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How to Fix SD Card Read Only Error on Windows? Try These Solutions

Updated on Friday, June 14, 2024

iBoysoft author Rivers Wong

Written by

Rivers Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


Summary: In this post, we provide you with 5 feasible solutions to help you fix the SD card read only error. Also, if formatting the SD card is the only way to solve the said problem, free download iBoysoft Data Recovery to back up all your data first.

How to fix SD card read only error

When you insert your SD card into a card reader and connect it to your Windows computer, you find that you can't edit any files or documents on it but only read or view them, and they appear as read-only when you check their properties. What's wrong? Is there any solution to fix this problem?

Don't fret! The SD card read only, the SD card not showing up, and the SD card corruption errors happen from time to time. When an SD card is in read-only mode, it would prevent you from modifying data stored on it. Fortunately, this issue is easy to be fixed. Read this article and you'll know how.

Why my SD card is read only?

When your SD card is read only, you can't do any other operations to it, like moving, copying, or transferring items stored on it. But different from SD card write protected, you can delete files on a read-only SD card. This problem doesn't just happen for no reason, there must be something behind it.

Here, we list some most common and possible causes that may lead to the SD card read only issue:

  1. The physical write protection tab on your SD card or the card adapter is locked to enable write protection.
  2. The file system of the memory card is corrupted.
  3. The SD card is set to be read-only manually.
  4. Some specific software and programs make your SD card turn to read-only.

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How to fix the SD card read only error on Windows?

As we mentioned above, many possible causes can make your SD card read-only, and it's never an easy task to figure out the exact reason behind it, so as to fix the issue accurately and specifically. If you have no idea, you can try the following solutions one by one, and see if the write-protected SD card can be turned back to normal.

Solution 1: Unlock the physical write protection tab

Some SD memory cards or SD card adapters have a physical write protection tab on them. When it is in the Lock position, you can't write to the SD card on your Windows computer. In this case, all you need to do is to remove write protection to unlock SD card. Here's how:

  1. Take out your read-only SD card from its adapter or your computer.
  2. Check if there's a physical write protection tab on it. The protection lock switch may look like this.
    unlock the SD card physical write protection tab
  3. Unlock the SD card by switching the write protection tab from Lock to the Unlock position. Then, check if you can write to it now.

If it doesn't work, there's no need to worry. Just move to the next solution.

Solution 2: Repair the file system of your SD card

If the SD card is read-only out of the corruption of its file system, you can use the Windows built-in check disk tool in File Explorer to repair the corrupted files system, so as to remove the read-only status from your SD card. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Connect your read-only SD card to your Windows computer, then launch File Explorer.
  2. Locate your SD card in File Explorer and right-click on it.
  3. Choose Properties in the drop-down context menu, then select the Tools tab.
  4. Click on the Check button. Wait patiently until the whole process is completed.repair the file system of a read only SD card
  5. Check if your SD card is still in read-only mode.

This check disk tool can fix some minor errors on your SD card, as well as the slightly corrupted file system of it. If unfortunately, you find you still fail to write to your SD card, move on.

Solution 3: Remove read only attributes on SD card using CMD

If your SD card is previously set as read only in Diskpart, then it turns out to be not allowed to write to it. With the CMD command line, we can remove the read-only attributes from your SD card, thus fixing the micro SD card read only problem. Here's how:

  1. Plug your ready only micro SD card into the Windows computer with an adapter.
  2. Click the Windows logo or Start in the bottom-left corner of your screen.
  3. Press Windows + X keys on your keyboard together, and a dialogue box appears.
  4. Choose the Command Prompt from the list, type "diskpart", then press the Enter key.
  5. Type the following command line and hit Enter, all drives that are connected to your computer will be listed. Find your read only SD card, and remember its disk number.list disk
  6. Enter the command below, where "n" refers to the disk number, you should replace it with the disk number of your SD card, then hit the Enter key.select disk n
  7. Copy and paste the command below, and hit Enter to remove the read-only status from your malfunctioning SD card.attributes disk clear readonlyremove read only attributes on SD card

If you see "Disk attributes cleared successfully" appears in the window, then you're all set. Check your SD card and see if the read only mode is disabled. If not, try the next solution.

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Solution 4: Edit Windows registry key with Registry Editor

You can change your read only SD card or read only memory card back to normal by editing the Windows registry key with Registry Editor. Be careful when you perform the following steps:

  1. Make sure your SD card is connected to the Windows computer.
  2. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run window, and input "regedit", then hit Enter to open Registry Editor on your device.
  3. Navigate to the following path:
  4. See if there's a StorageDevicePolicies folder in the above path, if there is, jump to the next step. If there isn't, right-click on the path, select New > Key in the pop-up menu, then name it as StorageDevicePolicies.
  5. Select the StorageDevicePolicies folder, right-click on it, and click New > DWORD (32-bit) Value to create a new value named WriteProtect.
  6. Double-click the WriteProtect in the right window, and set the Value data to 0. Then, click the OK button to confirm the setting. Close registry editor.Edit Windows registry key with Registry Editor
  7. Safely eject your SD from the computer, restart it, and connect the SD card to your device again. Check if the SD memory card read only problem still exists.

Solution 5: Format your read only SD card

If unfortunately, all of the above four attempts fail to remove the read-only status of your SD card, then you should consider formatting it. Do note that formatting a drive will delete all data stored on it and cause permanent data loss, so you'd better back up your SD card first.

But the SD card remains read only, and you can't even copy files, then how do you restore data from it? Don't worry! A third-party data recovery tool is all you need.

iBoysoft Data Recovery is the best data recovery software for Windows users in the market. With it, you can get all your files and items off from your read only SD card, including Office documents, photos, videos, audio, music, and more. Besides, it supports recovering deleted or lost files from other storage devices, such as micro SD cards, HDD, SSD, USB flash drives, etc.

Here's how to get data off and back up your read only SD card using iBoysoft Data Recovery:

  1. Free download, install and launch iBoysoft Data Recovery on your computer.
  2. Make sure your SD card that is in read-only status is connected to your device.
  3. Choose the Data Recovery module in the software's main interface.iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows main interface
  4. Select your read only SD card, then click the Next button. iBoysoft Data Recovery will start to scan your SD card, wait until the whole scanning process is completed.scan data from read only SD card
  5. Preview the scanned results, select the files you want to get off from the SD card, then click Recover to save the selected files to another destination. Do not save them back to your read only SD card again, it would cause permanent data loss. 
    back up read only SD card using iBoysoft Data Recovery

Since you've backed up your SD card, you can format the SD card freely Here's how to format SD card:

  1. Navigate to Computer > Manage > Storage > Disk Management, and find your SD card in the Windows Disk Management window.
  2. Select the SD card, right-click on it, then choose Format.
  3. In the dialogue box, choose exFAT or FAT32 file system or others under "File System", tick the "Perform a quick format" option, then tap on OK.format read only SD card
  4. Wait until the format process is over.

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In this post, we offer 5 solutions to help your deal with the SD card read only issue. If format is the last chance to fix the said issue, you can use iBoysoft Data Recovery to back up your SD card before formatting, thus making sure all your valuable data stored on it stay safe and sound.