By Bryce / Last Updated May 19, 2022

I cannot delete files from my SD card

“I have a 32GB Samsung Micro SD card and I need to copy a certain file to it. In order to free up space on it after I connect it to my computer, I decide to delete some unnecessary files from it. But when I select the file that I need to delete and press “Ctrl + Delete”, the file still exists on my SD card. Finally, I try to format SD card but Windows says that the disk is write-protected. I’m confused and I don’t know how to delete files from the SD card that is write-protected. Have you ever encountered such an issue? Is there any advice? Thanks for your help!”

Why can’t delete files from SD card on PC?

As mentioned above, the issue that you can’t delete files from (micro) SD card can be caused by write protection on SD card. Under such a situation, you are not allowed to delete or modify any files on SD card. In fact, this issue also can be caused by other reasons such as:

▶ The file that you need to delete is opening. If so, all you need to do is to close the file. Then you are able to delete it from SD card.
▶ Poor contact between SD card and SD card slot or adaptor. At this point, check and adjust the SD card and SD card adaptor to keep them in good contact.
▶ The file system of SD card partition is corrupted. If so, your SD card might be protected by adding read-only attributes to all files. Thus, you are not allowed to delete files.

How to solve “cannot delete files from SD card” (six ways included)?

It’s not pleasant to encounter such an issue. After realizing possible reasons for the problem, have a look at simple and quick solutions for the failure of deleting files from SD card on PC.

Way 1. Check write protection tab on SD card (adaptor)

For some SD card, there might be a switch on one side of SD card and a line marked with Lock. If the tab is put in Lock position, you won’t delete files on SD card successfully. Therefore, you need to make sure that the switch on SD card is in Unlock position. If your SD card is without such a switch, please check the SD card adaptor and make sure the tab is in unlock position. After that, try to delete files again.

Remove Write Protection

Way 2. Remove readonly attributes from SD card using CMD

If the switch is in unlock position and you are still unable to delete files due to write protection, try to display the SD card attributes using Diskpart at first:

1. Run Diskpart utility as administrator.

2. Run the commands below in order:

▪ list disk
▪ select disk n
▪ attributes disk clear readonly

Cannot Delete Files from SD Card Clear Readonly

PS.: “n” refers to the disk number of your SD card.

When you see the message – Disk attributes cleared successfully, you are able to close this window and try to delete files on SD card again.

Way 3. Change Value data in Registry

When Diskaprt can’t help you out of the failure of deleting files on SD card, it is time to consider whether there is something wrong with Registry. Here are steps to modify registry:

1. Press Windows + R at the same time, input “regedit” and hit Enter to open Registry.

2. Navigate to the following path:


3. Double click WriteProtect on the right plane and change the Value data to 0.

Change Value Data

4. Reboot your computer to see if you can delete files from SD card again.

Note: Registry is very important for your operating system, so it is advised to backup it just in case of inappropriate operation.

Way 4. Disable write protection via Group Policy Editor

Your SD card will not allow you to delete files on it if access to it is denied by Windows local group policy. At this time, do as the following steps.

1. Input “gpedit.msc” in Search Box and press Enter

2. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Template > System >Removable Storage Access

3. Disable “Removable Disks: Deny execute access”, “Removable Disks: Deny read access” and “Removable Disks: Deny write access”.

Disable Deny Execute Access


Way 5. Run CHKDSK to check and fix SD card

If you are unable to delete files on SD card due to corruption, try to run CHKDSK in CMD to fix it. Let’s see how it works:

1. Press Windows + R, input “cmd” and hit Enter.

2. Type “chkdsk e: /f” and hit Enter.

3. If you receive the message that “The operation could not be completed because the volume is dirty”, try to run “chkdsk e: /f/r/x” command to remove dirty bit and write protection.

4. Input “exit” to close this window.

PS.: Where e is the drive letter assigned to the partition on the SD card

Now, you can open SD card to delete the unnecessary files.

Way 6. Back up wanted files on SD card and format it

If all methods aforementioned are not helpful, you can back up the files that you don’t want to lose on SD card and format it via a third-party SD card format tool like AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Free download it and have a close look at how to format SD card in Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP and Vista. 

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and run it. In the main interface, right-click the partition on the SD card that needs formatting and choose “Format Partition”.

Format Partition

Step 2.Choose one file system and click “OK”.

PS.: If you need to use SD card under Windows operating system, it is recommended to choose NTFS, FAT32 or exFAT.

Step 3. Check pending operating and click “Apply” > “Proceed” to execute it.

Within a few minutes, SD card will be formatted successfully and you can use it normally.

You can use this software to force delete a specific file (files) on SD card or wipe SD card completely as well.
 To enjoy more advanced features like recover deleted partition on SD card, converting dynamic disk into basic without data loss, move folders, you can upgrade it to Professional version.



If you can’t delete files from SD card successfully on PC, you can figure out the possible reason that caused the problem firstly and take action accordingly so that you can fix this issue more effectively.