SD card cannot be formatted, what can I do?

Let’s look at a possible hypothetical situation you might find yourself in. Imagine the following: Although the data stored on your SD card is extremely valuable, you need to format it to make room on the card for more files. But to your horror, you come up against an unexpected obstacle: The SD card cannot be formatted. As the situation has worsened, you are now looking for answers and thinking about different ways to solve the problem. In this in-depth blog post, we will explore the complexities of SD card formatting issues and provide you with a comprehensive arsenal of seven effective solutions to successfully format your SD card and recover every bit of your priceless data.

Understand the factors that contribute to SD card formatting problems:

When trying to format an SD card, there are a number of possible causes that can lead to stumbling blocks. Enabling write protection on the card itself is one of the most common causes of this problem. When this security feature is enabled, it prevents any changes to the files stored on the SD card, including the formatting process of the card. Damage or the presence of problematic sectors on an SD card is another possible cause of formatting problems that can lead to unsuccessful formatting attempts. This can also be attributed to a damaged SD card. However, there is no need to worry as we have a number of viable solutions to tackle these issues head on and restore your SD card to the state it was in before.

Recovering data from an SD card that cannot be formatted with Tenorshare 4DDiG:

If you are hesitant to format your SD card because you fear irrecoverable data loss, it is time to introduce you to a remarkable and invaluable ally – Tenorshare 4DDiG. This powerful and cutting-edge data recovery software has been carefully designed to recover lost or deleted data from a variety of storage media, including SD cards. With Tenorshare 4DDiG by your side, you can not only have peace of mind, but also back up every single byte of your important data before you begin the formatting process.

Step 1: After installing and launching Tenorshare 4DDiG Windows Data Recovery, you will be presented with the interface shown below. From a list of hard drives, select the local drive where you lost your data and then click Start to begin.

Screenshot Tenorshare 4DDiG Quick Start
Quick Start view

Step 2: 4DDiG will immediately scan the selected drive for missing data, and you can pause or stop the scan at any time once you have identified the files you want to recover.

Screenshot Tenorshare 4DDiG scan drive
Scan drive

Step 3: After locating the target files, you can preview and restore them to a safe location.

Screenshot 4DDDig preview
Preview and restore

If your SD card won’t format: 7 different ways to troubleshoot:

Method 1: Remove write protection on the SD card

Check if write protection is enabled on the SD card Firstly, you need to determine whether write protection is enabled on your SD card or not. You can either look for a physical switch or check the properties of the card via the settings on your device. If write protection is enabled, you can disable it to start formatting. This will give you the necessary authorisations to change the contents of the card.

Method 2: Formatting an SD card with the data carrier management

Disk Management is an important integrated tool in Windows. It offers a variety of functions for managing storage devices. Start Disk Management and then search for your SD card in the list of connected drives on your computer. To format the SD card, right-click on the card, select the “Format” option from the context menu and then follow the instructions on the screen. The Disk Management application provides a user-friendly interface that makes the formatting process much easier.

Method 3: Using Diskpart to solve formatting problems

Diskpart is a powerful command line utility that allows you to perform a variety of operations related to hard drives. Start the tool by opening the command prompt, typing the command “diskpart” and pressing Enter. Once you have entered the diskpart environment, you will need to run the necessary commands to select the SD card and start the formatting process. For more experienced users looking for a command line solution, Diskpart offers a higher level of control and flexibility.

Method 4: Changing drive letters and paths

There are some situations where conflicts with other connected drives can slow down the formatting process of your SD card. One solution to this problem is to change the drive letters and paths. You can resolve this issue by manually changing the drive letter and path associated with the SD card. To change the drive letter assignment for the SD card, you can use either the “diskpart” command line programme or the “Disk Management” tool. In this way, any conflicts are resolved and formatting can be carried out successfully.

Method 5: Correcting damaged sectors on your SD card with CHKDSK

The presence of damaged sectors on your SD card can complicate the formatting process. CHKDSK is a tool built into Windows that can identify and repair problematic sectors. Open the command prompt and type “chkdsk” followed by the letter of the drive that is connected to your SD card. You will need to give CHKDSK permission to scan the drive and repair any damaged sectors before attempting to format it successfully.

Method 6: Choosing reputable third-party formatting software

For stubborn formatting problems, choosing reputable third-party formatting software may be a solution worth considering. Check out the various well-known and reliable software options available on the market specifically for formatting SD cards. Look for user reviews, recommendations and features that are compatible with your requirements for the product you want to buy. Choosing a reliable tool will reduce the likelihood of encountering difficulties and make the formatting process more straightforward overall.

Method 7: Replace your SD card with a new one

If your SD card still does not respond to formatting attempts after you have used all the troubleshooting options available to you, it is possible that the card has suffered damage that cannot be repaired and you should consider replacing it with a new SD card. In such situations, you should definitely consider buying a new SD card. To avoid potential problems in the future, prioritise reputable brands and check that their products are compatible with your device.


In most cases, formatting an SD card is a straightforward process, but when you run into obstacles, it can be extremely frustrating. In this detailed post on our blog, we’ve provided you with a variety of troubleshooting methods to help you resolve issues when formatting your SD card. There are several options available to you, such as disabling write protection, using diagnostic tools like Diskpart and CHKDSK, and installing reputable third-party software. Always make sure you have a backup of your important data before you start formatting to reduce the likelihood of data loss. Tenorshare 4DDiG is a highly recommended tool for data recovery in the event of data loss. By following these solutions, you can overcome the difficulties associated with formatting an SD card and effectively restore the functionality of the card.

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