I have a Nokia Lumia 1520.3 running WP 8.1 with Lumia Cyan. I was given the option of storing media files to SD memory instead of internal phone memory. When choosing SD memory the files are sent to the SD card, however internal phone storage shows empty folders labeled as follows:

  • Internal Phone Storage
    • Documents
    • Downloads
    • Music
    • Pictures
    • Ringtones
    • Videos

I am unable to remove these empty folders from the internal storage. The error given is:

These folders are write protected, remove write protection and try again.

How does one remove the write protection on a Windows Phone 8.1 device? I have tried disabling all sync and backup and made sure the folders are not in use. There is no option for properties to disable write protection when connected to a Windows 8.1 PC. Please clarify if this is possible.

  • 1
    Why do you even want to remove those folders?
    – Indrek
    Jan 29, 2015 at 22:15
  • Maybe a person owning a Microsoft Lumia phone wants to sell it on Ebay.com and wants to delete the internal storage of information. Is it possible for the owner to format all the data on the phone (and for obvious reasons)?
    – Jack
    May 18, 2020 at 2:37

2 Answers 2


Windows Phone 8.1 relies on those folders being present as each of them is used by at least one OS app (like Music for the Xbox Music app). So the OS won't allow you to delete those.

  • The SD card folders can be deleted, however the internal storage on the phone has empty folders which can not. If I am not using the internal storage to store the pics and music then those folders are useless and cause confusion in apps such as "File". Why have an empty folder shortcut in an app if it will never be used... Jan 30, 2015 at 0:30
  • I'm sorry, I misread the part about the SD Card, so I removed my last two sentences. Still, the OS requires those folders to exist as they are the default location for all those apps to look for files. I assume the apps might store some additional data in those folders that is not visible to the user, but that's only speculation.
    – Thomas
    Jan 30, 2015 at 0:39

You technically could do this if you get elevated-permission access to the phone's file system - this requires some kind of unlock, such as capability unlock, full file system access, root/full unlock, or bootloader unlock - so that you have the permissions to make changes to the contents of the D:\Users\Public (or C:\Data\Users\Public, alternate path to the same thing) directory, which is where those directories are located. Note that there's no official way to gain such access; those directories are never meant to be deleted and you may make some functionality stop working if you do.

If you only ever use the SD card and not the internal storage, just ignore the internal storage. Don't click on it in the Files app. Don't expand it in Explorer when the phone is connected via USB.

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