Fix Memory Card Locked Error Without Losing Data

When there is a memory card locked error on your camera or Android phone, you will not be able to add new files to your device or edit or delete the files stored on your SD card. To fix the error of memory card locked, you can unlock your memory card in three ways. If there is data loss after removing the sd card locked error, you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover your files.

Table of Contents

When your memory card gets locked, don't worry. Follow one fo the provided methods here to unlock your memory card without losing any data:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Switch Card Lock If the memory card has a plastic slider switch, switch if from "OFF" to "ON"...Full steps
Fix 2. Unlock with Password On Android Phone, go to "Settings" > "Security & privacy" > ""More settings" > "Unlock SD card"...Full steps
Fix 3. Remove Write Protection Use attributes disk clear readonly command or EaseUS M Tool to remove the write protection...Full steps
Fix 4. Format Memory Card Connect SD card to PC > Use File Explorer or Disk Management to format the card...Full steps
Bonus Tip. Recover Data If you lost data, run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard > Scan and recover lost SD data...Full steps

Memory Card Locked

"Recently, I have some problems with my camera card. Every time when I am trying to take pictures using my Sony camera, it shows me "Memory card locked" error message. So how do I unlock a locked memory card without formatting or losing my data?"

memory card locked error

Memory cards, including SD cards, Micro SD cards, CF cards, and more, are commonly used in digital cameras and Android phones. Like memory card not showing files on mobile, "memory card locked" error also occurs quite frequently. If your memory card is locked or write-protected, you will get the error you cannot add new files to the device or edit the existing files on it, which is not wanted by most of the users. To make sure you can use your SD card as usual, you need to unlock the memory card to remove the "memory card locked" or "SD card locked" error.

4 Fixes for "Memory card locked" Error

Depending on your specific situation, you will need different ways to unlock the SD card. 

Method 1. Remove "Memory card locked" Error via Lock Switch

Usually, SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card or Eye-Fi cards have a small plastic slider switch on the left side of the card which is used to unlock or unlock the device, serving to prevent the writing or erasing of the files stored in the card.  In the 'up' position the card is unlocked, writable, and can be erased. In the 'down' position the memory card is 'locked' and then your camera or Android phone will show you the "Memory card locked" error. 

Turning off locking slide switch to fix memory card locked error

So, when you get "Memory card locked" error message, check your SD card and make sure that you didn't accidentally place the tiny locking slide switch on the side of your SD card in the "locked" downward position. It is the first and easiest step to unlock memory card.

If the switch is missing or broken, you can use a toothpick or something similar to carefully toggle the switch to unlock your SD card.

Method 2. Unlock SD Card with Password

If you have locked your SD card on your Android phone, you need to remove the error "SD card locked" on your mobile using the password you set.

Step 1. Open "Settings" on your Android phone.

Step 2. Go to "Security & privacy" > "More settings".

Step 3. Choose "Unlock SD card" and enter your password when needed.

Method 3. Remove Write Protection on the SD Card

Write protection on the SD card may also cause "SD card locked" error on your digital camera or mobile phone. Thus, removing write protection could be helpful in some cases. Here you can remove the "read-only" attribute using diskpart on computer.

Step 1. Connect your memory card into your computer via a card reader and run "Command Prompt" as an administrator.

Step 2. Enter diskpart and click "Yes" in the prompt asking for notification.

Step 3. Enter the following command in order:

list volume select volume X (Replace "X" with the number of your write-protected SD card.)
attributes disk clear readonly

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.

There is more than one way to remove write protection on an SD card. For other ways, you can refer to the article about how to fix the error "Windows cannot run disk checking on this volume because it is write protected".

Method 4. Format the Memory Card

If you don't remember the password you set when lock your SD card or the tips above fail to fix "memory card locked" error on your storage device, you can only force unlock your memory card by formatting, which will erase all the existing files on your device. Besides, data erased by force unlocking your SD card is difficult to recover.

How to Recover Lost Files from Locked Memory Card

If you have successfully removed the error "memory card locked" but find there is data loss on your device, you can use the hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover the lost data. Besides, although retrieving the data erased by force unlocking the device is hard to get back, you can also try the software to scan for lost files.

To perform SD card data recovery:

Step 1. Select the memory card and scan

Connect the memory card to your computer and launch EaseUS card recovery software on your PC. Click "Scan" to start looking for your lost data.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Wait for the scanning process to finish.

After the scanning process, you can check and filter wanted files in this program. Click "Filter" if you are looking for a specific file type.

select the memeory card files

Step 3. Recover wanted files.

You can directly double-click the files to preview and see if the files are all right. After this, you can choose wanted files and click "Recover" to restore them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

recover memeory card files

The Bottom Line

To fix a problem like "SD card locked" is always companied with data loss if you forget the password or the switch isn't working. This should remind you of backing up data regularly. You can do back up your SD card by manually copying files to somewhere else, using free backup software or sync the files to the cloud storage. No matter which way you choose, taking action is the most important.

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy has been working as a technical writer for eight years. She specializes in making the complicated easy. She believes that technology should bring users satisfaction, not annoyance, so she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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