Fix CF Card Not Recognized, Not Showing Up or CF Stopped Working

cf card recovery"The 4GB SanDisk Compact Flash card is not working in my digital camera Nikon. Camera says that there is no memory card inserted. Then I connect the CF card to my Windows PC, but system cannot recognize the card. After plugging the CF card to my PC, it does not show up in My Computer. Now, I want to know how can I repair the not recognized CF card and get back lost files."

CF card becomes unrecognized by digital camera or computer Windows 10, what to do when it still contains lots of important files? Is the CF card corrupted? Do you want to recover files from corrupted CF card? Keep reading!

CF Card is not showing up in camera

Here are two scenarios when cf card cannot be detected in a camera such as Nikon/Canon/Fujifilm/Samsung and more cameras...

  • A NEW CF Card -> The conflict on the file system between the cf card and the camera.
    If it's a completely new bought compactflash, it is highly possible that the cf card has exfat file system when it is over 32GB, 64GB, 128GB or even larger since cf card usually has large storage capacity with fast saving/reading speed used for cameras. Mostly a memory card over 32GB is set to EXFAT file system by manufacturers. It would be a conflict if your camera is a small, light type that was set to read FAT/FAT32 file system
    Solution -> Format cf card on camera to get it detected; if it failed to get formatted, format cf card to file system fat32/FAT in a Windows computer
  • An old cf card used on somewhere before -> It may also have the file system conflict with this camera. Solution -> You may backup data from cf card to somewhere else, and then format it with camera or computer to see whether it could be read
  • The same cf card that has been using on the camera suddenly turned unrecognized? -> It is probably that the cf card is damaged due to various causes such as virus infection if you used the cf card on a computer or different cameras, bad blocks...
    Solution -> Repair cf card with 5 free tools introudced on this following page

Solution for Unreadable CF Card File Recovery

No need to restore files from the cf card? Jump here

A compact flash (CF) card will become unrecognized due to many reasons. However, as long as the card is not physically damaged, you have a good chance to get back lost files even if the CF card is not detected by camera/computer.

You can use iCare Data Recovery software to perform data recovery on unreadable CF card. This data recovery software is a read-only tool which can help recover images, videos, music, documents, etc from all kinds of CF card like SanDisk, Samsung, Lexar, Transcend, Kingston, etc when it is corrupted and inaccessible.

Steps to Recover Files When CF Card Is Not Detected

Free Memory Card Recovery


Download iCare Data Recovery Pro Free to recover files from mobile phone camera memory card including photos, videos, music...

Step1. Connect the CF card to a computer through card reader or USB cable. Download and install iCare Data Recovery software on the same computer. Launch the software and choose a recovery module.

select recovery mode

Step2.  Choose the CF card so that the software can scan it. You only need to wait when the software is scanning.

wait while scanning

Step3. You can preview the files when the scanning is completed. Then, you can select all files that lost from CF card and recover them.

preview found photo

5 Ways to Fix Camera/Windows 10 Does Not Detect CF Card

When your device could not detect the compact flash card, here are free ways that you may use for repairing the damaged cf card. The first 4 methods are all solutions you could try repair the damaged cf card without formatting or losing data.

#1 - Repair cf card with chkdsk /f /r

chkdsk f r to repair damaged cf cardChkdsk f r to repair damaged cf card

#2 - chkdsk /f/r/x or sfc

chkdsk f r x to repair damaged cf cardChkdsk f r x to repair damaged cf card

Video - how to repair damaged media by chkdsk /f/r/x

#3 - Repair damaged cf card with error-checking tool in Windows

This can be done through Windows device properties that you need to connect the cf card to a Windows computer and then right click it in your computer -> Properties

repair damages on cf card

Go to the tab under 'Tools' -> Check ->Repair drive

repair damages on cf card

If this one does not work for you, try the following methods.

#4 - Reload memory card driver in Windows in Device Manager

repair damages on cf card

#5 - Format cf card to be fat/fat32/exfat/ntfs in Windows

When your device could not read your cf card, it is mostly due to unsupported filesystem, for example it reads a FAT memory card while your new cf card is over 32GB that has EXFAT file system which won't be read correctly.

Then you need to format it to a correct file system that can be read by your device. The formatting would erase all content on the compact flash card and it is totally safe if you have a brand new cf card without data to perform the formatting.

repair damages on cf card

Also read: 8 free ways to format usb

CF Card (or Reader) Not Reading on Windows 10/11 Computer

When cf card is not working on Windows computer, the error may come from the compact flash card or the cf card reader. Here are some changes you need to make to determine which part is damaged.

#1, Use the same card reader with another memory card such as one sd card to see whether the sd card can be recognized on computer, if the sd card is working fine on pc, then the card reader is fineuse sd card reader

Solution -> Repair damaged cf card with the previous methods introduced on this page.

#2, Use another card reader to see whether the compact flash card can be detected, if yes, then the previous card reader is damaged that you need to replace it with a good one.try another cf card reader

Solution -> Buy a new cf card reader.

How to update compact flash card driver or reader in Windows PC 10/7/8/11

Compact flash card driver update is similar to the sd card driver update that can be done in Device Manager under Windows computer. Here are the steps to update cf card driver or the driver for cf card reader.

  • Insert cf card with a memory card reader/adaptor
  • Right click 'This PC' on your computer desktop, and click option 'Manage' -> Click Device Manager
  • Navigate to Disk drivers tab, and click the front icon to show more items, and then you will see your cf card under this list
  • Right click cf card, and an option 'Update driver' will show up. The process of cf card driver update will begin here.

repair damages on cf card

See more guide: how to update memory card driver [4 ways to update card driver]

Stop Using Compact Flash Card When Has Unrecognized Format

When CF card is not recognized by digital camera or computer, most people would think that they can get back lost files as long as they can repair the not recognized error. Therefore, they may make every effort to format the compact flash card or perform other operations to fix the problem. As a matter of fact, if you do not want to lose any data from an unrecognized CF card, the most important thing is that you cannot overwrite the data. Therefore, you had better stop using the CF card; especially you cannot write any new data to the card.

Is CF Card Corrupted When It Is Not Readable?

Do you think the CF card is corrupted or damaged when it is not detected in digital camera or PC and becomes unreadable? Well, CF card corruption is a possible reason that leads your card to be unreadable. Usually, a CF card might become corrupted due to virus infection, bad sectors, improper operation and more other unknown reasons. When a CF card is corrupted, it usually has unknown or RAW file system, so it cannot be recognized by system. Although you cannot access a corrupted CF card, data from the CF card is still recoverable by using data recovery software for memory card iCare Data Recovery.

CF Card Repair Not Recognized

After data recovery, you can repair the not recognized CF card. First of all, you can connect the card to your computer properly and open Disk Management to see if the card can be recognized there. If the CF card can show under Disk Management, you can full format or quick format the CF card to fix the error. In addition, you can also run Error-checking tool to fix possible bad sectors on the compact flash card.

Have you ever met the same issue on your pen stick? When you insert your pen stick to your computer, pen drive is not detected in Windows 7/8/10 normally. In this situation, iCare Data Recovery can work as pen drive file recovery software to restore files from undetectable pen stick.

Also read: 7 free memory card repair software

Last updated on March 28, 2024

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