My Computer Says I Need to Format My SD Card

Formatting your SD card should take just a few minutes.

Formatting your SD card should take just a few minutes.

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by Contributing Writer Google

SD cards enable you to save photos, documents and other data on a very small device. From time to time though, the files on those cards get corrupted, meaning you'll need to reformat the card in order to keep using it. Fortunately, formatting and reformatting is quite easy to do on your computer.

Step 1

Insert the SD card into the SD slot on your computer. If your SD card is too small to insert in the slot, place the card into the memory card reader that came with your card and then insert the reader into the SD card slot.

Step 2

Select "Computer" or "My Computer" from your computer's Start menu.

Step 3

Click "Devices and Printers," and then locate the SD card, listed as a "Removable Disk," under the "Devices with Removable Storage" heading.

Step 4

Right-click on the "Removable Disk" and click "Format."

Step 5

Locate the "File System" drop-down menu, and then click on the "Default" option. For some cards, this may be listed as "FAT 32," though older SD cards and computers may list the default as "FAT 16."

Step 6

Click the box next to "Quick Format" to select it, and then click "Start." Wait for a few minutes to allow your SD card to format.


  • If you're inserting the SD card into your computer for the first time, wait to complete these steps until you see a notification that says "Your devices are ready to use."
  • The instructions here apply to computers using Windows 7 and 8. Instructions may be slightly different for other operating systems.


  • Any data you have stored on your device will be erased when you format your SD card. If you want to save some of that data, copy the data to your computer before formatting.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images