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How to Format an SD Card on Windows 10

SD cards are extremely useful to store your files and data in an external, easy to manage source. Most electronics such as smartphones, game consoles, cameras, and even specific computers still rely on an SD card to store information.

Multiple different types of SD cards exist. The normal SD card, mini SD card, and the micro SD card each differ from each other as they become smaller in physical size but remain powerful in storage size to this day.

 how to format an sd card on windows 10

So, you have an SD card, you’ve inserted it into your computer and now you need to format it. If you don’t know how to begin this process, we’re here to help you. Our article aims to guide you through the steps necessary to format an SD card using methods and tools available on Windows 10.

Why should you format your SD card?

The main reason why people look into formatting an SD card is the fact that there are different SD card formats that work on different devices. Some of these are NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT file systems. Your digital camera, game console, and smartphone may use different formats. This may be making it seem impossible to use an SD card you already own since the formatting doesn't match what's required by your device.

However, with the power of formatting your SD card in Windows 10, you're able to convert a card from one file system to another. This enables you to insert the SD card into devices that require a specific format.

An additional reason for formatting your SD card may be error messages or overall faulty behavior when using the card. Many users have reported over the years that simply formatting your SD card can solve a lot of errors. Try it before you invest in a new card!

Methods on How to Format an SD card

There are several different ways to go about formatting your SD card. In this guide, you’ll be able to see all the steps necessary to get the job done. Pick whichever method appeals to you more and begin formatting your SD card for further use in the future.

Method 1: Format your SD card using the Windows 10 File Explorer

 how to format an sd card using file explorer

Many people regard this as the easiest method for formatting your SD card. Simply opening up the File Explorer, an app we all use multiple times a day, can be your solution for achieving the results you want from formatting.

Here are all the steps from start to finish that you need to take in order to format an SD card via the File Explorer in Windows 10.

  1. Make sure that the desired SD card is connected to your computer.
  2. Open the File Explorer using its icon in the taskbar, or by pressing the Windows + E keyboard shortcut.
  3. Click on “This PC” from the left-side panel.
  4. You should be able to see your SD card listed as a device. Right-click on it, then choose “Format.”
  5. A new window should become visible on the screen. Here, you can choose your desired file system (either NTFS or FAT32 for 32GB SD cards, or exFAT for 64GB SD cards.)
  6. Click on the “Start” button to being the formatting process. Easy as that! You simply have to wait now.

Method 2: Format your SD card using Disk Management

 How to format an sd card using disk management

Another tool directly in Windows 10 can help you format an SD card, which is Disk Management. Using it, you can quickly and efficiently format an SD card without having to worry about complex processes.

Here’s how to format an SD card in Windows 10 using Disk Management.

  1. Open the Disk Management tool using one of these methods:
    • Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard and type “diskmgmt.msc” into the Run window. Click the OK button to launch the Disk Management tool.
    • Press the Windows + X keys on your keyboard and choose the “Disk Management” option from the context menu.
    • Open the File Explorer and right-click on “This PC,” then navigate to ManageComputer ManagementStorageDisk Management.
  2. Locate your SD card partition and right-click on it. Choose “Format” from the context menu.
  3. Make sure that the “Perform a quick format” option is checked.
  4. Choose your desired file system and allocation of unit size, then click the OK button. You should see that the formatting process begins right away.

Method 3: Format your SD card via the Command Prompt

 how to format an sd card via command prompt

The Command Prompt is an incredibly powerful tool that comes with every single version of Windows 10. It allows you to use a script coding language to give your machine complex commands. Some of these options are often not available from the regular navigation of the system, or you simply prefer the old-but-gold way of commands.

Note: You will be required to use an administrator account to be able to perform all of the steps described below. Don’t have access to an administrator account? Watch GlobalIT Resolution’s video titled “How to Create a New Administrator User Account in Windows 10.”

Whichever it is, formatting your SD card with the Command Prompt is entirely possible and not as complicated as it may seem. Let’s see how you can do it.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard. This is going to bring up the Run utility.
  2. Type in “cmd” and press the Ctrl + Shift + Enter keys on your keyboard. Doing so, you’re launching the Command Prompt with administrative permissions.
  3. If prompted, click Yes to allow the Command Prompt to make changes on your device.
  4. Once in the Command Prompt, type in the following command and press Enter to execute it: diskpart
  5. Next, execute the following command in the same fashion as the previous one. This is going to list all available disks: list disk
  6. Type in the following command and press Enter. Make sure to replace “0” with the number that corresponds to your SD card: select disk 0
  7. Execute the following command: clean
  8. Next, you’ll need to create a partition on the now cleaned SD card. To do this, input the following command: create partition primary
  9. Type in one of the following commands, depending on what file format you want your SD card to be in: format fs=ntfs format fs=exfat
  10. The last command is going to assign a letter to this drive. It can be anything you want, feel free to go creative! Simply replace “E” with whichever letter you’d like: assign letter=E

Method 4: Download and use a third-party SD card formatting tool

third party sd card 

While Windows 10 comes with some tools that make it easy to format an SD card, you may be looking for a simpler, more advanced, or more automated way of going about the process. Luckily, many companies have recognized the demand for this and created amazing applications to help you format your SD cards.

We’ll be using the free EaseUS Partition Master application, however, you can do your own research and apply these demonstration steps to a program of similar nature.

  1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master.
  2. Right-click on the partition on your SD card which you want to format, then select the “Format” option from the context menu.
  3. Input your desired partition label, then select the file system of your choice. With this application, you can format your SD card to NTFS, FAT32, EXT2, or EXT3.
  4. Click the OK button to begin the formatting process.
  5. If prompted, click the OK button to acknowledge that your files on the selected partition will be erased.
  6. Click on the “Execute Operation” button after reviewing everything to finalize the formatting.

We hope that this guide was able to help you learn how you can format any SD card using tools available for the Windows 10 operating system.

If you know anyone experiencing similar Windows 10 issues, make sure to recommend our website to them! We aim to make information and troubleshooting accessible to everyone, even without prior expertise. Spread the word and make Windows 10 a better system by helping others. You can check our guide on how to create a bootable USB using Rufus here.

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