What To Do When You Cannot Delete or Format Files From SD Card?

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Summary: Being unable to delete files from an SD card is distressing because you won’t be able to delete or even can't format the SD card. This kind of error needs immediate attention. The article explains the troubleshooting methods with which you can delete or format SD cards with ease.

This must be the most unfamiliar of all the issues on SD cards. This error is not critical, but it might indicate that something critical is heading your way. So, if you ever encounter this specific error where you cannot delete files on SD cards without any further due, take a backup of your entire SD card. Since trying to fix such errors might potentially lead to data loss, this ensures your data is safe once the backup is sorted out. Move on to the next section, which explains why you cannot delete files from your SD card.

Why does it say you cannot delete files on an SD card?

Generally, this error doesn’t mean anything serious, and it is mainly related to write protection on the SD card, such as:

  • Write Lock notch on SD card is enabled
  • Write protection attributes are enabled
  • Write permission is disabled

Incompatible SD card drives can also be a reason. However, it might be the most minor reason for the error because almost all the recent operating systems are integrated with all the required drivers.

Finally, the error can occur in the worst-case scenarios if your SD card is severely damaged, such as virus attacks or bad sectors. It is most unlikely to the scenario. Nevertheless, there is always a possibility. This is why you need to maintain a backup to avoid such issues.

These are the only possible scenarios, even if you cannot delete files from an SD card on a Mac. In the coming sections, you will find the easiest methods to fix the SD card errors.

Disable Write Protection on SD card

Generally, to disable the write protection, you have to slide the Lock notch on the SD card. Every SD card will mention what direction it has to be slid to unlock the SD card. This is a manual method. Also, there is another way an SD card can be locked up or written protected. This can be done with the help of a command prompt.

Disable the Write Protection Attributes on the SD card

If you are to disable the SD card attributes using diskpart or command prompt, be highly cautious. Because using diskpart is Risky, one wrong command can make or break the data on the SD card, which is one more reason why you need to have a backup or SD card recovery software if the situation gets out of hand.

Steps to disable write protection attributes on the SD card

Open the command prompt, enter “diskpart,” and type the following commands in the specific sequence.

  • List disk
  • Select disk # (instead of #, type the disk number. Remember the SD card size because the command prompt will only display the size.)
  • Attribute disk clear read-only.

These commands may seem simple to use. However, the diskpart utility is also used to force format the SD card if the SD card will not format. This is why you should be cautious while using Diskpart. Hence, using the wrong command might erase your entire SD card. Nevertheless, if you ever lose a single file from the SD card, you can use Remo Recover to recover data from the SD card.

Apart from the read-only attributes or write permission, we cannot delete files on the micro SD card. The error can be because of administrator permission. You can find more details concerning this in the next section.

How do I fix no permission to delete from an SD card?

One final reason you cannot delete any files from the SD memory card might be that the user disables the write permission. In such cases, you will notice an error message.

To fix that, you must enable write permission on your SD card. To enable write permission, you must log into your computer using the administrator account; you cannot change it if you don’t have administrator privilege.

  • Go to This PC or Windows File Explorer
  • Right-click on the SD card and access the properties
  • Select the Security tab and select edit (if you are not in an administrator account, it will ask you for an admin password, which is mandatory)
  • It opens permissions for the SD card window. Here, you can check the allow box for written permission.

These 3 methods resolve the cannot delete files error only when the SD card is written protected using Windows.

Note: Here, we have discussed how to fix the issue of not being able to delete files from SD cards. If you have deleted files or photos from the SD card, you can read this write-up about recovering deleted photos from the SD Card.

How to Fix Cannot Erase Files on the SD card on Mac?

Unfortunately, there is no specific method on Mac to fix the error, and it cannot delete files on SD cards. Additionally, there is no way you can remove write protection on an SD card using a Mac. Even if you access the information from the Apple knowledge base, the information provided is just erased from the SD card using MS-Dos.

It is not suggested because erasing the SD card causes catastrophic data loss. So, a Mac user to fix the error cannot delete files on an SD card Mac by using a Windows computer. In any circumstances, if you ever went ahead and erased the data, the only way you can recover the deleted files is with the help of Remo data recovery software. Developed under intense testing scenarios, Remo is one of the highly suggested software to recover data from damaged or corrupted SD cards.

About the Author: John Harris

With a decade of experience in data recovery, John Harris, Senior Editor at Remo Software, is your go-to specialist. His focus includes partition management, Windows solutions, and data troubleshooting, delivering insightful content that serves both users and search engines. John's expertise shines through in illuminating blog posts, untangling data loss intricacies across diverse storage platforms.…