SD Card Reader says the card is write-protected

Archived from groups: comp.sys.hp.hardware (More info?)

Hi all,

I am hoping someone can help me with a very frustrating problem.

I have an HP Pavillion zt3000, running Microsoft Windows XP Pro.

I cannot copy any files to the SanDisk SD Card (1GB) using the SD Card
reader embedded in the notebook. It throws the "Cannot copy xxxx file.
The Disk is write-protected. Remove the write-protection or use another
disk" message.

So far these are the troubleshootings I have done.

1) SD Card is not locked. I double-checked it numerous times.

2) I have already isolated the problem exists with the SD card reader
and not the SD Card itself. When I plug in a separate SD card reader
via USB, copying to/from the card works just fine. The
problem only exists with the SD Card reader embedded in the notebook.

3) I have downloaded the SD Card Reader program (SP24430.exe) from HP
site that installs the drivers needed. Rebooted and tried again, the
problem still exists.

4) I have already downloaded and updated the ROM and BIOS to latest
from HP site.

Btw, I am trying to use the SD card to transfer files from my laptop to
Treo 650.
97 answers Last reply
More about card reader card write protected
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.hp.hardware (More info?)

    HP guy told me to try couple things.

    1) he told me the same thing you suggested, so I tried with my
    co-worker's Palm One SD card and that worked FINE!

    2) And then he told me to download this HP Enhancement Software for XP
    SP2, so I did, but that didn't make my problem go away.

    So I am left with the conclusion that HP zt3000 Notebook's SD card
    reader is INCOMPATIBLE with SanDisk's SD card.

    Anyone got a good idea?
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.hp.hardware (More info?)

    I am _not_ an expert on SD cards nor on Pavillions, but do you get the
    write protected message for all SD cards you try?

    rick jones
    denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, rebirth...
    where do you want to be today?
    these opinions are mine, all mine; HP might not want them anyway... :)
    feel free to post, OR email to rick.jones2 in but NOT BOTH...
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.hp.hardware (More info?) wrote:
    > HP guy told me to try couple things.

    > 1) he told me the same thing you suggested, so I tried with my
    > co-worker's Palm One SD card and that worked FINE!

    Good. At least it is now known that the reader in the laptop isn't
    completely toast.

    Does your SanDisk card work in your co-workers equipment? (Sorry if
    you covered that in the original post)

    > 2) And then he told me to download this HP Enhancement Software for
    > XP SP2, so I did, but that didn't make my problem go away.

    > So I am left with the conclusion that HP zt3000 Notebook's SD card
    > reader is INCOMPATIBLE with SanDisk's SD card.

    That is a plausible hypothesis (I might put it in the other order :) ,
    but first I'd also try another example of a SanDisk SD card of the
    same size if you can borrow one, and then perhaps one of the same size
    as your co-worker's Palm One SD card. (Assuming it was a different

    My Photosmart 812 camera is at home right now, (which is where I have
    an SD card) so I cannot look to see if write protect is an electical
    switch on the card, or something more like the old 3.5" hard floppy
    thing that involved physical stuff. If the latter, perhaps there are
    some mechanical tolerance issues involved.

    I'm also not sure if there may be different versions of the "SD
    standard." There are all sorts of versions/options in stuff like SCSI
    which makes compatibility, well, fun...

    rick jones
    portable adj, code that compiles under more than one compiler
    these opinions are mine, all mine; HP might not want them anyway... :)
    feel free to post, OR email to rick.jones2 in but NOT BOTH...
  4. I have the same problem. My Gateway MX6131 notebook tells me the SanDisk card is write protected when the disk is not write protected. When I format the card via my notebook, the card becomes writeable through my notebook; however, when I place the notebook formatted card into my Nikon camera, the camera gives me the option to format the card or shut down. Once the card is camera formatted and placed in the notebook, the notebook tells me the card is write protected again. When I access the Nikon camera via the USB cable, the write protect problem does not occur. That leads me to believe the hardware works and the software needs work.
  5. yeh iv got the same problem but i dont know anything about sd cards
    any help?
  6. put a piece of tape over the switch on the sd card and it will work.
  7. My friend, I had the same problem, I followed your hint and it worked very well. THANK YOU!
  8. I'm new to this, but I put tape over the lock and it still doesn't work. any more suggestions?
  9. I was getting the same thing on a Dell laptop! Old SD card worked fine, new one said write protected.
    I moved the switch slightly towards the lock position and hey presto its now writable.
    I guess the write switch is just not quite in the correct position to active the sensor.
  10. This is not a computer specific issue, it can happen on any type of computer..

    This is not a reader or sofware specific issue..

    To fix this issue put a piece of tape over the lock area..

    This will resolve write protection issues with your SD Card.

    After having this same issue andgoing through all sorts of methods this is the ONLY method that worked.
  11. Putting some tape on the card may not solve this. My girlfriend called me this morning and said her card reader is telling her the card is write protected. Both crads she had worked fine previously and one of them is an MMC card and so has no write protection tab.

    I'm going over to have a look at it later and se if I can figure out what it's doing.
  12. An SD interface includes a tiny copper finger which the write-enabling tab of an inserted SD card depresses onto another copper contact thus closing the circuit which enables the writing to take place. I suspect that that tab inside your SD reader is broken, bent, or somehow inoperable.
  13. Indeed. I used to think that the write-protect tab operated a switch inside the card. Not true - the tab is a purely mechanical flipper, with no electric connection inside the card. Instead, it toggles (or fails to toggle) an electro-mechanical switch in the SD card reader. Oh my, even the venerable floppy drives used to have an optical sensor for the write-protect tab, and I don't remember ever meeting a flawed write-protect sensor in a floppy drive... Whereas with the ultra-modern SD media, it seems to be a popular flaw :-/

    Taping over the write-protect tab on the SD card may indeed help, if the mechanical switch inside the reader is flawed in exactly the right way. In my case, it was flawed worse.

    On my Fujitsu Siemens notebook, otherwise an excellent reliable machine, I managed to find out that the metallic finger in the slot is free-floating when the slot is empty, but gets grounded if the finger is pressed.
    Next, I was lucky several times. Without voiding any warranty sticker, I managed to find the right hood on the bottom of the notebook, which revealed access to the CPU, RAM and basically the whole motherboard, including the SMT pins of the SD reader socket. I quickly found the sensor pin, it was the left-most pin on the socket. And indeed, if I inserted an actual card, the sensor kept trying to close, but remained open most of the time.

    Then I finally I got the idea that I could just short the pin to ground "out of band". Put a very sharp tip on my soldering iron, got about 1 cm of hairline wire (a single strand from a piece of left-over stranded wire), and did the micro-surgery. I merely needed to cross a narrow gap between the sensor trace and a nearby ground plane, and I zapped my piece of wire to the right pins of two suitable SMT devices, which provided uncovered tin, easy to solder.

    Guess what, the SD card isn't write protected anymore, even if I toggle the tab on the card to the "locked" position. Who cares about the write-protection anyway :-)

    Thanks a lot, everyone, for posting your comments about the tape-over trick, and especially about the "sensor finger". That got me started. Your information has saved me from several days without my notebook, and possibly from a replacement of my known-good rock-solid motherboard (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).
  14. Quote:
    I was getting the same thing on a Dell laptop! Old SD card worked fine, new one said write protected.
    I moved the switch slightly towards the lock position and hey presto its now writable.
    I guess the write switch is just not quite in the correct position to active the sensor.

    had this same problem, i have 2 sd cards that i can't write on or even format, then i saw this the above post, put the switch between notch and bingo!!

    not a sweat at all!!
  15. YES IT WORKS !
    This is not a computer specific issue, it can happen on any type of computer..

    This is not a reader or sofware specific issue..

    To fix this issue put a piece of tape over the lock area..

    This will resolve write protection issues with your SD Card.

    After having this same issue andgoing through all sorts of methods this is the ONLY method that worked.

    My camera didn't read my SD card but my computer could. After moving very slightly the switch it worked on botth
  16. I tried this tape over and it worked the first time but never again. I did the taping myself so I know it was done the same way . Can I buy a SD card that works with Panasonic without this write protect stuff or is there something else I can try. This is getting very frustrating.
  17. The SD Cards' "Write Protection" issue is not a software issue or any computer related problem. It is not the problem with your SD card either. The real problem lies in the Card Reader itself, a stuck WRITE PROTECTION SWITCH in the card slot. Peer inside the slot and you can see on the left a copper lever switch. This is the WRITE PROTECT SWITCH.

    If your card reader is out of warranty, you might want to do this simple repair yourself to save bucks:

    Loosen the screws and open up your card reader. If you can have access to the card slot metal cover, you can see that there is a certain hole on the left just outside the copper switch we mentioned awhile ago. Confirm the location of the switch and if it is in line with this hole by peering once more inside the card slot.

    Now insert a needle or a pin inside the hole and push slightly the lever away from the card slot wall, being careful not to breack the switch. This will cause the copper lever to bend slightly inwards from the card slot.

    Test if you're successful with this repair. Without the cover on, connect the card reader to the computer and insert the SD card. If you can now manage to manipulate your files by erasing them, or formating your card, then you're done. Replace everything back inside the cover, and your done!

    ...I'm currently looking for a DIY CF card to any flash based (cards) conversions such as CF to SD, CF to MMC, etc. If you can find such project, please send it to me at:

    I prefer to do it myself. I want to learn more about data storage and how to hack the hardisk storage of mp3 players such as the Creative Zen Neeon and Zen Micro that I have.

    Please visit my site:

    My modeling and talent's site at:
  18. ok i did the slide the lock thing slightly towards the lock and it worked but i put the SD card back into my camera and now i can't view the pictures on my camera but their on the SD card.....please help me!!
  19. jessr2010... I supposed you had accidentally erased or format your card when your card reader accessed your SD card. Verify if you can still open your images using Windows Explorer. If the files are there but you cannot open it, then your card might be corrupted. Try defragmenting it using Disk Tools by RIGHT CLICKing the Card drive, and then PROPERTIES. If this doesn't work, then your photos might not be retrievable, and you had to format the card in your camera. Be sure not to slide the SD into LOck position, or the camera might not be able to format it.

    As I have said in my earlier post, the WRITE PROTECTION problem has nothing to do with the SD card but with the card reader itself...
  20. Just had this same problem with my little SD reader. Except the problem was with the solder joint, needed a touch with the iron and it was back working again. I looked at the write lock pin closely and it was touching the ground just fine.
  21. Thanks to the help in this forum I have fixed my problem. It make sense why tape would work because it moves the contacts more.
    Here is a picture of where the problem is and how to fix it. I hope this helps.
    Regards Benny
    With Nintendo Wii only using SD cards, I expect there will be a lot of users having a similar issue.


  22. I just got the same problem on my card. After reading some of these posts, I tried with the tape. It did not work. However; after reading all the posts, I decided to use as much tape as possible. I use the kind of tape that you use when you paint so that you do not get paint on the ceiling etc. (Don't know the english word for it). It's rather thick. I used so much tape that I could barely squeeze the card inside the card reader. Now it works just fine.
  23. Thanks JohnDoe999 - I had tried the tape, but after reading your post I gave it another go and IT WORKED!!!

    Stupid card reader... I'm not brave enough to attempt deconstructing my PC, but will call Acer (yeah yeah I know, they're crap!) today and get them to fix the bloody thing! SO frustrating - especially with kids, you can't begin to imagine how many photos I have stored all over the place!
  24. Thanks to manny...

    I purchased a new multi card reader and had same issue as everyone here.

    If you think back to the old blank cassettes the theory is the same, but in reverse. I found the metal pin inside the SD Card slot was not out far enough, and so the reader thought the write protection tab was in the 'lock' position.

    I opened the reader (not really necessary) and using a fine pin gently levered the metal pin away from the inner wall of the slot. Only a real small adjustment, but now it reads the SD cards and allows data problems.

    Putting tape over the actual SD Card will not fix the issue, only make it worse, as the pin inside will remain against the inner wall, thereby ensuring the reader thinking the card is supposed to be protected.
  25. It seems that the lock switch on an sd card doesn't do anything to the card itself. When it is in the forward position it depresses a contact in the card reader.If it doesn't protrude out far enough it won't move that contact to the left far enough to release the lock. Tape on that side doesn't keep the lock switch from moving; it adds enough to the switch to trigger the contact
  26. Hi

    I have had the same problem with a 2gb micro sd card.

    Saw all the resonses and none worked (slide on card and tape etc)

    It took me about 5 hours but here's what i did.

    1. I put the card into my digital camera and took a couple of photos and then formatted it using the camera software.

    2. This then let me copy files but changed the size of the sd to 1gig (seems it put a partition I couldn't access or see onto the disk.

    3. I then formatted the disk accepting that it was only 1gig. (don't know if you have to do this but i did it along the way)

    4. I then downloaded Compuapps SwissKnifem (link- then used it to reformat the disk. It removed the partition and rest the sd to 2 gig. (By the way you have to remove and insert the didk to see the changes.

    I have just downlaode and 300mb divx file to it no problems.

    Hope this helps

  27. I had the same problem with several cards but eventually found a way around it. DON'T buy a new one!

    Make sure the SD card lock is 'off' and then use thin, opaque sticky tape (ie non see-through; eg insulation tape) to cover the whole gap but keep clear of the metal contacts at the back.

    Your card should work fine now... don't know why this has to be done, but it works!
    Additional info:
    Reason #1, the mechanical lock switch accidentally moves to the "locked" position during insertion due to the poor quality of the switch. Hence, by taping it, you are actually preventing the lock switch to travel towards the lock position. i.e. downwards.
    Reason #2, if the above fails, it is likely your SD card reader/writer's fault.
    But don't discard it or buy a new one yet. Allow me to explain the mechanical design of the SD card lock mechanism. So that you may choose to repair it if you want to.
    You will need a small paper clip and screw-driver to open your card reader. (Don't proceed if your card reader is still under warranty, please return/exchange with manufacturer)
    There is a mechanical switch very much like a micro push button (I wish I could show you the picture/drawing). Anyway, depending on the position of the lock switch. You either push or release this micro push button inside the SD card reader. Due to mechanical wear and tear, or some forceful insertion of the SD card, the micro push button is in its "open" circuit position, i.e. write-protected. In order to make the SD card reader writable, we will need to "close" the circuit.
    (Note: this is an irreversible process as I will be telling you how to remove the write-protection feature of your SD card reader. Once you do this, you would be unable to use the SD card lock switch to lock your data. So, just be careful not to accidentally delete your data)
    To proceed, you need to remove the main circuit board from the SD card reader/writer enclosure.
    The location of the micro push button switch is the same location as the unlock position of the SD card when inserted in the SD card reader/writer.
    From the BACK of the exposed SD card reader, insert the unfolded paper clip (same way when you try to poke something like a device reset button) except, that it has to be long enough to allow the micro switch to touch together for contact. Then insert the SD card.
    Once the contact is "closed", your SD card reader/writer can write again.

    Taken from Wikianswers
  28. Tried the tape and it did not work, however while the SD was in the reader I pushed/put lateral pressure on it towards the side the lock switch is on and it finally allowed me to upload and delete files. Not sure if it would have worked without the tape but worth a try.
  29. This happened to me and I came here for answers but to no avail, so I slide the lock on the left side up to the unlock position!
  30. i have 2 kingston micro sd cards i tried the sd addaptors but it will not work one is 2GB the other is 4GB wich is also a sdhc i tried both of them and they say write protected and i need help it is for a presentation in 2 days SOS please help me
  31. I have just tried the tape thing and it did not work at first. Then I pushed the tape in and went back into the drive then into each folder and went to properties and was finally able to remove the READ ONLY box and thus delete and add files that needed changing.
  32. It certainly isn't a simple problem. I have two Kodak SD cards I got at the same time and have not used either very much.

    One works just fine in my laptop reader and with 2 different card readers, I can add & subtract files with no problem.

    The other has the Write Protect (WP) problem. I can read picture files off it, but whether in the laptop or either card reader, I cannot write to it. Tape does not seem to help nor does moving the write protect tab slightly one way or another.

    Both SD chips seem absolutely identical. I do not see the slightest physical difference between then. The one with the WP problem does not seem to have any deformation, warp, dirt, burrs, gunk, or anything else. The WP tab seems to move the same way on both, to be just as solid on both, and does not seem to slip out of place in the slightest on the problem chip.

    Considering this happens with three different chip readers, it does not seem to be a problem with the little switch in the readers, tho shorting out the switch might do the trick. The picture of the opened SD chip in Wikipedia makes it perfectly clear that there is absolutely no internal connection for the tab. So I am baffled as to why one of two seemingly totally identical chips would work and the other not. So it seems to be some kind of problem within the chip, and not with the laptop, the readers, the write protect switch, or the software.
  33. I see several people here being adamant about this being ONLY a hardware issue with the lock switch. The first reference I read while trying to resolve this issue, stated that many manafacturers ARE doing software locks on the micro SD cards.

    As far as I can tell, that is the exact issue I am experiencing. With the same SD chip plugged into my card reader, I swapped Micro SD cards -- one is write protected, one is not, without the lock switch ever being moved.

    I still went on to try the tape method, since some of the posts here are so sure of themselves, but a software lock is definitely a possibility. The card is locked to a point that any changes that it does allow me to make, automatically revert themselves, I cannot format the card in Windows, or using the Panasonic SD card formatter, one stating an error and the other stating write protection.
  34. If all else fail, try this..worked for me

    - Start Menu -> Run -> type ‘regedit’ (without the quotes) -> Hit Enter !
    - Now take a backup of your registry, incase something goes wrong:
    - Right Click on ‘My Computer’ -> ‘Export’ > save it on the Desktop.
    - Now Browse through these tabs:
    My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
    - Double click on the string ‘WriteProtect’ and change the ‘Value Data’ box to ‘0’
    - On Toolbar, Click on File -> Export -> Save it anywhere with any name like ‘WriteProtection01.reg’ or anything.
    - You need to repeat the step 3 - step 5 with every string on folder named ‘ControlSet***’ (* = any Digit, i.e. 001, 002) - that is, instead of currentcontrolset, repeat the steps for folders controlset***
    - For Example :
    My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
    - Again export it on same directory as before, named as ‘WriteProtection0**.reg’

    Note : These exports are just incase you need to revert the changes in your registry, to revert, just double click on the *.reg file, and click yes when it prompts.

  35. If you look on the SD card itself, there should be a little tiny white flip switch, do that and hopefully it will work. x
  36. I have a HP Pavilion running vista but when i put the card when i flip the switch it won't go in the slot. any help
  37. Hello,

    I have had this problem on two separate printers, a Cannon and an HP. Both issues were solved by going into the settings and changing the printer settings. Many manufacturers are making the default setting on these printers as read only. This is to protect your images from accidental deletion of formatting while using the printer only and not going through the computer to print.

    I would suggest that you stop putting tape on your cards as this can cause build up on the card and the reader and cause further problems in the future. Look very carefully through the printer manual and if all else fails send an email to the tech department of the company.

    Forcing a hardware shift on a printer card reader is not a good idea.

  38. cobee10 said:
    put a piece of tape over the switch on the sd card and it will work.

    Wow it actually worked!! Thanks!
  39. How a strange thing... it works fine with this Tape... :D
    Here's detail explanation
  40. Tekwratih is right my problem was solved by going into my canon all-in-one's menu and changing the setting to read and write (it was set at the default read only) after unsuccessfully trying the tape etc.
  41. poopy said:
    I was getting the same thing on a Dell laptop! Old SD card worked fine, new one said write protected.
    I moved the switch slightly towards the lock position and hey presto its now writable.
    I guess the write switch is just not quite in the correct position to active the sensor.

    thanks alot. this micro sd adapter has been giving me problems since day one. it didn't matter before, but since i lost my external card reader i have to use the built in one.
  42. Hi All

    I tried the sticky tape, make sure that the sd card is in the unlock position and stick it down.

    that seems to work for me,

    ns: i have noticed that when the card is inserted some how the lock moves to the middle and shows as locked, the sticky tape should solve this problem

    good luck

    Jacques Van Buren-Schele
  43. My new SD card continued to say it is write protected. I followed Poopys advice above and it worked great. I moved the lock switch about half way between Locked and not locked and sure enough, the write protection was removed and I was able to add and remove files with ease.

    Try it. It is an easy fix.
  44. With my new SD Card, when I first plugged it in it came up with the message " Write protection is on" and all I did to fix it was switch the 'on' off' toggle and leave it in the middle, this seemed to be an easy way of fixing this problem
    Hope it helps xx
  45. Had the exact problem described by others. Tried different cards of different sizes from various manufacturers and was careful on the lock tabs and no cards were SDHC. Alas, it was not the SD card(s), it was the internal multi-card reader in an HP v2000 series laptop. After reading about how these card readers operate, I simply inserted the card slowly and didn't jam the card in as deeply as before. Problem solved and writes fine now to all the cards previously not working. Hope that helps. Let me know your results. RRVaughan
  46. I think you are all amazing!!! Thank you for the help. I had to do it a bunch of times, but my patience paid off. I used the tape and jiggled the sd card around in the slot and it finally let me write to the card. I have the one with the micro sd for my phone and I was getting disgruntled! I imagine it is a problem with the card reader on my desktop (hp pavillion that was made last year) because I have a problem with my camera card sometimes also.

    Thank you everyone!!!
  47. Hi,

    I am using a SANDISK MicroSD 1GB Card in Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit edition. I put my card into MicroSD-SD Card adapter. There is a write lock on the left side of the card adapter. If the lock is up then your card is write-protected. If the lock is down then it is NOT write-protected. However, in both cases it says "the card is write protected". I was wondering that what could be the problem. Several guys suggested putting tape on the adapter. However, don't do it as it will spoil your card slot.

    My conclusion: It could be a build problem in the card slot in HP notebooks or in the card adapter. I figured that if I put the lock up leaving a little space from top and then insert it then i works fine!

    Prateek Sachan
  48. I kept getting an error message saying my SD card was write protected, regardless of the Lock switch position. I couldn't even format the SD card, nor erase any of the files. So I put in my Nikon camera and it formatted it there without error (the files were now gone). But despite that, Windows XP reported it still could not format the card despite having the Nikon successfully formatting it before hand.

    The solution for me was to delete the folder that the Nikon had created and that there could have been a hidden system file inside that folder. Windows XP was now finally then able to format it.
  49. This happened to me on my digital camera. One minute it worked and the next time I went to use it, it said "write protected." I was reading through the previous answers, and one guy suggested tape over the switch on the side. I didn't know what that meant, so I looked. There is a little switch on the side of the disc that has gotten moved into lock position. Just move it back, and you're good to go.
Ask a new question

Read More

Hewlett Packard SD Card SD Card Reader Computers