By Bryce / Last Updated December 16, 2020

Why reformat SD card on PC?
How to: reformat SD card when it is normal
How to: reformat SD card when it is write-protected or corrupted

Why reformat SD card on PC?

SD card, short of Secure Digital card, is a popular removable storage device. It is widely used to store file/photos/music or to transfer data between two electronic devices. You may need to reformat an SD card to repair it when it becomes corrupted and unable to be read. Or you want to reformat it for changing its file system, thus it can be compatible with a certain operating system or save an individual large file. For example, you may want to reformat a SD card to FAT32 to make it work under Mac and Windows computer

How to: reformat SD card on PC when it is normal

If your SD card is in normal condition and you can format it to change its file system easily within Windows File Explorer or Disk Management. Check out the following tutorial to realize how to format an SD card in Disk Management. Take reformatting an SD card to FAT32 in Windows 10 as an example.

1. Press Windows + X and choose “Disk Management” among pop-up options to open Disk Management.

2. Locate the SD card, right click the SD card partition and choose “Format”.

Reformat SD Card

3. In the Format Dialogue, set the SD card file system as FAT32. You can add Volume label to this SD card, if you want. Then, click “OK”.

After a while, the SD card will be reformatted with FAT32 file system.

How to: reformat SD card when it is write-protected or corrupted

Now, surely you have known how to reformat SD card in Windows 10, 8, 7 when the SD card is workable. But if your SD card is corrupted, there are chances that you can’t format it with Windows Explorer or Disk Management. Besides, you can’t format an SD card, if it’s under the three following conditions:

  • Condition 1: The SD card is write-protected; If your SD card is write-protected, any write operation, including format will not be allowed to make to it.

  • Condition 2: The SD card is with two or multiple partitions while Windows only recognizes the first primary partition on your SD card and you can format the first partition. When you try to reformat the second partition on it, you’ll receive an error message that An unexpected error has occurred…

  • Condition 3: The capacity of the partition on the SD card is over 32GB and you want to reformat it with FAT32 file system.

In condition 1, you need to remove write protection from the SD card before formatting. First, make sure that the write protection switch is located in the unlock position. Then, you can change the Registry key value by following the steps given below:

Step 1. In the Search box, type “regedit” and hit Enter to open Registry Editor.

Step 2. In Registry Editor, go to the path given below:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies

Step 3. Double click WriteProtect and set the value to 0. Then, restart your computer and reconnect your SD card.

Value Data

If SD card is still in read-only status, you can clear read-only via Diskpart.

Step 1. Run diskpart as administrator (Press Windows + R, input “diskpart” and hit Enter)

Step 2. Run the commands listed below:

  • list disk

  • select disk n, n is the disk number of your write-protected SD card.

  • attributes disk clear readonly

Remove Write Protection Diskpart

3. Type exit and hit Enter to close this window, after it says Disk attributes cleared successfully.

Apart from the common three ways to disable write protection for SD card, you can get more from Lexar Micro SD Card Write Protected? (Top 8 Ways Included).

After disable write protection for the SD card, you can reformat it successfully.

In condition 2 or 3, you can turn to a free & reliable format tool for Windows 10, 8, 7, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can format an SD card when its file system is corrupted; format an SD card partition beyond 32GB, such as 64GB, 128GB to FAT32 and reformat the second partition on an SD card. Besides, it allows you to reformat your SD card with NTFS, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3, or Ext4. Free download it and have a closer look at how to reformat SD card on PC with it.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Locate the SD card that you need to format; right-click the partition on it; choose “Format Partition”.

Choose FAT32 File System

Step 2. In this window, set the file system of the partition and click “OK”. Here FAT32 is selected.

Choose FAT32 File System

Step 3. Return to the main interface. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to execute the operation.

PS.: This format tool can also be applied to format USB flash drive, external hard drive, or internal hard drive. But to format the hard drive with OS installed on via this tool, you need to create a bootable media in advance and format system hard drive from BIOS. And you can upgrade it to an advanced edition, thus you can enjoy more helpful functions, like recovering lost SD card.