How to fix “Disk is Write Protected” USB Drive Error

“Disk is write-protected” is an error message that can occur when you try to write or save data to a storage device, such as a USB flash drive, SD card, or external hard drive, and the device is set to read-only mode. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including a physical switch on the device, a software setting, or an issue with the file system or hardware.

The write protection feature is intended to prevent accidental deletion or modification of data on a storage device, but it can be frustrating when you need to write data to the device. Fortunately, there are several methods you can try to remove the write protection from the device, including toggling a physical switch, changing the device properties, editing the registry, using diskpart, or formatting the disk.

Here are some steps to solve this issue:

Check the switch: Some storage devices, such as SD cards and USB drives, have a physical switch that can be toggled between read-only and read-write mode. Make sure the switch is in the correct position for write access.

How to fix "Disk is Write Protected" USB Drive Error

Some USB flash drives, SD cards, and other storage devices have a physical switch that can be used to write-protect the device. This switch is typically located on the side of the device and may be labeled “lock” or “write protect.”

When the switch is in the locked position, the storage device is write-protected, which means that you cannot add, delete, or modify files on the device. If you try to copy files to a write-protected device, you may receive the “disk is write-protected” error message.

To fix this issue, simply slide the switch to the unlocked position. Once you do this, the device should be writable again, and you should be able to save or transfer files to the device without any problems.

If your device does not have a physical switch or the switch is already in the unlocked position, then you may need to try one of the other methods I mentioned earlier to fix the “disk is write-protected” error.

Check for file system errors: Sometimes file system errors can cause the disk to become write-protected. You can run a scan using the Windows built-in Disk Check tool (chkdsk) to identify and fix these errors. To do this, open a Command Prompt window as administrator and type “chkdsk /f x:” (without quotes), where “x” is the letter assigned to the disk.

File system errors can occur when a storage device is removed improperly or experiences a power failure while data is being written to it. These errors can cause the disk to become write-protected and prevent you from saving or transferring files to the device.

How to fix "Disk is Write Protected" USB Drive Error

To check for file system errors and fix them, you can use the Windows built-in Disk Check tool (chkdsk). Here’s how:

  1. Plug in the write-protected storage device to your computer.
  2. Open a Command Prompt window as administrator. To do this, press the Windows key + X and select “Command Prompt (Admin)” from the menu that appears.
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type “chkdsk /f x:” (without quotes), where “x” is the letter assigned to the write-protected disk. For example, if the write-protected disk is assigned the letter “E,” you would type “chkdsk /f e:” and press Enter.
  4. Wait for the scan to complete. This may take several minutes, depending on the size of the disk and the number of errors found.
  5. Once the scan is complete, you should see a message indicating whether any errors were found and fixed. If errors were found and fixed, try accessing the storage device again to see if it is now writable.

If the chkdsk command was unable to fix the errors, you may need to try one of the other methods I mentioned earlier to fix the “disk is write-protected” error.

Check the registry: In some cases, the write-protection feature may be enabled in the Windows registry. To disable it, open the Registry Editor by pressing the Windows key + R, typing “regedit” (without quotes) and pressing Enter. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies. Double-click the “WriteProtect” value and change its value data to “0”.

Sometimes the write-protection feature may be enabled in the Windows registry, causing the “disk is write-protected” error message. Here’s how to check the registry:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “regedit” (without quotes) and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  3. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies.
  4. If the StorageDevicePolicies key doesn’t exist, right-click on the Control key, select New > Key, and name it “StorageDevicePolicies.”
  5. Right-click on the StorageDevicePolicies key and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  6. Name the new value “WriteProtect” and set its value data to “0” (without quotes).
  7. Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer.
How to fix "Disk is Write Protected" USB Drive Error

After restarting your computer, try accessing the write-protected storage device again to see if it is now writable.

Note that modifying the Windows registry can be risky, and any incorrect changes can cause system instability. Before making any changes to the registry, it’s a good idea to create a backup of your registry or create a system restore point so that you can easily undo any changes if necessary.

Check for viruses or malware: Sometimes, malware or viruses can set the disk to read-only mode to prevent you from modifying or deleting files. Run a virus scan using a reputable antivirus software to detect and remove any threats.

Diskpart is a command-line utility that is included with Windows and can be used to manage disks and volumes on a computer. Here’s how to use diskpart to remove write protection from a disk:

  1. Plug in the write-protected storage device to your computer.
  2. Press the Windows key + X and select “Command Prompt (Admin)” from the menu that appears.
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type “diskpart” (without quotes) and press Enter to open the Diskpart utility.
  4. Type “list disk” and press Enter to display a list of all disks connected to your computer.
  5. Identify the write-protected disk from the list and type “select disk x” (without quotes), where “x” is the number of the write-protected disk.
  6. Type “attributes disk clear readonly” and press Enter to remove the write protection from the disk.
  7. Type “exit” and press Enter to close the Diskpart utility.

After exiting Diskpart, try accessing the write-protected storage device again to see if it is now writable.

Note that diskpart is a powerful tool that can be used to delete or modify partitions on a disk. Be careful when using diskpart and make sure to select the correct disk before executing any commands.

Format the disk: If none of the above methods work, you may need to format the disk. This will erase all data on the disk, so make sure to back up any important files before proceeding. Right-click the disk in File Explorer, select “Format,” choose a file system (e.g. NTFS or FAT32), and click “Start” to format the disk.

If none of the previous methods have worked, you can try formatting the write-protected disk to remove the write protection. Note that formatting the disk will erase all data on it, so make sure to back up any important files before proceeding.

How to fix "Disk is Write Protected" USB Drive Error

Here’s how to format the write-protected disk:

  1. Plug in the write-protected storage device to your computer.
  2. Press the Windows key + E to open File Explorer.
  3. Right-click on the write-protected disk and select “Format” from the context menu.
  4. In the Format dialog box, make sure that the “File system” is set to “FAT32” or “exFAT” (depending on the size of the disk), and that “Quick Format” is checked.
  5. Click on the “Start” button to begin formatting the disk.
  6. Wait for the formatting process to complete. This may take several minutes, depending on the size of the disk.

After formatting the disk, try accessing it again to see if it is now writable. If the disk is still write-protected, it may be a hardware issue and you may need to replace the disk.

Note: Be careful when modifying the Windows registry, as any incorrect changes can cause system instability.

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