There are plenty of reasons that may lead to the memory card not recognized error. I categorize these causes into two categories: card not recognized by the computer, card not read by your external digital media (such as cell phone, camera etc). And then I'll show you how to fix different kinds of errors errors.
Note: if your memory card is showing card locked error, see this post for solution. Also, this softwarehow guide is worth further exploring.
Memory card cannot be recognized by my computer…
Symptoms 1: the card is working fine on the cell phone but when using a card reader to connect it to my computer, won't be detected.
How to Fix: the problem should be the card reader, you have two options. One is to change a new card reader and reconnect it to the computer; The other is to directly connect your cell phone to your computer via a USB cable.
Symptoms 2: have a digital camera (with memory card inside), you try to connect it to your computer via a USB cable. Nothing detected (neither the camera nor the memory card).
How to Fix: Try taking the memory card out of your camera and loading it into a card reader, then insert the card reader to your computer. See if it will be detected.
Symptoms 3: my memory card is corrupted (not read properly when connected to my computer), how can I recover the data saved on it?
How to Fix: first of all, use a data recovery program to recover data as much as possible. Freeware such as Pandora Recovery or Recuva works great in my testing. If you are using a Mac, turn to this post for a list of 100% free Mac data recovery software. After you recover the data, then format the card.
Symptoms 4: when plug the memory card into my computer, it shows "the drive is not formatted, do you want to format it now".
How to Fix: there are many possible reasons for this, see this post fix format error disk in drive are not formatted for more. Most of the time, using this freeware called HP USB Disk Formatting Tool would help.
Memory card not recognized by my cell phone or camera…
Symptoms 1: my SD card is new and works fine when connected with my computer, but when insert into my digital camera it cannot be detected. Nor can I access media files from the card.
How to Fix: Since there is no problem with either the card or your digital camera, I'd suggest you read the user manual of your digital camera and read the information about supported SD memory card, pay attention to the maximum SD card volume part as usually the camera manufacturer has a volume limitation to supported external SD card. For example, if it clams only SD card with 2GB maximum space are allowed. If your new SD card is 4 GB or larger, then your digital camera won’t be compatible with it. The only way is to change another card less than 2GB and transfer the files on the previous card to the newer one.
Symptoms 2: insert the memory card to my cellphone but the phone refuses to read it.
How to Fix: you must be using an old phone or old types of phone, try power off the phone and restart again. Usually the card will be detected again.
Symptoms 3: formatted the memory card on my computer and then put it in my cellphone, it won't let me to access.
How to Fix: your cell phone may not be compatible with your memory card file system (FAT, e.g.). Better reformat the card via your cellphone by using its own format function. Then you should be able to re-access it again.
There should be more "memory card not recognized" problems out there, if you accidentally meet similar ones or have new situations and this post didn't help you out. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know.