By Emily / Last Updated April 10, 2020

Unable to format SD card write protected error

“I have SanDisk 16GB micro SD card and I always used it on my Windows computer. It worked great until a few days ago. I delete some files from it but they are back into File Explorer later. I have tried several times but the same outcome. Then I attempted to format it on the computer but failed, too. Windows cannot complete the format since the disk is write-protected. So any advice for this issue? Thanks.”

Unable Format SD Card

About write protection attribute on SDD card

Generally speaking, write protection (also called read only) is the ability of a data storage device to prevent new data from being written or old information from being modified. That is to say, you can read the information stored on the disk, but cannot delete/change them or cannot copy files or folder since access is denied. Thereby, when the SD card is write-protected, you will be unable to format it successfully in traditional ways.

How to format write-protected SD card in Windows 10/8/7?

In order to solve the “unable to format SD card write protected” error in Windows, firstly you have to remove its write protection attribute, but how to do it specifically? The following methods are proven to be effective, so try them one by one until you resolve the problem.

Warning: Before you proceed, you had better retrieve data from the SD card in advance in case that data loss occurs during the following operations.

Method 1. Verify the write protection tab is unlock

In some cases, SD card has a physical write-protection switch on the side or bottom. This switch can keep the contents on the SD card safe from malware or modification. If your SD card has this switch, move it to the "unlock" position, which will disable the write protection on the SD card and enable you to format it successfully.

Move Lock Switch

Method 2. Check errors on the write protected SD card

Windows comes with inbuilt CMD tools, with which you can create/delete partition, or check bad sectors on the target drive and more. If your SD card becomes read only due to the disk errors, you can use it to check and fix them: Click on “Start” and type “cmd” into the search box. Right-click Command Prompt icon and select “Run as administrator” to open the program, then type the command "chkdsk g: /f /r /x" and press Enter. (Replace letter g with your SD card drive letter.)

Chkdsk Check Error

Method 3. Format write-protected SD card using CMD

If you are unable to format SD card write protected because it is set into read only mode in Diskpart, you can clear read-only attribute from SD card via this tool. First open the command prompt window, then type the following commands in turn and press Enter after each one.

  • diskpart

  • list disk

  • select disk #: select disk 1 in my case.

  • attributes disk clear readonly: to remove its write protection properties.

Then, the SD card is back to normal, on longer write-protected. To format it, you can input other several commands.

  • clean

  • create partition primary

  • format fs=ntfs quick

Format Disk CMD

After the formatting process is finished, you can type “exit” to close the window.

Method 4. Disable write protection using Registry Editor

Besides using CMD utility to remove write protection from SD card, you can also make use of Registry Editor.

Step 1. Press “Wind + R” to open the Run dialogue. Type “regedit” and click “OK” to open the Registry Editor.

Step 2. Expand the entries on the left-hand pane to navigate to the following path:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies

Step 3. Right click “WriteProtect” and modify the value data from 1 to 0. Then, click “OK”.

Change Value Data Registry Editor

After this, you can format SD card in Disk Management or File Explorer as before you do.

Method 5. Format write-protected SD card using AOMEI Partition Assistant

If you tried all the above methods but in vain, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can directly format an SD card, which is write-protected due to a corrupted file system, to NTFS, exFAT, Ext2/3/4 and FAT32 in 64 bit and 32 bit of Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista. To do so, first of all, you need to download the freeware, install and run it in a Windows-based computer. Then follow the steps to finish the formatting process.

Step 1. In the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right click the write protected SD card and select “Format Partition”.

Format Partitoin

Step 2. Choose a compatible file system for your Windows OS such as FAT32, and you can also edit a special partition label and change cluster size in this window. Click “OK” to continue.

Fat32 128gb Usb

Step 3. Back to the main interface, click “Apply->Proceed” to commit the pending operation.

Apply

Final Words

Now, you must have gotten rid of the problem “unable to format SD card write protected” with the help of the listed methods. Apart from formatting write-protected disk directly, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard can also format corrupted, RAW hard drive to NTFS, FAT32 and other popular file systems in Windows.

If you want to enjoy more advanced features like migrating OS between MBR and GPT disks, recovering lost partition, wiping system disk and so on, you can upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.