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Is your Steam Deck not recognizing your SD card? Here's what to do

Steam Deck not recognizing SD card

The games you play on your Steam Deck™ take up a lot of memory, whether you're playing Elden Ring for the first time or taking on Hades yet again. So, if your Steam Deck isn't reading the SD card, you're not going to be able to save your game.

Don't panic. This problem doesn't have to mean game over. At Asurion, we know tech. From connecting your Steam Deck to a TV or repairing its broken screen, we've got you covered. Here's how you can fix a Steam Deck that's not recognizing an SD card.

Common causes of SD card reading issues

There are various reasons why your Steam Deck SD card isn't showing up. Some common ones include:

  • An incompatible SD card.
  • A faulty card.
  • Debris in the SD card slot.
  • Software trouble.
  • Physical damage to the slot or SD card.

Troubleshooting SD card issues on Steam Deck

Having trouble with your SD card on your Steam Deck? Follow these steps to help identify the cause and quickly solve the problem.

Check your SD card

Just like the Nintendo Switch®, the Steam Deck uses microSD cards. Those cards are meant to fit the console in a specific way. Turn off the Steam Deck and insert the microSD into the slot located at the bottom of the screen with the gold side facing down.

Format your SD card

When you take your microSD card out of the package, you have to format it before you can use it. This step makes your card compatible with the files you plan to save on it. If you skip it, your Steam Deck might have some trouble reading the card.

To format a microSD card, go to Steam > Settings > System > Format SD card. And remember, formatting the card will delete any data that's on it.

Clean your SD card and slot

If your gaming console doesn't have a case, dust and any other debris can get into your ports. Clear out any gunk with a quick blast of canned air.

Check for a software update

Updating your system is clutch. It ensures your games continue working as they should. Here's how you can update your software:

  1. Press the Steam button, and select Settings.
  2. Under the System tab, select Check for Updates.
  3. If there are any pending updates, select Apply. After the update has been installed, select Restart to restart the console.

Try another SD Card

Have a spare SD card? If so, insert it into your Steam Deck to see if you get the same error.

If you've tried these steps and still need a little help, we're right around the corner. Schedule a repair at the nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion store and our certified experts can get your device back up and running as soon as the same day.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will formatting the SD card erase all my data?

Formatting an SD card refreshes the file system it uses. This will delete all of its contents and leave you with an empty SD card that's ready to store new data.

Why's my Steam Deck not recognizing the SD card after formatting?

If you've formatted your SD card and noticed that it's still not being recognized by the Steam Deck, the card might be faulty. Test it out by trying another SD card with the console.

What should I do if none of the troubleshooting steps work?

If you aren't having any luck with troubleshooting steps—and you've tried multiple microSD cards—your issue could be tied to hardware damage. Bring your Steam Deck to one of our game console repair experts to have a diagnostic run.

Can physical damage affect your Steam Deck's SD card reader?

Physical damage—or recent falls—can spell potential doom in the form of internal damage. A dropped console might look fine on the outside, but a handful of other problems could exist inside the hardware, like a damaged SD card reader.

Is there a warranty for the Steam Deck if the SD card slot is faulty?

New Steam Decks come with a 1-year limited warranty. That warranty covers anything having to do with manufacturing defects—for example, a broken microSD card reader in a newly bought console. Keep in mind that the warranty has its exclusions: It doesn't cover accidental damage, and it doesn't cover repairs or modifications by anyone except a service center acknowledged by Valve (the team that manufactures Steam Decks).

For more information on one simple protection plan for your handheld gaming console and all of your other favorite home tech—like your laptop and TV—learn more about Asurion Home+.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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