How to Remove Write Protection from USB Drives and Memory Cards

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Sometimes you’ll find that it’s impossible to format, delete or copy new files to an SD card or USB flash drive. Windows will tell you that it is write protected, even though there is no ‘lock’ switch or – if there is – you’ve made sure the switch is set correctly to allow files to be written to the drive.

But just in case this switch is news to you, it is well worth checking that your device has the switch set to ‘unlocked’. When set to ‘locked’ you won’t be able to copy any new files on to the memory card or USB stick, and it also stops you from accidentally formatting it.

You’ll still be able to view files which are already stored on the drive, but you can’t delete them (they sometimes seem to delete OK, but the next time you check, there they are again!).

But if this isn’t the problem, you might still be able to fix things and continue to use your USB flash drive or SD card – we’ll explain how.

Unfortunately, in some cases the device may be corrupt or physically broken and no tricks or software will make it work again. The only solution in this case is to buy a new drive. And if you’re just trying to get back lost data, see our guide on how to recover deleted files for free.

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