Write protection is certainly an important SD card feature: it can be used to prevent users from accidentally deleting critical data. However, if you only want to use your SD card to store and transfer files, this feature may make it useless.
Before you throw out your SD card and get a new one, read this guide to learn how to remove the write protection from your card and reuse it.
Remove write protection from SD card in Windows 11
Write protection is a security feature that makes your SD card read-only. This means that you cannot accidentally overwrite the content. You cannot delete files from the card, nor can you add new ones. Write protection also prevents you from formatting the SD card.
SD cards can have different types of write protection.
- A mechanical lock on the side of the card
- Internal (digital) write protection
- Password protection
Whether your SD card is physically or digitally locked, you’ll find the solution below.
Remove physical write protection from SD card
Most SD cards have a physical lock that you can use to activate write protection. Unlocking a physically write-protected SD card takes no more than a few seconds. All you need to do is turn off this switch and you can edit the contents of your SD card. If you are using a mini or micro SD card, please insert it into an SD card adapter before you start.
Here’s how to disable SD card physical lock.
- Locate the write protect switch on your SD card. It is usually located at the top left when the label is facing up.
- Slide the switch up to unlock the SD card.
If the card was already unlocked or if it didn’t work, you may need to adjust something else.
- See if your SD card has a notch at the top right.
- Cover the notch with a small piece of tape and try using your SD card again.
If you still can’t change the contents of your card, you’re probably dealing with digital write protection. Read on to learn how to remove this kind of write protection from your SD card on different platforms.
Remove write protection from SD card Windows 11
There are several ways to remove the write protection from an SD card on Windows 11 PCs.
Some SD cards have an option in their properties that you can change to add or remove write protection. Check if yours falls into this category.
- Insert the SD card into your computer’s reader.
- Navigate to ‘My computer’.
- Right click on the SD card drive and select ‘Properties’.
- Check in this window if you can remove the write protection.
If you haven’t had any luck, you’ll have to use another method.
The next way to remove the write protection from your SD card requires you to use the Windows command prompt. You must be in administrator mode to use this solution.
- Insert the SD card into your laptop or desktop computer.
- Open your Start menu and type “Run” in the search bar.
- Type “
cmd‘ in the field next to ‘Open’ and click ‘OK’.
- Type “
diskpart‘ in the new window and press ‘Enter’.
- Then write “list disk” and press Enter.
- You will be given a numbered list of your PC’s drives. Find your SD card in the list.
- Type “
select disk #” while replacing the
#symbol with the number next to your SD card in the list and press Enter.
- Type “
attributes disk clean readonly” and press your Enter key.
- Exit the command prompt.
Your SD card is no longer write-protected and you can change or format the contents as you wish.
The third way to erase the write protection from your SD card using your Windows PC is to use the Registry Editor. This will do the job if the cause of your card’s write protection is a wrong Windows registry key. You must correct the data manually. Here’s how to do it.
- Insert your SD card into your device.
- Back up all important files on the SD card before proceeding.
- Open the Run dialog by searching for “Run” in the start menu or by pressing “Ctrl” and your “R” key at the same time.
- Type “
regedit” and press Enter.
- Allow the app to make changes to your device if necessary.
- Navigate to the following location: “
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControl” (you can copy and paste this into the top bar of the window).
- If no such location exists, right-click on ‘Control’ in the sidebar and select ‘Key’ under ‘New’.
- Name the newly created key “StorageDevicePolicies”
- Right click on “StorageDevicePolicies” in the sidebar and this time select “DWORD (32-bit)” under “New”. Name the file ‘WriteProtect’.
- Open “WriteProtect” by double clicking on it, change the value data to 0 and press “OK”.
Exit the Registry Editor and restart your computer.
Remove write protection from an SD card on a Mac
Try the following solutions to remove the write protection from your SD card using your Mac.
Remove read-only from a file
One read-only file on your card is enough to cause formatting issues. Before resorting to more complicated solutions, see if a read-only file activates write protection.
- Insert the card into your Mac’s SD card slot or use an adapter if necessary.
- Open the SD card in Finder.
- Check the attributes of a file. Select the file, click ‘File’ and then ‘Get Info’.
- Click the arrow next to “Sharing & Permissions.”
- If your file is read-only, change it to Read & Write.
- Try to see if this solved the problem or repeat the steps for the rest of the files.
Using Disk Utility
It is also possible that the SD card is write-protected due to an error. In that case, here’s how to remove the write protection from your SD card using your Mac’s Disk Utility.
- Insert your SD card into your Mac.
- Click on the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen.
- Enter “disk utility” and open the first result.
- Select your SD card from the list on the left.
- Find the “First Aid” at the top.
- Click on “Run”.
Wait for the process to complete and see if you can now use your SD card.
Remove write protection from an SD card on a Linux device
The steps to remove the write protection from an SD card on a Linux device are slightly different. Follow the instructions below.
- Make sure your SD card is inserted in your device.
- Open terminal.
- Type “lslbk” and press “Enter”.
- Find your SD card in the list and copy the information from the first column.
- Then type “
sudo hdparm -r0” and paste what you just copied next to it.
- Press “Enter”.
- Exit the terminal by typing “exit” and pressing “Enter”.
The contents of your SD card can now be edited and deleted.
Remove write protection from an SD card on an Android device
If your Android device’s SD card is read-only, you won’t be able to use it properly. The good news is that you can fix the problem. However, you do need a computer for this.
- Unmount your memory card in your Android’s settings and remove it from your device.
- Plug the card into an adapter.
- Insert the adapter with the memory card into the SD card reader slot of your PC.
- Follow the instructions above for your PC’s operating system.
Don’t give up your SD card
A write protection problem can severely limit the use of your SD card. All is not lost though as you can most likely fix the problem using one of the methods mentioned above.
Have you had any issues with write protection? Did you manage to save your SD card? Let us know in the comments below.