3 Ways to Remove Write Protection on SD Cards

Ben Stegner 09-11-2017

SD card write errors are a pain. When you’ve picked out the perfect SD card How to Pick & Buy the Best SD Card for Your Needs What kind of SD card is right for you? Not all of them are the same, after all. Here are the minimum specs you should aim for depending any given activity or need. Read More and it suddenly won’t let you add new files to it or delete anything, you probably wonder how to fix it.


Thankfully, these write protection problems on SD cards are easy to fix. Here are three quick methods to try when you can’t modify any of the files on your card.

1. Toggle the Physical Switch

3 Ways to Remove Write Protection on SD Cards SD Card Lock Switch

Almost all SD cards include a slider on the side that acts as a locking mechanism. When it’s at the bottom position, it locks the card and prevents you from changing anything on it. Eject the SD card from your device and make sure the slider is at the top, away from the Lock position.

2. Check the Card’s Properties and Space

3 Ways to Remove Write Protection on SD Cards Removable Drive Windows Properties

When you add a removable device to Windows, you can toggle a setting that prevents writing to it. You may have inadvertently enabled this setting, preventing you from changing the SD card’s contents.


To check it, open This PC and look for your SD card under Devices and drives. Right-click it and choose Properties. Some devices, but not all, have a Write Protection entry here that you can toggle. While you’re in this menu, make sure your SD card isn’t totally full. A lack of free space can cause write protection errors.

3. Reset the Card’s Attributes

3 Ways to Remove Write Protection on SD Cards Windows Remove Disk Attributes CMD

If neither of the above solutions were the fix, you can try clearing your card’s write protected status using the Command Prompt Essential Windows CMD Commands You Should Know The bleak interface of the command prompt is your gateway to advanced Windows tools. We show you essential CMD commands that will let you access them. Read More .

Right-click the Start Button and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the list. Type diskpart to open the tool we need, then type list disk to display all drives connected to your machine.

Figure out which one is your SD card (it will likely be near the bottom of the list, and smaller then your other drives) and note its number. Then type the following command:

select disk [DISK NUMBER]

After this, use this command to clear its write protection:

attributes disk clear readonly

You should be able to use the card normally now.

USB drives can also have this problem — check out how to fix a write-protected flash drive How to Fix the Disk is Write Protected USB Error Is your USB drive throwing up a disk write protection error? In this article, we explain what that is and how you can fix it. Read More , and try some of those additional solutions if these didn’t work.

Which solution fixed your SD card write errors? Have you ever dealt with this problem before? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credit: Stocksolutions/Depositphotos

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  1. Daniel J Ibarra
    October 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    NONE! I did all of them and it still says it's write protected! Can someone else help me?

  2. umair mehmood
    June 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    i am still facing this issue i have SanDisk 32 GB SD card and its write Protected this
    artical not help full for me

  3. Jon Arms
    May 8, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    the sd card will not turn off write-only; I have done as instructed 4 times; it remains in read-only mode. When I check attributes in command, read-only=no, but Current Read-only State=Yes. Help!

  4. Kenny-Faith
    November 21, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    After trying the "three ways" yo had i think the write protection was removed successfully...but when i tried formatting it every time it keeps telling me "Windows was unable to complete format"...pls why is that??

  5. Jean K
    April 16, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    I tried all of the above, but nothing worked. The Reset the Card’s Attributes was successful but my computer said it was write protected. I think it is the documents, that I try to copy, that are write protected. These are my documents (receipts from taxes). Could this be the problem and can I fix it so I can copy my documents to another computer?

    • Kenny-Faith
      November 21, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      Well looks like we are both in the same shoes...but when u tried using the command prompt i think it removed the write protection but/yet my system was unable to complete the format.
      And I Don't Know Why!!!!...

  6. rhondo hallard
    April 13, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I had a cheap 16GB SD card that came with a camera and I have Windows10.
    I had to use #3, as is normal not all of he terminology in the Command Prompt menus were the same. It would not recognize the "attributes disk clear readonly" command. The attributes were listed as "Read-only" and the command language did not take the command line using the Cap "R" and the hyphen.
    It apparently worked when I "select disk [number]",
    command response "Disk [number] is now selected disk".
    The I entered "attributes clear readonly"
    When I typed "attributes disk", it came up saying "Read-only: No"
    and now everything is wonderful and the world is a better place.
    May peace be with my people!

  7. akshay Kumar
    February 26, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    thanks many many thanks to you SIR

  8. AGM
    February 12, 2018 at 4:33 am

    my sd card do not have a physical change over switch . S o I tried the second method, but unfortunately it does not show the option to change write protection and so I tried the third method through command prompt..but does not sole the issue.
    what should i do?
    I use sandisk micro sd

    • Andrew Lucas
      March 6, 2018 at 12:19 am

      Same with me 32gb sandisk microsd write protection is impossible to remove and the switch is in the correct position.

  9. Greg Zeng
    November 10, 2017 at 7:13 am

    There are a few FORMAT programs in Windows.
    Hp Usb Disk Storage Format Tool 2.2.3
    Rufus 2.16 Beta
    Sd Card Formatter 5.0.0

    As well, many partition & file manager programs will allow creating & formatting MOST storage media. Usually I use GPARTED in Linux to quickly examine why the storage flash drive cannot work. This can be done with a Flashstick version of "Live" Linux, such as Xubuntu, or "Mint".

    Usually I discover that the flash storage has no partition of any kind at all. So Gparted will "see" this, and allow removal of any rubbish there, then allow creation of the partition. Some flash devices however seem to have inbuilt electronic problems, and can never be rescued, it seems.

  10. ashcode
    November 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

    wow nice