How to Tell If Your microSD Card Is Screwed Up

By Ashley Poland

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • microSD card

  • Card reader

  • Multiple computers, if available

That feeling of dread as you contemplate this question is well-deserved; flash memory is a common backup solution for many users. Additionally, digital cameras, PDAs and cell phones save data on microSD cards, making them invaluable for storing both practical data and cherished memories. While your microSD card may fail for multiple reasons, it does not always mean that your data is lost and the card is ready for the trash.

Troubleshooting a Potentially Damaged microSD Card

Look at the metal connector pins on your microSD card; if the metal is scratched or missing, this is pretty much the end of the line for your microSD card. Additionally, a bent card can cause the connectors on the inside to become disconnected from the controller chip -- again, making your microSD card a goner.

Open the Start menu and click "Computer"; this will display your accessible drives. Your microSD card should be listed as a "Removable Disk" if it does not have a unique name. Check the size and device label for your microSD card. If your system fails to assign a device label -- such as the letter drive assignments in Windows -- or returns a device size of zero, that's pretty much a guarantee that your card's file system is irreparably damaged. You can try reformatting the card, but there's no guarantee this will fix the problem.

Reboot your computer, and try accessing the microSD card a second time. Test your card reader in different USB ports, if it is connected by USB. If you are using an internal card reader on your computer, try using an external one.

Use a different USB port on your computer. If at all possible, use a different computer to make sure the issue isn't with your computer.

Try using a different card reader, if you have access to one. Additionally, you can try accessing your card in a device, such as your phone or MP3 player. If another device can read the card, likely the issue is with your computer or reader.

Attempt to access a different file. Having bad sectors on your microSD card can cause the whole card to malfunction, freezing either the function or even the entire computer. This can even happen if only a handful of files are affected. If the issue on your microSD card is with a couple of files, you may try removing them.


There are programs available that allow you to recover flash memory data, such as RescuePro or BadCopy Pro. In some cases, this may allow you to retrieve data from a broken microSD card, though there are no guarantees.


Make sure that you don't close programs or turn off your computer while a file is saving. Files can be corrupted if the saving process is disrupted, either by program failure or computer failure.