If you’re using an Android device like Samsung Galaxy S5, S7, or Note 4, you might have come across the error message “SD card is blank or has an unsupported file system.” It means that your SD card has turned unreadable, along with all your photos and videos stored inside.
Reasons Behind the “SD Card Is Blank Or Has an Unsupported File System” Error
Before we jump to fix blank SD cards, it’s worth looking at the reasons that lead to this issue. The SD card blank error could be caused by corrupt RAW file systems, bad sectors, logical damage, virus infection, and even improper usage. But more often than not, the root cause can be narrowed down to the following points:
- The SD card was removed from a smartphone without switching off the device.
- The SD card was mounted on an unsafe computer.
- You migrated the card from one operating system to another (say from iOS to Android).
- The card was extracted from a computer without being properly ejected by the “Safely remove hardware” tool.
Methods to Fix “SD Card Is Blank Or Has an Unsupported File System” Error
Now that we know the main culprits behind the “SD card blank or unsupported” error, we can move on to the methods of fixing it.
Before we Start
We recommend trying the following troubleshoots before attempting an actual fix:
Reboot your device
Sometimes, this issue can arise due to a bug in the operating system, and as such, you can try to reboot your Android device.
Eject and reinsert your SD card
If the first troubleshooting didn’t work out, you could also try to eject and reinsert the SD card. Be sure to clean the card tray before reinserting, as accumulated dust can also lead to readability issues.
Connect SD card to another device
One last thing you can try is testing the SD card on another smartphone. If it works, then it means that the issue is from your smartphone’s end.
Using Disk Drill to Scan and Recover Lost Files
Disk Drill is an excellent data recovery software, making it perfect for the job of retrieving deleted files from an SD card that is unreadable. Although you could use any data recovery software available online, Disk Drill offers a level of simplicity with its easy-to-read UI and minimal-step recovery process that makes it a great option for casual users. Here’s how to use it to fix the “SD card unavailable” error.
- Download Disk Drill for Windows from the official website.This is a direct download link.
- Once the download is complete, go to your Downloads folder and navigate to disk-drill-win. Launch the application.
- Now, click on Install to begin the installation.
- It may take a few moments to install.
- Once the installation is complete, click on Launch.
- Go to your Downloads folder once you’re on the Disk Drill home screen, click on Drive Backup located on the left-hand side of your screen.
- A list of all your partitions and connected drives will show up on your screen. Here, select the drive you want to recover and click on Byte-to-ByteBackup.
- A dialogue box will appear on your screen where you can rename the backup file select file type and destination folder. Once you’re all set, click on OK to proceed.
- Be patient as Disk Drill creates a backup of your drive. The time may vary depending on the size of your drive.
- Once the process is complete, head to the destination folder where you saved the backup. You will find a folder with a .dmg extension. This folder is a byte-to-byte copy of your original drive, and you can interact with it as you would with a physical drive. Naturally, you can use this disk image for data recovery using Disk Drill.
- Now, go to the Disk Drill homepage and click on Data Recovery on the left-hand side of your screen.
- Click on the ‘three-dot icon’ on the right-hand side of your screen, and select Attach disk image…
- Now, select the backup disk image you’ve just created and click on Open. It will appear under a new category called Mounted Images.
- Finally, click on Search for lost data to run a recovery process on the disk image.
- Once the recovery process is complete, click on Recovery all items.
- Now, select a destination for all your recovered files and click on OK to save them.
Check Blank SD Card For File System Errors
Another method you can try is using the Command Prompt to check your SD card for any file system errors. Here’s how to do it:
- Connect your SD card to your PC.
- Now, go to This PC or My Computer and search for the SD card you’ve just mounted and note its drive letter (In our case, our Sandisk SD card was assigned drive letter D).
- Now, go to the Windows search bar, type cmd, and click on Run as administrator.
- In the Command Prompt screen, type the following command and press Enter to fix the error: chkdsk X: /f (here, X denotes your SD card’s drive letter).
Use Drive ‘Error Checking’ Feature
If your SD card has an unsupported file system, you can use the Windows ‘Error Checking’ feature to resolve the issue. Here’s how to do it:
- Connect your SD card to your PC and open This PC or My Computer.
- Right-click on your SD card and go to Properties.
- Go to the Tools tab and click on Check.
- Now, click on Scan Drive to start the scan.
- Once the scan is complete you will get a pop-up with the message “Your drive was scanned successfully”. In our case, we had no error with our SD card so we got the message “No errors were found”.
Show Hidden Files on Blank SD Card
It may be possible that your SD card contains some harmful files that are causing this issue, but they might be hidden. You can try to unhide them and delete them manually to fix the problem.
- Connect your SD card to your PC.
- Now, open Control Panel and go to Programs.
- Click on Appearance and Personalization on the left-hand side.
- Next, go to File Explorer and open the View tab.
- Make sure you have the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option selected.
- Click on Apply and OK to proceed.
Reinstall the Drivers For Your SD Card
Another cause for the error could be outdated drivers, which you can easily update to resolve any issues. Here’s how to do it.
- Go to the Windows search bar and look up Device Manager.
- Search for your SD card in the list and right-click on it. Now, select Update Driver.
- On the next screen, you’ll have to option to update the driver manually or let Windows do the job for you.
Quick Format Blank SD Card
Although formatting your SD card should be your last bet, it’s still a viable way to solve the “SD card unavailable” or “SD card not mounting” error. However, for this method, we suggest ‘quick formatting’ your memory card, as opposed to deep format. That’s because it is possible to recover data from a storage device that’s been quickly formatted using data recovery software like Disk Drill.
- Go to the Windows file explorer (This PC), right-click on your SD card and click Format.
- Make sure the Quick Format box is checked. Then, click on Start to begin formatting.
- Now, launch Disk Drill and select your SD card. Then, click on Search for lost data to begin the scan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions related to the SD card unreadability issue:
SD cards are a compact and handy way of storing your precious photos and videos on your smartphone. However, your data is not entirely safe as it is always at a risk of loss if the SD card is improperly handheld. Luckily, the methods we have discussed in this article provide an easy way for casual users to recover their lost files. But, we recommend creating backups on a separate storage unit so that you never permanently lose any of it.