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Best 7 Solutions to Unlock SD Card/Memory Card

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 27, 2024 • Filed to: SD Card Solutions • Proven solutions

Everyone uses memory cards if they own a smartphone, tablet, or any other SD card compatible device. For some reason, the SD card inserted in your device will give an error. Your card gets locked due to various reasons. Sometimes, it can be due to the lock switch but unknown reasons exist too. Hence, if you face any such problem in the future then you must know about how to unlock the SD card. Mostly, the camera users face this issue that does not let them view, edit, or store a new file into the memory card. To handle this problem, we have prepared this content to help you to unlock the SD card.

What Is the Lock for an SD Card?

Each modern SD card features a lock switch at its left part. It is mainly used for write protection when the switch is turned on by sliding it down. When this switch is on, you can't delete or modify the data stored on the memory card. You can only view the files and every other action is forbidden. This is a great facility but can be troublesome if you are not experienced enough to unlock the SD card. The lock on an SD card is simple to unlock using the solutions we have given right here.

7 Solutions to Unlock the Memory Card

If you think unlocking a memory card is a headache, it is not true. Many people struggle in knowing how to unlock the SD card. Are you the one who does not know how to unlock the memory card? Do not worry because we are presenting you here with 5 solutions that will assist you in unlocking your memory card.

Solution 1: Slide the lock switch upwards

As we have already talked a lot about the lock switch, just slide the lock tab in the upward position. For your convenience, refer to the given picture of the Sony SD card. When this locking tab is loose then it will slide up automatically. This means it has been corrupted and you have to replace the SD card with a new one.

slide lock sd card

Solution 2: Unlock SD Card with Password

Android smartphone users can unlock the SD card with a password but how will you get the password? Some online service offers you to unlock memory card password online. For this, either you can go to an expert and tell them to unlock your SD card, but they might steal your data too. The better option is to use ES File Explorer, see how.

Step 1: Run ES file Explorer

Install and run "ES file Explorer" on your Android device.

Step 2: Rename the file

Open the "System" folder and find the file "mmcstore". Rename this file with mmstore.txt. This is where you will get the password of your memory card. Enter this password to unlock your memory card when prompted.

Solution 3: Unlock SD card in Windows using CMD

If your phone or camera is showing "the disk is write protected", then you need to use Windows to unlock the SD card. This is the perfect solution for the locked memory card issue.

Step 1: Insert the card

Insert the locked SD card into a card reader and connect it to your computer.

Step 2: Run CMD

Press "Windows" key + "R" to open the run dialog box. Type CMD to open the administrator command prompt. Windows 8 users have to press Windows key + S, enter CMD in the given Run dialog box space. Right-click on it and choose "Run as admin".

Step 3: Type commands

Now, type the following command one by one and keep hitting enter after typing a command

When you are done then exit the command prompt and check if the memory card lock error has been fixed.

unlock sd cmd

Solution 4: Unlock SD card on Mac

Some of you might not own a Windows PC. On Mac, you can perform SD card unlocking using a disk utility tool. This is not a complicated process. All you have to follow some simple steps as given here.

Step 1: Plug in the card

Connect the SD card to your Mac PC. Make sure that no file is containing "Read-only permission". One file having a "Write-protection" can affect the complete disk. In such a case, change the permission to "Read and Write".

Step 2: Open Disk Utility

Go to the "Spotlight or magnifying glass" icon for opening the "Search" bar. On the given space, enter the "Disk utility" and then double-click on it from the given results.

Step 3: Fix the issue

As the "Disk Utility" window opens, choose your SD card name. Click the "First Aid tab" located at the top of the window. This will attempt to fix the errors. Do not forget to follow the instructions carefully.

unlock sd mac

Solution 5: Force unlock your memory card by formatting

Your SD card may be infected with a virus when the problem is not going away. Instead of wondering, "my sd card is locked how I unlock it", force unlock your memory card by formatting it. Although it will lead to the data loss you can recover it using a reliable SD card recovery tool.

Step 1: Connect SD card

Insert the infected SD card to a card reader and connect this to your PC.

Step 2: Open the location and format

Open "My computer" and find the SD card drive icon. Right-click on the SD card icon to view more options. Click on "Format" and in the new appearing drop-down menu, select the "Quick" option and then "OK".

You may feel interested in knowing about How to Format RAW SD Card.

Solution 6: Unlock SD Card with Camera Options

Some cameras include safeguards against image deletion. While you need to turn this feature on manually. Check the option about image or storage protection from your camera’s menu, then, deselect any enabled.

At the same time, the camera might mark some files as read-only or save the files in a protected folder. You can check it by using the camera’s file browser or connecting the sd card to a card reader and checking it from your computer.

If it’s the files that are locked, you can follow this way to unlock them on computer:

  1. Connect the SD card to your computer.
  2. Locate the clocked files in File Explorer.
  3. Right-click on the clocked files and click Properties from the pop-up menu.

    select properties

  4. Ensure the “Read-only” option is disabled.

    uncheck read-only

If the files were moved to a protected folder, you can move the files to any other destination to unlock them.

Solution 7: Access Locked Files by Changing File Permissions

Sometimes the reasons that files become inaccessible may be the files are locked, instead of the SD card. Unlock the files can help you access them again.

To unlock the files, follow this way:

  1. Connect the SD card to your computer and ensure that the card can be recognized successfully.
  2. Locate the inaccessible files with the File Explorer.
  3. Right-click the file and choose Properties. Ensure the “Read-only” option is disenabled.

    uncheck read-only

  4. Right-click on the locked SD card and choose Properties. Then, move to the Security tab and ensure that “Everyone” is listed under the Group or user names: as the following screenshot shows.

    unlock sd mac

  5. Select Everyone by clicking on it. Then check the Permissions for Everyone section. Change all the available options to Allow, such as Full control, Modify, etc.

    permissions for everyone

  6. Click OK to save the settings.

Bonus Tip: Recover Lost Data from a Locked SD Card

When you have no option left to unlock the SD card, the last thing you can do is format the SD card. This way, it is unlocked but you will lose all the stored data. What else you can do now? Take it easy because we are going to tell you the world-class data recovery software. Recoverit is helping its users since 2003. It supports more than 1000 file formats of all types. It has gained over 5,000,000 users due to the performance and features if offers to them. Let us learn now how to unlock a locked memory card using Recoverit.

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Step 1: Run Recoverit

First, ensure that Recoverit is installed on your computer. If you haven't installed it yet then visit the official website to install this software. No matter if you are using Mac or Windows, this is available for both. Wait until it is installing on your system. When it has been installed, launch it.

Step 2: Connect and select the SD card

Plugin the SD card and select it as the target location for recovering the lost data. Click on "Start" after making the right selection.

recoverit interface

Step 3: Scanning the location

The software will initiate full scanning of the SD card. Wait for some minutes. During this time, find the files or pause and stop as per your wish.

operations during scanning

Step 4: Preview and Recover

When the scanning finishes, you can check and preview the files. Recover the files by clicking on "Recover" and store them to any other location wherever you want.

preview recovered photos


It is not a tough thing to learn how to unlock a locked memory card. Anyone with some expertise in computers and CMD can unlock the SD card in a few minutes. When you feel like there is no possibility of unblocking it even after trying everything, recover the stored data using Recoverit. It is a powerful tool for getting access to your lost and deleted data on your memory card. This is the best tool to recover data from memory cards and save it to another storage device. One must try it to prevent the loss of their precious files.

Recoverit author

Eleanor Reed

staff Editor

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