How To Fix 3DS Could Not Detect SD Card 6 Ways (2023)

updated byRoxaneon September 22, 2022

As a gaming user, you may have come across a situation where you are unable to start a game because the 3DS cannot detect or read your SD card. Like the following case:

"When I open my 3DS XL it gives me a message that says "Unable to detect SD card. The software on the SD card could not be displayed." Is there a solution??"

6 Ways to Fix 3DS Could Not Detect SD Card

You can fix "3DS could not detect SD card" with six practical solutions:

viable solutionsStep-by-step troubleshooting
1. Change the 3DS SD card readerUnscrew the two #0 3 mm Phillips head screws along the top edge of the device...complete steps
2. Update 3DS SD card driverInsert your SD memory card into a card reader and connect it to your PC...complete steps
3. Execute CHKDSKPress the Windows key + X button to open the Power Users...complete steps
4. Run CHKDSK alternativeClick "File Shown" to enter the next step. Choose the target device and check the box "Scan and fix file system error"...complete steps
5. Reformat the 3DS SD cardFind your SD card and right click on the partition you want to format and select "Format"...complete steps
6. Replace old 3DS SD cardBuy a new 3DS SD card. Connect the old SD card to your PC. Copy the data to your new SD card...complete steps

Solution 1. Change the 3DS SD card reader to be detected

If your device does not read or detect 3DS SD cards, you may need to replace your SD card reader. Follow the steps below to change the 3DS SD card reader. (This is an example of how to change the Nintendo 3DS 2015 SD card reader)

Step 1.Unscrew the two #0 3 mm Phillips head screws along the top edge of the device.

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step 2.Open the device.

  • Pull the tabs at the top corners of the front panel outward and toward you.
  • Pull the front panel up and out of the slots on the bottom of the device.
  • Separate the rear front plate.

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Step 3.Remove the battery.

Insert a plastic opening tool. Then lift the battery with the plastic opening tool.

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Stage 4.Carefully pull the SD card reader by the edge with two holes to release the tab on top of the SD card reader.

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(Video) "Could not detect a microSD Card." HELP! [NOT SOLVED]

Step 5.Change the 3DS SD card reader.

Carefully lift the SD card reader. Then pull the SD card ribbon cable out of the socket on the motherboard.

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Finally, lift the SD card reader off the bottom case. Try connecting your 3DS SD card to your device again to see if it works again.

If another SD card reader doesn't work, it might suggest that your 3DS needs to be fixed. If there is nothing with your SD card then you can fix it with the following fixes below.

Solution 2. Update 3DS SD card driver to fix no detection issue

When connecting your 3DS SD card to computer, you may encounter "3DS could not access SD card" error. To resolve this issue, update the SD card driver. Follow the details below to fix the error.

Step 1.Insert your SD memory card into a card reader and connect it to your PC.

step 2.Open "Computer" and choose "System Properties".

Step 3.In the taskbar on the left, click "device manager" and next to "Universal Serial Bus Controller" click "+ (plus)". Then you will see a yellow exclamation mark.

Stage 4.Right-click and choose "update driver software".

Step 5.Click "Search automatically for driver software online"...

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Wait until the process completes. Then reconnect your SD card to your PC to see if it can be recognized or not.

Solution 3. Run CHKDSK to check and fix SD card error

If your SD card fails, you can run CHKDSK to check and repair your 3DS SD card. Then the SD card can become discoverable.

Step 1.Press Windows key + X button to open the power user menu.

step 2.From the Power Users menu, select the System Symbol (Administrator) option.

Step 3.Click Yes when presented with a UAC window asking for permission to launch the command prompt as an administrator.

(Video) How to Fix SD Card Not Detected / Showing Up / Recognized? [Windows 10/8/7]

Stage 4.In the new command prompt window, type chkdsk E: /f /r /x. Here you have to replace the E with the letter of your Micro SD card.

Solution 4. Run CHKDSK alternative to check and fix SD card error

Download EaseUS CleanGenius and install it on your computer. Let's start scanning and fixing the file system error on your device now.

free download

Step 1.Click "File View" to enter the next step.

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step 2.Choose the target device and check the "Scan and fix file system error" box. Click "Run" to start repairing the problematic device.

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Step 3.When the repair process is complete, click "here" to open and use your device.

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Solution 5. Reformat 3DS SD card to FAT32

Another way to fix SD card not detected is by formatting 3DS card. Since the card is not accessible, you cannot transfer games to another drive. All you can do is reformat the SD card.

You can use a free SD card formatter:EaseUS Partition Master. You can format your HDD, SSD, USB, memory card, SD card or delete a partition to make it available for reuse. It also has many other highlights:

  • Resize or move a partition
  • merge partitions
  • clone a partition
  • 4K SSD alignment and more

Steps to format an SD card:

free download

Windows 11/10/8/7100% safe

(Video) SD Card Repair: How to Fix Corrupted SD Card?

Step 1.Find your SD card and right-click the partition you want to format and choose "Format".

step 2.Set a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3/EXT4/exFAT) and cluster size for the selected partition and click "OK".

Step 3.Click "Yes" on the pop-up window to continue.

Stage 4.Click "Run 1 task(s)" button on the toolbar and click "Apply" to start formatting the SD card.

free download

Windows 11/10/8/7100% safe

Solution 6. Replace the old 3DS SD card with a new one

Some users still suffering unable to detect SD card error on 3DS after reformatting the card, it is recommended to replace the old card with a new one.

Step 1.Buy a new 3DS SD card.

step 2.Connect the old SD card to your PC.

On the SD card, you will find the root folder named "Nintendo 3DS". Copy and paste this entire folder to your desktop.

Step 3.Copy the data to your new SD card.

Stage 4.Insert the new SD card with all the data back into the 3DS's card slot.

Turn on the power and everything should work as if nothing happened.

Additional Tips to Fix An SD Card Could Not Be Detected (Error Code: 007-2073)

Step 1.Make sure the system is turned off, remove theSD cardand check if the card is supported.


step 2.For a new Nintendo3dsXL, you will need a Phillips (+) screwdriver size 0 to remove the battery cover. You must remove the battery cover to access the micro SD card.

Step 3.Check the SD card and make sure it is unlocked.

Stage 4.Micro SD cards do not have a lock button and cannot be locked.

Step 5.Insert the SD card and turn on the system.

  • If the error message mentions that theSD cardmay be full, try removing unused content.
  • If the issue occurs with a specific game or downloadable application, use theNintendo 3DS Download Repair Toolto check the game or application for errors and fix them if necessary.
  • Even if no errors are found, you can choose to run the repair tool.

Step 6.Launch the game or app again to see if the issue persists.


These six solutions can solve 3DS, no SD card reading problem easily and quickly. Follow these solutions to gain access to your 3DS SD card. By the way, you can prevent the 3DS from not detecting an SD card in two ways:

  • Never remove or insert SD cards while the system is on.
  • Never remove a mini SD or micro SD card while the adapter is still in the system.

3DS does not detect SD card FAQ

If you still have a problem, you can read these 3DS related questions to solve your problem.

What happens if you put a 3DS game on a DS?

DS and 3DS use different processors for logic and graphics. Meaning that 3DS cartridges would have to be "re-encoded" (recompiled) into DS code. Good question, but the simple answer is you can't. The code stored in the cartridge is unreadable for a DS.

Why does my 3DS keep saying the SD card has been removed?

your SD card might be dying. Back up and try a different card to see if the message still appears. If so, it could be your 3DS and you will need to get it repaired.

What kind of SD card does the 3DS use?

Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS systems support SD cards up to 2 GB and SDHC cards 4 GB and larger up to 32 GB. All other types of SD cards are not considered compatible. MiniSD and microSD cards are supported using an SD card adapter.

How do I transfer my SD card to my 3DS?

To transfer data between SD cards or microSD cards:

Step 1.Remove the SD card from the system.

step 2.Insert the SD card with Nintendo 3DS data into the SD card slot or SD card reader/writer.

Step 3.Open Windows Explorer (for PC) or Finder (for Mac) and access the SD card.

Stage 4.Highlight the data and drag it onto the desktop. If this is done as part of a system transfer, drag all folders to the desktop as they appear. Don't click on folders and drag their contents, drag the entire folder.

Step 5.Eject the first SD card. Insert the second SD card into the slot or reader/writer. Using Windows Explorer or Finder, access the SD card again.

Step 6.Drag the data from the desktop onto the new SD card.

(Video) How to Fix a Faulty Nintendo DS / 3DS Game Card

If you recently performed a system transfer and chose to delete the data on the target system's SD card, choose to copy it and replace it with duplicate folders or files.


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