diskpart on run dialog
Windows 11

Remove Write protection on SD card: Top 8 Ways

Can't Edit, Save, or Add Files? Fix SD Card Write Protection in 8 Easy Steps!

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A user may remove the write protection on an SD card to disable the setting that prevents modifying the card’s contents. SD cards often come with a built-in write protection mechanism. This safety feature prevents accidental changes or deletion of important data.

When an SD card is write-protected, it acts as a read-only device, allowing users to view or copy the stored data. You should remove the protection to make changes, including adding, deleting, or editing files, formatting the card, installing or updating software, or repairing corrupted software.

Why Does My SD Card Say Write-Protected When Not?

An SD card appearing write-protected even when not physically locked can be frustrating. Some potential reasons for this issue may include one or more of the following:

1. Check the SD Card Lock Switch

Checking the SD card’s physical lock switch is the first and most crucial step to troubleshooting SD write protection issues. This is because SD cards often have a tiny physical switch on the side that serves as a write protection mechanism. Accidentally sliding down the switch to the locked position makes the card read-only.

This switch is very easy to overlook or bump accidentally. Before diving into more complex solutions, always verify the position of this switch. Checking the lock switch first can save you time and effort. If it was the culprit, you’d immediately resolve the problem without the need for complex software troubleshooting.

How to Check the Lock Switch:

  1. First, locate the switch. The switch is usually on the upper left side of a full-sized SD card. MicroSD card adapters will often have this switch as well.
  2. If the switch is towards the bottom (often marked with a lock symbol), then it’s locked.
  3. Then, gently slide the switch upwards to the unlocked position to unlock the card.
  4. Afterward, reinsert the SD card into your device and retest.
  5. Even if the switch appears to be in the unlocked position, try gently sliding it back and forth a few times. Sometimes, it can get dislodged or have debris interfering with proper contact.

2. Use CMD to Remove SD Card Write Protection

The ‘Diskpart’ command within CMD allows you to view and modify disk attributes, including the read-only status that causes write protection. Using the ‘attributes disk clear read-only’ command specifically targets and removes the write protection settings on your SD card. Use the following steps to complete this fix:

  1. Insert your SD card into your PC and ensure it is connected.
  2. Press the Windows + R keys simultaneously to launch the Run dialog box, type diskpart and hit Enter.
    Remove Write protection on SD card
  3. If prompted by the User Account Control, click Yes to confirm.
  4. Then, enter the code below to display the list of available SD cards:
    list disk
  5. Afterward, note the disk number, enter the command below to choose the preferred SD card, and hit Enter:
    select disk DISK-NUMBER
    Replace DISK-NUMBER with the number you noted.
  6. Finally, use the command below to remove the write protection on your SD card and hit Enter:
    attributes disk clear readonly
    Using diskpar to Remove Write protection on SD card via command prompt
  7. Wait until the process is complete and you see Disk attributes cleared successfully.

3. Use Registry Editor to Remove SD Card Write Protection

The Windows Registry Editor (regedit) allows you to directly modify system settings that control your PC’s interaction with hardware, including SD cards. The “StorageDevicePolicies” key can hold the “WriteProtect” setting.

Its setting determines if the protection is active or not, e.g., “1” enables the write protection, and “0” disables it.

  1. Press the Windows + R keys simultaneously to launch the Run dialog box, type regedit and hit Enter.
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  2. When the Registry Editor opens, go to the following path:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
  3. Then, find the StorageDevicePolicies folder and click it.
    Remove Write protection on SD card with storage device policies
  4. If you can’t find the StorageDevicePolicies folder, right-click the space in the right pane, hover over the New option and click Key.
    Disable Shortcut Windows 11
  5. Then, name the new key StorageDevicePolicies and hit Enter.
  6. Select the StorageDevicePolicies folder, right click the space in the right pane, hover over the New option and click DWORD (32-bit) Value.
    Remove Common Program Groups From Start Menu
  7. Name it WriteProtect, right-click it, then click Modify.
    modify regedit to Remove Write protection on SD card
  8. Change the Value data to 0 and click OK.
    set value data to Remove Write protection on SD card
  9. Finally, close the window and restart your PC.

4. Perform the CHKDSK Operation to Repair Corrupted SD Card

If the write protection stems from corruption in the file system, such as incorrect file allocation table markings, CHKDSK might fix these errors and restore normal read-write functionality. Sometimes, the SD card’s controller might also mark the bad sectors as read-only to prevent further damage if there are bad sectors.

CHKDSK can identify and attempt to remap bad sectors, preventing the SD card’s controller from misinterpreting these errors as reasons to enforce write protection. While CHKDSK should try its best to preserve your data, there’s always a risk of data loss during file system repair operations.

Remember to back up important files before running the operation. After backing up your files, insert the SD card into your PC using a card reader and perform the CHKDSK operation.

5. Scan the SD Card for Virus

Scanning an SD card for viruses might help remove write protection. Some viruses or malware protect themselves by making the infected storage device (like your SD card) write-protected, preventing you from deleting or modifying the virus-related files and hindering removal.

Reputable antivirus software can scan your SD card and identify malicious code or virus files. If the antivirus finds a virus triggering write protection, it can attempt to remove or quarantine it. Upon removal, the system may remove the abnormal write protection it was enforcing, restoring normal functionality to your SD card.

6. Use Properties to Remove Write Protection From an SD Card

Using SD card properties in Windows provides a simple method to remove software-based write protection potentially. This method eliminates the need for command prompts or third-party software, making it user-friendly. It’s straightforward and addresses software-related write protection issues without complex procedures.

Here are the steps to complete this solution:

  1. Press the Windows + E keys simultaneously to launch the Windows Explorer and click This PC on the left pane.
    corrupted files not deleting
  2. Then, find your SD card under Devices and drives, right-click the card and click Properties.
  3. Finally, unselect the Read Only attribute, click Apply and Ok to confirm changes.
    modify read-only regedit to Remove Write protection on SD card

7. Reformat the SD Card

  1. Press Windows + E to open the File Explorer and click This PC.
  2. Then, select the SD card you intend to format, right-click it, and click Format in the context menu.
    Format Hard Drive or SSD Windows 11
  3. When the window opens, adjust the File systemAllocation unit size, and Volume label as you please, click the Start, and OK buttons to initial the format process.
    Format Hard Drive or SSD Windows 11

8. Use a New SD Card

If you’ve tried all troubleshooting steps to remove write protection, and the SD card still remains unusable, it’s likely physically damaged or corrupted. In this case, replacing it with a new micro SD card is the most practical solution.

While write protection can be a useful safeguard, it can also hinder your ability to use your SD card effectively. By understanding the various methods you can use to remove write protection on your SD card, you can regain full functionality and manage your data as needed.

Remember, attempting certain solutions might erase data, so back up important files beforehand. If, after trying these methods, the SD card remains unusable, consider replacing it with a new one for optimal performance.

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Richard Omachona
Richard is a techie in providing fixes and solutions for computer issues of various kinds. Among his contemporaries, he is a preferred choice. His experiences are vast in Windows operating systems, and several other skills in programming such as Python, Web Frontend designing implementing at industry standards, best practices in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. and basics in Web Backend. He also loves traveling, gaming and music.