Why is My SD Card Not Letting Me Delete Files

An SD card might not let you delete files for 4 different reasons, but the most common is that write protection is enabled. The file might also be in use, or your SD card may be corrupted.

I’m Caleb, and I’ve regularly worked hands-on with SD cards as a photographer. In this article, I’ll review why you might have trouble deleting files from one. I’ll also talk about the possible fixes.

If you’re trying to get rid of some files from an SD card, and it’s not working, keep reading to learn more about the common problems.

Reasons Why SD Card Won’t Let You Delete Files

Unfortunately, there’s no one universal reason for this problem to show up. You might have to consider multiple possibilities before finding the real problem and the right fix. However, these are the most common ones.

1. Write Protection is Enabled

When write protection is turned on, you can access the files on an SD card but not change them. That includes deleting them, so you’ll have to turn this feature off if you’re trying to delete something.

On many SD card models, write protection is enabled using a small switch on the side of the card. This might say something like “LOCK.” To turn off the write protection, slide this switch into the opposite position.

Check and make sure your SD card lock is not locked.

Of course, it’s also possible for the card to be marked as read-only from the software side, even if the physical switch isn’t in the lock position. Where this setting is located is device-specific, so you’ll have to look up instructions for your own device if you want to check for this.

2. The File is in Use

If you’re currently using a file, you won’t be able to delete it. This also applies to files that you’re running off an SD card. Sometimes, a file may continue running in the background for some time, even if you’ve closed it.

This can happen if you’ve loaded a file from your SD card into an actively running program. For example, if you opened a photo in an image editing program, you probably wouldn’t be able to delete it without closing it in the editor first.

3. The SD Card is Corrupted

A corrupted SD card may cause problems when deleting or moving files. It’s hard to tell for sure, however, if a card is corrupted. 

If you suspect corruption as the problem, you should scan the card with one of the many repair software options. These programs may be able to detect corruption, and in some cases, they can fix the problem or help you recover your files to a healthy device.

4. The Card is Infected with Malware

While a virus finding its way to an SD card is less common than infecting a computer, it’s not impossible. Some types of malware can prevent you from changing or deleting the files.

Obviously, this is done to make it harder to delete the malicious files. Malware can also place a device in read-only mode as a way to extract a ransom from the user. If you think this might be the problem, you should scan the card with an antivirus program of choice.


These are some of the most asked questions about the problem.

Why Can’t I Delete the Android Folder on My SD Card?

If you’re on an Android device, you might not be able to delete the Android folder because it contains system files that are needed for a stable device.

Does Factory Reset Delete Files on an SD Card?

No, if you factory reset your Android phone, it won’t delete the files on your SD card.

Do SD Cards Go Bad?

Yes, SD cards can degrade in performance over time, just like any other storage device. An older SD card may have a higher chance of getting corrupted, leading to problems like file loss.


If you can’t delete files from an SD card, you should check to see if write protection is enabled. However, other things like corruption or malware can sometimes cause the same problem.

Have you dealt with any of the problems listed here? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Jordan

    Please help me fix my sd card ???? it does not allow me to delete files and i tried all solutions as using a computer, watching YouTube and all possible solutions