How to fix the "Disk Is Write Protected" USB Drive error?

Question

Issue: How to fix the "Disk Is Write Protected" USB Drive error?

Hello. I tried to open my USB drive but I received a “Disk Is Write Protected” error. What should I do?

Solved Answer

A USB drive is a data storage device that includes flash memory[1] with an integrated USB interface. People use USBs for storage, data backups, and transferring files from one device to another. It is easy to use – simply plug it into your computer and you are able to transfer files immediately.

However, sometimes people run into difficulties when trying to use them. Some users report seeing the “Disk Is Write Protected” error when trying to access their USB flash drive. Most often, the USB drive error appears when the PC has locked the removable storage out of the system or there is a write-protected switch enabled on the removable drive itself.

The same error may occur when trying to use CD drives and Micro SD cards. Another reason for the “Disk Is Write Protected” error may be software related. In this guide, you will find 7 steps that should help you get rid of the write-protected error.

However, manual troubleshooting can be a lengthy process. We recommend scanning your device with the ReimageMac Washing Machine X9 maintenance tool. The error may be caused by corrupted system files. This powerful software can fix that automatically. Additionally, it can help with BSOD[2] errors and registry[3] issues. Otherwise, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

How to fix the Disk Is Write Protected USB Drive error

Method 1. Scan USB with Microsoft Defender

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A computer virus can cause your USB drive show to show the “Disk Is Write Protected” error.

  • Navigate to the USB drive in Windows Explorer
  • Right-click on it and choose the Scan with Microsoft Defender option

Scan USB with Microsoft Defender

Method 2. Check the USB Drive Visually

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

Some USB drives have mechanical switches on their body that puts them into Write Protect mode. This can be a very small slider on the front or sides. If that is the case, move the switch to the unlocked position and try to transfer files again.

Check the USB Drive Visually

Method 3. Check the Drive Capacity

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You may see the Write Protected error message if your USB is full.

  • Open Windows Explorer, and go to This PC
  • Right-click on your USB drive and select Properties
  • You should see a chart that displays your current drive capacity

Check the Drive Capacity

  • If your USB drive is completely full, it can cause “Disk Is Write Protected” error

Method 4. Remove Files with Write Protection

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.

In some cases, the write protection error can be caused by a single file.

  • Browse through your USB drive, and locate the write-protected file
  • Right-click on it and select Properties.
  • Under Attributes, ensure Read-only is unchecked

Remove Files with Write Protection

Method 5. Clear Read-only Attributes

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  • Press the Windows key + R to open the Run box
  • Type cmd and select Run as administrator
  • Type diskpart and press Enter
  • Type list disk (all the removable devices plugged into your computer should be listed in the terminal)
  • Identify the disk using the disk numbers assigned

Clear Read-only Attributes

  • Once you have identified the disk, type the command select disk 1 (assuming that the disk which is your USB drive causing the problem is disk 1)
  • Type attributes disk clear readonly and press Enter
  • Unplug your USB device and plug it in again
  • Check if the problem is solved

Method 6. Clear Write Protection in Registry Editor

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  • Press the Windows key + R to open the Run box
  • Type regedit in the dialogue box and press Enter
  • Once in the Registry Editor, navigate to the following directory:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Currentcontrolset\control\

  • Find the entry of StorageDevicePolicies
  • If you cannot find it, create a new one
  • Right-click on any control and select New > Key
  • Name the new key as StorageDevicePolicies
  • Navigate to the right navigation pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value (select 32bit option if you have a computer of 32bits and 64bit if you have a 64bits system)

Clear Write Protection in Registry Editor

  • Set the name of the DWORD to WriteProtect and set the value as 0 in Hexadecimal
  • Press OK to save changes and exit
  • Open This PC using File Explorer and refresh the window 5 or 6 times
  • Plug your USB back into the computer and format it by right-clicking it and selecting Format
  • Set the format type as exfat
  • Check if you can access your USB without an error

Method 7. Format the USB Drive

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage Reimage.
  • Open Windows Explorer, and browse to This PC
  • Right-click your USB drive and select Properties
  • Close the Properties window
  • Right-click the USB drive again, this time selecting Format
  • Change the Volume label to something memorable
  • Uncheck the Quick Format box and press Start

Format the USB Drive

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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