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SD Card Shows Read Only? See How to Fix It (5 Solutions)

Updated by Tracy King on Mar 10, 2021
Written by Daisy

Q:  How to fix my micro SD card that became a read-only memory card?

Your sd card isn't working correctly and has been set to read only on Android, what's this error message?  Since the Android external memory card has turned to read only all of a sudden, I can no longer add, write, or delete things from it. How to fix the SD card that mounted as read only?

SD card read only, also known as SD card write-protected, refers to a memory card or micro SD card that you can read, however, cannot modify data on it.

SD Card Read Only Symptoms

Usually, a memory SD card or USB flash drive itself has been locked into "read only" mode; it's because the card is getting old, damaged, corrupted, or infected by a virus. Sometimes, human error will also make SD card read only.

When your Android or camera external SD card mounted as read only, it will prevent you from writing, deleting, copying or moving data on it. Here we'll teach you how to fix a read-only SD card to read-write by [1] checking the write protection tab, or using the [2] Windows command, [3] automatic write protection removal software & [4] a third-party FAT32 to NTFS converter. As long as you successfully remove read only from the SD card, you can go on formatting the SD card freely as you want.

Method 1. Unlock Read-Only SD Card with Physical Write Protection Tab

Most memory cards for Android or Nintendo Switch use are usually with a physical write protection tab. If you find such a tab on your card, then first you need to slide it to the unlocked position to remove the read only attribute.

Step 1: Take out the memory card that is currently in a read only state from your device. 

Step 2: Check if there is a physical lock switch on it. 

Step 3: Position the lock switch from ON to OFF and unlock the SD card.

remove read only from sd card

Method 2. Remove Read Only from SD Card Using CMD

Related post: how to fix external hard drive or SD card read-only on Mac

Step 1: Plug the read only micro SD card into Windows.

Step 2: Click "Start" > "Run" and enter cmd.

Step 3:Enter diskpart.

Step 4: Type list volume. Now you'll see all your connected drives, see which one is the memory card drive.

Step 5: Type select volume #. # represents the letter of your memory card drive.

Step 6: Type attributes disk clear readonly > removing the write protection.

Copy all the commands here:

list volume
select volume #
attributes disk clear readonly

Method 3. Fix Read Only SD Card Using Write Protection Removal Software

If you don't consider yourself a pro-computer user and you're not familiar with command-lines, don't worry. There are graphical-based solutions to help you remove write-protection from your hard drives, USB drives, and even SD cards.

EaseUS CleanGenius is one of these tools that helps you fix aforementioned issues on your drives without knowing a thing about command-line.

Here's an easy-to-follow guide on how to use this tool to get your issues sorted:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD and install EaseUS CleanGenius (free) on your computer.

Step 2: Run EaseUS CleanGenius on your PC, select Optimization and choose the Write Protection mode.

disable write protection

Step 3: Select the device that is write-protected and click Disable to remove the protection.

Disable Write Protection from storage devices.

Now open your SD. You should be able to edit, delete, copy or move files without a hitch.

Method 4. Change Read Only SD Card Using FAT32 to NTFS Converter

SD cards are usually formatted with FAT32. One solution to fix SD card read only issue is to convert the FAT32 file system to NTFS. Diskpart command can help you with the conversion, however, with a complete data loss. An easier and safer way to convert to NTFS without data loss is with the help of EaseUS free partition manager.

Step 1. Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer.

Step 2. Select a FAT32 partition, right-click on it and select "Convert to NTFS". If you need to convert a storage device such as SD card or USB flash drive to NTFS, insert it into your PC first and repeat the previous operation.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 3. Click "OK" on the pop-up dialog box to continue.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 4. Now the converting process will start automatically. Wait until the operation process is finished.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

How to Format Read Only SD Card to Normal

Many people tend to format a memory card when mounted as read-only on their Android phones. However, you all end up with failure because of the error that Windows was unable to complete the format, just like how Windows Disk Management fails to format a write-protected SD card. Only when you removed the read-only attribution on the SD card, you can then format it and restore SD card full capacity.

It's easy to format a read-only SD card by using EaseUS partition manager software again. Just plug in your SD card with the read-only problem that you have fixed and follow the simple steps to get a full fix.

Step 1. Find your SD card and right-click the partition you want to format and choose "Format".

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

Step 3. Click "OK" on the pop-up window to continue.

Step 4. Click the "Execute Operation" button on the toolbar, then click "Apply" to start formatting your SD card.

By formatting an SD card that was mounted as read-only can help restore its full capacity and make it work as a new storage card.

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

Read full bio

Written by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working in EaseUS for over ten years, starting from a technical writer to a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over 10 years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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  • I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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  • Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes.

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  • It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool.

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