How To Fix Write Protection Errors On a USB Stick

Ads by Google

fix write protection on usbYou’ve got your trusty USB flash drive plugged into your computer, and you go to copy some files to it. Then you get this – “The disk is write protected. Remove the write protection or use another disk.” Then you say, “Whaaaaaa….?!?!” How did this happen? This is your USB stick, you should be able to read, write and do whatever you want with it!

Deep breath and stay calm. It is just an error message. You and I are going to go through a few simple steps to fix write protection on USB drives and make your USB flash drive work again, in the manner that you expect it to. It’s just technology, we can fix it.

Step 1 – Check The USB Drive For Viruses

Every time you plug a USB drive into your computer, you should be automatically scanning it for viruses – especially if you have used it on computers that you don’t own, or public computers. Viruses often act in a manner that will fill your USB drive with nonsense files and this can make your USB drive respond with the Write Protected error.

Depending on the antivirus software that you have, you may be able to configure it to automatically scan USB Drives when they are plugged in. If not, usually you can navigate to the USB drive in Windows Explorer, right-click on it and make your antivirus software scan it manually.

fix write protection on usb

Ads by Google

If you do find a virus, then it would be best to eliminate it using your antivirus software. I’d also recommend performing a scan with at least one other antivirus scanner, as not all antiviruses are 100% complete in their anti-virus definitions. Chances are where there is one virus, there are two or more.

I recommend reading Joel’s article, “Make Sure You’re Clean With These Free One-Time Scan Antivirus Tools“.

Step 2 – Check The USB Drive Body

Normally I’d make something this simple, step one. However I’d rather see you protected from viruses first and then have you check the simple thing factor. Some USB flash drives have a mechanical switch on them that puts them into Write Protect mode.  This can be a very small slider switch which may have caught on something in your pocket or computer case.

If this is the situation, then simply move the switch to the unlocked position and try to copy files again. It should work now.

fix write protection

On the upside there aren’t a lot of USB sticks with these locks on them anymore. So there is a good chance that’s not the issue for you. On the downside, if this isn’t the issue the following fixes are slightly more complicated.

Step 3 – Check To Make Sure the Flash Drive Isn’t Full

If your USB stick is full, you may also get the Write Protect error message. So, simply pop into Windows Explorer, find your USB Drive, right-click on it and select Properties. This will give you the nice pie chart display of the Used and Free space available on your USB Stick.

(Fun Fact: The scientific reason why pie charts are so popular is that people like pie). It appears that my drive is barely used at all!

fix write protection

Step 4 – Is It Just That File?

Make sure that it isn’t just the file that is write protected. Yes, you would get a different error message, but maybe you jumped to conclusions and thought it was the whole USB flash drive. It happens. If I can freak out like that, so could you.

fix write protection

Right-click on the file that you’re trying to write to and then click on Properties. Now you’ll see some options at the bottom of this window and one of them is Read-only. Make sure this box is unchecked and then click on the Apply button. You should now be able to write to this file.

fix write protect usb drive

Step 5 – Diskpart Command Line Utility

Have you ever worked in the command line on Windows? Well you’re about to. It’s not as scary as one might think, and as such it is the next logical step before going into the Windows Registry.

Click on your Start Menu and type cmd in the Search for programs and files field. Now, hit your Enter key. You’ll see a window looking like the following:

fix write protect usb drive

Type in the command diskpart and hit Enter. Diskpart is a disk-partitioning tool that is built into Windows and is accessible through the Command Line Utility. With it, we can change the values associated with your USB drive.

A new command line window will open. Type list disk and then hit Enter. You’ll now see a list of disks available in Windows. If your USB drive isn’t listed here, this won’t help you any. You can see in my example below that all that is showing are the two partitions on my computer’s hard drive. My USB drive doesn’t show up in here for whatever reason.

fix write protect usb drive

If it is listed here, make a note of the number beside it. Make sure that this is indeed your USB drive! Now type the command select disk 3, assuming your USB drive is number 3, and hit Enter. Type attributes disk clear readonly and then hit Enter. You have now cleared any Read-Only attribute that might be on that USB drive.

Type exit and hit Enter to leave the DiskPart utility. Try your USB drive again. Still getting the Write Protect Error?

Step 6 – Into the Registry We Go

If none of the previous steps helped you out, then we have to do something a little dangerous – we are going into the registry. If you are not comfortable going into the registry, I understand. You may want to skip to Step 7, but that means going on to formatting your USB drive. Or, you can have a friend who is a computer technician check the registry for you. Or you can try it out yourself. This is a fairly simple registry change, so hang in there. I think you can do it.

Click on your Start Menu and type regedit into the Search for programs and files field. You’ll see something like the image below.

Hit your Enter key. The Registry Editor window will now open. By clicking on the arrows next to the menu items, navigate to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies

and look for a key named WriteProtect.

If that key exists, right-click on it and click on Modify.

Now, you’ll probably find that the value for this is set to 1. 1 means “Yes, write protect my USB storage device.” So you can guess that 0 means “No, don’t write protect my USB storage device.” Now change that value to 0 and click on the OK button.

Close Registry Editor, remove your USB device and then plug it back in again. You should now be able to write to your USB stick.

If not, it is Disk Formatting Time.

Step 7 – Format The USB Drive

WARNING: Make sure that you back up all the files and information from your USB drive to your computer. All data will be lost once the USB drive is formatted.

Formatting the hard drive is a last resort. However, it should make your USB drive able to be read and written to. Prior to formatting the USB drive, determine what kind of file system it already has – NTFS or FAT32. Normally the file system that it already has will be the file system that is best suited for the drive.

Remember how we went into Windows Explorer, right-clicked on the USB drive and selected Properties back in Step 3? Let’s do that again.

There it is – File system: FAT32. If you want more information on file systems and formatting USB Flash Drives, Tina has a solid article on that, called, “How To Format A USB Drive & Why You Would Need To“.

Close out the Properties window and right-click on your USB drive in Windows Explorer again. Click on Format.

In the Format window, you’ve got some options. We’ve already determined that we’re going to use the FAT32 File System for this particular drive. For Allocation Unit Size, select the highest amount you can if you’ve got a USB drive with a capacity over 1GB, go smaller if your USB drive is smaller. I don’t know of too many people with a USB flash drive less than 1GB so 64 kilobytes should be fine.

fix write protection on usb

You can make the Volume label something that is meaningful to you. I’m just leaving it as KINGSTON for now. Because we may be dealing with a USB drive with hardware issues, I suggest unchecking the Quick format box. That will force the format to do more than just erase files. If there is a bad sector on this USB drive, a full format will will throw an error. If that’s the case, then you may want to check out my article, “How To Make Corrupt USB Jump Drives Work Again“.

The formatting shouldn’t take too long. Of course, the larger the volume, the longer the formatting will take. Assuming there is no physical problem with the drive, your USB drive will be formatted, cleaned and ready to read from and write to.

The Take Away

Sometimes the problem is simple and can be dealt with simply. Try those methods first as they are most often the correct ones. If the problem is deep and requires drastic measure, make sure that is indeed the case. You’ve got a lot more troubleshooting tools in your arsenal now and should be able to get your USB drives working again, potentially saving you a tidy sum of money.

And all we ask is that you let us know how it went, in the comments below. Of course, if you have any additional tips, we like to read those too.

Image Source: Padlock USB via Shutterstock

Ads by Google
From the Web

150 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Sam Nicko

Very Good Article! Thank you!

Reply

Brandon Ragoo

Please help !! I have been having this issue with my flash drive for months now. I tried everything I knew even did research and ask for help online in the past months but no one seems to have the solution. After reading this article I decided to give it a try again but unfortunately none of the methods seemed to work. I did manage to discover that the folder which contains an ISO fie stored on the flash drive is wright protected, however when I follow the instructions given in step 4 and 5 that doesn’t remove the wright protection because when I attempt to remove the wright protection from the folder it give the error message “An error occurred applying attributes to the file: The media is wright protected. ” Please help

David Moreira

Use HP USB Disk Format Utility and format the pen.

Guy McDowell

I’m behind David on this. Sounds like you need to format it. The HP utility he mentions should do the job.

Brandon Ragoo

I tried it before reading this article but unfortunately it failed any other suggestions

Fin Butler

I totally agree with Brandon Ragoo, my USB has just started playing up and I have not used anything that is protected or copyrighted in my USB. I really need help. My USB is essential

eric

I look up on the methods from 1 to last, no solutions for my usb problem, it has created a write protection rules, I have observed that all files can’t be delete, some has unknown and special character file named to the folders, but still can be view or can be copy but can’t be moved, I tried HB USB Format but still it is write protected… I am asking for help how can I solve it? is it a bad sector behavior, or a damage USB?

AKGuy

Could be that he is being hindered by some Bitlocker GPO settings. In this case he will be unable to write to the disk without proper permissions from an Administrator.

Reply

barney

Well-l-l-l,
File manager does not recognize the drive.
Disk Management recognizes the drive is in place, but does not assign a letter, nor can I click on the drive – Disk 6 in this instance – in the uper screen, although the drive shows in the lower window with only the size, 59.77 GB, which is identical to a similar drive. It sees the space, but will not allow any further action. Appears I’ll have to use gparted or similar in order to fix. Shouldn’t have to reboot, nor to use a foreign tool, to fix a Windows drive.

Guy McDowell

Did you unplug any other USB drives? Might the USB drive you want to work on have the same drive letter as something else? That does happen.

I covered how to check and change that in How To Make Corrupt USB Jump Drives Work Again

Reply

Raymond Led Carasco

Very nice and very informative. Thanks :))

Reply

Nevzat A

Well I’ve been in such a situtation recently, I’ve tried nearly everything but unable to solve the problem. My final decision is : the drive is corrupt and no way to rescue it. Sometimes it occurs.

Reply

Curt Schroeder

You missed a step. You should run “chkdsk /F” on the USB drive before resorting to a reformat, especially if you write to a FAT32 USB drive with both Linux and Windows.

Guy McDowell

I was thinking I was going to do that, but that isn’t so much to check for Write Protection as it is for working on a USB drive that may have corrupt files. Good call nonetheless.

I covered how to do that in How To Make Corrupt USB Jump Drives Work Again.

Reply

Dany Bouffard

Sometimes the normal windows format dont work in those times its often good to use HP Format Tool, its a great tool to format USB Drives.

Guy McDowell

Good point. There is another one out there from one of the leading computer manufacturers as well. Can’t recall it at this moment.

Reply

null

Some times the pendrive can go into RAW format. You cannot format it and when you try to, Windows will display ‘Write Protected. Cannot format’

If you pendrive was working fine till it became RAW, try to format it using EaseUS partition master home edition. Pretty neat software!

Very good article indeed. Thanks a lot Guy!

Guy McDowell

EaseUS has been in my toolbox for many years. Great tool.

Reply

mohammadwasi786

Many time i face this problem now i will fix this problem insha Allah
superb article

Reply

Garey B

I had this problem and tried all of the options mentioned in the article with no avail. I temporarily got write permissions with the diskpart command then I had had to make adjustments in the security tab on the properties section of the drive itself. Somehow the owner had been changed with many of the permissions changed as well. I believe one of my kids was to suspect not sure though.

Guy McDowell

That could happen, but to intentionally do it would be a sign of good computer literacy by your kid. So, be proud, I guess?

Reply

Victor Ong

Great tips! Definitely going to be reviewing this one when I come across a bad USB

Guy McDowell

Keep in mind the other tips in the comments and other articles on MUO. We’re here to help!

Reply

gh

I have never had this problem with a flash drive but i have never been able to write to any of my camera cards on my hp pavilion g7 since puchasing new.

Guy McDowell

Do you get a Write Protect error when you try?

What kind of camera cards are they? Compact Flash? SD, microSD, other?

Reply

sumith harshan

It worked very well. Thanks a lot.!

Reply

lanete_08

All the steps didn’t work for me. :[

ralph

all procedures were done but still didnt work unfortunately :(

Reply

lsekopa

Thanks for the info. I tried all of this and it still gives the message after I click the start button on the formatting screen.

Reply

kostas

nice article but nothing worked. Even when i tried thw format it didn’t allow me saying “the disk is write protected”!! Any suggestions here?
Thanks

Reply

MARTIN MWANGI

HELLO, I HAVE TRIED ALL THE STEP TO REMOVE WRITE PROTECTION BUT NON OF THEM HAS WORKED OUT TO SOLVE MY PROBLEM.

I USED TO COPY SONG FROM YOUTUBE AFTER CONVERTING THEM TO A FORMAT THAT THAT ENABLED ME TO WATCH THE VIDEOS FROM IN IT USING A DVD PLAYER, PLEASE HELP ME SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

Reply

John R

I followed the seven steps for clearing a write protected flash drive. Step 6 in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies di not have the entry “StorageDevicePolices”. Even did a search for it. No dice. I am using Win 7 and flash drive is recognized.(seen) but, I just can.t touch it. It didn’t list it through Regedit. In trying to format it in windows, it tells me it s write Protected.

Reply

Big Tone in UK

thanks pal. All I had to do was disable the write protection on the flash stick and you were the only person on the www who said that. Thanks for solving my problem so easily as I didn’t know such a switch existed. I owe you a pint of cold beer

Reply

Navin

Very good artical but i did not solve problem. i try all any can help me

Reply

john

i can not see the storage device policy in my system how do i do that i can only see storage device

rahul

u hv to create it…

Reply

$ayaam Khan

Nothing Worked

Reply

Don Scan

baaaaaaaaaaaaaad tutorial

Guy M

We’re all open to learning here. What would you like to add?

Reply

Victor

Was really helpful…….thanks!!!!

Reply

Adil

i dont have storage device policies please help me

Reply

angry

I’ve done every single step. I tried the Reg key before i found this page. Still doesn’t work . . The whole point for me was to format it and that is exactly what I can’t do, because the usb drive is write protected >_>

karen

i’m having the same problem too.. i can’t format it because my drive is write protected..
please help Mr. Guy McDowell!!

Guy M

Other than the steps in this article and some of the tips and software mentioned in the comments, I don’t really have any advice to give. Other than, maybe it’s time for a new USB drive.

Reply

Narendra

Thank you!! It worked.

Reply

usbman

I use this simple tools and it works for me. You may also try this if you thing this steps are complex http://www.myusbtools.com/2013/09/windows-cant-format-your-disk-how-to.html

Reply

Eashan

I am getting a problem while editing the registries for the same problem. The storagedevicepolicies option is not present there. Only storage option is there. So what should I do???

Guy M

You can create the registry key. Just make sure to back up your registry before you make any changes.

Reply

Eashan

@ GuyM I tried all the above steps given by u but still getting the same problem. Is there any other way of removing this??? Or should I do the same procedure from the laptop which originated this problem???

Guy M

If there is another way, I don’t know what it is. Sorry. Doing this on the original laptop shouldn’t make a difference. Maybe if one was Windows and one was Mac, but even then I don’t think it should make a difference.

Reply

CIEG

all step didn’t worked for me either…
i can’t format it in every way and every site show me….
still “write protected”
i use bitdefender though but didn’t find any malware or virus….
4 days ago i copied files to my pc… after i copied the files, the usb flash drive turn “write protected” i check bit locker, but bitlocker is turned of on my usb….

Reply

Flappie

I solved this by adding the StorageDevicePolicies key to the registry in W7 and only by doing that (and a format with Windows Computer Management cause It wouldnt show in Explorer otherwise…) So, good Guy M, it might be an excellent idea to add a small howtoaddthattotheregistry to Step 6. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

Reply

sarmda

Trying to insert window 8 in flash, but it turned to be writeprotected, no a single method that can solved beside buying new flash…………………. It is just little error but turn to throw the 8Gb flash away. Amazingly, How come? for this little mistake. After all thank you for the article, and it can’t help…..

Reply

julie

its not working both cmd and regedit, even formatting the usb won’t work.Is any body there who knows the solution with this problem?thanks

Guy M

Glad we could help!

Guy M

Try what Kean suggests below. Check for the key in the registry and if it isn’t there, create it.

Reply

Kean

Great article. One tip – If you have no such Key (StorageDevicePolicies ) in your registry – then create one! Cause in my case I couldn’t even format the drive until I created that key! cheers!

Guy M

Good call! The key was mentioned, but I don’t think I mentioned creating it if it wasn’t there. Thank you!

Reply

Ronald simiyu

Thanks for the article, i have been looking for this information for a long period of time but now i have it

Guy M

Glad we could help!

Reply

Vaibhav

Thanx a lot dude …..my device has started working properly……it was a great help…..awesome…..thanx thanx and thanxx????????????????????????

Reply

Guy M

Glad we could help!

Reply

Sarwar Khan

its good thanks.but its not working on window 7

Reply

BrieAdams

please help i have tried all these steps but i am still having the issues

Reply

tiblu

Bingo thank you.

Reply

Dane

I tried everything here and still my USB is write protected. I can’t even format the thing! I created the StorageDevicePolicy key in my registry but still no go.

In diskpart when I do the “attributes” command it shows that it’s not write protected but that it’s “current status” = write protected (that seems more than a bit contrary).

I’m not desperate to have a 16 GB USB…went and bought another – I just want to fix it because it’s bugging me *lol* Any help would go a long way toward soothing my psychosis – thanks!

Reply

sanarya

awww <3 thank u thank u ..ii was about to go insane :D <3

Reply

Jon Pawson

None of these steps worked. In particular, in Step Six ‘StorageDevicePolicies’ isn’t there. I tried everything else to no avail. I should probably throw the drive away, right? They’re inexpensive nowadays, I don’t know why I’m bothering to go through all this work.

Guy M

Have you tried creating the key ‘StorageDevicePolicies’? That’s another thing you could try.

Reply

Mattt

None of steps worked for me. I even created StorageDevicePolicies key and added the flag. Again, it did not work either. I had never been this much frustrated with Windows till now.

Reply

frank

my usb is refusingto be formated

Reply

Valdas

My Data Traveler is both write-protected and in a RAW file system, nothing that was mentioned here helps :/ anyone found a solution?

Reply

Some

IDK if this gonna work… but it works for me.

We need to uninstall our device’s driver, here explain all that shit:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/246041/how_to_uninstall_drivers_in_windows.html

After uninstall drivers, we connect our device and windows will start to install drivers again and profit!!!! … if didn’t work, well… shit happens : D

And sorry for my english, it’s horrible but hope this help somebody.

Reply

Malia

I was on registry step 6 but when I foloowed the instruction there was no option called “WriteProtect”. But my USB is still write protected it gives me that erorr message.
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlStorageDevicePolicies
and look for a key named WriteProtect.”

I can’t even format it because of the write protection error.
This means whatever I put into the USB I can never delete. I have backed up my USB though.

Reply

H.Herrmann

Sounds all quite interesting. However my USB flash drive is still write-protected although I proceeded according to above instructions. There is no ‘StorageDevicePolicies’ in my HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControl
My operating system is Windows 7, 32-bit. So it would be wonderful to get instructions how to get ‘StorageDevicePolicies’ in my registry. It should be between: ‘Stillmage and SystemInformation’.

Reply

Markus

Followed all directions above, used two different computers, one laptop running windows 7 home pro 64bit and one desktop running windows 8.1, my usb drive is still write protected. I tried the HP USB Disk Format Utility and EaseUS, neither worked. There is no physical switch, slide, knob, or button on the flash drive other than the one that slides it in and out of it’s decorative/protective case. I can not format the drive because I get a message saying it is write protected. I tried taking ownership of the files on it, that worked but still could do nothing with them because the drive itself is write protected. I have been fighting with this drive for months to try to regain control of it so I can actually use it. It’s a 64GB drive that currently has approximately 2GB of data on it. I was using it for movies to watch on my WD TV box (not the current model displayed on their website but this one http://www.ebay.com/itm/Western-Digital-TV-Live-Digital-HD-Media-Streamer/231413075417?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D27538%26meid%3Dd5926d7ee99b4f349c211d9286c57e0a%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D11353%26rk%3D4%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D331408739905&rt=nc)

Reply

pawan

I have tried that regedit option but still unable to formet that removable disk.how can i formet that cause everytime i try to formet it show the same massage ‘disk is write protected’ error.help?

Reply

pawan

After regedit in storage device policy there no write protect file but i created one even after that i am not able to formet that removable drive…help please?

Reply

Andy

Tried all the aove to fix a write protected flash drive all to no avail! :(

Reply

Weed

None of the above worked.

Reply

Ange

I agree with the last few comments – the “regedit” did nothing for my flash drive and after doing it several thousand times, it has failed me altogether and has now forced me to format the drive… Great.

Reply

itt

buzzbomb SOLVED it is THAT SIMPLE!!!
THANK YOU buzzbomb!!!
buzzbomb!!!
go to c/windows/inf search for usbstor.pnf in search panel right click it
select properties>security>users(your name pc) edit permissions give your name
write permissions

Reply

Howard Olen

Thanks for this article. I’ve tried everything and am fairly tech literate. I went into the regedit but the key “storage device policies” doesnt exist. Now what. Nothing I do will allow me to erase or format this this disk (128GB mSD with SD Adapter lock switch off)

Reply

santhosh k

I am using Sandisc Cruiser 30 GB .
I tried all the above and other steps from other portals.
No luck :(

somebody please help.

Reply

Guy

You may want to check out another article on the topic here: How To Format A Write Protected USB Flash Drive

Reply

valdir

Only problem is it does not WORK!
Tryed everithing it simply doesn’t work
I’d like to know if anyone here was able to format the device?

Reply

cosmin

So this is the same like memory cards, i have a memory card about 16GB i try everything is possible from here or internet, i can find a solution to reactivate(format) my memory card.
Everything i try sad: the disk is write protected…..
Any ideea???

Guy

They are similar, but quite different as well. First step is to check and see if the manufacturer has any sort of tool to help you.

Reply

Azam Khan

i was having problem of write protected and i make it too dificult to “clean” the USB by clean command in “diskpart” . Now it is no showing in My Computer it is showig only in “ComputerManageDisk Management ” and in Windows XP installation setup. But XP is not able to delete the partition. Now what should i do, help me please….

Guy

Hi Azam,

If it is showing in Disk Management, check the drive letter. It may have decided to use a drive letter in use by another device. You can change it to just about any letter.

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘not able to delete the partition’. Did you create a partition on your USB flash drive?

In Disk Management, does it say that the file system on the USB flash drive is RAW, NTFS, FAT32, EXT3, etc?

If it is anything BUT FAT32, try changing the file format to one of those. Depeding on the size of your flash drive, you may need to adjust the cluster size. Here’s a little bit about FAT32 cluster sizes, courtesy of mcmcse.com:

The FAT32 file system can support drives up to 2 terabytes in size (in theory) and because it uses space more efficiently, FAT32 uses smaller clusters (that is, 4,096 byte clusters for drives up to 8 GB in size), resulting in more efficient use of disk space relative to large FAT16 drives.

FAT32 file system cluster sizes

Partition Size Cluster Size
0M to less than 260MB 512 bytes
260MB through 8GB 4,096 bytes
8GB through 16GB 8,192 bytes
16GB through 32GB 16,384 bytes
32GB through 2TB 32,768 bytes

Reply

Dr. Saleem

Hi there! Im using 4gb micro sd card in my android phone. It reads perfectly. however, it fails to write anything at all. I tried to format it but it failed. I followed the given procedure here in totality and i was at last successful at formatting it. However, I was astonished to see the same data on the card a moment later. I scanned my card under HDtune and it was perfect. I then deleted the partition and formatted it again but the data just keeps appearing back again. Even I tried low level formatting, yet it failed and data appeared again. Not only done the procedure using the phone’s connectivity but also various card readers. Can any technocrat please help me to solve this issue? I will be very thankful.

Reply

peter

tried all methods nothing worked

Reply

Nitin

I find nothing except Write protected…. Its Sandsik Crusier Blade 8 Gb…i also used HP repair tool, had done diskpart, regedit.exe, etc. etc. but all are just unuseful for me ….

Your All Steps Failed Mr.Guy Mc Dowell.

Guy

Hi Nitin,

I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t able to remove write protection.

However, before you judge this article so negatively, you may want to consider what lead to having the write protection error in the first place. I can assure you, it had nothing to do with me.

Issues like this are almost always the result of what the user of the drive does. Do you just pull the drive out when you remove it, or do you follow the proper ejection procedure? Even if you don’t do it properly just once, it can cause this issue.

Did you put the write protection on in the first place? If so, then it’s there because you put it there, not because the plethora of advice you got for free didn’t happen to be the solution for your situation.

And there is one step you haven’t tried. Give up on that drive and get a new one.
Sometimes things are just plain broken and you have to move on.

Reply

Bob Paw

My USB is of the RAW file system, corrupted, write-protected, no [visible] switch, and it’s not registry, because my other USBs work fine! Have you any idea what could be wrong?

Guy

You did say corrupted right? Have you tried fixing whatever the corruption is first? Until that’s done, these steps will probably be of no use.

Reply

sharon

good advice but none of it worked for me
1 it wont format
2 when go into regedit I get storage but not storage protect
3 it wont format says cannot format read only
4 when I click on its properties its totally empty

5 I give up

Guy

Try creating the storage protect key in the registry and entering the appropriate values.

Reply

Lucia

Hi there- my registry doesn’t seem to have Storage device policies. I do have Storage and Storage Management but neither seem to contain the components needed. I’ve tried all previous steps.

Guy

Hi Lucia,

If the KEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlStorageDevicePolicies does not have the WriteProtect key in it, you can create that key.

Make sure you backup a copy of registry first, and be sure to set the WriteProtect key value to 0 (zero), which means “No, don’t write protect my USB storage device.”

Properly eject your USB flash drive, plug it back in, and check if it is still write-protected. Hopefully, it won’t be.

Reply

notasstupid

LOL… Idiots that say to FORMAT the drive with HP utility shit are just morons. How can you format a drive that is STILL write protected? MORON!

Guy

And yet, somehow it happens! :)

Reply

Peter

Hi, I tried all of the above options but am still getting a write protected message.

Reply

Terrance Sweeney

None of the processes worked. My operating system is Vista and no matter what I did I could not remove the “read only” or “write protected”. I followed the suggestions, the Cmd window would open but no matter what I typed it always displayed the descriptions of the action words. When I tried to remove the “read only” on a file it again displayed the file is “read only”. I got the same results when I tried to Format. I have no idea how to solve this which is very frustrating as I have the same problem with 4 other flash drives.

Guy

Hi Terrance,

I can empathize. Check my response to Abdul below for advice on using Live CDs or Rescue Disks with your computer and using the utilities in them to try to fix your flash drives.

Reply

abdul rahman

I have installed windows 8.1 from usb but after installation i am not able to format usb.
I have tried all above suggestions e.g create registry key try HP formatting tool but my usb not formatted… what next???

please suggest…

Guy

Have you ever worked with a Live Boot CD before?

Justin Pot has an excellent article called Parted Magic: A Complete Hard Drive Toolbox On One Live CD that will show you how to use this.

Welcomed newcomer, Gavin Phillips has a great article on the 5 Best Rescue Disks For A Windows System Restore. It highlights some other Live CD utilities that might help you check the health of the USB thumb drive from outside of Windows.

Each of these Live CDs or Rescue Disks have utilities for formatting that may work better than what you can run in Windows. It’s worth a shot. Especially if it’s an expensive USB drive.

Reply

Buhril

I had my 4gb micro sd card that i used with my mobile, I removed the card for saving/moving/moving some file to my Laptop it work well, but when i re-inserted the card my mobile asked me to format for continuing using I denied and removed and insert again in my Laptop, here too the same pop-up, i.e., format the card,,, Here i do format i tried every possibility but the result is only Windows couldn’t complete format. then i go my mobile there’s no good result!!! Please help me out.

Guy

Hi Burhil,

Check to see if the maker of your micro SD card has some sort of utility to test it with.

Sometimes if we don’t eject the USB device or SD card prior to physically pulling it out, this sort of thing can happen. Is it possible that’s what might have happened?

Occasionally, putting the card back in the laptop, then following the proper eject card procedure, the card might be made useful again.

Reply

deepti

in regedit after thisHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlStorageDevicePolicies
i dont have the option – storagedevicepolicies
what to do now ??????????

Guy

Hi Deepti,

You can create the key, and assign the value as recommended in the article. Make sure you back up your registry before you try this, though.

Reply

Carlos

I’ve tried EVERYTHING and nothing worked with my micro SD card… It was used in an Android phone and don’t know what happened to it nor how to fix it

Reply

Zdenko Dubreta

Nice article but nothing worked to many users!

Even when you tried to format your USB Key it didn’t allow you saying “the disk is write protected”!
I have had the same problem and I RESOLVED IT ! The problem is very dilated, you know for it, but may be also manufakturers of yours USB key knows for it? I have 4GB USB Key Transcend and I found a Tool “Restore/Format” write protected USB Key on their site. With it I succefully formated my Key. i suggest you to look in the site of your manufacturer for the tool or ask them for help.

WARNING: Make sure that you back up all the files and information from your USB drive to your computer. All data will be lost once the USB drive is formatted.
Very glad if I help you, yours Zdenko (73 years old)

Guy

Thank you Zdenko,

It’s always a good idea to check the manufacturers website to see if they have any tools that might help.

That might not be mentioned in this article or it’s comments, but it is mentioned in a similar article on our site How To Format A Write Protected USB Flash Drive.

Again, thank you for mentioning checking with the manufacturer.

Reply

Hussain

I tried all the way but it not working.
kindly help

Reply

BeckyT

Have tried ALL you solutions to remove the write-protection (not just file write protection): diskpart in command prompt, regedit (had to create the StorageDevicePolices folder), format quick/format non-quick. NOTHING works.

The flash drive is a ScanDisk Ultra 32 G and BRAND-flippin-NEW. It’s not full, no switch, and JUST started acting up when I was copying files from my hard drive to it.

I want to delete the data on it, but shy of complete incineration (and the disgust of $60 wasted), I can’t get the puppy to un-write-protect.

HELP, PLEASE!!!!!

Guy

Hi Becky,

If it’s new, maybe return it for a refund or replacement. Maybe it’s a manufacturer’s defect.

Have you checked SanDisk’s website for any utilities that might help? Or support information?

Reply

Becky Trotter

It is new, but tossed the darned receipt away (STUPID). I have checked Scan Disk’s site, and sent them an email. They replied a day later (OMG!! so quick). It seems from the email that they too believe the “…USB drive has gone bad and needs to get replaced.” They are willing to replace it at their expense, including shipping. Holy Moly a company that stands by their product and will replace if faulty!!!!!

So far, my faith in the company AND product has been restored (angelic music in the background).

Guy

That’s excellent Becky! Very glad to hear that about SanDisk.
It’s just plain good business to do such a thing. I wish more folks were like that.

Reply

Kennard

did all the steps suggested, unfortunately problem still persist.

Went to download mUSBfixer, works like a cham! Hoolaaa~~

Guy

Hi Kennard,

I glad that worked for you. I’m posting this link to mUSBfixer.

If I recall my research correctly, that was one of the utilities I tried, but it didn’t work for me – so I couldn’t really recommend it.

Reply

Leif Courtenay

Hi, I’ve been happily using my Kingston dataTraveler USB for months when all of a sudden I couldn’t write to it any more. A week or so back I reformatted it as NTFS as I needed to backup some big files (6-7GB) and it seemed to work fine until yesterday. I tried your steps 1-6 (1-5 made no difference) but when I got into the registry settings there is no StorageDevicePolicies listed at all….is that where the problem lies? I’d be grateful for your advice!

Reply

Guy

It’s possible. Have you checked Kingston Data’s website for their USB repair tool?

Reply

larry

Well, that skimmed the surface, however for drives that are really fubar it didn’t make a scratch. Also there were no comments on initializing the drive either, which did help me get the sad little stick to “look” like it was WR, however it isn’t . There’s a 12MB partition on it that just won’t go away. I’ve dealt with encrypted disks, been all over diskpart and other utilities and it just won’t reformat, re-initialize, etc to a usable form. Maybe something did go bad on the stick, however as we’re having problems sometimes with the encrypted OS going RO, I’m thinking it’s related. Oh well, back to searching.

Reply

Justine

Hello , i had the same problem guys but i got mine fixed already. I downloaded this file from a website and the name is restore (i forgot where did i downloaded it) but i got the file , i wish i could share this to you but how can i upload this file ? sorry for my bad english , i’m from phillipines . Wish i can help you guys.

Reply

Guy

Hi Justine,

We don’t have a way to upload files to us, or to share them either. It’s a legally sticky area.
But thank you for thinking of us! If you find the link, I’d like it if you could share it here. Our other readers probably would like that too. :)

Reply

Dinesh

my pen drive give error “write protected”…i used all the method ..but still give me error

Guy

Sorry to read that Dinesh. Have you tried the other methods mentioned throughout the comments?

Reply

Brad

I was having the same write issue with my flash drive.. my file system was also set to RAW.. I tried using diskpart with no luck. I downloaded the program ‘HDD Low Level Format tool ver.4.40’setup which can be found here:

http://hddguru.com/software/HDD-LLF-Low-Level-Format-Tool/

Run the program, select continue at the first box (unless you want to donate money) and then select the flash drive on the next screen and select continue. Next, select the tab named LOW-LEVEL FORMAT and click the FORMAT THIS DISK button on the bottom.

After it finished running, my disk was converted back to FAT32 and had no read-only attribute. I was then able to convert it to NTFS with no issues. Hope this helps!

Reply

Andy

Tried all of these methods with no success and continue to get ‘ The disk is write protected ‘ message popping up. With the registry edit method there was no storage device policies at all , only Storage with no open-up arrow on the left of it.

Reply

Easton

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! The CMD method worked for me!

Reply

lykouse

Can’t say the article was helpful as I keep getting a message drive needs to be formatted before use but won’t format cause it is write protected. And none of the listed steps helped.

Reply

Guy

Maybe try some of the suggestions posted in the comments here? Lots of people were willing to share what ultimately worked for them. Might work for you!

Reply

Marjetka

Thank you, the cmd method worked for me too!

Reply

Joey

My disk is empty. Regedit does not go any further than HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControl and the registry does not contain StorageDevicePolicies. I’m running windows 8.1.

Reply

priyanka

under contol i didnt find the storagedevice policies option…????what to do

Reply

Patriot Memory User

I have an USB Storage from manufacturer Patriot Memory where Windows everytime said that it is write protected.
After browsing the internet for help I don’t have found any functional solution to disable the write protection.
On the manufacturer website I’ve found a tool to format/restore that fortunately works fine.
I’ve choosed the option restore an the tool has deleted all contents an formated it.
Now my usb-sticks works fine.
My next stick will be again a Patriot Memory :)

Try to find a similar solution for your stick :)

Reply

darwan

(terima kasih atas infonya,benar benar dapat membantu saya)… Thanks,its very help me…

Guy

Hi Darwan,

Thank you! I’m glad the article helped you.

Reply

Ajay

trying the tutorial and not proper working.. I have read but storeg polices are changes the values 1 to 0 please ans me…

Reply

jjjj

i have tried till 7..yet still say write protected…i cant format my device help????

Reply

edenboy

i have tried every thing nothing is happening card is still write protected

Reply

Silentwalker

I tried all this and none of this worked.

Reply

cody

nothing of what you explained worked for my device!

Your comment