My Media Card Reader Won't Work

by Lita McLeary

A media card reader, also called a "memory card reader," reads data stored on media cards such as SD, mini-SD, xD, CompactFlash, SmartMedia, for example. A media card reader usually comes with a USB connector that you can plug into a USB port in your computer. You have to know how to properly use the card reader and troubleshoot problems whenever it cannot read data from a card inserted into it.

Ensure that the media card inserted into the card reader is compatible with the device. For instance, a card reader that is capable of reading a 2 GB SD card may not be capable of reading an SDHC card with a capacity of 16 GB. Consult the documentation of your media card reader for the card specifications that it is able to read.

Inspect the card currently inserted into the reader for cracks and apparent damages. If the media card is included in the list of devices that it can read and it follows the specifications, but the card reader still cannot detect the card, the card may be damaged. Insert a different card into the card reader. If the card reader still cannot detect the card, the card reader may be malfunctioning.

Plug the card reader properly into the USB port of your computer if it cannot detect the device. If this does not work, try plugging the device into a different USB port.


  • close Always follow the proper way of unplugging a USB device from the computer. To unplug the device from the computer, click the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon that looks like a USB connector with a green check mark on it in the system tray at the bottom right of the screen. Select the card reader among the list of devices that will be shown in the pop-up menu. When a notification appears telling you that you can now safely remove the hardware, unplug the card reader from the computer. Unplugging a card reader from the USB port of your computer without following these instructions could result in data loss or permanent damage to the hardware device.

About the Author

Lita McLeary started writing professionally for the "Philippine Inquirer" in 1989, a daily national newspaper. She has written for private online clients for over seven years. At present, she writes full-time for various websites. McLeary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts from the University of the Philippines.

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