How to Remove Write Protection and Format Write-Protected SD Card

Jean updated on Sep 23, 2020 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

Are you having problems accessing a write-protected SD card, USB, or external hard drive? Check out the fixes and learn how to remove write protection on SD card, USB, etc., and make your device workable for saving files again:

Causes of SD Card Write-Protected Error
Part 1. How to Remove Write Protection from SD Card [7 Fixes]
Part 2. How to Format Write Protected SD Card (after Removing Write Protection)

How Do I Format Write Protected SD Card?

"My SD card becomes unavailable. Now I can neither copy files to the card nor format it. Once I tried to format the SD card, Windows prompts the error message constantly saying the card is write-protected. Does anyone know how to remove write protection and format the write-protected SD card so as to restore it back to a normal state and viable  for saving data again?"

SD card is write protected, cannot format it

What is a write-protected SD card? According to Wikipedia and professionals, write protection is a physical mechanism that prevents users from modifying or erasing valuable data on a storage device. Files like audio, video, documents, etc., saved on the write-protected storage devices will be protected.

In other words, once a hard drive, USB flash drive, or memory SD card is write-protected, it means that you can no longer use the storage devices like before. Any operation on it will be rejected. For example, if you suddenly find that your SD card becomes write-protected, you cannot write any new data to the card, delete files on it or format it. Then SD card becomes useless.

Causes of SD Card Write-Protected Error

To troubleshoot such an issue, first, you should learn the causes and then learn how to get rid of SD card write protection error on your own.

Causes of SD Card Write-Protected Error:

  • SD card or memory card is locked, displaying as write-protected
  • SD card gets encrypted by virus or malware
  • SD card contains bad sectors or internal file system
  • SD card gets locked by third-party write-protection software
  • Physical damage

Continue reading, you will find practical resolutions here to efficiently make the write-protected SD card function normally again.

Part 1. How to Remove Write Protection from SD Card [7 Fixes]

It's critical to fix a write-protected SD card and make it functional again. Try the following methods and hope one of them can release your worries, removing write protection from your SD card on Windows 10/8/7, etc. After this, you can move on to the next part to format the SD card, making it secure for storing data again.

Quick Fix: Sometimes, when you cannot access the SD card, you can first unplug the SD card, switching the USB port, and changing an SD card adapter. Then reconnect it to your computer again and check if the SD card is accessible.

If the SD card becomes accessible, congratulations. If it's still write-protected, don't worry and try the following fixes. You'll fix this issue on your own.

Fix 1. Disable Write Protection on Locked SD Card with Physical Switch

Applies to: Remove or disable write protection from a locked SD card by using its physical switch.

There is a physical write-protection switch on the side or the bottom of an SD card. The switch can secure contents and data on the SD card from being modified or infected by malware.

When you find the SD card is write-protected, you can disable the write protection on the locked SD card using its physical switch. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Disconnect your SD card from PC, and check if there is a small switch on its side.

Step 2. Check if the switch is on the unlicked side. If it's not, switch it from ON to OFF side to unlock the SD card.

Disable write protection by unlocking SD card

By changing the position of the SD card physical switch should turn off the write protection and let you access the SD card content. When the process gets done, you can reconnect the SD card to your computer and use files saved on the SD card by them.

Note that if your SD card doesn't have a physical switch or the SD card is still write-protected after unlocking the card, continue trying the following fixes.

Fix 2. Remove Write Protection from SD Card with Anti-Virus Software

Applies to: Fix write-protected SD card that is encrypted by unknown viruses or malware.

As you may have known that unknown viruses or malware sometimes may encrypt your device, adding write protection to it and disallowing you to visit the saved data. The most efficient resolution is to run antivirus software, removing virus and write protection from your memory SD card.

Here are the steps:

Step 1. Download and run anti-virus software on your computer.

You may try any one of the following listed anti-virus software for help:

  • Norton Antivirus
  • McAfee
  • ESET NOD32
  • Avira
  • Avast
  • AVG

Step 2. Insert or keep the SD card connected to your PC.

Step 3. Let the anti-virus software to scan and clean up the SD card, removing the write protection virus.

Fix 3. Manually Remove Write Protection from SD Card using CMD Command

Applies to: Remove write protection from SD card, clear the read-only state on SD card.

Sometimes, when a storage device becomes write-protected is because the device is set as Read-only. The only way out is to clear the read-only state, making the device re-writable again. 

SD card write-protected may occur due to read-only attributes. To fix it, delete them using the command line.

1. Connect your SD card to the computer first.

2. Press Win + X at the same time; you will see a cmd window where you need to type "diskpart" on the keyboard and confirm pressing Enter.

3. Type the following command and hit Enter each time:

list disk
select disk # (# is the number of your write-protected SD card.)
attributes disk clear readonly

Remove write protection from SD card using cmd

Wait for the process to complete and close Diskpart. After this, you will be able to access your data again.

Fix 4. Fix SD Card Write-Protected Error using CMD Alternative Tool

Applies to: Fix write-protected SD card using CMD alternative tool, easier than using CMD command line.

If you are not professional in computing management and not familiar with command lines, don't worry. EaseUS R&D team has promoted a fresh kit for helping you resolve the write-protection issue on your hard drive, external hard drive, USB or SD card, etc., devices.

EaseUS Tools M is a practical computer fixing tool that is safe and light-weighted. It's a perfect alternative to the command line. 

Use this one-click tool to solve the write-protection issues on your own:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD and install EaseUS Tools M for free.

Step 2: Run EaseUS Tools M on your PC, choose the "Write Protection" mode.

Step 3: Select the device which is now "Write-Protected" and click "Disable" to remove the protection.

Remove Write Protection from storage devices.

Fix 5. Remove SD Card Write Protection using Registry Editor

Applies to: Clear write protection from SD card using Registry Editor, not for beginners.

For experienced users, using Registry Editor can remove write protection from SD card. Here are the steps:

Step 1. Type regedit in Search and press Enter. Click "Yes" to open the Registry Editor.

Step 2. Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies.

Step 3. Locate StorageDevicePolicies. If you can't see it, create this folder: right-click on "Control" and click on "New" > "Key", name this StorageDevicePolicies.

Step 4. Right-click on StorageDevicePolicies and click "New" > "DWORD Value". Name it as "WriteProtect".

Step 5. Double-click on "Write Protect" and change the Value Data to "0" and then click "OK".

Change Registry word value to remove SD card write protection.

Step 6. Close the "Registry Editor" and restart the PC. 

After this, you can re-insert the memory stick into your computer, you shall be able to access the card by then.

Fix 6. Check and Fix Disk Error to Decrypt Write-Protected SD Card

Applies to: Fix write-protected SD card that is encrypted or locked due to internal disk error or file system issues.

To many inexperienced users, sometimes, when the SD card contains internal errors or unknown file system issues, it will become inaccessible. As a result, some may think it's write protected. An efficient way is to run CHKDSK command, fixing the disk errors, making SD card accessible again:

Step 1. Connect the SD card to your computer.

Step 2. Type cmd in the Search box and right-click Command Prompt, select "Run as Administrator".

Step 3. Type diskpart and hit Enter.

Step 4. Type chkdsk E: /f /r /x and hit Enter. (Replace E: with the drive letter of your SD card.)

When the steps complete, wait for the command prompt to clear existing errors on the card. Then close the command window. If you are thinking the process is too complex, you can also apply EaseUS partition manager software with its "Check File System" feature for help.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

Fix 7. Unlock Write-Protected SD Card with Third-Party Software or Take It for Repair

Applies to: Fix write-protected SD card or inaccessible memory card that is locked by third-party software or physically damaged.

When your SD card gets encrypted or locked due to third-party software or physically damaged, here are two ways that you can try:

  1. #1. Run third-party encryption software to unlock the write-protected SD card.
  2. #2. Take inaccessible or physically damaged SD card to a local repair center.

Part 2. How to Format Write Protected SD Card (after Removing Write Protection)

Now things get easy after we remove write protection from the write-protected SD card. In order to obtain a secure circumstance for storing data, we suggest you format the write-protected SD card, memory card after removing write protection.

You can either run Windows Disk Management or File Explorer to format the SD card. Here, we would like to introduce to you a very user-friendly free partition manager - EaseUS Partition Master Free.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

With EaseUS Partition Master, you can format SD card, memory card, even USB, external hard drive after removing write protection in a few simple steps:


Step 1: Launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the partition on your external hard drive/USB/SD card which you want to format and choose the "Format" option.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 1

Step 2: Assign a new partition label, file system (NTFS/FAT32/EXT2/EXT3), and cluster size to the selected partition, then click "OK".

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 2

Step 3: In the Warning window, click "OK" to continue.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 3

Step 4: Click the "Execute Operation" button in the top-left corner to review the changes, then click "Apply" to start formatting your external hard drive/USB/SD card.

Format Hard Drive Partition - Step 4

After the operation, you can use the SD card to save or transfer files again on your computer or digital devices.

Wrapping Up

This page covers the causes that make your SD card write-protected and offers 7 fixes to help you remove write protection from SD card effectively.

Note that, after removing the write protection, you should apply a reliable formatting tool such as EaseUS Partition Master to format the SD card to a proper file system - FAT32 for SD smaller than 32GB, exFAT for SD larger than 64GB. 

This magic partition software also works to manage SD card, such as resizing partition, formatting SD card to FAT32, converting RAW to NTFS, etc. You may also apply this software as a data transfer tool by cloning partition data to SD card. It's efficient and secure.

The provided methods on this page can also be applied to remove write protection on USB, internal, or external hard drive effectively.

People Also Ask

1. How do I remove write protection on micro SD card?

When you find the SD card is write-protected, you can disable the write protection on the locked SD card using its physical switch. 

Step 1. Disconnect your SD card from PC, and check if there is a small switch on its side.

Step 2. Check if the switch is on the unlicked side. If it's not, switch it from ON to OFF side to unlock the SD card.

2. How do I remove write protection?

To remove the write protection, simply open your Start menu, and input cmd. Run as administrator and press Enter. This will open the diskpart.

Type the following command (list disk > select disk # > attributes disk clear readonly) and hit Enter each time.

3. How do I remove write protection from SD card Windows 10?

To remove the protection, all you need is to use the EaseUS Tools M:

  • Download EaseUS Tools M for free.
  • Choose "Write Protection" mode and select the write-protected device.
  • Click "disable" to remove write protection from sd card.


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