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How do I "un-write protect" USB flash drives? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I recently purchased a new computer that has Windows 8.  One of my many flash/thumb drives is now suddenly marked "write-protected" when I did nothing to make it so.  I found a solution listed for Windows 7.  I applied it to my own computer, however it did not change the said drive from write-protected to un-write protected.  I simply want to move files to another storage device and re-format the write-protected drive for new files.  How do I un-write-protect my flash/thumb drive in the Windows 8 operating system?
    Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:14 AM

Answers

  • Hi, 

    DiskPart is a text-mode command interpreter in Windows family. This tool enables you to manage objects (disks, partitions, or volumes) by using scripts or direct input at a command prompt.

    As Robert mentioned, please run CMD as administration, and use this command to clear read-only attribute on your flash drive.

    diskpart

    sel disk <usb-disk>

    attrib disk clear Readonly

    attrib disk

    DiskPart Command-Line Options

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766465(v=ws.10).aspx

    If the issue persists, please follow steps in this article to check the issue:

    How To Fix Write Protection Errors On a USB Stick

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-fix-write-protection-errors-on-a-usb-stick/

    This response contains a reference to a third party World Wide Web site. Microsoft is providing this information as a convenience to you. Microsoft does not control these sites and has not tested any software or information found on these sites; therefore, Microsoft cannot make any representations regarding the quality, safety, or suitability of any software or information found there. There are inherent dangers in the use of any software found on the Internet, and Microsoft cautions you to make sure that you completely understand the risk before retrieving any software from the Internet.

    If we still fail to fix this issue, I suppose that the chipset of this drive is broken. We may need to reproduce this drive. If the your data is very important for you, to recover your data from hard disk,  I would like to suggest you contact the professional data recovery company for help. 

    Hope these could be helpful.


    Kate Li
    TechNet Community Support


    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 9:34 AM
    Owner

All replies

  • Let's try this, you will need to use to regedit. To do this, navigate to the Start Screen by clicking the Start Screen icon in the lower right hand corner within Windows 8.1 or click on the Windows Key, next type, "Run" and then type "Regedit" and click okay.

    Next, you will want to navigate to the following path: HEKY LOCAL MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies\

    If the above path does not exist, you will want to create the new key and lable it "StorageDevicePolicies" from within the HKEY Local Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\ path. Next, under StorageDevicePolicies, you will want to find or create a DWORD (32-bit) that says, "writeprotect" and ensure that its value is set to "0".

    Next, close out of regedit, remove your USB key and reconnect it. After you eject it and reconnect your USB key and after you modify the registry accordingly, you should be able to access your USB key again to copy the data off and the subsequently format the drive.

    Keep me posted and let me know if you experience any issues.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013 1:17 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for your advice, Jessica.  I was skeptical of whether it would work, as it is the exact same solution I noted in my original missive.  And just like the enactment of the first solution, this too did not work.  What is next?  Buy a new disk?
    Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:09 PM
  • One of my many flash/thumb drives is now suddenly marked "write-protected" when I did nothing to make it so.

    What are you using to see that?  diskpart?  I think that tool can be used to change the symptom too...

    To clear the read-only attribute from the selected volume, type:
    ATTRIBUTES VOLUME CLEAR READONLY

    DISKPART> help attributes volume



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:19 PM
  • This might be a bit to simple, but some flash/thumb drives have a switch on the side of them that make them "write protected" like old 3.5" floppies.  Have you verified that there isn't switch on them and it didn't get accidentally flipped?

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:32 PM
  • Your suspicion is spot on my friend: No such thing.
    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:01 AM
  • Hmm.  What is Diskpart?  And where would I type your specified text?  (I don't want to re-format my C: drive by mistake!)
    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 1:03 AM
  • Hi, 

    DiskPart is a text-mode command interpreter in Windows family. This tool enables you to manage objects (disks, partitions, or volumes) by using scripts or direct input at a command prompt.

    As Robert mentioned, please run CMD as administration, and use this command to clear read-only attribute on your flash drive.

    diskpart

    sel disk <usb-disk>

    attrib disk clear Readonly

    attrib disk

    DiskPart Command-Line Options

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766465(v=ws.10).aspx

    If the issue persists, please follow steps in this article to check the issue:

    How To Fix Write Protection Errors On a USB Stick

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-fix-write-protection-errors-on-a-usb-stick/

    This response contains a reference to a third party World Wide Web site. Microsoft is providing this information as a convenience to you. Microsoft does not control these sites and has not tested any software or information found on these sites; therefore, Microsoft cannot make any representations regarding the quality, safety, or suitability of any software or information found there. There are inherent dangers in the use of any software found on the Internet, and Microsoft cautions you to make sure that you completely understand the risk before retrieving any software from the Internet.

    If we still fail to fix this issue, I suppose that the chipset of this drive is broken. We may need to reproduce this drive. If the your data is very important for you, to recover your data from hard disk,  I would like to suggest you contact the professional data recovery company for help. 

    Hope these could be helpful.


    Kate Li
    TechNet Community Support


    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 9:34 AM
    Owner
  • Here, try to remove the write protection step by step: 

    http://www.itrelated.info/remove-write-protection-from-a-drive-memory-card/

    Write protection is a USB drive or memory card function that is designed for one to protect his drive or card data free from any unexpected access. As long as your USB drive is write protected, you often cannot copy, cut or even modify the inner stored data. That'd why you cannot move your files there. Therefore, in this case, you always have no choice but to remove it at first. 


    Friday, January 3, 2014 2:12 AM
  • Thanks Robert and Kate.

    Nonetheless, please forgive my ignorance, but what specifically do I type regarding "<usb-disk>" (sel disk <usb-disk>)?  I am sure that I must identify the disk drive and believe this is the place to do so.  But what exactly-precisely do I type?

    Thanks for your indulgence.

    Monday, January 6, 2014 11:53 AM
  • Hi, I'm having the exact same issue-flash is suddenly write protected! I also got to the sel disk <usb-disk> thingy and couldn't seem to identify the disk. I tried <F> <F:> and a few other combinations.

    Thanks so much for your help!

    Monday, January 6, 2014 9:03 PM
  • Same over here. Suddenly write protected external disks and sticks :(. Not very amused with it .. HP is suggesting to downgrade to win 8. None of the above solutions helped.

    Friday, February 14, 2014 1:35 PM
  • None of the above solutions helped.

    Since only hints were given, what did you do with them--exactly?



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Friday, February 14, 2014 6:11 PM
  • this is the most complete tutorial

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2u2ifAo8ng

    Sunday, March 2, 2014 4:18 PM
  • It is really sad that after literally decades of having unfettered write to external storage media, Microsoft decide to lock down this essential functionality and make it really difficult for ordinary people to disable.

    I have used 7", 5.25" and 3.5" floppy disks, tape backups, CDs, DVDs, USB flash and hard drives, and only NOW I have to jump through hoops just to make any sensible progress with a new Windows 8.1 machine.
    I will be passing it on and work instead on migrating all my work to Mac.

    Why do Microsoft work so hard at alienating everyone?

    Thursday, March 6, 2014 9:37 AM
  • this does not work for window 8.1. There is no  StorageDevicePolicies entry. 
    Saturday, May 3, 2014 8:41 PM
  • yah ur right it works sugar, tanx?
    Thursday, May 8, 2014 12:13 PM
  • i am using a windows 8 and after i went to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHUNE, i dont knw hiw to create new one.i want ti know how i can create bew one
    Sunday, June 22, 2014 8:26 AM
  • Hi

    If you needs the information on your hard drive , I think that for External Hard Drive the below procedure must be successful :

    1. Start > Run -> type CMD and press enter
    2. type diskpart > enter
    3. type list disk > enter
    4. type select disk # (# is the number of the USB HDD you’ve plugged in )
    5. type attributes disk clear readonly

    Hope these could be helpful


    • Edited by EnkiduMan Saturday, July 19, 2014 8:16 PM
    • Proposed as answer by DenisKatramados Sunday, August 3, 2014 2:20 PM
    Friday, July 18, 2014 9:14 PM
  • I went to regedit\H Key Local Machine\System\Current Control Set\Control\  Then I found no "Storage Device Policies anywhere.  Then I tried to locate "Path" to type "Storage Device Policies" to no avail.  I do not know how to create a "D-Word" (32 bit) to type "Write Protect" and set to "0."  This was very disappointing because many people do not understand D-Word, nor know where to locate "Path."
    Saturday, August 16, 2014 7:58 PM
  • You  have helped me a lot... I could've threw mine away if it wasn't for you.. thanks... and check the switch guys

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:18 PM
  • I ran in to the same problem but none of the instructions here helped. doing some more searching i found a different article that supplied the answer for my issue. wanted to share in case other were still having issues.

    If the problem is persistent with the drive and you still can't copy files to it or format it after:-

    1- You tried removing read-only permission from the drive properties
    2- You tried formatting from Windows
    3- You tried formatting from CMD using DISKPART
    4- You tried editing the Registry solution (for WriteProtect word)
    5- You tried the different free online tools like HDD LL Format tool and HP Format Tool

    Then your drive is corrupt and needs the internal chipset S/W to be flashed, i.e. repairing the USB software The steps below will lead you to get a small program to run on your USB memory-stick which is specific to your MANUFACTURER (make) and PRODUCT (model). If you don't want to go through the headache of the manufacturer's technical support then do it yourself as follows (which I source from here):-
    1- Get Chip Genius portable application from here which you will use to find the VID and PID of the USB stick chip.
    2- Search for the tool to repair your USB stick S/W from FlashBoot website . Search using your VID and PID from the previous step.
    3- Search on Google for the name of the application you find in the "UTILS" column in the page from step 2 and the first link on Google Results (usually) will take you back to the FlashBoot website to download the utility to get your USB drive repaired.

    It worked for me for my Kingston Data Traveler flash drive. It didn't work with all the common options for fixing the USB drive having "write protected", but the above solution I found after hours and hours of searching online and asking my computer-geeks colleagues.

    Hope this helps! :bounce: 

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014 3:51 PM
  • I have been dealing with the issue. The usb in question is a PNY32gb - The PC in question is a Dell inspiron micro 3050 with win 8.1 - The read only state was created by Dell with the remote assist on the PC, in an attempt to remove the 'recovery' 8.79GB partition from the 32GB ssd hd on the unit.  an error was reported, and the recovery partition is empty but the partition could not be removed by the dell assistant.

    I have followed all the steps listed and get the correct responses, but the usb remains 'readonly' and is formatted as a fat32 device.  I can get this info from my windows XP pc, which cannot format the usb either.

    I may return after the NEW usb from dell arrives to reformat the ssd 32gb in the 3050 to remove the 'RECOVERY' partition.  All created by a 0 space available on a NEW PC when started.  lots of frustration on this for about a month now.

    Sunday, November 29, 2015 11:40 PM
  • I tried steps 1 through 5 and was hesitant to try the last (gasp) technique.  Holy smokes, it worked!  I was able to revive two of my thought to be dead thumb drives. Now, I need to go through my desk drawers to retrieve a few more to be resurrected!
    Thursday, January 21, 2016 3:02 AM
  • what do you do after step 5?
    Sunday, November 13, 2016 2:06 AM
  • Thank You so very, very much SMFX! It was a switch! I have never seen that on a usb drive before! It is small, so didn't feel it when handling the usb, and of course it is the same color (black) as the drive so I never noticed it. I have checked online before for a solution on how to remove the write-protection and got nowhere. You are the first person I have found that even mentions this. Thanks again! 
    Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:13 PM