Complete Guide to Fix ‘The Disk Is Write Protected’ Error

A flashing error saying – “the disk is write-protected Remove the write-protection or use another disk” is not something you want to see when want to use your USB flash drive for data transfer. This is a situation when USB stick is “write-protected” thus it will only permit you to read its content denying any other action to it.

So, what is Write-Protection on USB? This is a feature used on USB sticks to avoid any unintentional file deletion and to prevent the virus from unauthorized sources. Once a USB is write protected any action connected to writing like deleting, formatting the USB, creating a file, editing the data already present on the USB or adding a new file to it will be denied.

This is what the error message will look like;

Some common reasons why you may be getting this error message are:

  • The space on the USB stick you are using is full.
  • You may have set the folders or files on the USB to “Read Only”.
  • Some USB sticks come with a switch which is used to make the content write-protect.
  • The data on the USB is infected by the Virus.
  • The flash drive you are trying to use is broken or quite old. Like a human, even the machines and gadgets have a certain life-span. You might have already used the device excessively.
  • Certain computers are set to prevent any data writing actions on external devices.

#Here Is What You Can Do to Get Rid of This Error from Your USB;

  1. Check if the Memory of the USB is Full: A write-protect error will usually come up if the memory of the USB is full on its own or it just out of its lifespan and can’t able to write any single file on it.

The life expectancy of a USB Flash Drive can be measured by the number of writes or erase cycles and it’s like; between 10,000 to 100,000 write/erase cycles depending on the memory technology used in the USB Stick.

When the limit is reached, some portion of the memory may not function properly, leading to loss of data and corruption. If the USB drive is full on its memory you are likely to get a write-protection prompt. So, just don’t try to waste your time on some OLD OVER-USED DRIVE.

  1. Command Prompt Trick 1: Using the Command Prompt clear a write-protection and the steps for performing the action is quite simple. You need to complete this action as an Administrator.
  • Click on Start button and in the searching box enter cmd. Now on the searching list right click on “cmd.exe” and select “Run as Administrator”.
  • You will get a UAC prompt for which you need to click ‘Yes’.
  • Now type “diskpart” and then press the Enter key.
  • Next, you need to type the commands mentioned below. After every command, you need to press the Enter key.
  • list disk
  • select disk 1 – (instead of the – you need to mention the disk number of the USB for which you are getting the write protection error. For instance, select disk 1 or select disk 4. The picture below shows disk 1 you need to write the number of your disk.)
  • attributes disk clear randomly

Once the task is over you will get a prompt – “Disk attributes cleared successfully”. You can exit the Command Prompt and then re-insert the USB to check if the problem is fixed.

Suggested Link: 4 Different Ways to Run Cmd on Your Computer?

  1. Disabling Write-Protection in Registry: Another way to fix the write-protection error is by editing the registry. If write-protection is enabled in Windows then you will not be able to write on USB devices. The feature can be disabled only through the registry editor. Here is what you need to do:
  • Use the Run command (press Windows key + R to open Run command) and type regedit.exe to open the Registry Editor
  • Another way of doing this is to go to Start and in the Search box type regedit and press Enter.
  • You may be prompted to click on Yes to open the Registry Editor
  • Look towards the left-hand-side of the Registry Editor and go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
  • Look for StorageDevicePolicies folder and change the Value of WriteProtect to 0. If there isn’t one on the list then create a new folder by this name. Right click on the Control folder and select ‘New’ and then ‘Key’. Now name this folder StorageDevicePolicies.
  • Right click on the StorageDevicePolicies select New and then click on DWORD (32-bit) Value. When you do this there is key created on the right-hand side you now need to change the name to WriteProtect.
  • Double click on this WriteProtect key and in the Value data box write down 0. Select OK and then exit the Registry Editor.

Now re-insert the USB and restarts your system too, to check if the problem has solved or not. This is one of the best ways to fix the write-protection problem in USB flash drives.

  1. Account Permission: There are chances that you have not given access to your USB flash drive for writing. Here is how you can check for the write-permission.
  • Open the Command prompt and then use right-click to access the Properties of the USB.
  • Once done you will get a small pop-up window – Removable Disk Properties which contains the properties of the USB. You need to click on Security and in the section, which says Everyone scroll to check whether the ‘write’ feature has been checked.

There are times when the problem seems to be with just one file. Usually, such files are marked as read-only and doesn’t accept any changes made to it or be deleted.

However, the error message prompted here is different but the nature of the problem is somewhat same.

You can simply go to the Properties of that specific file and check if Read-Only is unchecked. If not you can uncheck and then access that particular file.

  1. Check the USB for a Switch: There were some manufacturers that made USB flash drives with a mechanical switch. Those who are using older USB’s will have this switch. Turning this switch On makes the USB write-protect. The switch may have slid accidentally while in your bag or pocket, turning the write-protection feature On. Slide back the switch to its position and then check if the problem is solved.
  2. Command Prompt Trick 2: We can also use Diskpart to fully format our storage drive which is actually really effective when it comes to clean a Pendrive completely. Most of the times, this trick will able to fix your ‘write protected USB’ by just using simple commands on the CMD. Here is what you need to do:
  • Open CMD as administrator.
  • Type “diskpart”.
  • Type “list disk”. That will show you all the connected storage Drive of your computer.
  • Type “select disk 1” (For example, type “select disk 2” if disk 2 is the write-protected).
  • Type “clean”.
  • Type “create partition primary”.
  • Type “select partition 1”.
  • Type “format fs=fat32”. Now, wait until the format is complete.

These fixes will help you get rid of the write-protection on your USB flash drive. Always ensure that your USB is free of virus and not completely full when you are using it. Format it regularly to keep it in a good condition.

“That’s all for now, thanks for sticking with the article, and you know it will always good to let me know about the article, in the comments down below.” 🙂


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