USB drives are widely used to transfer data between computers. But sometimes they have problems. Fortunately, it happens quite rarely. Sometimes, when you try to copy or move files to the drive, an error appears “disk is write protected”.
When this happens, the only way to recover a flash drive is to format it. The only problem – the usual way to do it will not work. Fortunately, you can still remove the write protection and format the USB. The three methods described below are suitable not only for USB, but also for SD and microSD cards and any other external drives.
Not many people know about it, and even less used in practice, but in Windows there is a built-in disk partitioning tool called Diskpart. This is a command line utility. But before we begin to deal with it, insert a write-protected device into the appropriate connector on the computer.
Now press the Windows + R buttons on the keyboard simultaneously and type the word cmd, then press the Enter key on the keyboard or the OK button. If the system requires confirmation of the action – select the option “Yes.”
In the command line that appears, first enter:
Then press the Enter key and enter the following command:
You will see a list of disks connected to your computer.
Select the desired number using the command below. For example, in our case, the write-protected USB flash drive will be Disk 2, and the command will look like this:
select disk 2
After that enter the following command:
Information about the flash drive will appear. If the device is write protected, the first line will look like this:
Current Read-only State: Yes
Now to remove write protection, just enter the following command: attributes disk clear
And now, when the protection is removed, if desired, the flash drive can be formatted.
To do this, select the disk again using the following command:
select disk #
You will need to replace the # symbol with the corresponding disk number.
There should be no problems with this. Now remove all partitions from the disk using the clean command.
The above command deletes all current partitions on USB. After this operation, you will need to create a new primary partition, which can be done with the following command:
create partition primary
And now let’s format the disk in the necessary file system. For example, if you want the NTFS file system to be installed, the command will look like this:
format fs = ntfs
Formatting may take some time, depending on the capacity of the drive, so you have to wait a bit. As soon as the process is completed, you will receive a blank USB flash drive without write protection. Now you can use it.
Formatting with the program
If you are not very comfortable working with the command line, try using the program SD Card Formatter. It can either supplement Diskpart, or completely replace it.
Working with it is much easier than with the Windows command line. At the same time, several tasks can be performed. As the name implies, the application is primarily designed to work with SD cards, but it also copes with USB just as well.
In principle, from a technical point of view, there is practically no difference between these drives. The main difference lies in the form factor.
After launching the SD Card Formatter, select the required disk from the drop-down list at the top of the program window and in the Formatting options section select the Overwrite format option. This is all from the settings. It remains to press the Format button and wait for the completion of formatting, which will destroy all data on the disk and remove the write protection.
Agree that this option is much easier.
If none of the previous methods helped fix the problem, do not worry. We have another trick in stock. She uses the registry. So, press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box. Type regedit and press Enter. Now go to the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ StorageDevicePolicies
Find a key here called WriteProtect.
If it exists, double click it. If not, create with the right mouse button. The “Change DWORD Value (32-bit)” window will open. Now you can set one of two values: 0 or 1.
1 means “Yes, protect from writing.” Conversely, 0 means “No, do not protect.” Set the value to 0, and then click OK.
If Nothing Helps
Usually, the methods described above work without any problems, but sometimes they, for one reason or another, may not work. If something went wrong, you can try to find a solution to the problem on the software developer support pages or specialized forums. Note that the “disk is write protected” error sometimes appears even if the disk is not write protected.
Perhaps the problem is not in the drive, but in the USB port of the computer. Fortunately, port health is easy to verify. To do this, simply unplug the drive and connect it to another port.
There is also a possibility that the disk itself is damaged. In the simplest case, damage to the file system or media will not prevent the Diskpart utility from formatting, which will completely or partially eliminate the problem.
In more rare cases, if the file allocation table in the boot sector is damaged, the recovery process may be slightly more complicated. If none of the above described worked and you could not find a solution to the problem, the likelihood is high that the USB has completely failed. In this case, it makes sense to contact the manufacturer if the warranty period for the device has not expired. Many manufacturers give a long warranty and repair or change devices for free.