This document pertains to preinstalled memory card readers on HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7 or Vista.
Many HP Notebook computers come with memory card readers preinstalled. Memory cards are used primarily for importing pictures from digital cameras, but they can also be useful for sharing pictures and files.
NOTE:Not all types of memory cards are supported in all computers. Check your computer specifications for supported memory card types.
List of common types of memory cards:
- CompactFlash I
- CompactFlash II
- IBM Microdrive
- Secure Digital (SD)
- MultiMediaCard (MMC)
- Reduced size MultiMediaCard (RS-MMC)
- MultiMediaCard Plus (MMC plus)
- MultiMediaCard Mobile (MMC mobile)
- Memory Stick
- Memory Stick Pro
- Memory Stick Duo
- Memory Stick Pro Duo
- xD Picture Card (xD = extreme digital)
For memory card specifications, see the HP support document, General Information About Memory Cards .
Using a card reader
Read one of the following sections for more information on using your card reader.
CAUTION:If your card reader has a light, do not insert or remove memory cards while the light on the reader is flashing. Doing so may cause loss of data on the card or may permanently damage the card reader.
The following steps explain how to use memory cards in a card reader:
- Insert a memory card.An autoplay window appears. If not, access the card through Windows Explorer.
- The memory card has a drive letter associated with it, just like a CD-ROM drive, or hard drive. Use the memory card as you would use any other drive on the computer. For example, double-click the memory card icon to open a new window showing the files on the memory card.
- When you have finished working with the files on a memory card, us the Safely Remove Hardware
feature to remove the memory card. This feature appears as an icon in the taskbar. Click the Safely Remove Hardware icon and select Eject or Safely Remove to remove the memory card.On some computers, you can use the eject feature in the Computer window to eject or safely remove the memory card.Open the Computer window, right-click the memory card icon, and select Eject or Safely Remove .An alternative to using the Safely Remove Hardware feature is to use the Optimize for Quick Removal feature in Windows as follows:Click Start , enter device manager in the search field, and then select Device Manager from the list. If prompted, click Continue .In the Device Manager window, double-click to expand the Disk drives list. Memory card readers are seen as drive devices in Windows.In the list of drive devices, right-click the device to display a drop-down menu (for example, Generic USB CF Reader for Compact Flash media). Click Properties in this menu.Click the Policies tab in the Device Properties window.Select Optimize for quick removal , and then click the OK button.This setting disables write caching on the device and in Windows, so the media can be removed without using the Safely Remove Hardware feature in the taskbar. A disadvantage of doing this may be a minor drop in device performance.
Before storing anything on the card for the first time, format the memory card from your digital camera or by using the following steps:
Show me how
- Insert the memory card into the memory card slot. If an autoplay window opens, close it.
- Click Start , and then click Computer .
- Under Removable Storage, right-click the memory card icon representing the card type inserted.
- Select Format .
- Enter a Volume label name into the label field. This is the name that will appear next to the drive letter in Windows.
- Click Start .
- Click OK on the Format Complete window.
- Click Close to finish.
Resolving issues with memory cards
Read a section below that best matches your issue.
Inserting a high capacity SDHC card into an incompatible memory card reader might cause the card to stop responding or lock up the computer window. To immediately fix the lock up, double-click the Safely Remove Hardware icon, (in the notification area in the lower right corner of the screen), select the USB card reader, and then click Eject , or Safely remove . The card reader may not work until the computer is restarted. You can now safely remove the memory card and use the computer for other activities.
To use your higher capacity memory card without locking up the card or computer window, do one of the following:
- If you are using the card in a camera or other device, attach the device to the computer using a USB or FireWire cable. When connected, most devices appear in Windows as a Removable Disk and can be used in the same way as the card reader.
Make sure the card reader specifically supports the SDXC format. You can access the SDXC card by using an SDXC compatible USB reader or adapter. Look for an SDXC logo on the device or check with the device manufacturer for information.
CAUTION:Never format an SDXC memory card in a non-compatible device. Doing so will make the memory card incompatible with SDXC devices because it will erase the data on the SDXC memory card and format the card for a different file system.
If you cannot access the memory card, or the drive is not listed in the Computer window, use the following steps until the drive displays:
NOTE:If no card is in the reader, Windows does not list the drive in the Computer window.
NOTE:If you are using a card reader that did not come with the computer, contact the manufacturer of the adapter for help.
- Remove and re-insert the memory card.If the AutoPlay window opens or if the memory card is now listed in the Computer window, you are done. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
- Restart the computer.If the AutoPlay window opens or if the memory card is now listed in the Computer window, you are done. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
- Try another memory card of the same type in the same slot. If this memory card works, the card reader is working correctly. Replace the original memory card. If the second memory card does not work, continue to the next step.
- Turn off the computer, disconnect the power cord, and then press the Power button on the front of the computer for five seconds. Reconnect the power cord and turn on the computer to test the card reader.If the AutoPlay window opens or if the memory card is now listed in the Computer window, you are done. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
- Turn off the computer and disconnect the power cord. Then shine a flashlight into the empty card reader slot to see if any pins inside are bent. Straighten any bent pins with the end of a mechanical pencil. Have the computer serviced if a pin is bent and is touching another pin.If the AutoPlay window opens or if the memory card is now listed in the Computer window, you are done. If there were no bent pins, continue to the next step.
- Memory card readers use USB devices. Insert a USB device into an open USB port to test USB. If the device works properly go to the next step. If the USB device also fails, there is a problem with USB. Please refer to the HP support document Troubleshooting USB Connections (Windows 7) , USB Device Troubleshooting (Windows Vista) , Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows 7) , or Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows Vista) for further troubleshooting.
If you are having problems reading and writing data to memory cards, use the following troubleshooting tips:
- Try a different memory card of the same type in the same slot. If the different memory card works, the card reader is good and the original memory card should be replaced.
- Some cards have a read/write security switch on the card. Make sure that switch is set to Write Enabled before attempting to write data to it.
- Make sure that the amount of data you attempted to store has not exceeded the capacity of the card.
- Inspect the ends of the memory cards for dirt or material closing a hole or spoiling a metal contact. Clean the contacts with a lint-free cloth and small amounts of isopropyl alcohol. Replace the memory card if necessary.
- Make sure the memory card is supported by the card reader.
- Make sure the memory card is fully inserted into the slot.
- Turn off the computer and disconnect the power cord. Then shine a flashlight into the empty card reader slot to see if any pins inside are bent. Straighten any bent pins with the end of a mechanical pencil. Have the computer serviced if a pin is bent and is touching another pin.
- If errors persist replace the memory card.
When inserting a card into the card reader, the incorrect icon may display in the Computer window. To resolve this issue go to the Drivers and Download page for your HP product and install the latest memory card reader driver.
If the notebook stops responding when the card is removed, complete the following steps.
- Remove the card.
- Power off the notebook by pressing the power button.
- Restart the notebook and reinsert the card. The notebook will scan for the card.
- Click Start , type Device Manager into the Search box, and press Enter . Click Device Manager in the search results.
- In the Device Manager , the card should be located within USB Devices , Drives , or Other Devices .
- Once the card is located, right-click on it and select Uninstall .
- Remove and reinsert the card. The computer will scan for the card.
Card reader drivers can become corrupted or stop functioning correctly, and new drivers and firmware are occasionally released to address issues. New firmware for your memory card reader might be available that could resolve the particular issue you are having.
To be sure you are using the latest driver and firmware, periodically go to the Drivers and Download page for your HP product and check for new drivers and firmware revisions.
NOTE:If you are using an adapter for a type of memory card not supported by the reader and the memory card does not work, contact the manufacturer of the adapter for support.