How to Fix Memory Card Locked Error Without Losing Data in 4 Ways


When your memory card gets locked, don't worry. Follow one fo the provided methods here to unlock your memory card without losing any data:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Switch Card Lock If the memory card has a plastic slider switch, switch if from "OFF" to "ON"...Full steps
Fix 2. Unlock with Password On Android Phone, go to "Settings" > "Security & privacy" > ""More settings" > "Unlock SD card"...Full steps
Fix 3. Remove Write Protection Use attributes disk clear readonly command or Qiling M Tool to remove the write protection...Full steps
Fix 4. Format Memory Card Connect SD card to PC > Use File Explorer or Disk Management to format the card...Full steps
Bonus Tip. Recover Data If you lost data, run Deep Data Recovery > Scan and recover lost SD data...Full steps

Memory Card Locked

"Recently, I have some problems with my camera card. Every time when I am trying to take pictures using my Sony camera, it shows me "Memory card locked" error message. So how do I unlock a locked memory card without formatting or losing my data?"

memory card locked error

Memory cards, including SD cards, Micro SD cards, CF cards, and more, are commonly used in digital cameras and Android phones. Like memory card not showing files on mobile, "memory card locked" error also occurs quite frequently. If your memory card is locked or write-protected, you will get the error you cannot add new files to the device or edit the existing files on it, which is not wanted by most of the users. To make sure you can use your SD card as usual, you need to unlock the memory card to remove the "memory card locked" or "SD card locked" error.

4 Fixes for "Memory card locked" Error

Depending on your specific situation, you will need different ways to unlock the SD card. 

Method 1. Remove "Memory card locked" Error via Lock Switch

Usually, SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card or Eye-Fi cards have a small plastic slider switch on the left side of the card which is used to unlock or unlock the device, serving to prevent the writing or erasing of the files stored in the card.  In the 'up' position the card is unlocked, writable, and can be erased. In the 'down' position the memory card is 'locked' and then your camera or Android phone will show you the "Memory card locked" error. 

Turning off locking slide switch to fix memory card locked error

So, when you get "Memory card locked" error message, check your SD card and make sure that you didn't accidentally place the tiny locking slide switch on the side of your SD card in the "locked" downward position. It is the first and easiest step to unlock memory card.

If the switch is missing or broken, you can use a toothpick or something similar to carefully toggle the switch to unlock your SD card.

Method 2. Unlock SD Card with Password

If you have locked your SD card on your Android phone, you need to remove the error "SD card locked" on your mobile using the password you set.

Step 1. Open "Settings" on your Android phone.

Step 2. Go to "Security & privacy" > "More settings".

Step 3. Choose "Unlock SD card" and enter your password when needed.

Method 3. Remove Write Protection on the SD Card

Write protection on the SD card may also cause "SD card locked" error on your digital camera or mobile phone. Thus, removing write protection could be helpful in some cases. Here you can remove the "read-only" attribute using diskpart on computer.

Step 1. Connect your memory card into your computer via a card reader and run "Command Prompt" as an administrator.

Step 2. Enter diskpart and click "Yes" in the prompt asking for notification.

Step 3. Enter the following command in order:

list volume select volume X (Replace "X" with the number of your write-protected SD card.)
attributes disk clear readonly

If you don't consider yourself a pro-computer user and you're not familiar with command-lines, don't worry. There are graphical-based solutions to help you remove write-protection from your hard drives, USB drives, and even SD cards.

Qiling CleanGenius is one of these tools that helps you fix aforementioned issues on your drives without knowing a thing about command-line.

Here's an easy-to-follow guide on how to use this tool to get your issues sorted:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD and install Qiling CleanGenius (free) on your computer.

Step 2: Run Qiling CleanGenius on your PC, select Optimization and choose the Write Protection mode.

Step 3: Select the device that is write-protected and click Disable to remove the protection.

Method 4. Format the Memory Card

If you don't remember the password you set when lock your SD card or the tips above fail to fix "memory card locked" error on your storage device, you can only force unlock your memory card by formatting, which will erase all the existing files on your device. Besides, data erased by force unlocking your SD card is difficult to recover.

How to Recover Lost Files from Locked Memory Card

If you have successfully removed the error "memory card locked" but find there is data loss on your device, you can use the hard drive recovery software - Deep Data Recovery to recover the lost data. Besides, although retrieving the data erased by force unlocking the device is hard to get back, you can also try the software to scan for lost files.

To perform SD card data recovery:

Step 1. Connect the SD card, memory card, or CF Card to your computer and launch Qiling memory card recovery software on your PC. Select file types and click "Next" to start.

Select file types that you want to recover

Step 2. The SD card will be listed under the Devices section. Choose the SD card and click "Scan" to start looking for your lost data.

select a location and click scan

Step 3. The software will start a scan automatically. The scan is powerful enough to find all lost files that even lost file names. After the scanning process, you can find deleted items from the tree-view panel on the left. Then, click "Filter" if you are looking for a specific file type, like photos, documents, videos or emails.

scan and preview the memory/SD/CF card files

Step 4. You can directly double-click the files to preview the content. After this, you can choose wanted files and click "Recover" to restore them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

The Bottom Line

To fix a problem like "SD card locked" is always companied with data loss if you forget the password or the switch isn't working. This should remind you of backing up data regularly. You can do back up your SD card by manually copying files to somewhere else, using free backup software or sync the files to the cloud storage. No matter which way you choose, taking action is the most important.

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