I had a question recently about a flash drive problem. Well, it wasn’t really a flash drive — it was an SD card from a camera… but the symptoms and the procedures are the same.
In this case, a family member had taken some pictures with her camera and then removed the SD memory card from the camera to plug it into her HP computer’s built-in memory card reader.
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All went well when she did this. After she copied the photos from the card to the computer, she ejected the SD card and put it back in the camera. At that point, she took some more pictures.
The problem occurred when she removed the SD card from the camera and plugged it into the computer again.
At this point, the computer did not recognize the SD card. Ouch!
She had another camera, so she pulled the SD card from it and tried it in the computer. It wasn’t recognized either. Ouch! Ouch!
Panic began to set in as she thought she might have ruined the SD cards somehow. Big SD cards are still not really cheap, but the real problem was the pictures…
Fortunately, at that point, she thought to call me…
The fix was the same fix that I wrote about in Number 1 Step in Computer Troubleshooting. Reboot!
The problem was that she had simply pulled the SD card from the card reader — without using the Safely Remove Hardware icon in the Windows Status Bar (lower right-hand corner of the typical Windows XP screen).
When you pull out a flash drive or memory card without using the Safely Remove Hardware function, Windows XP will often completely lose track of that memory card reader or flash drive. Apparently Windows thinks that it’s still installed, but doesn’t remember how to access it. When you install it again, Windows doesn’t react at all.
The fix is simple: reboot the computer.
Once she did that, she could see that both SD cards were really all right, nothing was lost, and a lesson was learned harmlessly.