How to Format An SD Card That Cannot Be Formatted (9+ Fixes)


How to format a memory card SD/Microsd which says not formatting or can’t be formatted in camera/android phone/pc Windows 10? This article tells solutions when memory card (sdhc, sdxc, micro sd card) is damaged/raw and unable to be formatted.

  1. When your sd card needs formatting, be free to visit -> sd card needs to be formatted
  2. When your sd card turned raw, be free to visit -> Recover raw sd card

Need data from the SD? Download iCare Pro Free to recover sd card free. (First 1GB free recovery. Free code is available from support team per review request for more recovery: how to get free code of icare pro)

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  Solutions Remark Links
New sd card #1 Format sd card FAT in pc file system conflicts Tutorial
Old sd card #2 Debug or mass usb storage mode shall be enabled Easy Tutorial
  #3 Delete sd card in disk management, and then create a new volume for it Mostly it would fix the problem by this method Get details
  #4 Diskpart cmd to format sd clean or remove attribute readonly to fix the problem Read details
  #5 Force format sd card with Rufus Easy to use format tool Read tutorial
  #6 Turn off the write protection lock on the memory card easy Read tutorial
  #7 Format sd card in Windows 10 easy Read details
  #8 Low level format tool to get it formatted easy to use Read details

The Scenario: Unable to Format SD Card, RAW SD Card Won't Format

"Yesterday, I wanted to open my SD card, but my SD card suddenly popped out a message said I need to format my device before I can use it. The sd card showed raw and 0 byte. How do I repair the raw SD card and recover data from it?" -- Tom

Why - The causes

  • If a new sd card cannot be formatted, it may be incompatible with your phone/camera;
  • If it is unable to format an old sd card in Windows 10 for example, the sd card may have write protection, become raw, corrupted, damaged, incompatible with your device, have bad sectors, dead chips, dying...

Symptoms: Memory card cannot be formatted on your phone/camera/Windows computer when you try to format it, the format error may show up "Failed to format the device", or "Windows was unable to complete the format for sd card" ...

Windows was unable to complete the format sd cardWindows can't format the sd card, raw sd card format failed.

SD Card Cannot Be Formatted Solutions - 9+ Fixes

Solution#1: New SD Card Cannot Be Formatted Fix (Incompatible with device)

When a new memory card sd or micro sdxc cannot be formatted in a camera/phone, it means the memory card is not compatible with the device, especially when

  1. The sd card is new, large capacity over 32GB, it may be incompatible with some old phones/cameras -> Format sd to FAT in Windows computerFormat sd
  2. The sd card is quite small, not compatible with your phone/camera which can hold large memory -> Format sd to FAT32 or exfat in Windows computer


Please turn on the usb mass storage or usb debugging mode if you connect sd to computer with phone, or it would lead to a format failure! Or you may pull out your sd card and insert it with a card adaptor to a pc.

foramt blank sd card after set it usb modeTurn on USB connection mode or usb debugging mode if you want to format memory card when you get phone connected to computer.

Solution #3 - Delete SD in Disk Management and then create new volume (Most efficientwork)

Reinstall drive step 2 Delete sd in disk management

Reinstall drive step 2 Create volume for sd in disk management

How to operate the deleting and creating volume for sd card?

  • Insert sd card to pc with a card reader at first
  • Go to disk management (right click 'This PC' on desktop->Manage->Disk management)
  • Right click your sd in the disk management
  • Delete volume option in the right click pop up window
  • Reinsert sd card to pc, and come back to the Disk Management
  • Create new volume with its empty space by right click sd under disk management, and complete the procedure.

Mostly it would work. However if it still reported sd card unable to be formatted error, try the following ways.

Reinstall drive step 2 Windows cannot format sd card

Recommend: how to fix SD when Windows was unable to format

Notice: If you have important data on the SD card, do a backup or data recovery at first.

Solution #4 - Format SD Card Using CMD Diskpart Clean when it cannot be formatted

CMD, command prompt of Windows system, can act many command lines, formatting is one of them.

When your SD card is damaged or recognized as raw drive, it's not able to format the raw drive by a simple right-click. So, in this situation, CMD can do you a favor. Follow the instructions here to format the SD card.

Step1: Run Diskpart from your computer Start -> Run, and type diskpart in the run window(You need to start your pc with admin privilege).

Format raw sd card using CMDFormat raw sd card using CMD

Step2: Format the sd card in the following orders.

  • Type list volume
  • Type select volume *
  • Type format fs=fat32 quick
  • Type exit when the format was completed

Format raw sd card using CMD

Or you may try this following order if the previous failed.

Format raw sd card using CMDFormat sd card using CMD

Notice: It will erase all your data on the SD card, you need to recover or backup your data in advance, or you will lose them all.

Recommend: if you confirm formatting the sd, here are 10 free formatting tools that can help do the formatting if you are not so good at the cmd.

Solution #5 - Force Format SD Card when it failed to be formatted

Sd card wont format problemSd card won’t format problem

How to force a formatting on SD card?

  • use a disk format tool
  • format it on camera/phone

Recommend - force format sd card with Rufus

Formatting memory card with Rufus to force format sd card when it cannot be formatted. (Many users feedback this tool worked when the sd cannot be formatted)

You may download it here:

More download link is available at its website

format with rufusRufus to format sd card that cannot be formatted

recommendAlso recommend: how to force format sd card on pc/phone or 8 free disk format tools

If it still does not work, there should be some other errors like the write protection, bad blocks etc.

Recommend: how to remove write protection from SD card

Solution #6 - Remove sd card write protection (readonly)

Step 1 - Remove sd write protection by switching off its write lock

Reinstall drive step 2 Disable sd card write protection

If it still did not work, try step 2

Step 2 - Remove sd write protection using cmd

Reinstall drive step 2 Part 1 - Remove memory card read only write protection

Step 3 - Format the sd card after the readonly has been removed

  • Format sd card by a right click format option in computer
  • Format sd card under disk management
  • Format sd card using cmd command format fs:fat32 quick just after the cmd reported disk attributes cleared successfully.

Video - How to Remove SD Card Write Protection

Also read: 10 ways to disable write protection on sd/usb

Solution #7 - Format SD Card in Windows 11/10/8/7

If you have a laptop or desktop, you may do the formatting on your PC with a formatter, Windows format function, Windows disk management format, and more.

Step1: Go to "My Computer" and find your SD memory card.

Step2: Right-click the SD card, and click "Format" action, choose "quick format" as format type, if you want to erase all the data on it, you can also choose full format.

Step3: Click "OK" to start the format process.

format the sd card on windowsFormat the sd card on Windows 11/10/7

Or you may use disk management to format the memory card

format the sd card on windowsFormat the sd card on Windows

Notice: You need to make it clear that if you format your SD card, all your data on the card will be erased, so if you want to keep your data safe, you need to backup your data or restore them with a recovery tool.

Still unable to format sd card? Try this

Solution #8 - RAW SD Card Formatter – Format Tool

If your windows system fails to format your SD card, and even CMD is not able to format your SD card, Try a low level format tool.

hdd low level format

Download Free Now

Notice: formatting will erase all your data, please take care of your data at first.

Solution #9: Recover Data from SD Card That Cannot Be Formatted

As we all know, formatting or reset is a whole deletion of your device, it will erase all your data on your SD card, if you have some important data on the SD card, please backup data to some other drive at first. If your sd card is not opening, restore data from the sd card with sepcial tools.

Step1: Download and Run iCare Data Recovery on your computer.

Step2: Scan your SD card.

Step3: Save data from the sd card to another drive.

Step3 to recover the data on the sd cardStep3 to recover the data from the sd card

Free Download

Note: This recovery program is totally free for the first 1GB recovery. Free code is available from support team per review request. If you want a totally freeware, iCare Data Recovery Free will be a nice choice which is a 100% free tool, however the Pro edition has raw recovery which can find more files.

After you recover your data on the SD card, you can repair the raw SD card by performing a formatting on your SD card.

Solution #10 Repair sd card bad blocks with chkdsk command or bad sector repair tools

Chkdsk command is able to help repair logical bad blocks on the memory card if you use the following command.

chkdsk E: /f (E must be replace by your own sd card drive letter)

Details: how to repair bad sector on sd card using cmd

Bad sector repair tools: IM-Magic Partition Resizer, USB Disk Storage Format Tool (Both tools are free software.)


Question: How to format raw sd card using cmd?

You may use this command line format fs=fat32 quick to format a raw memory card in diskpart command.

  • Firstly insert sd to pc with a card reader
  • Run cmd and type 'diskpart' and press OK to get started
  • Type 'E:' and press enter when your sd card shows E drive as an example here, you need to replace E with your own sd card drive letter
  • Type 'format fs=fat32 quick' and press enter

Note: Type the letters without the quotation in your cmd window.

Question: How to force format sd card?

SD card can be force formatted by several ways:

  • Right click format in Windows file explorer
  • Format option in disk management
  • Format tools such as Rufus, IM-Magic Partition Resizer, USB Disk Storage Format Tool
  • Low level format tool

Question: Unable to complete the format sd card solutions

Here are several ways to fix unable to format sd card on a computer.

  • Format it with free format tools such as Rufus, Low level format tool etc.
  • Format it with computer disk management
  • Remove sd card write protection, turnning of the write protection switch and format it

Question: RAW sd card formatter download

There are many format tools that can format a memory card even it showed raw, such as Rufus, USB Disk Storage Format Tool, Low level format tool etc.

Also read: sd card formatters

Question: sd card not formatting in camera, new sd card not formatting in camera, why won't my camera format my sd card?

Answer: When sd card has not formatting error in camera

  • if it's new, it means the sd card is too large for the camera, or the camera has reader damage -> Format sd card FAT in Windows to fix incompatible issue, or ask local repair shop for help to know more about camera repair.Format sd
  • If it's an old sd card, it means the memory card is either incompatible with the camera on file system or the sd card has logcal damages. -> You may format sd card FAT to see whether it is the file system incomaptible issue, or repair sd card with the following methods.

    More methods to repair sd card: sd card repair software [8 free]

Question: Cant format SD card to FAT32, how to format sd card to fat32 Windows 11/10/7

The formatting an sd card over 32GB to fat32 shall be done at least in 3 ways:

  • Format fat32 on a computer with its built in right click format option
  • Format sd fat32 in disk management
  • Format with third party free fat32 format tools.

Also read: how to format sd card fat32


This format error may happen to various kinds of memory card on different kinds of cameras and cellphones.

  • SDHC, sdxc, microSD, minisd...
  • Samsung SD card unable to format, toshiba sd, SanDisk SD, Fujifilm xD...
  • Canon camera sd card, Sony sd card, samsung camera sd, Nikon sd, Kodak, Fujifilm, Olympus SD...
  • Samsung galaxy sd, Honor, Blackberry, LG phone, HTC SD, Nokia sd, and more

Last updated on May 14, 2023

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