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SD Card Formatter | How Do I Format SD Card Quickly

Contents:

Summary: SD card formatter plays an important role in the daily life, and MiniTool Partition Wizard is the best SD formatter that supports various file systems.

format sd

Today SD card (including mini SD and micro SD) is widely used in many aspects of our life. For example, we use it on camera, camcorder, PDA, mobile phone, MP3 player, notebook, digital voice recorder, game console, automobile data recorder, etc.

Why Do You Need to Format an SD Card

  • To Delete Files: when you want to clean the data on the SD card, you can format the SD card directly.
  • To Change File System: in order to use the SD card on some devices, you will need to use the appointed file systems. For example, to increase the internal storage space of Android, you need to format the first partition of SD card with FAT32, and the second partition with EXT file system.
  • To Fix Issues: sometimes, when you try to access the SD card which has a RAW file system, Windows asks you to format it before you can use it. Similarly, if Windows reports "The Disk Structure Is Corrupted and Unreadable", formatting is always the right solution.
  • To Kill Viruses: if the SD card is infected by viruses, formatting is a good trying to remove the viruses.

Knowing the reasons that cause you to format an SD card, the next topic is how to format SD card easily and quickly? Here in today's post, we put forward 4 solutions.

Want to know the best part? Please read on.

4 Solutions to Formatting SD Card

In this part, we list 4 solutions to help you format SD card. You can choose any one to do the formatting. However, the first solution is strongly recommended because it breaks many limitations that you can find in the process of using Windows built-in SD card formatters.

Before you do:
  • Connect the SD card to your computer and make sure it is recognized by Windows. If you are dealing with micro SD card, then a card reader is needed.
  • Formatting SD card will lead to data loss. So please make sure you do not care the data. Otherwise, make a backup in advance.

After doing the preparatory jobs, you can try the following SD formatters.

The Best SD Card Formatter - MiniTool Partition Wizard Free

MiniTool Partition Wizard Free is regarded as the best SD card formatter, because it offers full file systems such as NTFS, FAT32, FAT, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, Linux Swap to choose. Besides, its clean interfaces and straightforward wizards can lead users to go through all steps without any difficulty. What's more, useful features like create/delete/format partition, merge/split partition, move/resize partition, change file system, convert partition style, migrate system, copy disk, etc. are provided and they are totally free. Due to these advantages, this freeware has earned great reputation all over the world.

Download this SD formatter to start the magic journey!

Then let's have a look at how it performs on formatting an SD card.

Step 1. Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard, then select the partition on the SD card and choose "Format Partition" from the action panel.

format partition minitool

Step 2. Then you can see a new window comes out, where you can specify the file system, partition label, and cluster size. After doing these choices, exit and go back to the main interface.

Tip: see there are so many file systems offered there, including NTFS, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, and Linux Swap. Besides, most of them can be selected without considering the partition capacity of the SD/microSD card. These are the advantages that MiniTool Partition Wizard owns than the rest three SD formatters.

choose file system

Step 3. Click "Apply" to finish SD card formatting.

apply

View the official video to get a more intuitive guidance on how to format SD card now:

Built-in SD Card Formatter - Disk Management

Disk Management is the second solution we recommend, because it is easy to access (built-in tool in Windows) and the GUI (Graphical User Interface) is also clear for you to operate. Many disk management tasks such as create volume, delete volume, shrink volume, change drive letter and path can be finished by using this tool.

Note:
Only NTFS, FAT, FAT32, and exFAT are offered in Windows Disk Management. However, due to the capacity of the SD card partition, you may find that you can not change the file system.

Step 1. Run "diskmgmt.msc" at CMD. Then the Disk Management utility will appear. Find the SD card you want to format and then select "Format…" from the right-click menu.

format disk management

Step 2. In the format window, customize the volume label, file system, and allocation unit size, choose whether to perform a quick format and enable folder compression, then click "OK".

options

Step 3. Disk Management sends out a warning message which reads "Formatting this volume will erase all data on it. Back up any data you want to keep before formatting. Do you want to continue?" Now click "OK" to format memory card/SD card, which should be finished in a minute if the quick format is selected.

warning

Optional SD Card Formatter - Windows Explorer

You may also find that there is a "Format…" option when you right-click the partition in Windows Explorer. Yes, this also helps you to format memory card/SD card. And all things you need to do are:

Step 1. Select "Format…" from the GUI of the right click menu.

format windows explorer

Step 2. Then you can choose the file system & allocation unit size, enter a volume label, select quick format and then hit "Start" button.

Note:
Only NTFS, FAT, FAT32, and exFAT are offered in Windows Explorer. However, due to the capacity of the SD card partition, you may find that you can not change the file system.

customize formatting

Step 3. Finally, a warning message saying "Formatting will erase ALL data on this disk. To format the disk, click OK. To quit, click CANCEL." Click "OK" to confirm formatting the SD card.

warning

Tip:

Sometimes while using Windows Explorer to do the formatting, you may encounter this error message:
"Windows was unable to complete the format."

windows unable to format

This is probably caused by the RAW file system, or the drive letter is assigned to the removable disk instead of the partition. In this case, use MiniTool Partition Wizard or Disk Management to do the formatting can solve this issue quickly.

For a detailed explanation, please refer to "How Do I Fix Windows Was Unable to Complete the Format."

Optional SD Card Formatter - Diskpart

Diskpart is the last solution that we can resort to. Why do we place it in the end? Well, because it requires putting some commands before memory card format is finally carried out. Here is the process you need to go through if you want to format an SD card.

Step 1. Run diskpart and confirm you want to allow this app to make changes to your PC.

Step 2. In the command shell, type the following commands in order, and make sure each command is ended up with Enter key.

> list disk
> select disk n where n is the disk number that represents the SD card to be formatted
> list par
> select par n where n is the partition number of the SD partition
> format fs=ntfs quick OR format fs=fat32 quick
> exit

format diskpart

Tip:

Sometimes you may encounter this message while trying to format an SD card:
"The disk is write protected."

disk write protected

In this case, you should make sure that the SD card is not physically locked by the movable button at first. If the SD card is not physically locked, you should try to find the solutions to remove write-protection. We think our previous post "How to Remove Write Protected Error" may be helpful to you.

Recover SD Card Before Formatting

In some cases, you need to format the SD card because it runs into errors, and formatting is an effective way to remove the error. But formatting will lead to data loss, so you must be wondering: is there a way to save data on the SD card before formatting. Here we would like to suggest using MiniTool Power Data Recovery to do this job, which scans deep and is very easy to operate.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a data recovery tool for Windows users. No matter you want to recover lost/deleted files form Recycle Bin, formatted hard drives, or damaged hard drives, it offers the best solution to save your effort. As to how to restore data from damaged SD card, it is easy to complete.

recover sd card

Step 1. Connect SD card to your PC.
Step 2. Install and launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery.
Step 3. Select the best data recovery module.
Step 4. Scan, preview and save.
To get more information, you can refer to SD Card Recovery.

What File System Should You Use

In computing, a file system is used to control how data is stored and retrieved, and there are various file systems included in Windows. Usually, when formatting an SD card, Windows offers the following four file systems: NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, and FAT. Well, which one is the most suitable for you?

NTFS: NTFS (New Technology File System) is the most widely used file system. Windows uses it for system installing and hard drives are formatted with NTFS file system by default. In general, it is the best choice for you when formatting hard drives because it is more powerful and safer than FAT or FAT32. With NTFS file system, you can create partitions with 2TB storage space. And large files can be saved safely.

FAT32: FAT32 is an older file system that is most commonly used on removable drives, such as USB flash drives and SD cards. When you create an FAT32 partition using the GUI of Windows Disk Management, the largest partition size it supports is 32GB. Besides, FAT32 is not as efficient as NTFS and doesn’t support individual files larger than 4GB. If you are interested, this post "File Is Too Large for the Destination File System" will show you everything you want to know. However, it does offer greater compatibility with other operating systems.

exFAT: exFAT is a modern replacement for FAT32. Today more and more devices and operating systems support exFAT. However, it is not as widespread as FAT32.

FAT(16): FAT16 is the original file system used in DOS and Windows 3.X, and was originally designed to be used on relatively small partitions. After revision, now it's possible to create an FAT16 partition up to 4GB in size.

Summary

In this post, we introduce 4 SD/micro SD card formatters and show you how to use them to format SD card one by one. We hope you can benefit something from this post and use one of them to help you when you need to format SD card someday. Obviously, the top recommendation here is MiniTool Partition Wizard, as it offers more file systems and breaks many limitations that you may encounter when using Windows built-in tools. Get this free SD card formatter!

Now it's your turn. If you have nice suggestions or any questions towards this post, please leave us comments in the comment zone, or contact us via support@minitool.com. We appreciate any endeavor that makes us go further.