How to Fix It When SD Card is Not Showing up in File Explorer

If your SD card isn’t showing up on Windows, you might have to try different things to fix the problems. Some of the more common fixes include updating your drivers or assigning a drive letter to an SD card that lacks one.

I’m Caleb, and I have a good amount of experience working hands-on with SD cards as a photographer. I’ve also used them with other devices, such as Android phones, so I’m somewhat familiar with the different problems that can come up when relying on SD cards.

In this article, I’ll break down some of the solutions for when an SD card just doesn’t show up in the file explorer. If your SD card won’t show up no matter what you do, and you’re not sure where to go from here, keep reading for some of the most common solutions.

Fixing SD Card Not Showing Up in File Explorer

Unfortunately, this is a problem where it’s impossible to pin down a single cause. If you’re dealing with your SD card or MicroSD card not showing up in the file explorer, the only thing you can do is try different fixes and see which one resolves the problem.

Fix 1: Physically Inspect the SD Card

Sometimes, the best fix is the simplest one. For an SD card to work, the gold contacts on the back need to be unobstructed. That means a dirty SD card can stop working at all.

It only takes a few seconds to take the SD card out and examine it for signs of physical damage, or dirt and grime. If you do happen to spot the latter, you can clean an SD card safely with a cotton swab and 99% isopropyl alcohol, which is safe for use with electronics.

Also, you may want to inspect the SD card slot itself. As obvious as it sounds, damage to this slot can also prevent your SD cards from being recognized by Windows.

Fix 2: Update Your Computer’s Drivers

Let’s be honest, it can get annoying keeping up with every driver update. And if you’ve ever had an update introduce new problems onto your computer, you might have formed a habit of waiting a while before installing new ones.

As understandable as this is, it can cause problems with some devices like SD cards. Certain drivers being out of date can cause SD cards and other external devices to not show up on your computer, and I can say I’ve personally witnessed this myself.

Luckily, fixing this problem with an update usually doesn’t take too long. You can update your Windows version by typing Check for updates into the search bar and selecting the first option. 

For more specific drivers, you might have to use the Device Manager, which you can also access through the search bar. If you’re using a USB-based SD card reader, updating your USB drivers here is likely a good idea.

Fix 3: Assign a Drive Letter

You’re probably already familiar with the concept of a drive letter. For example, your main hard drive might be listed as your C: drive in the file explorer and device manager. But did you know that, sometimes, you can have a device with no drive letter?

If this happens to your SD card, you may have to manually assign the drive letter before putting it to use. You can do this through the Disk Management application, which comes built into Windows.

To access the program, press Windows + R and enter diskmgmt.msc. The resulting window will give you a list of drives connected to the computer, including SD cards.

If you manage to find your SD card on this list of devices, you can right-click on it and select the Change Drive Letter and Paths option. This brings up a menu to easily select a new drive letter, letting you use the SD card like normal once it has one.


These are some of the most frequent questions raised around this topic.

How Do I Fix a Corrupted MicroSD Card?

Depending on the type of corruption, reformatting your SD card may help to remove the problem. Alternatively, many companies make their own software to retrieve lost data from older storage devices.

Why Isn’t My SD Card Showing Up?

This can happen for several reasons. The card might not be in the slot well enough, may be suffering from corruption, or you might have outdated drivers on your computer.

Why Isn’t My SD Card Reader Showing Up on Windows?

If you have a USB card reader, you may want to look into the USB drivers for your computer. If those drivers are out of date, you can easily run into problems with devices such as card readers.


As you can see, this problem is often on the software side and might be fixed by updating your drivers, or adding a drive letter if your SD card doesn’t already have one. However, it can also be a problem with the physical connection between your SD card and computer.

Are you dealing with this SD card problem? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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