Laptop stopped recognizing 4GB SD card

March 25, 2012 at 17:34:59
Specs: Windows Vista, HP Pavilion/4GB

My laptop is about 3.5 years old and has always faithfully read my SD card(s) from it's internal reader. Recently, it stopped recognizing the card. It will recognize it when I restart, but my computer is a bit slow and that takes a while to try and do it every single time. I have done some research and it does not even show up in Disk Management. Is my reader shot or is there another possible explanation?

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#1
March 29, 2012 at 08:26:39

Not even a single response? Please help me!!!

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#2
March 29, 2012 at 12:01:19

Problems like yours are COMMON for memory cards and memory card readers ( and USB flash drives, and USB external hard and optical drives), and we frequently get people asking about the SAME problems, over and over again.
.....

If you have installed Windows from scratch since the last time your memory card was recognized properly, you MUST install the main chipset drivers for your mboard's main chipset, otherwise Windows may not have the correct info about your mboard.

The main chipset drivers for laptop and notebook mboards often have more info and more possible devices the operating system must be informed about.

At the very least, you must install the main chipset drivers in order for Windows to install the built in support it has for USB 2.0 controllers and devices if your mboard has USB 2.0 controllers.
...........

The memory card reader device not being recognized properly is a SEPARATE problem from
a memory card plugged into it not being recognized properly.

The former is NOT common (unless it's the rare case where the reader requires other than the generic drivers provided by Windows and you have not installed them); the latter IS COMMON.

Also, things can be screwed up in Windows such that things that are supposed to happen when you plug in a memory card into a USB connected card reader (or a USB flash drive, or an external hard drive) do NOT work properly.
....

If the memory card reader device IS being recognized properly, (in your case it's probably internally connected to a USB port connection on a mboard header, ) it shows up in Device Manager...

- as a USB Mass Storage Device AND as a USB Composite Device in Device Manager in the list under the heading Universal Serial Bus Controllers

- under Disk drives, there is at least one listing for it
e.g. for on a computer I have, it can read four types of cards...

Generic USB CF Reader USB Device
Generic USB MS Reader USB Device
Generic USB SD Reader USB Device
Generic USB SM Reader USB Device

- for every listing there is in Device Manager - Disk drives for the card reader, there is a drive letter in Computer, and in Windows Explorer.
E.g. for the same example computer, when there is no memory card in any card reader slot

Removable Disk F:
Removable Disk G:
Removable Disk H:
Removable Disk I:

- even when there is no other USB connected data storage device plugged in, the Safely Remove Hardware icon SHOULD appear in your taskbar lower right . The icon may be hidden - you may need to click on an arrowhead at the left end of the icons there to reveal it.
When you RIGHT click on the Safely Remove Hardware icon, the card reader device is listed as a USB Mass Storage Device.

However, sometimes things get screwed up in Windows such that the Safely Remove Hardware icon does NOT appear there.

- when you RIGHT click on a drive letter for the card reader, you ALWAYS see the choice Eject.
(You see that for a drive letter for an optical drive too; you don't see that for a drive letter for a partition on an internal hard drive.)

- the drive letters you see for the card reader in Computer and in Windows Explorer DO NOT SHOW UP in Disk Management if they have NO memory card plugged into them (, or if they DO have a memory card plugged into them but the card is not being recognized for whatever reason).
..............................

If the data on a memory card plugged into the card reader has NOT been DAMAGED, and if the card reader's circuitry can recognize the capacity of the card you're using (older card readers cannot recognize memory cards with a capacity larger than the circuitry is able to detect, at all, e.g. cards with a capacity of over 2 gb), then.....

- by default, when you plug in the memory card while Windows is running, you should see a window pop up asks you what you want to do, that has the assigned letter for card reader's slot you have plugged the card into. If the memory card has a volume label, the title is (the volume label) (the drive letter):
e.g. for a CF card that was used in an older camera of mine
CANON_DC G: on the same computer.

It has the same volume label in Computer and Windows Explorer, in any case

However,
- you can click on a small blank square on the window that pops up before "Always do the selected action" to insert a check mark - the window won't pop up after that when you plug in a memory card (into the same card slot ?).
- sometimes things get screwed up in Windows such that the window doesn't pop. up.

- you can ALWAYS RIGHT click on the drive letter for the slot in the card reader the memory card is recognized in, and click on Eject, to stop accessing the memory card, even when the Safely Remove Hardware icon is NOT showing up in your taskbar.

If the memory card has a volume label, that label will be replaced by what it was when there is no card plugged into that card reader slot.

e.g. for my example computer, card reader, and card
CANON_DC changes back to Removable Disk

That indicates you can unplug the memory card (while Windows is running) without risking damaging the data on it.

- a drive letter and associated drive info will show up in Disk Management, having the drive letter for the slot the memory card is plugged into

- the recognized memory card WILL NOT show up as a drive in Device Manager under Disk drives, or under USB Controllers as another Mass Storage Device.
..............................

If the Safely Remove Hardware icon DOES NOT appear in your taskbar, even when you click on the arrowhead on the left end of the icons bottom right to show hidden icons, that problem can usually be fixed by doing certain things.
Search on the web for how to do that .

If the window does NOT pop up that asks you what you want to do when you plug in a memory card that IS being recognized in Computer and Windows Explorer, if you want that to happen, that problem can usually be fixed by doing certain things.
Search on the web for how to do that..

If the memory card IS NOT being recognized in Computer and Windows Explorer, either...

- the card reader device is not being recognized

- it's capacity is higher than the card reader's circuits can recognize.
E.g. they may not be able to recognize a capacity of more than 2 gb.

- if the same memory card could be read fine previously in the same internally connected card reader, you have probably DAMAGED data on it, by you unplugging it while the operating system was running WITHOUT
- clicking on the Safely Remove Hardware icon and choosing to STOP accessing the drive letter for it
- or - by you RIGHT clicking on the drive letter for the slot the card is in and clicking on Eject, which also stops Windows from accessing the drive.

If you HAVE DAMAGED data on the memory card, any of these can apply......
- the partition(s) on the drive does (do) not show up as a drive letter in Computer or Windows Explorer
- if it (they) doesn't (don't) show up there, it (they) will not show up in Disk Management

- or - the drive letters show up in those places, but
- when you try to access the card by clicking on it's drive letter, Windows displays a message that indicates it's not detecting that the card is formatted.

- or - you don't get that message, but

- no files and folders are shown
- in that case, when you look in Disk Management, the info for what's on the drive letter for the card probably doesn't show up there either
OR the drive letter DOES show up in Disk Management, but the info about the drive's contents says it's Raw or unallocated.

- or they're shown but not all the files or folders that you know were on the card are being displayed
- or you get error messages when you click on some files or folders

- Etc., etc.

The data damage can probably be fixed and you will then be able to access all of, or most of, the data you could access before on the same card, if you use certain programs that can repair the data damage.

More info.

Troubleshooting USB device problems including for flash drives, external drives, external memory card readers.
See Response 1:
http://www.computing.net/answers/ha...

NOTE that if you don't care whether you lose your data on the card...
- the data that has been damaged is often for the partition table the software partitioning (usually FAT32) uses. If that data has been damaged you can't (only) Format the card.

You can get around that problem by deleting the partition (software partitioning), but by default you cannot delete a partition on a flash drive or a memory card in Windows itself - you have to use something other than Windows itself to do that.
e..g.
If the card is used, or can be used, in a digital camera, sometimes when you choose to Format the card in the camera's settings, it actually deletes the partition too before it makes it again and then it formats the card.



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#3
March 29, 2012 at 14:55:20

Wow that was a lot! I appreciate this response...but...I read through it and only the last 1/4 or so really pertains to my question. That last 1/4 does not, however, answer it. I have tried the card in several other devices and in others, it works fine. I have tried restarting my computer and ejecting files and looking for it in Disk Management and the like. My other USB letters show up, but not that one.

I know for a fact it is not a damaged card.
I know for a fact that the card CAN be read by my computer.
I know for a fact that it does not recognize the card being plugged in whatsoever.

I guess...the only other thing I could think of to try is another memory card to see if it shows up?


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Related Solutions

#4
March 29, 2012 at 15:39:12

I composed response 2 such that I could point people to that post in the future when they have a memory card or memory card reader problem.

In your case the card IS recognized after you restart Windows.

"I know for a fact it is not a damaged card."

I didn't cover physical damage in response 2 since that's relatively rare.

"I know for a fact that it does not recognize the card being plugged in whatsoever."

Are you SURE ? The window NOT popping up asking what you want to do like it normally does by default, or the Safely Remove Hardware icon NOT appearing in your taskbar, when you plug the card in, should NOT effect whether it shows up a a drive in Computer or Windows Explorer. The chances are very good that it DOES show up there, because it does show up properly after you have restarted Window.

E.g. I have one XP installation that does neither of those things when I plug in a USB flash drive, but it IS recognized fine every time in My Computer and Windows Explorer, and the Safely Remove Hardware icon appears in my taskbar if I Restart Windows with the USB flash drive still plugged in.
...

Update - I got that backwards.

I have one XP installation that both of those things happen when I plug in a USB flash drive, it IS recognized fine every time in My Computer and Windows Explorer, but the Safely Remove Hardware icon DOES NOT appear in my taskbar if I Restart Windows with the USB flash drive still plugged in.
The same applies for external hard drives.
...

"I guess...the only other thing I could think of to try is another memory card to see if it shows up?"

It hasn't got anything to do with what card you've plugged in, other than it MIGHT be the case that the window may not pop up for only the one type of memory card.

If the window does not pop up when you plug in a memory card of the same type, or if the Safely Remove Hardware icon does not appear, when you plug it in while Windows is running, then the same thing(s) won't happen with another memory card of the same type.




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#5
March 29, 2012 at 18:21:32

It is not damaged. The card works in my camera and a friend's computer without issue.

It also DEFINITELY doesn't show up...it used to have the popup, and would show in My Computer. It does neither anymore.


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#6
March 29, 2012 at 19:21:48

Note that I updated what I said about USB flash drives on that one XP installation in response 4.
....

I didn't say the card was damaged !

In that case, see response 2 and tell us what you do see, and what you don't see regarding the things you SHOULD see, when Windows isn't recognizing the memory card on that computer.
If you don't want to do a lot of typing, copy pieces of what I said to to your post, then type you response to the statement
....

"....my computer is a bit slow and that takes a while to try and do it every single time...."

There are lots of reasons why Windows can be running A LOT slower than it once did on the same laptop that has the same amount of ram installed.
Some of those reasons can prevent Windows from working like it's supposed to work.

Go here:
http://partsurfer.hp.com/search.aspx
Scroll down a bit.
Look for the similar label on the outside of your computer.
Quote the specific model number - that's at the end of the first line.
Quote the Product number - that's on the third line.

E.g.

DO NOT install more than one anti-malware program in Windows that has one or more resident module(s) - a part that is running all the time in the background looking for suspicious activity. They are likely to CLASH with each other and cause you all sorts of problems.

DO NOT install more than one optical disk burning program that did not come with Windows.
(Vista has a simple one built into it.) They are likely to CLASH with each other and cause you all sorts of problems.

Wht size is your C partition ? How much free space does that partition have left on it ?
If there is less than about 10% free space left on that partition, Windows will run slower than it otherwise would, the less free space below about 10% you have, the slower Windows will run.

Have you run a FULL scan of your computer with your anti-malware software lately ?


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#7
December 20, 2012 at 22:38:35

I just came across this discussion during a search because I was having a similar problem. My SD Card shows up sometimes. I tried all the tips I could read online. I formatted the card several times, I checked Disk Management, and it never shows up there in my Windows. My card is in an adapter. Finally, I took both the adapter and the SD Card and cleaned both with alcohol. I did this twice. Wiped with a paper towel and let completely dry. Now it works great, no longer touchy and immediately shows up steadily all the time again.

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#8
December 28, 2012 at 14:49:35

An eraser works well, yes an eraser on a #2 pencil. Have used it on everything from sd cards to blades. The alcohol sounds rather risky though.

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#9
December 28, 2012 at 19:46:03

Well, this is an old thread, but I will put my two cents in....
Alcohol is safe as long as it is given time to evaporate, but use a premium one (98+% IsoPropel, not one of the lower percentages). Alcohol will remove dirt and residue from the surfaces.
A pencil eraser will clean off tarnish (oxydation) due to its mild abrasive properties but is easier to do the card and more difficult to so the slot/socket unless you disassemble it. Remove all left over little pieces of eraser before using/inserting of course.
Therefore both methods have their uses and both can be safe with a reasonable amount of caution.

If you ever get a flash memory card that works but the built in reader stops reading it, there are inexpensive USB readers, many of them small and portable, that can be used and eliminate the expense of replacing built in readers (especially on laptops like the original question above).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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