Skip to Content

How to Fix SD Card “Memory Card Error” or “Memory Card Locked”

How to Fix SD Card “Memory Card Error” or “Memory Card Locked”

Having your SD Card show you an error like the ones mentioned in the title – Memory Card Error or Memory Card Locked – never feels good, but it happens more often than you might think. I know that panic is the first thing you’ll feel when such an error appears for the first time as you are worried that you might have lost all your valuable photos on the SD card, but you should not panic yet.

Of course, it’s good to often back-up your photos and data on the card in case it really goes to meet its maker, but even if you didn’t do it, there might still be a way to save them and have your card working again.

In this article, I will share with you a complete guide with step by step instructions that you follow to try to fix the SD Memory card error message, or the Memory Card Locked message – depending on which one you’re getting.

I am sure that you will find these fixes helpful and you will solve your problem. So let’s get this started!

For some reason, it appears that it’s the Canon camera owners that get this Memory Card Error message most often, but it can help on any camera and in most cases it’s not the camera brand that causes the problem.

So there’s no need to ditch your Canon if you get an SD card error, nor switch to a different brand. This is just something that happens and here is what you can do to fix it:

1. In case there are no files that you want to save on your card, the easiest thing to do is to try and format your card.

Trying the formatting option in the camera itself will usually not work, so you will have to take it out and insert it in the card reader of a laptop that is equipped with one. Simply format it while in the computer and it should work.

If right clicking it in My Computer and selecting Format still doesn’t work, you will need to install a third party program that allows you to format SD cards (like SD Card Formatter which is free to use). But please note that if you go for this method, you will lose everything stored on the card!

2. Verify if your card is locked or not. All SD cards have a tiny switch to the side: if the switch is down, it means that the card has been locked for some reason. Simply swipe it up and this should fix the problem – the card will be unlocked and the error message will disappear.

If this doesn’t work, you can use regular tape to keep the button in the unlocked position: simply use scissors to cut a piece of tape that’s as small as possible and place it over the button.

Be careful not to use too much: if you encounter too much of a resistance when trying to place the card back into the camera, it means that you used too much tape or it is too thick and you should stop, otherwise you might get the card stuck in there or destroy your camera.

3. Blow in your camera! It sounds like a very non-technical thing to do, but it could work if none of the methods above did the trick.

Just take the card out of your camera and blow inside: even a microscopic dust particle or piece of sand can give you the error, so it’s worth trying out. More advanced options would involve opening the camera and trying to clean it, but unless you really know what you’re doing, you should leave this to a professional.

Hopefully these fixes will help you solve your problem and most importantly get to save your photos from the card. Either way, remember to back them up often in order to minimize potential losses if the card really breaks down.

If you have other solutions or advice when it comes to fixing the “Memory Card Error” or “Memory Card Locked” error, let us know in the comment section below.