How to Restore SD Card to Full Capacity without Losing Data

SD card showing wrong size? Don’t worry about it much! This article will show you 3 effective methods to restore SD card capacity safely.


By Ivy / Updated on April 3, 2024

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In this digital age, SD cards have become an essential storage medium for various devices, including cameras, smartphones, and tablets. It can be used to store large amounts of data, from photos and videos to documents and applications.

However, sometimes SD cards showing wrong size, which can be frustrating and worrying. In this article, we will explore the common causes behind reduced SD card capacity and provide effective solutions to restore SD card to full capacity.

Restore SD Card Capacity

Why SD Card Not Showing Full Capacity?

1. Compatible issues

Some card readers or host devices are not compatible with larger SDHC and SDXC cards, resulting in reduced capacity. For example, a few cameras only support 32GB SD card and the remaining space will be marked as unallocated.

2. Fake SD Card

We also call it an expansion card. It’s using illegal software to change the card controller and make it show a larger capacity. Usually, it is much cheaper than it should be. In addition, once you store files more than its real capacity, your data may become corrupted or lost.

3. Viruses Attack

A typical virus attack might change the master boot record of your SD card or damage the file system and cause capacity being reduced.

4. File System Allocation

When files are deleted or formatted on an SD card, the occupied space is marked as available for new data. However, the old data is not always completely erased, resulting in reduced capacity over time.

5. Hidden Files and System Data

Sometimes, hidden files and system data essential for the proper functioning of the card can occupy valuable space, resulting into a loss of capacity.

6. Bad Sectors and Physical Damage

Physical damage or bad sectors on SD card can lead to data loss and decreased storage capacity.

Best Practice to Restore SD Card Capacity 

Formatting SD card to full capacity is the most effective method if your SD card showing wrong size, but the process will delete files on your SD card, causing data loss. To avoid any data loss, here are two useful methods:

  • Backup Your Data Before Formatting  

If there are any important data on SD card, it is crucial to back up them to prevent any potential loss during the formatting process.

  • Recover Data from SD Card after Formatting

If you format an SD card without backup, but find some important data on it, you can employ a professional data recovery software and get your files back in simple steps. Be sure your files are not overwritten.

Part 1: Backup Your SD Card to Prevent Data Loss

As mentioned previously, if your SD card showing wrong size has any valuable data, you need to back them up first. Otherwise, you will lose your data. We recommend you use Windows backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard to backup files or the entire card to protect your data safely.

Step 1. Download and install this Windows backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. Then, select Backup and select File Backup subsequently.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

File Backup

Step 2. Type a unique name to distinguish this backup task from others. Then, click Add Folder or Add File to select files or folders on your SD card.

Add Folders Files

Step 3. Select a saved path to save a copy of your desired files. Finally, click Start Backup to backup them immediately. It will create a full copy of your SD card data.

Select Destination

Part 2: Format SD Card to Full Capacity Effectively

It is worth mentioning that the formatting process deletes all data on the SD card, resulting in data loss. You need to backup your files in advance. If not, follow the previous steps to create a backup. You can then learn 3 effective methods to restore SD card to full capacity.

Way 1: Restore SD Card Capacity using DiskPart

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. In the command prompt window, type diskpart and press Enter.

Step 3. Type the following commands and Press Enter in order.

  • list disk
  • select disk x (x is the disk number of your SD card.)
  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs (or format fs=fat32 )
  • assign

Format RAW Drive to NTFS

Note: If your SD card is write-protected, you could add the “attributes disk clear readonly” command to remove it before using the “clean” command.

Way 2: Fix SD Card Showing Wrong Size in Disk Management

Step 1. Right-click the Start menu and select Disk Management.

Step 2. Locate and right-click the SD card, then select Format.

Step 3. In the pop-up window, select a compatible file system (eg: NTFS, FAT32, etc) and click OK to start the formatting process. Be sure the Perform a quick option is checked.

RAW File System to NTFS

Note: If your problem is unallocated space in Disk Management, try to extend space with unallocated space and make it show full capacity.

Way 3: Solve SD Card Not Full Capacity in File Explore

Step 1. Open This PC. Right-click the SD card showing wrong size and then select Format.

Step 2. Select the NTFS file system and click Start.

Windows Quick Format


  • The quick format option deletes only the file system paths to your data on SD card. If you uncheck it, it will overwrite data on this disk with zero.
  • You can also select any recognized file system based on your preferences, such as FAT32, FAT16, exFAT, etc.

Step 3. Click Yes in the prompt to start the formatting process.

Sometimes, you may receive an error message like “can’t format SD card”. This usually occurs due to the card switch or the read-only attribute. Open CMD, type chkdsk G: /F, and type Enter to fix the file system corruption issue.

Part 3: Recover Data from SD Card without Backup

If you don’t backup files before formatting, you still can invest in reliable data recovery software like MyRecover to get your files back quickly and successfully. Below are some key features of this software:

Recover files lost in any scenario, such as accidental deletion, formatting, virus infection, corrupted disk, etc.
Recover deleted X3F/HEIF/JPG images, AVI/MP4/MPG videos, DOC/DOCX/TXT/XLS documents, and any common file types in over 200 file formats.  
Multiple memory cards compatible, such as SD, SDXC, SDHC, microSD or mini SD, xD, xD-Picture, CF, MMC, etc.
Complete recovery: With the help of its advanced scanning methods, you can find as many files as possible and recover them completely without losing their quality or corruption.
   No technical expertise required and novice friendly. 

Now please download and install this reliable Windows data recovery software. Compatible with all versions of Windows systems (32bit and 64 bit), including Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, etc and Windows Server.

Download Software Windows 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Connect your SD card to a Windows PC. Launch this reliable data recovery software - MyRecover. Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.

External Hard Drive Start Scan

Step 2. It will run Quick Scan and Deep Scan automatically to search and display all the deleted or lost files. To locate them quickly, use the Filter feature or go to the original location in the left panel.

External Hard Drive Scanning

Step 3. Select your desired files and then click Recover x files to recover data from the SD card. You will then be asked to select a location. Please select a new location instead of the original location to prevent potential data overwriting.

External Hard Drive Recover Files


  • The restore button will display the number of selected files and their full size. You can use it to determine the integrity of the recovered files.
  • You can recover data from SD card for free, up to 500MB. To recover all files, please upgrade to the advanced editions.
  • In addition, you still can use this software to recover data from Acer hard drive, Samsung SSD, SanDisk flash drive, etc.

Tips to Prevent Capacity Loss in the Future

1. Safely Eject the SD Card

Always eject the SD card properly from your device to prevent any data corruption or potential damage.

2. Regularly Back Up Data

Frequently back up your data to external disks or other storage devices to ensure you can easily recover it if any issues arise.

3. Avoid Overfilling SD Card

Avoid overfilling the SD card to maintain its performance and longevity.

4. Invest in High-Quality SD Card

Always purchase an SD card from the official website, otherwise, you may get a fake SD card, such as an expansion card.

5. Scan your SD card Regularly for Virus

It’s necessary to employ one antivirus software, such as Windows Defender or third-party software, and scan your SD card on a regular basis to prevent virus infection.


Restoring SD card capacity is a common concern for many users, but with the right methods, it is possible to resolve the issue effectively. Remember always to back up your data, use reliable recovery software, and take preventive measures to avoid future capacity loss. By doing so, you can continue to make the most of your SD card's storage potential.


1. Can I restore data from a physically damaged SD card?

It depends on the extent of the damage. While some software can recover data from mildly damaged cards, severely damaged ones may be irreparable.

2. Will use recovery software damage my SD card further?

No, reputable recovery software is designed to safely scan and restore data without causing any harm to the card.

3. How long does the data recovery process take?

The time taken for data recovery varies depending on the size of the SD card and the complexity of the data loss.

4. Can I recover data from a formatted SD card?

Yes, data recovery software can often recover data from a formatted SD card as long as it has not been overwritten.

5. How to restore SD card to full capacity on Mac?

  • Open Disk Utility. Then, select your SD card and Erase.
  • In the Erase window, select file system in Format box.
  • Finally, click Erase again to restore SD card to full capacity on Mac.
Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.