How to remove the protection from a SD card

Written by justen everage
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How to remove the protection from a SD card
SD cards come with a protection switch. (sd cards image by timur1970 from

SD cards come with a physical protection switch that can be easily turned on or off. The protection switch will prevent any files to be written to or deleted from the card while turned on. Turning your switch on will render the card a "read-only" device, allowing you to read from it while it is connected to a computer, which is helpful to avoid an accidental file deletion. Another form of protection SD cards sometimes have is copyright protection. Copyright protection is installed on some SD cards and content to prevent copyright infringement or illegal duplication.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • SD card

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  1. 1

    Locate the read-only protection switch on your SD card. It is the only moving part on the card. Turn the switch upward to enable read-only mode or down to use the card in write mode.

  2. 2

    Disable the CPRM (Content Protection for Removable Media) by formatting the SD card. Formatting the SD card will delete all data and files contained on the card, so be sure to save them elsewhere first. To format the SD card, simply plug it into your computer and open "My Computer." Locate the memory card drive, which should say "removable media." Right-click on it. Select "format" from the drop-down menu. Most cameras and other devices use the FAT32 file system, so check the box indicating FAT32 to be your new file system. If you do not plan to use the SD card in a camera or other external device, you may choose the NTFS file system for speedier data transfers.

  3. 3

    Check to see that the protection on your SD card has been removed properly. If your operating system fails to format the card entirely, you may want to download third-party software to do a low-level format of the card. Low-level formatting software will remove all data from the card, ignoring any programming on the card, which may have instructions for operating systems to not delete certain protection features. Low-level formatting programs can be found online for free and are simple to use. After performing a low-level format with third-party software, insert the card into your computer's SD card slot and repeat Step 2. This will ensure that a new file system is built and that the card will be able to store files again.

Tips and warnings

  • When buying memory cards, look for cards that do not have restrictions, such as content protection. There are many available and this will help to avoid the problem altogether.
  • Do not remove protection from cards that contain media with digital rights--it may be a breach of copyright law.

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