work, it still isn’t a clear sign that your card is causing the issues. You can try to use another computer or a device with your card reader to examine the state of your card further. If you can load your content using another computer, your card may not be faulty.

use another computer

3. Check if your SD card is write-protected

Some cards have switches that will enable and disable the writing feature. To check whether the SD card is write-protected, you can take your card, look for a small switch on the left side, and slide it up to disable the protection.

sd card switch

You can also use your PC to check for the protection. Search for your SD’s folder, right-click on it, and select Properties. You can see the protection feature in the pop-up window to see whether it is enabled or disabled.

How To Fix a Corrupted SD Card Without Formatting

If none of the methods mentioned above work, and you still cannot access your card’s content, it is time to start searching for solutions to fix your corrupted card issue. As you will see below, we have prepared some solutions that don’t involve the formatting process for the best experience.

Way 1. Use the Chkdsk Command

Checkdisk is a feature that enables you to scan and fix your storage issues. You can use either your Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell as the admin to fix your corrupted SD card issues, as seen below:

  • Step 1: Search for either Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell from your Windows search bar;
  • Step 2: Open your program as an admin (for Command Prompt, select Run as Administrator, and for PowerShell, select the Windows PowerShell Admin option);
open windows powershell
  • Step 3: Type this command chkdsk drive letter: /f (the drive letter should be the letter of your SD card) and hit Enter;
start the scanning process
  • Step 4: After the program scans your card, you will see whether it has bad sectors;
  • Step 5: To start the recovery process, type Y into the program and press Enter.

The recovery process’s duration will depend on your SD card’s size and properties. Fixing your corrupted SD card issue can take a couple of minutes or even hours.

Way 2. Reinstall Your SD Card Drivers

Sometimes, the updates you have installed may cause issues with reading your SD card. To fix this, you can reinstall the drivers and give them a fresh start by following the guide below:

  • Step 1: Find Device Manager on your PC;
open device manager
  • Step 2: Find your SD card (usually under Disk Drives) and right-click on it;
select the corrupted sd card
  • Step 3: Select Update Driver from the drop-down menu;
update drivers
  • Step 4: You can choose whether you want to automatically or manually update your drivers;
  • Step 5: Click Update Drivers to start the process.

It will take a few minutes to reinstall updates on your drives, after which you can use your SD card.

Way 3. Use Diskpart Command

You can refresh your SD card using the Diskpart command on your PC. You can also use either the Command Prompt of Windows PowerShell for this method, as seen here:

  • Step 1: Open either Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell on your PC;
  • Step 2: Type diskpart and press Enter;
input diskpart
  • Step 3: Type list disk and press Enter;
input list disk
  • Step 4: Type the select disk 1 command (the number should be the number of your SD card), and press Enter;
input select disk
  • Step 5: Input the recover command and hit Enter.
recover corrupted sd card

After you finish these steps, it will take a couple of moments to recover your corrupted SD card and give it a fresh start.

Way 4. Change the Drive Name

Sometimes, your computer may change your SD card’s drive letter, leading to corruption issues and faulty SD cards. You can choose the appropriate letter by following these steps:

  • Step 1: Open your Disk Manager and find your SD card;
  • Step 2: Right-click on the card and select Change Drive Letter and Paths;
change drive letter and paths
  • Step 3: Select the Change button;
change the drive letter
  • Step 4: Assign a new letter and press OK to save the changes.
assigng a new letter to sd card

You can try this method with different letters to fix your corruption issue.

Way 5. Use Windows Repair

The Windows Repair tool can help you with all issues you may be experiencing regarding the Windows system. It will successfully detect and solve possible problems causing your corrupt SD card issue. Here’s how to use this tool:

  • Step 1: Find your SD card’s file in the This PC section;
choosing your sd card from this pc
  • Step 2: Right-click on the card and select Properties from the drop-down menu;
sd card properties
  • Step 3: Select Tools and press the Check button;
check for malfunctions
  • Step 4: Select the Scan and Repair Drive to start the process.
scan and recover using windows repair

The tool should successfully repair all issues you may have with your SD card, making it as good as new.

Way 6. Toggle the Physical Switch

As mentioned earlier, your SD card may have a physical switch you can turn on and off to enable or disable the writing feature. To toggle the physical switch, you must safely remove your SD card.

sd card write protection

Then, find the switch on the card’s left side and gently move it forward and backward. You can do this a couple of times and ensure that your card is in the Unlock mode once you return it to your reader.


Finding out that your SD card is corrupted may be a stressful experience, especially if you have stored some of your most valuable memories in this location. If so, you don’t need to worry since we have a solution to your problem.

Before using some of the methods mentioned earlier, you should recover your data to ensure no data loss. You can use Wondershare Recoverit to provide the best recovery experience.

After that, you can try some of the simple fixes above to fix your corrupted SD card and give it a new life.

Eleanor Reed
Eleanor Reed Jul 17, 24
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