SD Card Reader not working in Windows 10

Many users after upgrading their experience from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 complained that their SD Cards were not being recognized. When they insert the SD card in the proper slot, the machine just fails to detect it and SD Memory Card Drive no longer works in Windows 10. This is one of the common Windows 10 upgrade and installation errors encountered. We explore some solutions which may help you fix the problem in Windows 10/8/7.

SD Card Reader not working

SD Card Reader not working

1] Run Windows Hardware Troubleshooter Utility

The readily available option before a user to fix the problem is running a Troubleshooter. For this, type Troubleshooting in the search box and chose Troubleshooting under Settings.

Now type Hardware Troubleshooter in the search option.

Click on Hardware Troubleshooter to run the troubleshooter. You may also run the USB Troubleshooter.

If any errors are detected, it will solve the problem for you automatically.

2] Update the necessary Drivers

Install optional updates and check. To do so, click the Start button, chose ‘Settings’ and from the settings section, select Windows Update. Click on “Check for Updates” on the top left corner to receive a fresh list of updates. If updates are available, download the drivers if any are offered and install it.

Or else, manually update the Realtek, Chipset, etc, drivers. Download the Windows 10 drivers from the Manufacturer’s website and install them – in Compatibility mode, if need be.

After downloading the driver, right-click and select Extract all from the context menu. Then click on the unzipped folder, find and run the setup.exe file.

You may click right-click the driver setup file and select “Properties” > Select “Compatibility” Tab. Tick the empty box adjacent to Run this program in “Compatibility mode” and select previous version of Windows supported by the software, from the drop down list.

Then click on “Apply” and “OK” option.

Then install the driver. Restart your computer and check if the method works.

3] Change the Drive letter

From WinX Menu open Disk Management. Here you will see your RD Card Reader. From Action > All Tasks > Select Change Drive letter and Path. If no drive letter is assigned, Add a drive letter and path. Now see if this has helped.

Let us know if anything worked for you, or if you found another way to solve your problem.

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Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

34 Comments

  1. Bill Berry

    I updated my drivers to no avail; what worked was adding a drive letter from the disk management and that worked; as to why it wasn’t; I have no idea. My 32 and 64 GB SanDisk cards have always been a bit finicky; ironically they both worked perfect on my Windows Phone 8/Windows Mobile 10 devices.

  2. Georgianna Kunisch

    How do I add a drive letter? I am so frustrated with my reader not working. TIA Georgianna Daly

  3. Mal Thornton

    Hi. I have an issue with Windows 10 reading SD card, that appears a little different to others mentioned so far. The SD card is acknowledged as soon as its inserted. I have many photos on the SD card. Photos that were taken prior to Windows 10 are all accessible. All the photos taken since Windows 10 was installed are not accessible. When the SD card is inserted there’s NO prompt as what I wish to do, view or transfer. I have tried all suggested fixes. Nothing appears to work. Help !!!

  4. Hannibal Dobbs

    It is NOT that the SD card reader is not working.
    It’s that Windows 10 does not recognize that an SD card with pictures has been placed into the card reader.
    Yes, the pictures are on a drive. Yes pictures are on Windows 10. It is just that there is no prompt from Windows 10 that the card has been inserted.
    What happened to the old dialog box that would come up asking you what do you want to do with this SD card?
    Put an SD card in. Dialog box comes up. You choose what to do with it. Open. Photo software, etc?

  5. SkiCoach0608627940

    Same problem – new computer – if and when it does recognize the SD card the system crashes. There is clearly a huge bug in Win10 here. running Android 5.1 on the same machine and the SD card is visible and functioning. Win10 is the problem.

  6. Péter Bárány

    Put a card into the reader.
    Win button (top right) right click
    Disk management click
    Action-All Tasks-Change Drive letter and Path
    Select your drive with the card in (for example 16GB SD card, FAT32 formát)
    Give him a letter (A:)
    That’s it.

  7. pdullea

    Reverted back to Win 8.1 and problem solved.

  8. imgay

    hi, im looking to see if anybody can help me? i have windows 10 and my sd drive is straight up doing nothing, the computer has a drive and its brand new but still, no working action happening with the slot.

    anybody know what to do??? urgently need help

  9. Nestoras

    You save me life. For months now the laptop doesn’t recognize the sd cards. I have update every driver on the laptop and nothing happens. The problem was that windows 10 don’t assign a letter for this drive. Thank very much.

  10. paul

    worst advice ever

  11. Boomer12k

    This is how I get my SD card slot back.
    I have the unrecognized SD card in my tablet’s slot… I use a micro usb extension cable to attach my usb multi Card Reader, with a micro sd card in the proper slot. I connect to the tablet… it will read that… sometimes doing a shutdown, removing the usb card reader, then rebooting will make windows recognize the previously unrecognized card… it has work several times now. Every time Microsoft does an update… I lose it, because they turn off the recognition or something. You need a card reader, I THINK, to have it reload, or at least Restart, the drivers…. that is what I just did… and I now have a recognized SD card in the slot…

  12. Ray

    Thanks, I finally found a solution to this problem (your comment). It’s frustrating to not know how to fix a problem but it’s good to know some people are out there willing to share there successes. Thanks again.

  13. Frederik M. Jacobsen

    I seem to have a bit different problem, than the other descriptions I have found so far.
    The card shows up the first time I put it into my laptop without a problem. I remove it correctly and so on, but when I put it in again, it won’t show up. The card works just fine on any other computer and the same goes for any other SD card.

  14. Frederik M. Jacobsen

    What do I do, if I can’t find the drive with the card?

  15. Péter Bárány

    You mean, followed my description above, AND cannot see your card in the list? Pretty unbelievable, but in this case my knowledge ended here, I’m very sorry.

  16. Norton

    I have the same issue and it just started on 2 Windows 10 computer. One is a laptop I’ve used without issues for some time. The other is a brand new workstation that I tried the cards on after having problems with the laptop. The SD cards are my own that I’ve used for some time and I tried a number of them on both PC’s. The fact this is occurring on 2 computers makes me wonder if one of the cards is corrupted and set this off. I don’t think it’s malware or a virus of some sort since they have been in my possession since I bought them. I believe it started off when I tried the same card in both computers.

  17. Alfred New

    I am also having this problem. On boot it will read a card inserted into sd reader. If card is ejected and then re-inserted (or a different card) it isn’t recognized. On boot the drive is letter F. Then it disappears. I just changed drive to J, but so far it hasn’t helped.

  18. Alfred New

    After further research, I disabled the device in device manager and restarted . I was able to read and eject two different 4 GB cards. I used a 32 GB card next and it was not recognized. Will update after more testing

  19. Alfred New

    I am not sure what this means. I did a restart and and it read the 32 GB card. I had renamed the card reader to SD_Card_rdr and assigned the drive letter J.
    I had my computer open and when I inserted the card the SD_Card_rdr changed to Canon. But under device manager the J drive still showed as disabled and a generic usb drive showed up under disk drives. The card reader (before and after renaming shows up in the portable drive list. I enabled the J drive and both it and the generic usb drive promptly disappeared. ????

  20. Serene Johnson

    This is unfortunately where I am too. Ugh.

  21. My problem: Windows 10 (update from 7) samsung laptop would “acknowledge” the SD card with the sound, but nothing would appear anywhere. I updated as many drivers as I could find but nothing worked.

    My solution (thanks to this web page): I inserted a blank SD card into the slot on the front of the laptop. In Device Manager there was an “unknown device” in the Other devices menu. I right clicked and asked windows to search for driver updates, which it did, then it called it a generic volume. I tried to use the Disk Management control panel to give the disk – which windows was showing was there, and the volume (32GB SD card) – a path, but it wouldn’t let me. Then I right clicked on the windows button and selected “Computer Management”. From that screen, I was able to right click on the disk volume and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths…” and THEN it finally let me select a drive name. It gave me one option for (G:) so I just used that. Then all of a sudden it was working perfectly, it recognizes my NIKON camera SD card, and gives me the option to eject the volume like normal.

    I hope this helps some of you.

  22. rich1051414

    I have a WIndows Surface, and today, no USB devices work even though they show up in device manager and SD cards show up in the device manager, but disk manager will not populate volumes and errors if I tried to do anything with the sd card. I have restarted like 8 times, but nothing is working. Everything was fine before the last windows update.

  23. TalkIsCheap

    My system ran great till it upgraded itself to Windows 10 now I get piddly little annoyances like this to waste my waking hours. Gave up with my new multi-functional WiFi printer/scanner which is no longer WiFi, now my card readers have packed up. If your car was a Microsoft, you would have taken it to the scrapheap years ago.

  24. John Redmond

    I followed an earlier answer and opened troubleshooter/hardware.
    Bingo!
    it fixed it.

  25. Daniel Olson

    I have the same problem – not reading my card. I found this work around. Right click windows icon lower left corner of desktop, Rt. click FILE EXPLORER – under SD Digital F, double left click DCIM then left click 101MSDCF. My pics showed up.

  26. Mark

    Number 3 has to be the dumbest thing I ever saw? Right up there with, “If you can’t connect to the internet, then go to http://WWW... for help.”

  27. Sabrina

    It would be helpful if you gave step by step instructions instead of a vague guide

  28. Right click on Windows tab – Device Manager – SD Host Adapters – right click SDA standard Compliant SD Host Controller – Disable, then Enable. That worked fine for me. From SD card not reconised to reconised as the name of the card (Nikon 5200) … and I removed it and inserted it a couple of times, and it still works 🙂

  29. Ray Baldwin

    Before finally giving up and throwing the dell out the window I went to the realtek website, downloaded their driver, installed it, and did a reboot. Works with no issues now.

  30. Steven Azari

    Thanks, you saved me a lot of hassle, had to remove / reinsert the sd card to know for sure it was detected in disk management, but rest of your instructions were spot on.

  31. Raj D

    3] Change the Drive letter
    worked for me !!
    Thank you so much Anand

  32. TrilbyHat

    Why is Picasa Users being forced by Google to move from Picasa Albums to Google Photos, we have had our photos snatched by Google and placed in Google albums without our consent, I go there and delete them, now today it appears my Picasa album is full, my car-writer is not being recognised and not allowed to import to Picasa, in effect Picasa appears to be frozen for future use, can anyone suggest another Picasa type album to use, anything but the horrid Google-We are going to beat Facebook with pictures-offering. Please block Google picture, boycot it, and fight back!

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