What is the Root Directory of an SD Card?

The root directory of your SD card is the base folder. When you move files to the SD card without putting them into a specific subfolder, the root is where they’ll end up.

I’m Caleb, and I’ve worked with SD cards a fair amount over the past five years as a photographer, where I’ve used them as my main method to get pictures from camera to computer.

In this article, I’ll explain the root directory and how to find the name of the root directory and access it. If you’ve seen this term thrown around and you need to know what it means, keep reading for an easy explanation.

The Root Directory of an SD Card

The root of an SD card, or any storage device, is the highest level of storage. It’s the first folder that shows up when you access an SD card with your device’s file explorer. When you move files to an SD card, they’ll usually appear in the root folder by default.

If any of that sounds confusing, there’s a simpler way to think about it: if a file isn’t in a subfolder, it’s in the root folder.

For example, let’s say you have an SD card with two folders, one for pictures and one for videos. Both of these folders are located in the root folder of the card. Any files not in one of those folders are also located in the root.

How to Find the Root Folder of an SD Card

In some cases, you may need to find the root folder’s name before accessing the files on it or running certain commands. Luckily, it’s not that hard.

On both Windows and Mac, the left side of your file explorer should show a list of storage devices. Your regular hard drive and removable storage devices, such as SD cards and USB drives, will usually appear here.

The name that your SD card will show up as depends on the manufacturer and your computer setup, but it will often have a name such as SD Card (H:) or USC Drive (H:).

It shows “USB Drive (H:)” under My PC

Whatever name shows up here is also the name of the root folder. If an online tutorial ever tells you to navigate to the root of your card, that’s the folder you’ll have to access.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the root directory.

Where is the Root Directory Located?

The root directory is the highest-level folder on a storage device. Usually, that means it’s the folder that opens by default when you access the device in a file explorer. The folder also hosts other subfolders, such as a pictures folder.

How Do I Find the Root Directory Name?

You can usually find the name of a root directory by checking the list of storage devices. On both Windows and Mac, you can do this easily by checking the left side of the file explorer.

Where is the Root Directory on Android?

The root directory on Android phones depends on the manufacturer and the exact model. However, you can find the root directory on your phone by heading into your file explorer and backing out of each folder until you’re at the highest level one.


The root directory is the “main” folder on your SD card or any other storage device. It’s the folder you’ll find yourself in when you first open one of these devices in a file explorer, and sometimes, it’s helpful to know the root folder name so you can navigate there.

Do you place your files right in the root directory, or do you prefer organized folders? Let us know in the comments!

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