By Emily / Last Updated October 24, 2019

“Unable to format SD card write protected”

“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

What is write protection?

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 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 “unable to format SD card write protected” issue 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.

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. Format write-protected SD card using CMD

Windows comes with inbuilt CMD tools, with which you can create/delete partition, orcheck bad sectors on the target drive and more. To clear read only attribute from SD card, please take the steps:

Step 1. 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 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 formatting process is finished, you can type “exit” to close the window.

Method 2. 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:


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 3. Format write-protected SD card using AOMEI Partition Assistant

If you tried all the above methods but in vain, or if you failed to format an over 32GB SD card to FAT32 in CMD, Disk Management and File Explorer, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can directly format a write protected SD card to NTFS, exFAT, Ext2/3/4 and FAT32 in 64 bit and 32 bit of Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista. Even if the target hard drive is larger than 32GB, you can format it to FAT32 easily via this software.

To format the read only SD card, 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.


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 partitions, wiping system disk and so on, you can upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.