How To Get Rid of Memory Card Is Locked Error?

By | April 12, 2014

Fixes For Unlocking Locked Memory Card

Summary: If your camera memory card or SD memory is showing “Card is Locked”, “Memory card/SD card is locked” error, then don’t worry! In this article post, you are going to learn some effective methods that will help you to fix and get rid of Memory card is locked error.

However, if the card is locked and if you do not want to lose important data from it, then it is highly recommended that you must try Photo Recovery which is suitable Card Data Recovery software.

With the help of Card Data Recovery Tool, you can:

  • Easily extract media files like photos, videos and audio files from locked memory card or memory card lock broken.
  • Recover media files from various memory cards such as locked SD/miniSD/microSD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/TF/xD/SmartMedia, etc.
  • Retrieve photos and videos from camera memory card that says “card is locked” error.
  • Preview recoverable multimedia files within preview screen of the software before final recovery
  • 100% read-only. Safe, secure and easy to use.

Free Download Card Recovery For Locked Memory Card

Free Download Photo Recovery for Windows Free Download Photo Recovery for Mac
* Free version of the program only scans and previews recoverable objects.

Alright so let us start with practical user scenario!

Practical Scenario: A User Canon Camera Display “Card Is Locked” Error

memory card lock

Have a brand new elph 520 HS.  First time trying to operate receive “Memory Card Locked”.  Purchased a brand new memory card.  Same error.  Can’t format, the “format” option remains in the background and is not selectable

– Original Post From Canon Community

Similarly, there are many users out there experiencing with ‘card is locked” error.

So, now the question is – How do you unlock a locked memory card?

Well, find out the fixes below!

Additional Reading: Learn To Recover Write Protected SD Card Data

Method 1: Fix Memory Card Locked Error By Sliding The Lock Switch To Unlock Position

Normally, SD card, SDHC/SDXC, Eye-Fi cards or other various card have a small plastic slider switch on the left edge that is used to “lock” or “write protect” card. It prevent erasing, deleting or writing of files stored on the card.

If the small plastic slider lock switch is in “Up” position, it means your card is unlocked and anyone can add/delete or access your card. And if the small slider switch lock is in the “Down” position, it means that your card is locked and nobody can add/delete or access your card.

So, the solutions to fix the issue are mentioned below!

If you use digital camera and if it displays “Memory card is locked” error message then the problem might be with your memory card that has a tiny lock switch that has moved into the locked position. This may happen if you have accidentally switched the slide switch that is present on the side of your SD card in the “Locked” position in downward position. Then correct its position by sliding up towards the direction of connectors. If you discover that the locking switch is missing or it is broken then you should try methods those are mentioned below.

Alternatively, you can remove the card and re-install it again, but you must switch off the camera before removing the memory card. And then re-install the card on your camera.

Method 2

The old camera and the card readers cannot read the memory card with 4 GB capacity or higher – If such a problem is happening after buying a new card then you need to follow the steps that are mentioned in 2nd method.

Additional Reading: [Solved]: SD Card Won’t Format Write Protected

Method 3

If you are using your card for a long time but recently it started to show “memory card error” or “card requires formatting” then your card has not been formatted for a long period. An unformatted card may work fine initially with the camera but it may get corrupt over the time. The card may also get corrupted if the camera power gets interrupted during shooting of pictures.

Formatting the card in the camera corrects this problem. But this can erase all your photos that are taken on the card. You need to save all these photos on your computer and then proceed with the formatting option but if you don’t did it you can easily recover your photos back using Photo Recovery software.

Method 4

If still file corruption occurs occasionally then the files or movies taken on the card may consists of unrecognized files or something similar to it. Then you need to see the “Class” or the writing speed of the card. The face of card contains a Class with a number or number circled with a capital “C”. If neither C nor Class is written on the card then the card is of Class 2 or lower.

Today’s newer camera consists of very high resolution pictures and high video definition that we write on the SD cards. So the older cards cannot keep up with the writing speed of the newer camera to save these files. As a result some of your files may get corrupted or lost. So it is recommended to use newer cards.

Additional Reading: Learn To Fix/Remove/Format “Write Protected” USB Drive

Method 5

If still the file corruption occurs then use famous “Toothpick” fix method. Even after performing above all these techniques your card is still showing locked then it is likely that the locking switch inside the camera card slot may have stuck. If you see inside the slot on the side of the slot where SD card slide switch is present you will notice a glint of gold color on the side. This is camera’s lock and unlock switch. Then push this switch to unlock and clear out if any junk is present that has caused this jamming.

Method 6

Use the Tape Fix method. If above all these methods does not work then you may have a broken locking tab on your card. Then you need to take a tiny piece of clear tape and place it tightly over the slot where the locking of the switch is present. It may correct your problem.

Tape 1 Tape 2

Additional Reading: How to Open Memory Card And Recover Files Without Formatting It?

Method 7: Fix “Memory Card Is Locked” Error Without Losing Data

If your camera or phone still display “memory card locked” or “card is write protected” error or even after unlocking “card needs formatting”, then it means that your card or file system is corrupted. In such cases, formatting the card is the only option to fix this problem.

But formatting the card will erase all data saved on your card. So, do you fix card is locked issue without formatting and losing data?

Well, in such case it is recommended that you must first try Photo Recovery which is reliable Memory Card Data Recovery software that is available for both Windows and Mac computer. It will help you to recover data from locked memory card, write protected/corrupted/damaged/cannot read memory cards. The recovery tool for locked card will allow recovering photos, videos and audio files from the card.

Download Photo Recovery For Windows Download Photo Recovery For Mac

Below follow the step-by-step guide on how to recover inaccessible data from locked memory card by using Photo Recovery software.

You Might Also Be Interested In:

Steps To Recover Photos, Videos and Audio Files From Locked Memory Card

Step 1 – Install "Photo Recovery" software and launch it on your computer. Click on "Recover Photo, Audio & Video" tab to recover photos, videos and audio files from any SD card, external USB drive or computer hard drive. Connect the media to your computer and then perform the process.

Stellar Photo Recovery Screenshot 1

Step 2 – Select the drive from which you want to recover files. All the hard drive and external media will be shown in the list. Now select the desired drive to scan and then click on "Scan" button.

Stellar Photo Recovery Screenshot 2

Step 3 – Once you click on "Scan" button the software will show that scanning is in progress. The software will search for all multimedia files from your selected drive or attached media.

Stellar Photo Recovery Screenshot 3

Step 4 – After scanning, all the files that are found in the selected volume, hard disk or other storage media devices are listed. You can now select the files to preview them and then you can click on "Recover" button to finally save them on your computer.

Stellar Photo Recovery Screenshot 4

Once, you successfully recover your important pictures, videos and audio files from locked or write protected memory card, you can then move ahead to format your card to re-use it again.


After reading the article, I am sure that from the above methods and fixes you were easily able to fix and get rid of ‘memory card locked” error message.

Also you have learned about the Photo Recovery software that allows you to recover inaccessible media files from locked memory card without losing data.

Free Download Digital Media Recovery

How To Get Rid of Memory Card Is Locked Error?
Article Name
How To Get Rid of Memory Card Is Locked Error?
Here learn how to get rid of memory card is locked error and learn to recover from Card Lock issues and problems and unlock your card and recovers all the photos, videos and audio from locked card and saves them on your desired location.
Publisher Name
Rescue Digital Media
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