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SD or Memory Card Reader Does Not Read the SD or Memory Cards

Summary: This article provides information about how to troubleshoot and resolve issues with the SD or memory card reader on your Dell desktop or laptop.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Memory cards are used primarily for storing images from digital cameras, but they can also be useful for sharing images and files.

There are several different types of memory cards. The memory card readers on Dell desktops and laptops support SD (micro-SD cards using an adapter) and XD memory cards.

If you are experiencing any one or more of the following symptoms, follow the instructions in this article to troubleshoot and resolve memory card-related issues.

  • The memory card reader does not detect or read the memory card.
  • A high-capacity SDHC card locks up, or the SDHC card cannot be read.
  • Card reader stops working after using Safely Remove Hardware.
  • Memory cards appear in Windows, but errors occur when writing or reading.


The memory card reader issues can be caused due to corrupt memory cards, connecting incompatible memory cards, outdated or corrupt card reader drivers, and so on.


1. Unlock the Flash Card

NOTE: If you are not using an SD card, go to step 2.

Most, but not all Secure Digital (SD) cards have a lock lever that write-protects the data on the card.

  1. Find the small notch on the left or right edge of the SD card.
  2. Pull the switch up OR in the direction the label states to unlock the SD card.

2. Try a Known-Good SD or Memory Card

Swap your existing card with another that is known to work. This is to rule out the memory card that is not being detected.

3. Run a Memory Card Reader Diagnostic

Run the memory card reader diagnostic test to verify that there is no hardware issue.

4. Ensure you Have the Latest BIOS, Windows, and Chipset Driver Installed

Out of date drivers, can cause the memory card not to be detected. Perform the following steps to ensure that everything is up to date.

  1. Ensure that the latest BIOS is available for your computer is installed. For more information, see Dell Knowledge Base article Dell BIOS Updates.
  2. Ensure that the latest Windows updates are installed, you can get the latest updates for Windows 10 from the Microsoft website. External Link
  3. Browse to Dell Drivers & Downloads website.
  4. You are given three options to identify and obtain drivers for your Dell Product.
    • Touch or click the listing for your computer under THIS PC.
      Note: When there is no listing for your computer under THIS PC, you can touch or click Download & Install SupportAssist, which will automatically identify your computer for you. Follow the prompts to download and install SupportAssist. For more information, browse to the Dell SupportAssist for PCs page.

    • Enter the Service Tag, Dell EMC Product ID, or Model, and then touch or click the Search button (when your product does not automatically appear in the list), and select your computer from the list.
    • Touch or click Browse all products: You must select the type of device you have, the brand name, and then the product model.
      Note: For more information, see Dell Knowledge Base article, How to Determine the Model Number of Your Dell Computer.

  5. Either:
    • Click Check for Updates to have our automated SupportAssist tool to update drivers for you.
    • Click Find drivers and go to Step 6.

  6. Select the Operating System that is installed on your computer using the drop-down menu under Operating system:
  7. Using the drop-down menu under Category:, select Chipset.
  8. Select the check-box to the left of any listing that includes Memory Card Reader or similar.
  9. Touch or click Download.
  10. Depending on your browser, you get different options. The following steps are based on using the Chrome browser.
  11. Once the driver is downloaded, touch or click the file that is listed at the bottom of the screen to start the installation process, and then follow the prompts.

If issues persist after completing the steps, contact Dell Technical Support for further assistance.

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Additional Information

SLN129159_en_US__2BACKUP Learn more on our Data Storage and Back-Up Solutions support page.

Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Go to the website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

NOTE: Offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, and France personal computer customers. Server and Storage not applicable.

Article Properties

Affected Product

Chromebox, Alienware, Inspiron, Retired Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

04 Feb 2022



Article Type