How to Fix My Drone Memory Card Problem?

“SD-card problem (malfunction code 10023), SD Card error – replace it, SD Card error – check the app.” All these are variations of notifications you’ll get when there’s an issue with your SD card depending on the brand of your drone. We are well aware of how frustrating SD card problems can be, especially when you’re in a hurry to get out there and capture images or videos with your drone.

For the majority of SD card errors, the solution could include formatting your SD card, updating your drone’s firmware, replacing a damaged card, or using your drone’s mobile app to pinpoint the issue. The precise solution for your situation will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. 

Memory card problems are usually not caused by the drone but by an issue with the card itself. The first thing to do when you encounter a memory card error when using your drone is to check the memory card for signs of damage and whether it is installed properly. Below, we’ll be discussing various solutions to memory card problems in drones and when to use them.

Below are different solutions to memory card problems in drones:

Inspect the memory card for damage and proper installation

You will get a memory card error if you don’t mount the memory card properly. So when you get an error message, the first thing to do is to check the memory card slot and ensure the memory card is properly mounted.

If that checks out, the next thing to do is inspect the memory card for any signs of damage, as damaged memory cards will give an error message. Your memory card may become damaged if you don’t handle it properly whenever you remove it from the drone.

There’s always the risk of losing all data on your SD card if it’s damaged. However, there is some SD card recovery software that may be able to help you recover all or part of your files depending on the extent of the damage.

Use recommended memory cards

Some drones are picky when it comes to memory cards, and perform best with particular models or brands of memory cards. And that’s why it is advisable to check if your drone’s manufacturer recommends specific SD cards for your drones.

For example, we have put together a list of recommended SD cards for the DJI Mavic Mini. For the Mavic Mini, we recommend the SanDisk Extreme UHS-I micro SD Card (V30, U3, A2). For the Mini 2, our top recommendation is the Samsung Evo Select SD Card. Check out the article to see why these are our top picks.

Use antivirus software to fix corrupt or empty memory cards

Viruses and other malware can find their way to your memory card when you transfer virus-infected files to it or connect it to a virus-infected PC/Mac or smartphone, or if you’re surfing the web with your memory card connected. This malware can cause a memory card problem by deleting files (without your permission), corrupting files, hiding files, and so on.

Of course, you’re going to get a memory card error if your memory card is infected by malware. And you can fix this by using a good antivirus. There are several antivirus programs available and all you have to do is to choose one with a good review. After that, install the antivirus and use it to scan and fix your memory card.

Repair corrupt SD card using Command Prompt

You can also repair corrupt SD cards by using the command prompt on your PC. To do this, start by connecting your corrupted SD card to your computer and note the drive letter. To find the drive letter of your SD card, go to “My Computer/This PC”. Then go to the “Devices and drives” section. You’ll find your SD card there. Make note of the memory card’s drive letter.

The next step is to click the Windows icon and type “cmd.” Then, right-click on the command prompt and accept to run it as administrator. Then type “chkdsk” in the window and end it with the drive letter of your SD card. For example, if your card’s drive letter is ‘f’, you’ll type “chkdsk F.” in the window.

Wait until the process ends which may take some time. The chkdsk (Check Disk) command will scan your memory card for issues and then fix those issues. After the process ends, your SD card should be fixed and ready to go.

Unlock SD card/Remove write protection

SD cards have a write protection feature that prevents new data from being added. By the same token, existing data on the SD cannot be deleted. If this feature is turned on, then you may get a memory card error message.

Removing the write protection feature is very easy. Inspect your memory card to find the lock switch located on the left side. The lock switch can be toggled up or down. The upward position unlocks the SD card and removes the write protection feature while the down position locks the SD card or activates the write protection feature. Slide the lock down to unlock your SD card.

Update the drone’s firmware

Many drone problems can be resolved by keeping the drone’s firmware up to date. Always check if the manufacturer has released an update to the firmware and be sure to download any updates.

It’s not impossible for your drone memory card issues to be caused by the firmware. So keeping the firmware up to date will rule firmware out as the cause of the error message.

Format the memory card

If you have a backup of the files on your SD card, you should consider formatting it if you’ve tried all the solutions above without success. Ideally, you should always back up files on your memory card to prevent loss of data which may not even happen as a result of your card being corrupted or damaged as you might misplace your memory card.

When you format a memory card, every file on the memory card whether it is hidden or not will be deleted. The formatting is permanent as you can’t recover your files and this is why it should be a last resort especially if you don’t have a backup of your files.

Connect your SD card to your PC and use File Explorer to format it. And short of any physical damage, this process will make your memory card as good as new.

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