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\
Control\StorageDevicePolicies

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.

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- Cheers!