How to Fix SD Card not Showing up and Recover Missing Pictures?

By Molly | Posted to Data Recovery Tips, updated on September 8th, 2020 |

One of the most common SD card problems is that the SD card is not showing up after you connect it to your PC, camera, or Android phone. In Windows computer, some better situations is that the SD card is detected but files on it disappear for no reason.

In this post, we are going to walk you through the tutorial to

  • Get the SD card showing up on Windows
  • Repair SD card errors and corruption if any
  • Get disappeared pictures or other files back from the SD card

How to Fix SD card not showing up issue on Windows computer?

Similar to all hard drives that not showing up issues on computers, the basic causes derive from connection problems, inner software issues, and hardware issues.

Occasionally, the SD card won't show up on the Windows File Explorer or desktop, but it may appear in Device Manager or Disk Management. So, the best way to make the SD card detected by the computer is to check them one by one.

1. Ensure the SD card is well connected

Sometimes, making SD card recognized is not as easy as a simple reconnection (which surely is a feasible way). You need to thoroughly check all pieces of stuff involved in the connection part.

In detail, you can do these things to make sure your SD card is showing up on your computer:

  • Gently wipe the metal contacts of the SD card with a dry and clean cloth.
  • Dusting the slot of SD card reader or adapter, or simply replace it.
  • Use another USB port on your computer to connect the SD card adapter.

During this period, be careful and don't scratch the metal contacts of the SD card! If all the components mentioned above are working, continue to check the relevant software.

What to do if SD card reader is not working?

2. Update or reinstall the SD card driver

Like the person who picks you up at the airport, SD card driver is responsible for reading the card information and send it to the system. If it fails to recognize the SD card, then for sure, the card won't be picked up nor show up on the computer.

So, you can follow these steps to check the SD card driver.

  1. Step 1: Search for Device Manager via the search box on the task bar.
  2. Step 2: In Device Manager, you'll see a list of devices. Find your SD card and right-click on it to choose to Update Driver if available.
  3. Step 3: Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Step 4: If there is no update for the SD card driver, instead, you can click on Uninstall Device and restart your PC.

Also. if Windows doesn't find a new driver for updating, you can visit the SD card manufacturer's website for help.

3. Repair internal SD card errors and corruptions

If nothing is wrong outside the SD card, then why is your SD card not showing up? Maybe, some internal parts of the SD card (e.g. file system and partition table) is damaged. Don't worry, you can repair such corruption with the following steps.

  1. Step 1: Reconnect the SD card to your PC.
  2. Step 2: Press and hold the Windows key, then press the R key to open the dialog box.
  3. Step 3: Type in devmgmt.msc and click OK to open Device Manager.
  4. Step 4: Locate your SD card and right-click on it and then choose Properties.
  5. Step 5: Choose the Tools tab and click on Check button.

Then the built-in SD card repair tool will start scanning for SD card errors. When it completes, follow the onscreen instructions to fix the found problems.

4. Perform SD card Recovery and reformat the SD card

Step so far, it's nearly a confirmation that the SD card is too corrupted to be repaired nor recognized. The bad feelings burst out as all your pictures, self-shot videos and audio files stored on an SD card can't be shown up or viewed. If you got no backups, then you need to do your SD card recovery now to get data back as much as possible.

iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows can help whenever you need to recover data from an SD card on computer. It can recover deleted or emptied files from SD card, retrieving files from formatted, corrupted, inaccessible, unreadable, and unrecognizable RAW SD memory cards. It supports SDHC, SDXC, and SD memory card data recovery.

Here is how to recover disappeared pictures (or other files) from SD cards

Step 1: Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery on your PC.

Step 2: Connect the SD card to the PC (either with a card reader or the camera), and then launch iBoysoft Data Recovery.

Step 3: Check if the SD card is showing up in the software. If so, select it and click "Next" to scan for missing pictures on the SD card. If not, the SD card might have a hardware issue, and you probably need to abandon the card.

Recover missing pictures from corrupted SD card

Step 4: Preview the scanning results, choose those you want to get back and click "Recover" button.

Step 5: Go through the recovered pictures and videos and make sure you have all the missing files back.

Now, you have got the desired pictures, music files, videos, or documents back from the SD card. But to make the SD card work and good for storing data again, you need to format the SD card on your Windows computer.

Step 1: Right-click on My computer > Manage and run it as Administrator.

Step 2: Choose Disk Management under Storage on the left.

Step 3: Find your SD card and right-click to choose Format. (If the SD card is not showing up in Disk Management, then it might be severely damaged in physical.)

Step 4: Set the properties (name, file system, etc.) for the SD card and confirm the reformatting process.

What to do if Windows was unable to format the SD card?

Bonus tips to fix SD card not showing pictures on camera or computer

Another SD card problem is that the SD card is detected while files and pictures on it disappeared. You may think it the SD card deletes files by itself, but actually, it's just that your SD card files are not showing up for some reason.

Here are some tricks that might help.

1. Try to put the SD card back in the camera or a different camera and see if you can view pictures with the playback. If yes, then it's not the SD card's issue.

2. Enable "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" from Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization.

3. Try a different card reader, a different USB port, even a different computer or operating system and see if the pictures on the SD card will show up on the computer. If yes, copy the pictures off the SD card.

4. Physically remove the Write Protection of the SD card.