How can I fix an external hard drive that says it is read only?

Arnold Alina March 19, 2012
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I sent my friend my GoFlex Free Agent portable hard drive, so she could add some video footage to it for editing. But she can “Read Only.” Is there a way she can change it to where she can start writing files onto the hard drive?

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  1. Chris Bell
    March 20, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Hi well whenever one "loses" a  HDD it can be for one of a few reasons, it maybe the Power Supply to the external HDD, the USB/SATA port, or the actual HDD itself,

    Of course one must always first check out that the USB cable/ports are/is OK, and that the External HDD is or is NOT working, usually by trying on another PC One needs to isolate the issue, so the best way is to first remove said HDD from it's "Housing" & wiring assembly, and connect it up to a USB - HDD "Adapter" (Usually easily available from say Ebay, or indeed your local computer shop) and check to see if all is OK with the actual HDD, if it is OK, then toss the :Housing" away and obtain a new one and re-install the HDD into the new one..If however there is no joy and the HDD doesn't work at all, then usually this is cause by one of two problems, 1: the HDD's EXTERNAL electronics board  board is faulty 2:, the INTERNAL electronics actually inside the HDD assembly, is faulty.Now one way to recover the HDD, as long as it is NOT an "Internal" HDD electronics failure, then one can obtain another HDD EXACTLY the same, and swap over the "Motherboards", (the Main Electronics Board), this may indeed fix it. As said however it maybe the internal electronics, actually contained within the housing of the HDD, and in that case, usually it is unrecoverable, unless one has access to a clean room, and replacement internal drive components?As with all things it is simply a process of elimination and logic... so have a go you may just be able to rescue you HDD and get all that lovely data back, that you thought you had lost.

    • Oron Joffe
      March 20, 2012 at 10:47 am

      She's not "lost" the disc, it reads fine, just doesn't have write permissions. Looks like HA14 is onto it though. If the disc is formatted as NTFS, then you'd need to explicitly enable writing to it on Mac OS.

      • not
        June 18, 2012 at 2:11 am

        Actually, you don't want to enable Mac OSX native support. It is unreliable. That is why the GOFLEX disk comes with its own driver for the Mac. Install the software for the Mac. It's already on the external drive. Indeed, in some instances, there may be one other step to perform. It would be similar to what HA14 suggests (HA describes enabling read/write permission for a PC drive. The steps one takes to do the same thing on a Mac are what I am also looking for.

      • not
        June 18, 2012 at 2:30 am

        It appears that HA14 and Oron are the only persons to understand the original queston. First, do not reformat or repartition the drive. Second, do not enable the Mac OSX native NTFS write driver. It is unreliable. The Seagate GoFlex comes with a Paragon NTFS driver for Mac OSX 10.4.11 and above.It is on the external drive and can be installed from there simply by launching the *.DMG file found on the USB drive. Check out this very nice tutorial for complete and easy to follow instrunctions.

      • not
        June 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

        OK. It finally works. There was an extra step I had to perform that was not in the flash demo I provided in a previous link. After all was don and I had allowed the final NTFS for Mac OSX verification to be performed, I still had only read access. I opened System Preferences and under "Other" selected the NTFS for Mac OSX icon. That's the driver manager. At first the available NTFS partitions box was empty. I unplugged the USB connector and plugged it back in. The drive popped up in the driver manager. After I selected it, I could check the box that says "Allow Access" or something similar. At that point read and write access to the NTFS drive was available and all has been working as it should since.

  2. Ewleonardspock
    March 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    What Mac OS does she use?  Because most HDDs come formatted as NTFS but Snow Leopard was the first Mac OS to support so nothing 10.5 and earlier can write to NTFS.  

  3. ha14
    March 19, 2012 at 8:39 am

    1)go to Start > Run  then type cmd and launch with administrative rights 
    2) type--> diskpart
    3) type--> list volume
    5) type--> select volume #
    6) type--> attributes disk clear readonly
    7) type--> x:>attrib -r /s /d (X= hard drive)

    • Arnold Alina
      March 19, 2012 at 8:49 am

      I'm using a mac and she is too.

      • ha14
        March 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

        changed my answer please let me know

    • just someone
      July 23, 2012 at 1:19 am

      thank you so much! you don't know how much you helped me!!!

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