Why is my microSD card READ-only?


I was on my way to do some shopping with I dropped by a Gadget shop to say hello since I was a regular, then I saw this aghast face of my friend working there who told me that her microSD card of her brand new Galaxy Note 2 is infected with viruses and she now has to find a way to extract her valuable photos and videos before formatting it. She put the microSD into a card reader and inserted it in her Windows PC. Tried as she did, her files in the microSD was READ-only.

Before you jump up yelling and screaming, let me assure you that this “phenomena” is nothing extraordinary. I noticed that this security function was pushed out in ICS and later adopted in Jellybean as well. As far as I know, Samsung and Asus devices have this new fangled protection. I was wondering why this was the case but since I found a work around for it, I don’t have a problem transferring large files from my computer to any mobile device.

What is Google doing to your microSD card?

I can only hazard a guess on what Google was up to when they did this but apparently it has to do with DRM. Your files in the microSD card cannot be copied over. Since the SD or microSD card has been relegated to external storage, all you movie files, music and such will be locked onto that card. Now some of you might say, heck, I can transfer those files via BUMP but unfortunately it does not handle file sizes above 20MB. This might be fine for some MP3 files but not movie files which are in excess of 400MB.

Bluetooth transfer is another possibility but it takes just far too long to send a movie file over. WIFI is of course faster but with file limits built in, it doesn’t quite make sense. If you have found any better way to do this, do share with us.

Cloud Storage

Yes, you can upload to the cloud and take it back down again but there are limits for file sizes as well. These range from 40mb per file to something under 150MB. For paying subscribers to Box and Dropbox services, the file limit is much higher.

But it doesn’t make sense to store stuff there unless you got some unlimited 4G bandwidth to bring it down again. Small files are fine.

My Storage card is Locked?

Apparently it is not. You can still transfer and extract files if you use a USB cable connection. The microSD card has to be INSIDE your device when you do this.

  1. Take out your trusty USB cable for your Smartphone or Tablet
  2. Turn on the File Transfer Software you have on your PC/Mac.
  3. Connect your Tablet/Smartphone with your PC or Mac
  4. Under Settings, connect your Phone/Tablet in USB as MTP (media transfer protocol)

For Mac OSX and Windows PC. 

Download Android File Transfer from here if you don’t already have something like Samsung Kies. OSX does not recognize MTP as a separate storage. For some older HTC Smartphones, Android File Transfer doesn’t work.

For PC, it should pop up as an external storage. Or if you prefer, just connect with the Windows software that came with your phone (HTC and LG).

 AFT Usage on Mac

Android File Transfer for Mac can only transfer ONE file at a time so you can’t queue it. Though I like Samsung Kies Air on my Note, it is not compatible with my Asus. Kies Air is probably a better option if you want to copy multiple files from your PC to your Android device.

Windows users are safer as they have no problem accessing the files via their file manager, though I am not sure if this would work in Windows 8.