How to Format an SD Card when Windows won\’t do it

Formatting an SD card is not a difficult process. You probably already know that it\’s as simple as right-clicking on the drive as it appears in Windows\’ File Explorer and choosing Format… Then, in most cases using the Quick Format setting is all you need to do to erase the card\’s contents in a couple of seconds.

The files aren\’t actually erased, only the pointers to them, which is why a full format takes so much longer. But since you\’re reading this, you\’re probably having trouble using your usual method. But we\’re here to help, and we\’ve got several options you can try out and hopefully get that SD card formatted.

First, check the little switch on the side of the card (if present) isn\’t set to LOCK. If it is, the card is read-only and cannot be formatted. Just slide it away from lock and try again.

If you haven\’t yet tried out the built-in format facility in Windows, ensure your SD card is inserted into your laptop or a USB card reader if your laptop or PC doesn\’t have the appropriate slot.

Open up Windows Explorer (Windows key +E is the shortcut) and click on This PC. Find your SD card in the list of drives, right click on it and choose Format… 

In the window that opens, you shouldn\’t need to change any settings. Just make sure Quick Format is ticked and then click Start. 

How to format an SD card

If none of these methods work, it\’s likely your SD card is boken and will need replacing. Check out our recommendations of the best microSD cards.

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