Fix Write-protected SanDisk microSD Cards on Windows & Mac

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Have you tried to copy or delete a file on an SanDisk microSD card or reformat the drive for other purposes but encounter a write protection failure? This post will help you fix the write-protected microSD card.

The write protection feature on microSD cards is designed to avoid accidental deletion and disk erasure. But it can be annoying when the “The disk is write protected” message pops up, which stops you from writing to the microSD card.

The microSD card or SD card write protectedissue happens when you are facing the following situations:

  • Your microSD card is physically locked by the adapter.
  • The microSD card has bad sectors or other file system issues.
  • A malware or virus infected the drive and added write protection to it.

Quick Fix: Check the microSD Card Adapter First

This method applies only to people who use a microSD to SD card adapter. If you access the microSD card directly through a USB reader or other devices, move on to the detailed solutions on Windows and Mac.

There is a physical lock on the left side of the adapter, and you need to slide it up to disable the write protection. Also, flip the lock on and then back off and try it again.

Check the microSD Card Adapter First

Tips: The groove on the right side of the microSD card adapter may prevent certain card readers from writing to the drive. Therefore, another simple trick is to cover the groove with transparent tape.

Ensure that the tape is tight and doesn’t cover the metal connector, so it won’t be caught on the reader.

If the lock is loose, the adapter can switch to the locked position when it is plugged into your computer’s port, in which case you can also tape it.

If this solution doesn't resolve the write protection issue, you need to insert the SanDisk microSD card into your computer to diagnose or remove the digital write protection.

Remove SanDisk microSD Card Write Protection on Windows

There are multiple ways to solve the microSD card write protection problem on Windows. Let’s dive in to find the right one for you.

Solution 1: Grant writing permission for a single file.

If the file you try to transfer or copy doesn't allow you to do so, it's likely read-only. You can remove the restriction with the following steps.

Step 1: Open Windows File Explorer, navigate to the file and select it.

Step 2: Select the Home tab on the top of the window, then click Properties > Property.

Step 3: In the dialog box, uncheck the box next to Read-only.

Solution 2: Use CHKDSK to repair the corrupted microSD card

If your microSD card is corrupt due to bad sectors or file system issues, you can't write data to it. CHKDSK, a system tool and command in Windows, can help you verify the file system integrity of the microSD card, fix the logical errors and mark the bad sectors.

Here is how to run CHKDSK to fix the microSD card:

Step 1: Press Win + R keys to open the Run dialog box, type cmd and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to run as administrator.

Step 2: Enter chkdsk e: /f /r (replace e with your microSD card’s drive letter) and hit Enter. Wait for the report and follow the onscreen instructions.

Enter chkdsk

Solution 3: Take off write protection using Diskpart

Chances are, your microSD card is facing an error that triggers the write protection. We can fix the error by cleaning the read-only attributes with Diskpart, a command-line disk partitioning utility built in Windows 2000 and later.

Here are the steps to remove the write protection with Diskpart:

Step 1: Press Win + R combos to open the Run dialog box, enter cmd, then click OK.

Step 2: Enter diskpart and press Enter. Allow the app to make changes by clicking Yes. Then input list disk and hit Enter.

Step 3: Based on the capacity information in the Size column to locate your disk number, type in select disk 1 (replace 1 with your microSD card number) and press Enter.

Step4: Type in attributes disk clear readonly, then hit Enter.

Wait for the process to be done, then you should be able to see the text that reads “Disk attributes cleared successfully,” signifying that the write protection of your microSD card is disabled.

Attributes disk clear readonly

Solution 4: Remove write protection with Registry Editor

Editing the registry is another way to remove the write protection from microSD cards, which advanced users prefer. Since you may mess up with the other system registries, this method is only suggested when running out of options.

You are recommended to back up the registry key first. Follow the steps below and act with care.

Steps to terminate write protection with Registry Editor in Windows 8 & 10:

Step 1: Press the Windows + R keys to bring up the Run box. Then input regedit and click OK.

Step 2: On the left panel of the Registry editor window, navigate to this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > StorageDevicePolicies.

Check whether the StorageDevicePolicies folder exists. If not, you need to follow the extra steps to create one. Otherwise, jump to step 3.

Create StorageDevicePolicies key and WriteProtect DWORD value:

  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control.
  • Right-click on the empty space, select NEW > Key. Rename the Key folder StorageDevicePolicies.
  • Select the StorageDevicePolicies folder, right-click on empty space and chooseNew > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename the file WriteProtect.


Step 3: Double-click Write Protect to display the Edit DWORD window.

Step 4: On the “Value data” text box, replace the number with 0. Select OK, Exit regedit, then restart your PC.

Fix Write-protected SanDisk microSD Cards on Mac

If you failed to delete a file on a microSD card with Mac and were told that the drive is read-only, try the fixes below.

Solution 1: Run Disk Utility First Aid

Step 1: Launch Disk Utility through Spotlight (the magnifying glass on the top-right corner of your Mac).

Step 2: Select your microSD card from the left panel, then click First Aid on the top menu bar. Wait for the scanning to complete. If there are any errors, Disk Utility will attempt to repair them.

Solution 2: Change file status from Read-only to Read & Write

Sometimes, one read-only file will cause the whole microSD card to be locked down. To alter the file status, right-click the file and choose Get Info from the drop-down menu.

On the pop-up window, find Sharing & Permission, click the down arrow. When you see the Read-only status, tap on it and switch to Read & Write.

Final Words

Besides the methods above, you can also do a virus check for your microSD card, employ a third-party decryption software to unlock the drive, or gently use some soft and dry cloth to clean the metal connector.

Sometimes you succeed at removing the write protection but found important data lost, in which case you need a data recovery tool such as  iBoysoft Data Recovery to get your files back.

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