I have a 16 GB SD card for my Raspberry Pi that is now only 55 MB. How do I get 15.945 GB back using Windows 7?

This worked on the 55 MB only: How can I reformat my SD card to use it normally again?

  • Did you expand the root filesystem on install? What operating system are you running? – Jacobm001 Sep 18 '13 at 18:02
  • If this is a question about how to format/blank/whatever SD cards on Windows 7, why don't you try a Windows forum? – goldilocks Sep 18 '13 at 18:50
  • Super User Stack Exchange would be more appropriate. But it seems allot of Raspberry Users flock here and look for the same question over and over... – Piotr Kula Sep 18 '13 at 19:04
  • 1
    possible duplicate of How can I reformat my SD card to use it normally again? – lenik Sep 18 '13 at 22:19
  • I had the same problem, and I've used GParted from gparted.org, and I've deleted the partitions, and I've formatted the SD again and it's worked. – Hbirjand Sep 23 '16 at 17:41

You did not say much -- you did not say what the card was for, etc. etc.

But let's presume you formatted the card to use a Raspberry Pi-centric distribution such as Raspbian. This creates two partitions on the card.

The first one is a small (~55 MB) VFAT partition from which the OS kernel is booted.

The second one is a much bigger (probably ~2 GB) ext4 partition containing the root filesystem; it is mounted by the kernel.

Presuming further: You've stuck the card in a Windows machine, and guess what? Windows CANNOT SEE THE SECOND PARTITION, leading you to believe that there's just the one 55 MB VFAT partition.

If you just want to reformat the card for whatever use, reformat it and erase everything on it. If you intend to keep for use on the Raspberry Pi, don't bother growing the VFAT partition -- it isn't good for much after boot and making it bigger won't make the root filesystem bigger.

If you want to grow the root filesystem, you can google, or ask specifically, because that question has been answered quite a few times.

  • Windows Management tools does not know how to display the partition. It knows its there but it wont dare try to do any thing with it just in case something goes wrong.... – Piotr Kula Sep 18 '13 at 18:52

There are some specific tools for SD cards only but I like to use EaseUS Partition Tool which is free for Windows users. It will not work on Server Editions.

You should take care to select your SD card from the list of devices as this tool will list all your drives. This shows how to resize a parition.

enter image description here

  • Best bet is to complete delete any partitions on the SD card. This will include FAT and EXT and possibly a SWAP. Just delete them so you can see a full unallocated 16GB.
  • No operations will be performed until you click APPLY. Once you have removed all partitions follow instructions to reload the distro you like.

Hardware Error

If, however in the list you see your card listed as 55mb in total size and have no option to remove or expand it more that means the SD card is broken. There is no way to fix it and happens sometimes. Something fried the controller so you will need a new one or send that one off on warranty.


This is my 4GB Rasbpian SD card. I used Windows management tools. Yes it shows it but it wont let you do anything to the partitions just in case ... you delete it or Windows corrupts something (Because it does not support that file system)

enter image description here

EaseUS partition master shows a much better list and understands that file systems used. Right click and delete the partitions. You can create new partitions too and apply everything and you will have the whole SD card back to use in Windows or if you want to burn another image to the card.

enter image description here

Here I have deleted the partitions. Right clicked ans said create new partition. There is a whole list of file system types. I did not click apply so no operation has been done yet.

enter image description here

  • Thank you but for the free edition carefull of all malware it tries to make you install... – Thomas May 27 '15 at 15:42
  • I've used the GParted from gparted.org and it's worked in the same way. 1+ – Hbirjand Sep 23 '16 at 17:44
  • "If, however in the list you see your card listed as 55mb in total size and have no option to remove or expand it more that means the SD card is broken" what an awful response! This is clearly incorrect, as I have just recovered card's full capacity by simply formatting it in a camera – Tony Sepia May 5 '17 at 18:34
  • Sounds like you got the answer to write. :) it may help others. – Piotr Kula May 5 '17 at 18:35
  • The download of EaseUS results in my AV saying that "Access to the web page was blocked by ESET Endpoint Antivirus. The web page is on the list of websites with potentially dangerous content.". Not saying that the AV people never make a mistake but it doesn't give you a good feeling. I guess this is what @Thomas was referring to . – glaucon May 27 '18 at 6:19

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