Ever popped an SD card into your phone or camera only to see that dreaded “Unsupported Card” error message pop up? I feel your pain. Nothing’s worse than seeing years of precious pics and videos trapped on a card your device suddenly won’t recognize.
But don’t freak out just yet! There are a few tricks up our sleeves to get that SD card working again without losing any of your data.
What Causes the Unsupported SD Card Issue?
Before we get into how to fix the unsupported SD card message, we need to understand why it happens in the first place. Here are some common reasons:
- Corrupted File System: Sometimes the SD card’s filing system itself gets corrupted. This is kinda like your card’s internal software crashing—and that prevents your device from being able to read it properly.
- Improper Ejecting: That corruption earlier can happen if you don’t safely eject the card before yanking it out. I know, I’m totally guilty of being impatient and not properly ejecting my SD cards too! But forcefully ripping them out can damage the filing system on the card.
- Physical Damage: Dropping your SD card, getting it wet, cooking it in a hot car—anything that physically damages the card itself or its little metal contacts can prevent it from interfacing properly with your device.
- Unsupported File System: Your device may not support the file system (like exFAT or NTFS) that the card uses.
- Allocation Unit Size Mismatch: The allocation unit size, which is the smallest storage space on disk, might be incompatible between the device and SD card.
- Virus or Malware Infection: Viruses and malware could have infected and corrupted the data on your SD card.
Step-by-Step Guide to Fix the Unsupported SD Card Error
Without further ado, here are the steps to try and solve the unsupported SD card problem:
Mount the SD Card as Removable Storage
The first thing to try is connecting the SD card to a Windows PC or Mac using a card reader. Does your computer detect the card and show it as removable storage?
If it does, then there’s a good chance your SD card isn’t the problem. You should look more towards the device you were using before.
Before you do anything else, make sure you transfer any important files to your computer.
Use an External Card Reader
If a computer doesn’t find the SD card either, use an external USB card reader. This will help figure out if it’s the card or the device you’re using that has issues.
- If the reader finds and reads everything fine, then it’s likely the other device or its built-in card reader.
- If it still doesn’t read properly, then there are problems with your SD card itself.
Check for Physical Damage on SD Card
Carefully check everything on your SD card to see if there are any physical damages. Look for:
- Chips, cracks, or bent pins in metal contacts
- A case that looks cracked or bent out of shape
- Water damage or overheating signs
If there are any damages, they can mess up how electricity moves through your card and connect to devices. These are some of the things that might need to be replaced if you notice them.
Test the SD Card in another Device
Try putting your SD card into another device like a camera or tablet.
If it works normally on that one and not yours, then we know what gadget is causing all these issues.
But if the card isn’t recognized by other devices either, the fault lies with the card itself. Move on to the next steps for further troubleshooting.
Fix Partition Table Errors Using Disk Management
Assuming no physical damage, the SD card issue may be due to file system errors like a corrupted partition table. This often happens if the card wasn’t ejected properly before removal.
You can scan and fix many partition issues using the Disk Management utility:
- Open Disk Management (press Windows + R and type diskmgmt.msc)
- Right-click on the problematic SD card and choose “Check File System”
- Click “Scan and repair drive” to find and fix errors
- Launch Disk Utility
- Select the SD card and click First Aid
- Run the “Repair Disk” option to detect and resolve issues
This should hopefully rebuild your partition table and make the SD card readable again.
Change the Allocation Unit Size of your SD Card
Another potential fix is tweaking the allocation unit size. This determines how storage space is allocated on the disk.
If your SD card uses a different allocation unit size than your device, it may show as unsupported.
You can change the allocation unit size to match your device using partitioning tools like MiniTool Partition Wizard or EaseUS Partition Master.
Refer to the software’s documentation for exact steps. Just be sure to back up data first!
Format the SD Card Using Official Tools
If all else fails, you may need to reformat the card using the manufacturer’s formatter tools.
For example, for SanDisk cards, download and install the SanDisk SD Formatter. This will completely erase data, so ensure you’ve backed up important files from the card first!
Reformatting rebuilds the file system, fixing any corruption issues in the process. Just make sure to use the right settings compatible with your device.