How to remove write protection from USB drives

Today I encountered a problem with my external USB hard drive. After connecting the USB drive, I received the error: The disk is write-protected. Remove the write-protection or use another drive.

The problem: The disk is write-protected

Remove the Write protection or use another disk

The solutions

1. Check your cables, is the drive connected properly?

In my case, the problem was fixed quickly. I checked the cables first and noticed that the drive was not connected properly. Once it was connected properly again, I was able to write to my USB drive again.

Note: I was able to read the drive, even although it was not connected properly.

2. Is the drive actually write-protected?

Open the Windows Explorer (Windows key +E) and right-click on your USB drive and click on Properties. Go to the tab Security and click on Edit. Select your username and check if you have Write permissions. If you don’t, check the option “Full” for full permissions or “Write” for write permissions:

Write permissions

3. Search for a “lock switch”

Some USB drives and USB sticks have a switch that allows you to lock a hard drive and prevent ANY changes. Please read your handbook or examine the USB drive, SD card or USB stick closely. If you can find the switch, you can easily unlock and remove the write protection from your drive.

4. Modify a registry key StorageDevicePolicies.

The last solution that you might want to try after creating a backup of your registry

1. Step Click Start, type regedit.exe and hit ENTER.
2. Step Go to the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrrentControlSet\

3. Step Search for a key WriteProtect
4. Step If there is such a key change the value to “0″.
5. Step Repeat the same for ALL HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet00*\Control\StorageDevicePolicies (replace * with number)

4. Can’t find (3)? Create a registry key StorageDevicePolicies.

If you can’t find the key StorageDevicePolicies in step (3) you have to create it manually.

1. Right-click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrrentControlSet\Control\ and select New -> Key.
2. Step Enter the name StorageDevicePolicies.
3. Step Click on the new registry key StorageDevicePolicies and on the right pan right-click, select New > DWORD and give it the name WriteProtect.
4. Step Double click on it and set its value to 0.

5. Last resort: Format your USB drive

If you still receive the error that you have to remove write protection first, I would try to connect the USB drive to another PC and see if the problem remains. As a last resort, you might want to copy the data on your drive or stick to another USB drive and then format the write-protected drive. After formatting the USB drive the write protection will be gone.

2.7 of 5 0 (55%) 38 votes
- Cheers!

Written by:
Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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24 Responses to How to remove write protection from USB drives

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Rares said:

    It Work’s :X:X:X Thank You very much ! I’ve try a lot of methods and the “4. Can’t find (3)? Create a registry key StorageDevicePolicies.” it works for me . Thank’s a lot !

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    uzor said:

    Could not find the windows explorer menu, ; /

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Leo said:

    Wow!!! it’s work, thank you very much…
    But one problem still remain, e.i…documents which i keep in the pendrive can not delete.

  4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    estoy jodido said:

    I wonder where to get an useful format tool, since most of well known had failed :|

  5. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Taisuke said:

    Same happened on my USB Harddisk (JMB352 RAID-1 USB Device). None of the solutions worked but I removed HDD driver from Device Manager and then restart the machine solved the issue.

  6. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Datta said:

    Thanks I found a big solution from long days onwards I am suffering with this problem…Thanks a lot my dear friend

    Ur Datta

  7. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Marko said:

    I cannot Format Because it still says write protected cant format

  8. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    7oudaz said:

    Still Write protected

  9. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    keo dara said:

    I have one solution for flash transcend .U should go to this page
    ( and download this software follow the step.
    Success 100 %
    keo dara

  10. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Vince said:

    Removing the HDD/SSD driver from the driver manager did the trick for me. I only needed to deattach and reattach the drive and the “read only” status that previously shown in the disk manager now popped up as “Online”.

  11. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Diana said:

    oh my god. THANK YOU SO MUCH xD
    indeed, my lock switch was on x)
    anyway, there was NO way that I could figure that out without your help, so again: thank you so much!

  12. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    ss said:

    You can try DISKPART under Vista/Win 7 to clear RO status.

  13. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    tityarun said:

    I tried all to follow above solution but it still said write pretected, even format still not work

  14. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Alex said:

    I tried all of the above, and a lot of stuff from other websites. I have 4 different adapters and 6 SD cards of different sizes. All of them keeps saying that it is write protected. Disk part show online. The funny thing is that when i try to format any of them they also get dismounted.

    Please can anyone help?? The SD adpters are all motorola and the card adapters is motorola and kingston. Never had this problem before win 7.

    Tried on a Vmware xp and no succes either.

  15. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    keith said:

    cannot find the security tab? Help…

  16. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    keith, follow this tutorial to do this via CMD

    Use the search box to find a lot more relevant guides.

  17. Orange Community Approved Comment:
  18. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    seki88 said:

    if you try to copy file larger then 4 GB on FAT32 disk you will receive same error “the disk (or file) is write protected”,so solution is simple just format your drive in NTFS,sorry for my English

  19. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    THANK YOU said:

    Thank you so much! Tried so many things and the 4. WORKED!

  20. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Russ said:

    I have a Patriot 64gb flash drive that is write protected all of a sudden and I have tried all of these suggestions several times on three different computers and get no results. It will not format even with other downloaded format tools. I am using Windows 7. Any other suggestions other than get another one?

  21. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    oliversk said:

    Just a sidenote, this only looks like a Mac screenshot above, but it’s all taken on Windows 7 not Mac OS X

  22. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Charlene Cordero said:

    It works 101%! thank you so much, though I thought there’s some problems left after I made a StorageDevicePolicies folder, but after I safely remove it and put it back then format my disk, it already works properly.

  23. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    uday said:

    in properties i cannot find security tab

  24. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Julio said:

    I checked the cables first and noticed that the drive was not connected properly. Once it was connected properly again, I was able to write to my USB drive again. THANKS YOU VERY MUCH.

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