Any Windows 10 Experts? Help with SD card reader

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Bravo52

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I have a Dell G7 Windows 10 laptop with an internal Realtek SD card reader that only works under certain situations. I have tried all of the online “fixes” and it has not fixed the issue. The card is good and works perfectly on other computers. Using another card makes no difference. Also, the same happens with an external card reader...

If the SD card is in the reader at boot up, it works as designed with all functions operating properly (read, write, drag and drop etc). Once the card is removed, it no longer will work. If the card is replaced with a different card, it will not work. Putting the original card back in, it will not work. Hard booting the computer will get the reader to work again.

If the laptop is booted without a SD card in the slot, it will not work. Opening Device manager will not show the reader. If the laptop is booted with the card in place, the reader shows in Device Manager.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

heada

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Sounds like the card reader is connected to a drive bus (IDE, SATA, SAS, etc.) and not a USB like 99.9% of them are. If it is connected to a drive bus, then when the computer boots, it identifies all the drives at that time and only at that time since the bus is not designed to support removable drives.

With the card out, boot the computer. Add the card and then go into device manager and tell it to scan for new hardware. It *may* discover the card then. The problem if this works is that in order to ensure you don't corrupt the card by removing it, you'd need to shutdown before you pull the card out which kinda defeats the purpose.
 

cfoster3448

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Try going into Computer Management, scroll down to "Disk Management" and "enable" or "mount" it. I had this problem when I "upgraded" to Win10 where that NONE of my SD cards worked in the card reader I've used since I installed Win7 years ago and it worked just fine. I contacted the manufacturer of the card reader and they indicated that it was in fact Win10 compatible. I performed Disk Management and now all of my SD cards are readable/writeable in Windows 10. Check out this link and see if it addresses your issue(s):

 

Bravo52

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Sounds like the card reader is connected to a drive bus (IDE, SATA, SAS, etc.) and not a USB like 99.9% of them are.
In device manager it does show up under "disc drives". However, it also adds the Realtek driver under USB.

How do you force the card reader to be "USB" versus a disk drive? All I want this thing to do is "Plug n Play" or "hot swap" cards. You know, get the Win 10 ding when I pull the card out and the little pop up down in the right corner when I plug in the SD card...

With the card out, boot the computer....
It doesn't "find" anything and the SD reader won't show up without a hard boot. That said, the SD card as a hard drive sets me off in a new direction to look...
 

Bravo52

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Try going into Computer Management, scroll down to "Disk Management" and "enable" or "mount" it.
I followed this recommendation and it didn't have any effect. Rebooted and the drive was there. I "dismounted" the drive, "remounted" it back and once I pulled the SD card from the slot and reinserted it, it wouldn't show up. 🤯
 

heada

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With all the issues you're facing, I would recommend a USB based reader.

I purchased this one back in 2016 and it has worked very well for me on SD cards from 512MB to 128GB. It isn't currently available but similar should be able to be found for cheap.


They key to using removable storage easily is using a system that designed for it. USB based removable storage is designed to be added/removed all the time and Windows7/8/8.1/10/11 should have zero issues finding it, mounting it and allowing it to be unmounted all while the system is live.
 
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Have you checked in device manager if the hardware is reporting working? Drivers are not likely the problem if it works at all, and you indicate it does after a hard reboot, with the card in the reader. You may be able to disable the appropriate controller and re-enable it instead of a hard reboot, but that would just be a work around. Is the card reader appearing under memory technology driver or just a USB driver?
 

jderimig

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How old is you laptop? Sounds like your hardware is busted. Sd cards work in all 3 of my Dell laptops.
 

Marc_G

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What @heada suggested is probably the right move. Buy a USB reader and call it done.

But I'm ornery. If this weren't a laptop I would suggest tracing the cable to the motherboard header to verify it should be working as USB drive, then go from there. Since it IS a laptop I would try a few other things:

1. Does the laptop come with a driver/software update utility? If so update anything relevant.
2. Is there a BIOS update available? If so update it. I've had this specific problem, years ago, on a PC and the bios update fixed it.
3. No joy yet? Install Linux Mint on a USB drive and using it, see if the port you are having trouble with works properly. If so, you know it is a weird driver/windows thing. If not, you know it's probably something specific to the port and hardware.
4. Is there was web forum for this laptop? Check there for clues.

Good luck!
 

Bravo52

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How old is you laptop? Sounds like your hardware is busted. Sd cards work in all 3 of my Dell laptops.
Rather new G7 with a Intel Core i7. I think it stopped working with a Windows 10 update... 🤬
 

Marc_G

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Rather new G7 with a Intel Core i7. I think it stopped working with a Windows 10 update... 🤬
This may sound extreme, but have you considered doing a full backup, full wipe, reinstallation from windows media?

If you take an image backup first (I use Acronis for this) you can always restore the current state. Doing a fresh install would let you test the port from a fresh and clean state.
 

heada

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Rather new G7 with a Intel Core i7. I think it stopped working with a Windows 10 update... 🤬
If it was known working before the update then it was mostly likely the Windows update replaced a driver. I would get the latest drivers from Dell and over-write the drivers that Microsoft installed. You should also be able to find some reference to others having the same issue on the same model of Dell laptop and follow whatever steps they took to get it working again.
 

Bravo52

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This may sound extreme, but have you considered doing a full backup, full wipe, reinstallation from windows media?
I've tried that. A fresh clean install in the form of a "factory reset". Then updated to Windows 10 basic (not MS updates added yet.)

You should also be able to find some reference to others having the same issue on the same model of Dell laptop and follow whatever steps they took to get it working again.
I've started searching the Dell Forums and there are tons of similar problems...but not exactly the same. I'm going through each post and trying to glean any insight I can... apparently, it's going to take a while. Unfortunately, as Marc G eludes to, the "stubborn" streak is coming out and this will not beat me...one of us (me or the laptop) will die first!
 

Marc_G

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Ah...HAH!

Love the stubborn streak. But: factory install (Win7?) Then in place upgrade to 10 is very different from a clean from Windows Media install to a freshly formatted drive. Seriously, it's worth a try if you are stubborn like me.
 

manixFan

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I used to use Dells in my training business, I've owned hundreds of them over the years. When faced with an issue like this I would run the Dell scan to detect drivers and let it update them as needed. It often would find and install the latest drivers which fixed a lot of issues. Of course it may not work in your case, but it's worth a shot.


The above link shows you how to do the pre-boot hardware test and then the online diagnostic scan if needed. Running the scan is a lot easier than trying to find the drivers on your own. Before you start, take a picture of your service tag with your phone so you have it as a reference.

Good luck,


Tony
 

CaptHaywire

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I have had similar problems with Dell, Acer, HP and Gateway laptops. The driver for the card reader can at times be very specific. Installing the latest driver does not always resolve the problem and I find the manufacturer automatic tools to be spotty.

I have resolved the issue in the past by going to the website and downloading the correct card reader driver for your specific model. Uninstall any existing driver then install the correct one. In Device Manager right click the first entry and click "scan for hardware changes".

If you are still not able to resolve the issue you can try accessing the BIOS and resetting it to the factory defaults. I have had that resolve a bunch of strange issues. Good luck.
 

Bravo52

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In Device Manager right click the first entry and click "scan for hardware changes".

If you are still not able to resolve the issue you can try accessing the BIOS and resetting it to the factory defaults. I have had that resolve a bunch of strange issues. Good luck.
I've done those things and no changes. The symptom is still if a card is in the slot on hard boot, it works fine. Once I pull the card, it won't work again until a hard boot. The card has to be in the slot. Even if a hard boot, the computer won't recognize the sd reader unless the card is in the slot.

Interestingly, the card shows up under "hard drives" in Device Mgr and when I "uninstall" it, and reinstall the driver, it will show up. Then the shenanigans start again as described above.

For my next trick, I'm going to open the laptop, remove the reader, then boot, and connect the reader to see if windows will configure it properly... I have no expectations, I have no hopes...

As much as it pains me, I did order a USB stick adapter Heada linked above. 😥
 

Marc_G

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For my next trick, I'm going to open the laptop, remove the reader, then boot, and connect the reader to see if windows will configure it properly... I have no expectations, I have no hopes...
I would be a little surprised if it were a removable thing or connected by a disconnectable header cable. But, who knows? Maybe it will be!

As much as it pains me, I did order a USB stick adapter Heada linked above. 😥
And here I thought you were hard core!!

Seriously, even if you fix it, the stick adapter for these drives is handy to have.

Have you verified your bios is the latest available?
 

Bravo52

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Woot! :clapping: It is working! The reason this had me going was this is my main laptop for 3D printing. I use the SD cards to transfer files. It was getting a bit tedious having to reboot all the time.

I disassembled the unit down to the motherboard. Marc G is right, the readers was integral to the board but I was able to look at the connections on the board and the internal workings and they were good. Reassembled the laptop, all 486 M2x5 case screws. The laptop booted up in a very weird sequence and made me go in and adjust the clock on the BIOS. Once that was done, it rebooted on it's on and Windows 10 loaded normally. With much anticipation, I inserted the SD card and got the familiar warble tone. Switched from the 8 GB card to 256 GB card and it worked great.

So now for my uneducated analysis...

I reset and updated every thing on the laptop and each by themselves had no effect. That included BIOS, Windows, Drivers, Cards....everything. Nothing. When I took the laptop apart, I disconnected the battery. That took all power from the unit. I think when I connected back up and booted, it reset the BIOS with some "switch" (setting) I was not aware of or thought to check in previous adventures. 🤷‍♂️ Now we get to see how long this last.

At this point, I'm going to take some time and determine if I'm going to return the USB stick adapter :mad:


...not really, it was cheap and it's always good to have a backup....
 

heada

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Pulling the battery does a BIOS full reset to factory. There should be an option to do that within the BIOS but pulling the battery is the best option (used to use a jumper back in the day)

There must have been a setting in the BIOS that was changed that caused the issue. Windows updates can make some changes so its possible that the update did it.
 

manixFan

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Ahh, the good old BIOS setting change wrecking havoc with your day. The BIOS and Windows Registry were inventions of an evil, sadistic, twisted mind designed to reduce the productivity and increase the stress and unwell-being of Windows computers users.

Also known as 'the silent killers'.


Tony
 
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