author avatar
    Technology Manager of Test Dept.


When the SD card does not show the original capacity, you may not be able to continue to use it to save data. The following will introduce you the simple way to recover lost/unallocated capacity to its maximum capacity without losing data. The solution is based on Windows system.

Many users reflect that the SD card has the storage capacity of 16GB, but it shows only the capacity of 31MB. In order to figure out the problem of lost capacity, the following will give some detailed solutions.
how if sd card not showing up full size

Part 1: The reason of SD card not showing full size

There are many reasons for the loss of SD card capacity, the most common ones are:

1. Card readers or mobile devices are not suitable for larger memory cards.

If the card reader or device is not compatible with the SD card with large capacity, the SD card will be automatically allocated the supported capacity.

For example, if the card reader you use is compatible with 16GB SD card at maximum, but your memory card is 32GB, the reader will automatically repartition the SD card to 16GB, and the remaining storage capacity will not be showed.

2. Expansion card

Expansion card refers to use the illegal software to make small capacity SD card on the computer to show a large capacity, which will be much larger than the actual capacity, such as 1G into 128G. The actual capacity of this SD card is only 1GB. When it exceeds 1G, the data will not be saved, or the files will not be available (e.g., video is damaged and picture cannot be opened). Therefore, you should buy SD card with guaranteed quality in regular stores. Don’t be greedy or you may buy expansion cards.

3. Use SD cards on multiple different types of devices

When you insert the SD card into another device, it will be partitioned and reformatted according to its file system, which is different from the way it is formatted on a Windows computer. After repartitioning or formatting, hidden recovery areas and unallocated space may occur. It may also be the cause of capacity errors.

4. SD card is infected by virus

If you download software from an informal website, it is most likely that the downloaded software is viral. The virus is hidden in the SD card, and also takes up the storage capacity of the SD card. Therefore, when the capacity of SD card is lost, the virus in the SD card can be cleaned up by anti-virus software at first, and then inserted it back into the device to check whether the SD card can show the full capacity.

5. SD card has been damaged

If the SD card is damaged, a storage capacity display error may also occur. As shown in the figure below, after the SD card is damaged, the file system becomes into RAW, and when you insert it into the computer, you will find that its capacity is displayed as 0 bytes. In this case, you can use the data recovery software to restore the data in the SD card, and then start the repair work for the SD card.

sd card showing up no full size at all
Before restoring the full capacity of the SD card, you need recover data back from the SD card, or you may lose the data in the card forever. To restore the data from the SD card, Renee Undeleter is preferred.
Hot Topic - ADsRenee Undeleter - Professional Data Recovery Software

Easy to use Only simple steps to recover data from storage devices.

Multiple scan modes Fulfill different data lost and recovery needs.

File types Recover pictures, videos, audios, documents, mails, etc.

Supported storage devices Recover data from recycle bin, SD card, external disk, etc.

Supported System Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000 and Mac OS X10.6, 10.7, 10.8.

Easy to use Simple steps to recover data

Recover different file formats Support to recover multiple file types

Support different devices Recover data from multiple storage devices

Free TrialFree TrialFree Trial 1000 users have downloaded and recovered data back!

Part 2: Recover and extract data from SD card

In order to recover important data from the damaged SD cards, Renee Undeleter is recommended. The specific steps are as follows:

① Download and install Renee Undeleter.

② Connect your SD card to the computer via a card reader. Run Renee Undeleter, and select “Fast Partition Scan”.
select the function fast partition scan in renee undeleter
③ The software enters the following interface, select the partition of the target memory card, and click “Next“.
select the target drive to scan in renee undeleter
④ You can choose “Fast Scan” or “Deep Scan“. Please note that the time of deep scan is relatively long, which depends on the size of the memory card. After selecting, click next and wait for the end of the SD card scanning.
select fast scan mode in renee undeleter
⑤ After scanning, you can click to preview and check the target file, and click “Recover“.
select the target files to recover in fast partition scan
⑥ Finally, select the saved location of the recovery file and export the recovered files.
select the destination to save the recovered files in renee undeleter
Tips There are three kinds of SD cards, the most common ones are standard SD cards, miniSD cards and microSD cards. Therefore, the reasons for SD card failure are also very diverse, such as not showing full size, unrecognizability, prompts formatting, unable to read and write, etc. When a fault occurs, you can choose the relative solution and data recovery software according to different situations. Renee Undeleter is recommended for data recovery.

Part 3: The methods to recover the original capacity of SD card

Format the SD card and recover it to maximum capacity

Specific operation steps:

① After the SD card is connected to the computer through the card reader, press “Win+X” on the keyboard.

press the keys win+x
② In the pop-up menu, select “Disk Management”.
open windows disk management
③ Find the SD card and right-click to select “Format”.
right click to select format sd card in disk management
④ Format SD card into FAT32 or exFAT as required, and then complete the formatting process according to the instructions.

  • FAT32 – Suitable for 2-32GB memory card.
  • exFAT – Suitable for memory cards larger than 32GB.
select file system in sd card formatting

2. Low-level formatting the SD card with the SDFormatter

Note: low-level formatting will clear all data on the card and cannot be recovered by data recovery software, so please back up all data on the SD card before proceeding to the next step.

The download link of the tool SDFormatter:


① Connect the SD card to your computer with a card reader, and then run the application of SD Formatter.

② Select the disk lable for the SD card, and then choose the formatting scheme. You can choose Quick format or Overwrite format.
how to recover deleted photos from sd card in android with sd formatter
③ Finally, click “Format” to start the formatting, and wait for the completion of the formatting repair.
use sd card formatter to format sd card