My Laptop Won't Recognize the SD Card

Updated July 20, 2017

Secure Digital (SD) cards are a form of storage that is used as an alternative to flash drives. The micro versions of the cards are commonly found in cameras, MP3 players and cell phones. Many laptops now come with a built-in reader capable of mounting the cards like any other removable drive. Unfortunately, the cards can become unreadable over time without proper maintenance.

Place one end of the cotton swab into the alcohol to saturate it.

Flip the SD card upside down and firmly scrub each gold-coloured contact on the bottom. If it is a micro card, clean the contacts on the card and the adaptor.

Use the dry end of the swab to dry the excess alcohol. Alternatively, wave it a few times in the air or let it air dry.

Type "Device" in the start menu and click "Device Manager."

Click the triangle or plus sign to expand "Storage Controllers."

Right-click the SD card from the list. It should say something like "Integrated MMC/SD Controller."

Click "Uninstall." Do not place a check mark beside "Delete the Driver Software for this Device."

Click "OK" to confirm and restart the computer.

Go back to the Device Manager as directed in "Reinstall Drivers."

Right-click the SD card driver and select "Update Driver Software."

Click "Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software." Your PC and the Internet will be searched for an updated driver.

Click "Close" when the update is complete.


Prevent residue build-up by holding the card by the edges at all times. Never touch the gold coloured contacts on the bottom. If you have Vista, you may need to retrieve the latest service pack to fix this problem (see Resources.)

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
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About the Author

Cee Jay began writing professionally in 2009 with work appearing on various websites. She has been repairing computers since 2000 and focuses on topics related to PC support/repair. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Franklin University and also studied advanced language arts at the Center for Arts and Sciences.