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Download SD Card Formatter


SD Card Formatter is a free desktop SD/SDHC/SDXC format tool. It’s an absolutely essential app to recover compatibility between SD and MicroSD cards on one side and operating systems and devices on the other. Correct formatting not always but often solves the problem of file systems incompatibility in Mac OS/Windows/Android, etc.

Table of Contents

Where to download SD Card Formatter for Windows (5.0 >)

SD Card Formatter 5.0 supports the following operating systems: Windows 7 >, MacOS 10.12 Sierra and higher. Consequently, there are two distribution versions of this app: exe and dmg.

We’d recommend downloading SD Card Formatter from the official page, since they keep it up-to-date. The outdated versions of the software (SD Formatter v4) are not available for download due to being incompatible with the latest Windows and Mac OS.

Download SD Card Formatter for free

SD Card Formatter vs basic formatting software

  1. Windows and Mac OS include basic Hard Drive, USB and SD format tools, but we wouldn’t recommend using them since formatting can hinder performance of a memory device significantly. SD Card Formatter doesn’t have this fault. Moreover, this app is often used to correct card reading errors after erroneous basic formatting by Windows.
  2. Unlike system utilities, SD Formatter has nothing to do with Projected Area. This reserved space on a memory card is essential for security functions and must not be formatted.
  3. SD Formatter developers say that formatting is set up to max performance (for FAT filesystem). So during formatting you can keep the settings as is.
  4. Just like other software, SD Formatter tool can’t format encrypted memory cards (for instance, BitLocker To Go). That’s why decoding the content before formatting a card is vital.

How to use SD Card Formatter for PC

Video instruction for SD Formatter software

There’s a manual which describes how to use SD Formatter tool. You can also follow instructions in the Message Area. This utility is pretty simple in use, and we’ll list some of its features.

1. Connecting a memory card

To work with media, you’ll need one of these devices:

  • an external device connected to the computer using USB
  • SD Card slot - as a rule every laptop/MacBook has it

Remember. To run SD Formatter, you need administrative privileges.

2. Choosing disk to format

In the Drive list select the SD card you want to format. As a rule, the app does it on its own. What’s good is that partitions of the Hard Drive are not displayed here, so it’s unlikely you’ll get confused and select a wrong disk. However, double check the letter of the disk, in case other devices have been connected to the computer.

SD Formatter Tool (5.0) interface

If you insert your SD card into the SD interface device after the app has been launched, the disk can fail to be displayed straight away. In this case, press Refresh button and check the Status field. Blue logo in the main window signals the card successfully connected.

3. Format options

You can select format options in the Format Option Window. It offers two format types:

  • Quick format - files and folders are marked as inaccessible for writing but formatting itself doesn’t affect data in the files.
  • Full (Overwrite) format - the app erases everything, including data written in the files.
Format options

In other words, after Quick format you can try retrieving files, while Overwrite format leaves few chances.

4. Implementing formatting

To apply the settings, click OK, to start formatting click Format in the main window.

When formatting is complete, a window with the Memory Card Format Complete! status is shown. Here you’ll also find information on filesystem, total space and cluster size of your card.

Formatting results for microsd

Questions and answers

[should I replace a drive on a warranty?]

I've tried SDFormatter program, but it didn't suggest formatting my card: the program simply couldn't see it.

I tried one more time to connect the card via a card reader to my computer, and (what a miracle!), the card was read (now I'm coping the data from it).

I can see the need to replace it on a warranty, as there are no hopes for its working capacity anymore. But they won't accept it, since it came back to life. My question is: should I wait for the next time it "faints" and hope that at the service centre it won't be brought back to life?

The answer. Check the memory card via HDDScan with different benchmarks. If you find any bad blocks, you have a reason to demand a replacement.

[PC doesn't see a memory card]

The computer doesn't see a micro sd Kingston 32Gb. When you connect it, a new disk appears, but it won't open. My tablet and camera say: "format the card", but SDFormatter program can't recognize it either. Before this happened, the memory card has been working perfectly on my tablet for about a month. Is there a chance to somehow bring it back to life? I don't care about the information stored on it. Please, anyone who knows the answer, help me. I'm upset it happened to my card.

The answer. We suggest you downloading testdisk program regardless of its console interface it's very easy to work with it. TestDisk has a guided setup, moreover you can recover not only the contents of the drive, but also the initial table structure.

[a disk is write protected]

Please, tell me which options to choose in SDFormatter program settings: Full (Erase) or Full (Overwrite)? And the section with "Format size adjustment" should be set OFF or ON?

I've tried out all the possible options, but it shows error: the disk is write protected...

The answer. If it can't be formatted, then yes, whatever option you choose makes no difference.

As the memory card can be recognized, most likely formatting via cameras or "clips" can help in your case. Although still check all the other points from the guideline.

[a camera sd card has bad blocks]

I had an attempt to format my memory card with such programs as SDFormatter, JetFlash Recovery Tool and d-soft flash doctor. Nothing worked out. I also gave a try to Bootice. Is it somehow possible to recover this card or is it already dead?!

The answer. If it actually has bad blocks, the memory card is out of order! The fact that mentioned software didn't help, most likely only proves it.

[a memory card is corrupted and write protected]

I have a Transcend Wi-Fi SD card with the capacity of  16gb. I've decided to update its firmware. Apparently, something went wrong. Now the card is "write protected". I insert it into a card reader. The memory card opens, but it's impossible to write onto it or to delete anything from it. When I insert it into a camera, it says that the card is corrupted. SDFormatter says, that the disk is write protected.

Is there anything that can be done or should I just throw the card away?

The answer. You should contact the transcend support, maybe they have specialized programs exactly for wi-fi cards

[a memory card can't be formatted and it's write protected]

The card is Transcend 32GB microSD HC class 10.

During a quick formatting of the card a message saying "the format did not complete successfully" appeared. A full formatting takes a long time to process, the progress indicator changes and in the end again "the format did not complete successfully" appears.

1. Tried the feature "Check disk" via disk properties, but no errors were found.

2. Via "Start" it says that "the format did not complete successfully".

3. The memory card can be formatted via NIKON D5000 camera. While the card is inserted in the camera, the photos are present on the card. You can swipe and zoom them in. And the PC can't find them, moreover, they are gone from the camera too.

4. Via Total Commander files can be deleted, but then they appear again. Files, for example, like audio can be run.

5. SDFormatter says “The memory card is write-protected”.

The data on the card isn't of big importance, but I would like to recover the card. Or should I just throw it away?

The answer. Based upon the given description, the memory card has mechanically worn out. And the part of blocks relating to the file system have switched to "read only" mode (i.e. actually writing onto them is simply ignored). This is where the problems with the formatting come from. Unfortunately, there is no way you can fix you memory card. In theory, you can try transferring a partition to another area of the flash drive via disk partition managers, but there is no guarantee that you'll succeed.

[my memory card has drown and it became unreadable]

My card is Transcend 16Gb microSDHCI, no changes at all happened to the files during 2 years, the only thing is that my phone drown when the card was inserted. It's impossible to write anything onto it. When I can copy files and delete them (for a period of time) from this card via a card reader.

In the Disk Management the memory card is detected and with normal capacity. Windows regular formatting didn't help as same as formatting via SDFormatter. Overwriting of the sectors via DMDE (even though it finished without errors) had no result either. I'll try again but via a camera this time. Could the memory card somehow block itself after the drowning?

The answer. No one is capable of predicting how a controller will act under any physical impact on it. In theory, there is such a possibility, but in any case it's only an assumption as no drive has a "drowning sensor".So everything you've done is correct. And the state of the card is likely to be read-only due to the wearing out of memory cells, which could accelerate because of that case of physical impact.

[my memory card is detected not on all devices]

A friend gave me ADATA micro SD card with the capacity of 32 GB and said that everything worked fine. When I inserted it into my smartphone, it didn't detect it.

Meanwhile with a laptop the story differs. The sd card is recognized in Device Manager as Generic Multi-Card USB Device, but just for 2 seconds and then it disappears with a corresponding sound, as if it was pulled out. The same is with SDFormatter. It detects it for a moment, but then loses. What can be done in such situation?

Oh, by the way, when I insert an ordinary SD from a camera, everything is read and nothing disappears. I tried various adapters, i.e. something is wrong with the card.

The answer. This is a card reader which is detected by your OS, possibly due to the contact with the card. The possible solution is to make sure that there is a contact between your phone and the card reader. Look for a device which can read the memory card. There is nothing more you can do.

If you need the data on the memory card, bring it to professionals who will recover it in laboratory conditions.

[SDFormatter can't format a flash drive]

A problem with sony 32gb card has occurred. SDFormatter recognizes it, but can't do anything as it says that the memory card is write protected.

diskpart does all it has to, so to speak. But in fact it does nothing.

The card can't be formatted on my computer. Meanwhile I can delete files from it and record new ones onto it. But if I pull it out and reconnect it again to the PC, only the original files will be found on it.

Does it make sense trying to fix it or should I just throw it away?

The answer. Your memory card has switched its operation mode to read-only. You should replace it on a warranty.

[wrong capacity of a memory card]

Sony SF32UY SDHC, 32GB, Class 10. After 2 years in use on Nikon D610 the memory card decided to change its capacity to 16 GB. Windows, R-studio and SDFormatter detect it as 16 GB.

How do I solve this problem? The important information stored onto it is a photo shoot (I'm lucky it's not the wedding one).

The answer. If R-Studio and etc recognize its capacity as 16GB (important that it isn't a partition, but a disk), it's better to contact professionals with special equipment who will disassemble the drive and retrieve the data manually. I can clearly tell that it's either a “death” of a memory part or a bug of the controller when distributing it. In both cases, there is nothing you can do via the software method.

[writing onto a SD card is unavailable]

Transcend 16Gb micro sd card has become read only. The files can be read. But I can't format it. SDFormatter shows The Memory Card is write-protected. Please release the write protect switch.

The card itself doesn't have the "write protection" switch.  Maybe I can somehow recover the writing rights via any software? Or the whole sd card is dead?

The answer. It's not dead, but it's blocked. And actually in the most ordinary way by warning the user about it. The latest Transcend sd cards in any "bad situation" act exactly in such way.

It's either the fault of a mechanical wearing out or internal failures. Replace the card on a warranty and if there is no local warranty, give it back to the manufacturer.

[a memory card is displayed but it can't be read]

I was given a flash drive micro SDxc 64GB for my tablet as a present. Once it bugged, but I managed to recover it via SD Formatter. Recently I've transferred some programs from the tablet onto the flash drive, but in morning it shown that there were no programs and the flash drive couldn't be read. PC detects it and recognizes it as F drive and that is it. I've tried a bunch of programs, but none of them detects it when sdformatter from time to time does, but you can never click on “Format”. Is there a chance to recover the drive or should I throw it away?

The answer. Give a try to the feature of low level formatting on any camera. And why would you throw it away? If it's a brand flash drive, most likely you have a warranty.

Ilia is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in GPS and cartography with 15 years of experience. Additionally, Ilia has extensive experience in data recovery on PC and mobile. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions on MGT and answer them.