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Write Protected USB Flash Drive


Write Protected USB Flash Drive

Sometimes, when you connect a USB flash drive or SD card to a computer, you may find that it is write-protected. Write-protection means that you can only view the files on the media but not make any changes to it. You cannot open, copy, edit, save or delete the files in the storage drive. The drive may itself become write-protected if the card lock is enabled for some reason.

In this post, we will discuss some useful methods to fix a write-protected USB flash drive or SD card.

Disable Lock Switch


A lot of USB drives and SD cards have a minute lock switch using which you can enable or disable write protection. You need to slide the lock to “write” if it’s in the “read-only” mode.


Remove Write Protection from Specific Files


If you want to make changes to a particular file that is write-protected, you need to enable write permissions for the file. Follow these steps to do so:

  • Insert the USB Flash drive or SD card into your computer.
  • Open File Explorer and go to the file location.
  • Now, select the file.
  • Click the Home tab and go to Properties. The Properties dialog box will be displayed.
  • Unselect the Read-only option from here and then click on OK.

Remove Write-protection using Diskpart Utility


You may also use the Diskpart utility to remove write-protection from a USB flash drive or SD card. The Diskpart is a command-line utility, which is used to manage your system’s drives, partitions, volumes, etc. Follow these steps below to use the Diskpart utility.


  • Connect the USB Drive to Your System.
  • Press and hold Windows + X on the keyboard, and then select Run.
  • Type Diskpart on the Run window and then select OK. A dialog box will open asking whether you want to allow the app to make changes to the device. Click on Yes.
  • In the Diskpart utility window that opens, type ‘list disk’ and press Enter.
  • A list of disks will appear. Note the disk number on your USB drive.
  • Now, type select disk _ (disk number) and press Enter.
  • Type the command attributes disk clear readonly and hit Enter.
  • This will remove the write-protection from the USB drive. A message will be displayed stating that the disk is no longer write-protected.
  • To exit the Diskpart window, type Exit and hit Enter.

Use Data Recovery Software


If you’re unable to access data from the USB drive or SD card using the above methods, your storage media may be infected by the virus. In such a situation, try data recovery software to recover your inaccessible files. One of the best data recovery software available is the Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Windows. The software helps to recover lost or inaccessible files, documents, photos, videos, and audio in any format. It works in severe data loss cases such as files lost or inaccessible due to virus infection, corruption in the drive, formatting, and others. It is extremely easy-to-use and works on a simple Select, Scan & Recover principle.


Edit Registry to Remove Write Protection


You can manually disable the write protection on a USB drive by editing the Registry. Follow the steps to do so:


  • Press and hold the Windows + R keys.
  • On the Run dialog box that opens, type Regedit and hit Enter. The Registry Editor will be launched.
  • On the left pane, go to the below path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
  • Right-click on the Control folder, select New > Key. Name the new key <new key #1>.
  • Now, click on this key created above and right-click on an empty space in the right pane.
  • Select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it <new value #1>.
  • Change the value of the newly created DWORD from 1 to 0 and then click OK. All changes will be applied. Changing the value to ‘0’ means that you do not want your USB to get write-protected.
  • Now, exit the Registry Editor and restart your system.

Apart from these methods, you can also try some conventional methods like checking the account permission, checking whether the USB is exceeding storage capacity, or if there is any virus on the USB drive. There can also be bad sectors on the drive.

To Sum Up


A write-protected USB drive can be easily accessed with the help of methods mentioned in this post. You may try to disable the lock switch, remove write-protection from specific files, use Diskpart utility, check for antivirus, bad sectors, and storage capacity of the drive. Also, if none of the above methods work and you’re unable to access your data stored in the write-protected drive, you may try professional data recovery software. The simple Select, Scan and Recover process of the software makes it the best alternative to retrieve inaccessible files from write-protected USB drives.
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