My phone’s micro SD card made Windows Disk Manager hang, but I fixed it

The micro SD card in my Android phone (a Samsung Galaxy S 4G, if that helps) quit working suddenly, and I finally got around to investigating it on Friday. I ended up having to solve two problems to do it, though.

Let’s start with Windows 7’s Disk Manager hanging at the message that says “Connecting to Virtual Disk Service.”

When I plugged the card into my computer’s card reader, the card didn’t show up in Windows Explorer. So I launched Disk Manager (there are probably 14 ways to do it; I click the Start button, type “Disk Manager” and when “Create and format disk partitions” shows up in the search results, I click on it), and it hung, displaying “Connecting to Virtual Disk Service” at the bottom of the window forever. So I closed Disk Manager, unplugged the card, then launched Disk Manager again. It scanned all my drives, recognized them, and came up. No problems. Then I plugged the card in again, and Disk Manager recognized it and mounted it as drive G. At that point I could see it had a FAT32 filesystem on it, which was enough to indicate to me that the card was functioning. One problem solved.

Next I pulled up Windows Explorer, right-clicked on drive G, and selected “Check Filesystem for Errors.” Windows zipped through it pretty quickly, since it’s a solid state device. Next, I opened a command prompt and typed chkdsk /f g: to get a second opinion on the drive’s health. Chkdsk reported no errors, which was good.

So I found the hardware gadget in the system tray and right clicked it, and selected Eject G: to dismount the drive.

Then I put the card back in my phone. If it was a no-name card, I might have just replaced it, but since it was a 16GB Sandisk card, I was inclined to give it a second chance. Sandisk generally makes really good stuff. As the phone started up, I saw the SD card icon, and Media Scanner scanned the card and completed, which were good signs. Then I tapped “Applications,” then “Settings,” then scrolled down and tapped “SD card and phone storage.” There, it reported I had an SD card with 14.82 GB total space, which is about right for a 16 GB card. Two problems solved.

Then I launched the camera and took a picture. It worked, storing the picture on the card. Good deal.

It took a couple of steps, but I ended up fixing the problem in less time than it would take to drive two miles to the nearest store to buy a new card, and not all that much longer, honestly, than it would have taken to order one online. Besides that, troubleshooting little problems like this is good practice for an IT professional anyway.

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