Image of SD Card with the switch removed and a screwdriver used to split the card.
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I just saved this $100 SD card from being unusable

Okay, so here’s the deal. You know that little lock switch on the side of the SD card? The one that you move to lock the card from being written on? Well, it works. It works really well. Almost too well on some occasions — like when that little lock switch becomes loose or even worse, missing!

Image of SD Cards, one without a switch

My wonderful Lexar Professional 64GB UHS-II 2000x Gold card ended up having one that was loose. Every time I plugged it into my Fujifilm X-T2, no matter how carefully I placed it in there with the card unlocked, the switch would slide to lock! It turns out that these switches may become loose after a whole lot of usual use. I deem it wear and tear. But still…

It was beginning to irk me. I was irked.

This card was a special one to me. It is the fastest card and the largest capacity card I own.

So, to attempt to fix it:

First, split the card apart.

Second, panic as the microscopic switch flies out someplace.

Third, scramble and scour the table and the floor.

Crap.

Well, if you didn’t know, losing that little switch makes every camera and card reader/writer think that the card is locked.

Fully unusable. A wonderful read-only memory time-capsule. A permanent backup.

Solution 1

The cameras and readers actually have a little feeler that checks to see if the card is unlocked. You can fool it, by placing a tiny piece of tape right over where the switch used to be.

Talk about a MacGyver solution.

It works, until the tape gets stuck — which may happen to you as it did for me. The problem is that the tape adds to the thickness, and not all cameras have the same height tolerance for the SD card.

UHS-II SD Cards have additional contacts on the back of the card that would be covered by the tape. Even if you were lucky enough to get the tape to stick, it won’t stay there very long.

Solution 2

After forgetting that I placed the memory-card-of-utter-frustration into my little tech junk drawer, I remembered that I had a bunch of other memory cards and an abundance of microSD card adapters. I figured that one of those could become a donor!

And this was my solution.

I tried one donor card at a time, cracking the card open by inserting a small pocket knife or tiny flathead screwdriver into the little slot next to the switch and twisting ever so gently to separate the card just enough to remove the switch.

Once you have the switch, crack open your original card and place the switch in there with some tweezers.

Now, one would think that the same brands would use the same switches and you may have already got the hint that I had to crack open several of them before finding one that would look like it would fit. My donor for this Lexar came from a Kingston branded microSD card adapter — but even Kingston branded microSD card adapters have different switches.

I had to make make a modification to the switch that would appear to fit correctly (I had to cut off some little nubs with the aforementioned pocket knife), before cracking the card open once more and placing the switch into the slot.

Overall, it worked! The switch is harder to move (which is perfect), and all my cameras and readers can read it without having to pull tape out from the slot!

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