Detailed Tutorial to Format your SD Card on Windows 10

By Connie | Posted to Howto on August 5th, 2020 |

Summary: This article will elaborate on how to format an SD card easily, what problems that formatting can help you solve, which file system is better for your SD card, and what preparations you should do before formatting.

Formatting an SD card can help you solve some problems

Simply speaking, formatting is a process to erase all the data on a storage device and assign file system to it. So, you can format an SD card to help you solve problems like:

  1. Clean the residuary data on the SD card
  2. Change the current file system of your SD card to another like formatting the SD card to FAT32
  3. Fix your SD card that doesn't work properly due to corruption or virus attacking

First, prepare before formatting an SD Card

1. Back up your SD card before formatting

All data on your SD card will be erased once you format it. Thus, you'd better back up the SD card data before formatting to avoid data loss. If you can't back up the data on your SD card for some reason, you can try to recover your SD card data with some data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows. With this SD card data recovery software, your data on your SD card can be retrieved easily.

How to recover lost data from SD card?

2. Make sure you have an SD card reader

Usually, there's an SD card reader on a computer. If your PC isn't equipped with an SD card reader, you should use an external SD card reader to connect the SD card to your PC. However, if you need to format a micro SD card, a micro SD card reader or a micro SD card adapter is necessary for the formatting. Moreover, you should make sure your SD card or micro SD card can be connected to your PC successfully.

SD card card reader won't work? Here is solutions

Check your PC has an SD card reader

Then, choose better file system for your SD card

Before selecting the file system for your SD card, you should know the features of different file systems and the using purpose of your SD card. Usually, you can format an SD card to FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS on Windows. But, which file system is suitable for your SD card? Generally speaking:

  • FAT32 is better for SD cards less than 32GB (like SDHC), and only supports each file less than 4GB like photos.
  • exFAT is better for SD cards over 32GB (like SDXC) and is used to store large files like videos.
  • NTFS is better for SD cards over 32GB and supports multiple partitions. SD card with NTFS can store the operating system of your Windows 10.

Tutorials of formatting your SD card on Windows 10

After you make sure which file system is better for your SD card, it's time to learn the ways to format your SD card. There are both paid and free SD card formatter, and you can follow the detailed formatting steps as below:

Method 1: Format an SD card in Windows Explorer

Step 1: Double-click "My Computer" (or "This Computer") on the desktop to open it.

Step 2: Select your SD card shown on the panel and right-click it.

Format your SD card in File Explorer

Step 3: Click the Format... option, and then a Format panel will pop-up.

Step 4: Select a file system, and click Start. Then, waiting for your SD card be formatted.

Method 2: Format an SD card with Disk Management

Step 1: Right-click "My Computer" (or "This Computer") on the desktop, and click Manage option.

Step 2: Choose Disk Management and select your SD card and right-click it.

SD card is not showing up, what to do?

Step 3: Select Format... and choose a file system on the pop-up Format window.

Step 4: Check Perform a quick format and click OK, and then waiting for the SD card to be formatted.

Format an SD card with Disk Management

Method 3: Format an SD card using CMD

Step 1: Press the Windows key and the R key at the same time, then the Run window will pop-up.

Step 2: Type "cmd" into the Open box and click OK to open CMD panel.

Step 3: Type "diskpart" to enter into Diskpart Utility.

Step 4: Continue typing "list disk", and then all the drives on your PC will be listed.

Step 5: Type "select SD card" (SD card should be replaced by your SD card name shown on your PC).

Step 6: Go on typing "clean" to wipe all data on the SD card (please make sure whether you have a backup).

Step 7: Type "create partition primary" to create a partition on your SD card.

Step 8: Finally, type "format fs=the file system you want", for example "format fs=FAT32", and then the formatting finished.

Format your SD card using CMD

Method 4: Format your SD card with paid SD card formatter

Want a FAT32 format tool? Try some paid SD card formatter like SD Association SD Memory Card Formatter for Windows to help you format your SD card to FAT32 and other file systems.

Can't format SD card?

Run into an error that says "Windows was unable to complete this format", or your SD card is write-protected, or for other reasons that makes you can't format the SD card, what to do? Check out and fix the possible errors and problems and try to format an SD card again.

Can't format SD card, what to do?

The SD card is write-protected, how to fix?

From preparations before formatting, the file system selection of your SD card, to the detailed tutorials of how to format an SD card, this article is a full guide of formatting an SD card on Windows. Hope this article can give you some help.

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