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Help! My PC can't read memory cards

What you need to know about SD cards and readers

Not all SD cards are created equal, and your PC or laptop may not be able to read certain capacity cards, but it is simple to purchase an inexpensive memory card reader that will solve the problem.

QUESTION My digital camera's 8GB SD Card does nothing when I plug it into my PC to transfer photos. All is fine with 1GB and 2GB cards, but not 4GB and 8GB capacities. The PC is five years old, so I assume this problem is due to some limitation in the hardware. Is there anything I can do? Blott

HELPROOM ANSWER SD cards are not all alike. The original design allowed for capacities up to 2GB, although some 4GB versions were made. To go beyond this capacity, High-Capacity (SDHC) cards were introduced. SDHC cards support a maximum capacity of 32GB and are the type most commonly in use today. Capacities between 32GB and 2TB are available with Extended Capacity (SDXC) cards.

Card readers designed for the higher-capacity formats are backwards-compatible, but older card readers can't read the more recent high-capacity formats.

Your 8GB card must be an SDHC Card, while your PC's card reader is limited to standard-capacity (SD) cards.

Card readers are relatively cheap (around £10-£15). A good example is the Akasa AK-ICR-07. How easy they are to fit depends on whether your existing reader is integrated to the case or is a removable module that fits into a drive bay, however.

If you don't want to delve inside your PC, consider using an external USB card reader. A quick search for ‘card reader' on Amazon turns up SDHC Card readers from £1.99.

For more information on the various types of SD card, take a look at the SD Association website.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor for more Windows advice.

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