How to Check the Health of SD Cards on Windows

Secure Digital cards are one of the most important pieces of technology on the market today. However, nothing seems to be worse than when the SD card gets corrupted and you lose your data (seemingly). Because of this possibility, it is imperative that you check the health of your SD card regularly.

Hello everyone. My name is Lavelle and I have been a professional photographer and videographer for nearly 15 years now. During the span of my photography career, I have used SD cards extensively, and ensuring that my cards are healthy is a vital part of my regular routine.

In this article, I will discuss the importance of checking the health of your SD card as well as the 3 methods you can use to check the health of your card. I will answer a few of the frequently asked questions about this topic and share with you some key takeaways that I suggest you consider.

Key Takeaways

  • There are several ways to check the health of your SD card. Windows has some excellent tools to run scans on your SD card. Use these resources to maintain the integrity of your card and to protect your data.
  • Consider using third-party recovery applications to scan and repair your SD card.
  • Look for signs that your SD card may be failing. Some of these signs include slow performance, missing files, and a black screen on your computer.

When Do You Need to Check the Health of SD Card

Technology has come a long way. When I first started using SD cards, there was a higher probability that the card would crash. Now, with the many advancements made in the secure digital card industry, most SD cards monitor themselves. Most of these cards have leveling algorithms that detect and identify faulty blocks as they appear, so that these bad blocks are not exposed to the file system, causing corruption.

There are many signs that indicate that your SD card may be failing. Things such as missing files, slow response, black screens, and the such, are an indication that you need to check the health of your SD card. Typically, when these signs first appear, they are just warnings. However, eventually the card runs out of reserved spare blocks and will then permanently lock themselves in a read only mode. When this occurs, you should immediately read out the data and move it to another secure location (SSD card, external drive, etc.).

3 Methods to Check the SD Card Health on Windows

Here are three ways that you can check the health of your SD card on your Windows device.

Method 1. Using Windows Error Checking Tool

The first method is to use the Windows Error Checking Tool. This method allows you to check the health of the SD card and repair any common errors.

  1. Open Windows Explorer and right click on the SD card.
  2. Go to Properties, then to Tools, then to Check Now.
  3. Check both the “Automatically fix file system errors” and the “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors”.
  4. Finally, click the Start button to let the Check Disk conduct a scan of the SD card and correct any errors that it finds.

Method 2. With CHKDSK Command

The second method you can try is by using the command “Chkdsk”. To complete this function, go to the Start menu and type in “cmd” in the search bar. Hit enter and then you will see “cmd.exe” in a list of program options.

Now click “cmd.exe” and you will see a command window that allows you to fix your corrupted SD card without formatting it.

Next, type “chkdsk /X /f (sd card letter). For example, if your SD card is in drive G, your line would read like this: “chkdsk / g: /f.

After you have completed each of these steps, Windows will begin the process of checking and fixing the file system on your SD card. This process can take several minutes so please be patient. Upon completion, if you see a message that says “Windows has made corrections to the file system”, then this indicates that your damaged SD card has been successfully repaired. 

Please note that if you are not the most technically savvy person and to minimize data loss risks, you may want to choose a third-party repair or recovery software option. Using the command prompt function is more suitable for those with some technical know-how.

Method 3. Using Third-party Tools

As I’ve mentioned in Method 2, if technical savviness is not your forte, it may be best to use a third-party data recovery tool.

Each of these applications offers excellent step-by-step services. They also have automated services that are basically click-and-go type functions. These applications will run a diagnostic check on your SD card and return results in short order.


Everyone has questions about checking the health of SD cards. Here are answers to a couple of the main questions I’ve come across.

How Do I Know if My SD Card is Bad?

If your SD card is bad, you will notice several signs. Some of the signs include things like missing files, a black screen on your computer when you attempt to open the SD file, slow or no response when you click on the SD card, or you may even find that your card is not being recognized by your computer or device. 

How Do I Test My Micro SD Card Health?

To test the health of your Micro SD card, you can run a health scan on your Windows-based machine. You can also complete a scan through the Command Prompt on your computer. Another option is to use a third-party application to scan your Micro SD card.

Final Thoughts

We’ve all used SD cards from time to time and we have all been a little on edge about the possibility of losing our data. To prevent these losses, it is always best to monitor your SD card health regularly, and even more importantly, you should backup your data to another safe and secure location regularly as well. 

Have you had scares with your SD card? If so, how did you resolve it? Share your experience here with others and feel free to leave any questions that you have and I will respond to you as soon as I can.

Until next time, protect your data and enjoy your moments!

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