Unable to Format SD Card Steam Deck? Fix it Now!

Unable to format SD card Steam Deck? Read this post to get the possible reasons for it and learn how to fix the Steam Deck format SD card issue.


By Hedy / Updated on October 31, 2023

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Why Steam Deck unable to format SD card?

Released on February 25, 2022, the Steam Deck is a portable gaming device built by Valve that comes in three different models with different storage capacities: 64GB eMMC, 256GB NVMe SSD, and 512GB NVMe SSD.

Steam Deck runs within the LINUX framework and uses the Ext4 partitioning standard, seamlessly aligning with UNIX permissions, a feature not found on Windows and Nintendo systems. That’s why people find they are unable to format SD card Steam Deck to NTFS or FAT32.

Besides, there are some other reasons for this issue:

◤ Dust has accumulated on the SD card or its slot.
◤ Enable write protection on SD card.
◤ There is no compatibility between SD cards and Steam Deck.
◤ The SD card is physically damaged or corrupted.
◤ The underlying hardware failure of the Steam Deck itself.

Now, getting to the root of the "Steam Deck format SD card greyed out" dilemma, let’s delve into practical solutions.

How to fix unable to format SD card Steam Deck?

Coming across the tricky dilemma of “Steam Deck cannot format SD card” is indeed an annoying ordeal. Luckily, this article is your beacon of hope, offering concise troubleshooting fixes tailored to alleviate your woes. Try these solutions to solve your current problem.

Fix 1. Restart Steam Deck

The dilemma of encountering a grayed-out "Steam Deck Format SD Card" issue usually stems from a glitch or error in the host system. To find the solution, start with an easy one - restart Steam Deck. This simple action is often effective in correcting temporary errors. If the problem persists after rebooting, consider delving into alternative solutions for a more permanent fix.

Fix 2. Reinsert the SD card

One potential remedy to the "cannot format SD card Steam Deck" dilemma is to reinsert the SD card. Start by removing the SD card from the console. Then, reinsert it into the console via the microSD card slot on the bottom edge. Once you have done this, try formatting the SD card again and see if the error persists or disappears.

Fix 3. Clean the SD card

A persistent source of the "unable to format SD card Steam Deck" issue could be the presence of dust on the SD card or its corresponding slot. If it turns out to be the culprit, the remedy is at hand. Use a soft cloth, gentle brush, or compressed air from a can to clean the SD card and slot thoroughly. Once the ghost of dust has been exorcised, carefully insert the SD card into the Steam Deck. Verify the results by checking if the Steam Deck SD card format error has been successfully

Fix 4. Format the SD card on PC

If the Steam Deck fails in its attempt to format the SD card, a viable alternative is to format it on your PC. This operation requires the use of a third-party SD card formatter, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition is a good choice.

This free disk partitioning software comes with comprehensive features for partition and disk management, including hard drive speed test, MBR2GPT conversion, and data/hard drive recovery. With AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition, you can easily format SD card to Ext4 in just a few clicks.

Note: It is important to remember that built-in Windows utilities such as Disk Management and Diskpart lack the ability to format to Ext4.

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Step 1. First, connect the SD card to your computer. Install and open this formatting tool, and choose the SD card by right-clicking, and click "Format Partition".


Step 2. You can assign the file system to Ext4 in this small window, and click "OK".


Step 3. On the main interface, click "Apply" to commit the operation.


Fix 5. Check and repair errors on the SD card

When troubleshooting the "SD card not formatted Steam Deck" issue due to file system errors or bad sectors, a practical approach is to connect the SD card to your PC and check it thoroughly. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Step 1. Open command prompt as administrator.

Step 2. In an elevated command prompt, enter chkdsk *: /f /r/x and press Enter. /r will locate the bad sectors on the drive and recover readable information and /x forces the drive to dismount before the process starts. Make sure to replace * with the specific drive letter assigned to your SD card.


Step 3. Once completed, remove the SD card from your computer and reconnect it to the Steam Deck. Verify that the formatting barrier still exists.

If for some reason CHKDSK won't cooperate, consider using a third-party disk checker. In this regard, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition stands out, offering features such as checking file system and surface testing. The next steps will guide you through the process of checking your SD card using this program.

Step 1. Open this software again. It will display to you the basic situation of your hard drives. Select the SD card, right-click it, and select Advanced > Check Partition.


Step 2. It will pop up a small window where you can select the way of checking errors to perform. Choose one according to your needs and click OK. It will proceed immediately.



On this page, you will get an ultimate guide on how to fix the "unable to format SD card Steam Deck". If you have encountered this problem, you can refer to this post to get the solution.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.