Is you 3DS having trouble detecting an SD card? Please take it easy; this article will display the solutions to troubleshoot this issue by formatting, removing viruses or malware, and replacing it with new one if it is problematic enough.

3DS is a handheld game console produced by Nintendo. The shine of this game console is that it can display stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glass or additional accessories.

However, as a 3DS user, you may encounter this issue that 3DS could not delete an SD card, which is annoying.

“Please check the SD Card. Either no SD Card is inserted or the SD Card is write-protected.”

If you have received this information, please don’t worry, and the following will show you solutions to deal with the issue in different cases.

Before proceeding to the solutions, you should figure out whether this issue is caused by your 3DS or your SD card. To that, prepare another SD card and insert it into your 3DS. There should be 2 situations after you have done this.

Situation1: If the SD card does not work either, there is a possibility that there is something wrong with your 3DS – such as a broken card slot. You will have to send out your 3DS for repair.

Situation 2: If the SD card works, then there is a problem with your previous SD card. In this situation, you can take one of the following 3 measures:

  • Remove virusesesor malware;
  • Format 3DS card to FAT32 to solve the problems related to compatibility or file system;
  • Buy a new SD cardto replace the old one.
Note: If you are worried about data in your SD card being lost if they cannot be detected by the 3DS, you can use MiniTool Partition Wizard to recover data.

The following content will offer a detailed introduction to the 3 measures you can take if you are facing the Situation 2.

Measure 1: Remove viruses or Malware

There is a possibility that there are some viruses or malware in your SD card, hence you should try to remove them.

After removing the viruses or malware, you can check if the 3DS can detect SD card now. If this measure cannot help you solve the problem, please look at Measure 2.

Measure 2: Format SD Card to FAT32

Since there are many games saved in your SD card, you need to make a backup for them before you format your SD card.

Data Backup with MiniTool Partition Wizard Free

How to make a data backup? Here it is recommended that you apply MiniTool Partition Wizard to make a data backup.

MiniTool Partition Wizard is a multifunctional toolkit, and its Copy Disk Wizard feature can help you make a data backup easily and effectively.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Here is the tutorial about how to make a data backup with MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Step 1: Connect the problematic SD card to your PC at first.

Step 2: Download MiniTool Partition Wizard Free by clicking the offered button and launch it to get its main interface in which you can see many features.

the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard Free

Step 3: Choose the Copy Disk Wizard feature from the toolbar, and then click the Next button in the pop-up window.

click Copy Disk Wizard from the toolbar and click Next

Step 4: Select the SD card you want to copy and then click the Next button.

Note: All the partitions on the selected disk will be copied to the target disk.

click the Next button after selecting the source disk

Step 5: Choose a target disk on which the data in the source text will be stored and click the Next button to continue. Then click Yes to continue.

click Next after selecting the target disk

Note: Any data saved in the target disk will be destroyed by the new content being copied from the source disk, hence you should back up the data saved in the target disk in advance.

Step 6: Choose a copy method and click the Next button.

click Next after choosing the copy method

Note: If you need this feature for other types of hard drives, such as the SSD, we suggest you select Align partitions to 1 MB in order to improve the disk performance.

Step 7: Click the Finish button and go back to the main interface in which please click the Apply button to execute the operations.

click Finish in the new pop-up window

Now, all the data saved in the problematic SD card has been backed up, and you can format it to deal with the issue that 3DS could not detect an SD card.

3 Methods to Format SD Card

How to format your SD card? There are 3 ways to do that.

Note: It is highly advised to employ Way 1 (using MiniTool Partition Wizard) to complete the format, because there are some limits to format SD card by the other two ways (using Disk Management or CMD).

Method 1: Format SD card with MiniTool Partition Wizard

Step 1: Connect SD card to your PC first.

Step 2: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard Free to access its main interface.

Step 3: Right-click the partition on the SD card and choose Format. Or select it and then choose the Format Partition feature form the toolbar.

Note: If there are more than one partitions on the SD card, you can use the Wipe Disk feature of MiniTool Partition Wizard Free.

choose the Format feature

Note: If you make a mistaking formation, you also can recover data from the formatted disk with MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Step 4: You can set the partition label according to your own preference. Because of the high compatibility of FAT32, please select FAT32 as the file system for your SD card and click the OK button to allow the changes you have made. (you can click here to learn about the differences among NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT)

choose FAT32 as the file system for the partition

Step 5: Go back to the main interface and click the Apply button to complete the formatting process

click the Apply button in the main interface

MiniTool Partition Wizard Free is a useful toolkit to back up data, and format the SD card to FAT32 when I encounter the issue that 3DS could not detect an SD card.Click to Tweet

Method 2: Format SD card with Disk Management

Disk Management is a Microsoft Windows utility first introduced in Windows XP. You can use it to view and manage the disk drivers and their partitions installed in your computer. 

As following show the tutorial about how to format SD card with Disk Management.

Step 1: Connect SD card to your PC.

Step 2: Run Disk Management by hitting the Windows icon and the R key on the keyboard at the same time and inputting diskmgemt.msc in the pop-up window and click OK.

type diskmgmt.msc

Step 3: After accessing the main interface of Disk Management, please right click the SD card in the Disk Map and then click Format among the options.

click Format in Disk Management window

Note: Windows won’t allow formatting a partition without a drive letter, but you can assign a drive letter for it.

Step 4: Select FAT32 as the file system in the pop-up window and click OK.

select FAT32 as File system

Method 3: Format SD card with CMD

In computing, CMD is the abbreviation of command. It is also called as command prompt which is used to execute input commands.

Let’s see how to format your SD card with CMD.

Step 1: Connect SD card to your PC.

Step 2: Press Windows and R on the keyboard simultaneously.

Step 3: Type cmd in the pop-up window and click OK to run Common Prompt.

Step 4: Input diskpart in the black pop-up window and click the Enter key on the keyboard. And click Yes.

input diskpart

Step 5: Input list disk in the new pop-up window and click the Enter key on the keyboard.

Step 6: Input select disk # (# refers to the disk number) and click the Enter key on the keyboard.

Step 7: Input list partition and click the Enter key on the keyboard.

Step 8: Input select partition # (# refers to the partition number) and click the Enter key on the keyboard.

Step 9: Input format fs=fat32 and click the Enter key on the keyboard. (Note: fs refers to file system.)

type required commands to format SD card to FAT32

After typing all the commands mentioned in Step 5 to Step 9, what you need to do is waiting for CMD completing the formation.

Once you see the message indicating the process is 100% completed, it means you have formatted your SD card successfully. Now, please put your SD card into your 3DS to make sure that it can be detected. If it still cannot be detected, please move onto Measure 3 as follows.

Measure 3: Buy A New SD Card

The measure 3 is to buy a new SD card for your 3DS to replace the old one, and then use the Copy Disk feature of MiniTool Partition Wizard to migrate the games saved in the original SD card to the new one.

If you have the issue that 3DS could not detect an SD card and the issue is caused by the SD card, you can try these 3 measures mentioned in the article named Effectively Fix – 3DS Could Not Detect an SD Card to solve the issue.Click to Tweet


When you use 3DS to play the games saved in the SD card, you should keep the following precautions  in your mind.

  • Do not remove or insert SD cards while the system is on;
  • Do not remove a miniSD or microSD card whenthe adapter is still in the system.

Recommended Article: How to Format External Hard Drive for PS4 Safely.

Bottom Line

There are two situations for when the 3DS cannot detect an SD card, the solutions to both of which have been stated by this article. Hope you can use our solutions to solve the issue successfully and be able to play games on your 3DS.

If you have other solutions, you can leave them in the comment zone below his article. If you have any questions, we are glad to answer them for you, so please don’t hesitate to contact us via [email protected].

3DS Could Not Detect an SD Card FAQ

Do you need an SD card to play 3DS?

If you want to store more games, photos or something else, you do need to use an SD card as external storage for 3DS because the storage space of 3DS is not large enough.

Furthermore, with an SD card for 3DS, you can patch your game via eShop to fix game bugs and add new content to games to make the games more playable.

Can I use 64GB SD card in 3DS?
Yes, you can use 64GB SD card in 3DS. To use this SD card, you need to format it to FAT32 first. But you should use a third-party formatter, like MiniTool Partition Wizard to finish this formatting as the card is larger than 32GB.
???? How do I format an SD card for 3DS?

Here are three ways to help you format an SD card for your 3DS, namely using Disk Management, diskpart command and a third-party formatter, like MiniTool Partition Wizard.

If your SD card is larger than 32GB, you should try the third-party formatter directly to format it to FAT32.

???? Why is my SD card not showing up?

The possible reasons are:

  1. Poor contact between the SD card and your device.
  2. The file system of the SD card is corrupted or unrecognized or corrupted.
  3. The drive letter of the SD card is missing.
  4. the device of the SD card is outdated.
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