I have a 4GB MicroSD card that apparently only works (in the sense that the device detects and can read and write from and to the card) with my old Nokia XpressMusic 5800 phone.

I have taken pictures and recorded voice notes that were saved on the card. These are accessible after the card has been removed, which tells me that the problem isn't with the card.

The card could also not be locked to the phone as it would at least be detected by a computer and it would be able to write raw data to it with dd, such as /dev/zero. Also, the card is not the Nokia card that came with the phone and I have done nothing that would have caused it to be locked. (I could not find anything on Nokia's website that helps, but then again... my search was not THAT thorough.)

The card works on no other device that I have tried so far. I have tried it in my Canon camera (through an adapter), but it refuses to even boot with the card inserted.

My card reader (via USB cable and hub) is detected as /dev/sdx with or without the card inserted. When trying to access the card I get an "No medium found". dmesg does not report any change at all when inserting and removing the card.

I would obviously like to use my card on other devices - the phone is quite old - and even a likely explanation would help.

Thankyou in advance!

EDIT 1: I can use the card by connecting the phone to my computer, but this is impractical and would not allow me to use the card in any other device.

EDIT 2: The data on the card is not important to me at all.

  • If we move away from the purely academic standpoint, why would you go to these lengths for a 4 GB MicroSD card? They’re like 5 bucks.
    – Daniel B
    May 31, 2014 at 20:41
  • 1
    Well... I get cramps when I think about spending money on something that could be fixed. But good point anyway! I'll probably buy a new one soon anyway (I have my eye on a 64GB for my camera), but I still want to try and fix this.
    – TresPaul
    May 31, 2014 at 20:49
  • I wonder if the card is formatted to a particular format that an OS doesn't recognise, although that doesn't seem the answer because your Linux isn't even recognising the card is inserted (dmesg)... is the card old/faulty? Does it work with other computers with different OSes?
    – Kinnectus
    Jun 27, 2015 at 11:01
  • I think the card reader on your computer is bad. Try to clean the contacts, blow compressed air into it, or use a different card reader or adapter. There are micro SD card readers that plug into the USB port. Try that. I often have trouble reading a micro SD card, and I have to blow on it, insert it several dozen times, or use a USB reader adapter. It should at least see the media and offer the option to format it, if nothing else. Try to read a different micro SD card in that computer, even one formatted for your phone, before & after.
    – Chloe
    Mar 17, 2017 at 17:01

4 Answers 4


I hope this is your phone, from that page I came to know that your phone has the Symbian OS. I hope there's an option in those phones to password-protect a memory card.

Nokia E5-00 - Memory card security(Though it is for a different model, I hope it also applies for your phone too.)
If I recall correctly, if you password protect a Memory Card in those phones, pc does not recognise them. But, if you put the Card in another phone which support Memory card password protection, then you can access the memory card, but only after entering the password.
If you remember the password, you may put it in another phone which support the option, enter the password, then remove password protection from your card. Thereafter you can access it from your pc. On the other hand, if you do not remember the passwor, put the memory card to the phone where it works, remove the password (I remember that the option is in the gallery->click option on memorycard.).
If you can't do both of them (how sad, isn't it), put it in another phone that supports password protection and format the memorycard.


I have a SANDISK 16 GB SD card on my phone/tablet.

  1. The way I use mine is I leave my card inside my phone, then use the usb cable and connect my phone to my computer.
  2. Then turn on usb connectivity (optional, not all phones ask for it)
  3. Then make sure your phone is unlocked
  4. Open your computer's file manager
  5. Navigate to your phone under the device menu (GUI can change based upon operating systems)
  6. Then once you click on your phone, you should have an option between Internal Memory and External Memory (something like hat)
  7. Then you would just navigate your SD card.
  • That makes sense, yes. But the phone's screen is damaged (so I can't see what I have to touch) and this method does not let me use the card in another device such as the phone I'm using to post this comment!
    – TresPaul
    May 31, 2014 at 19:59
  • That might be your problem... May 31, 2014 at 20:08
  • The broken screen?
    – TresPaul
    May 31, 2014 at 20:13
  • You might not be able to see a setting you might be overlooking. Jun 1, 2014 at 3:34
  • I can see the screen via the Nokia's video out cable. But I still don't think it's a phone-problem.
    – TresPaul
    Jun 1, 2014 at 9:20

Try a Linux computer or another machine... I remember that Symbian phones used to have an option to reformat the SD card so you might want to look for that option in the settings menu...


I have a 4GB MicroSD card that apparently only works (in the sense that the device detects and can read and write from and to the card) with my old Nokia XpressMusic 5800 phone.

The "Secure Digital" standard on SD cards has a "password lock" feature that makes it possible for a device to basically lock a card to that device - the device can create a random internal password, store it locally, and then use it to unlock a card.

Here's an article that sort of talks about them. Of particular note:

The various SD commands that manipulate the password lock are marked as "optional" in the SD card specification. This means that not all SD card vendors may implement them in their devices. If they are not implemented, you will not be able to set the SD lock with the "sdlock" command.

Most PC hardware it seems does not implement these SD commands. Some phones do, and the Nokia XpressMusic 5800 phone may be one of them.

Windows Phone 7 devices did use these features - they would protect any card found because the way Windows CE (the basis of Windows Phone 7) works, all storage is unified into one pool - whether from internal flash or SD card. So this was done to discourage removing the card. Reference

If a password lock has been put on an SD card, it will look like nothing is there when you place it in another card reader that doesn't support the SD commands needed.

If you read the referenced article, some old Nokia Symbian phones have the ability to clear out a locked SD card. If you ever clear it, as long as you don't put it back in the original phone, you should be able to use it again.

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