Have your trusted USB flash drive connected to your computer, and you’ll copy some files on it. Then you get this – “The disk is write protected. Remove write protection or use another disk”. Then he says: ” 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 breathing and stay calm. It is simply an error message. You and I are going to go through a few simple steps to set write protection on USB drives and make your USB flash drive work again, the way you expect. It’s just technology, we can solve it.
Table of Contents
Step 1 – Check the USB drive for the virus
Whenever you connect a USB drive to your computer, it should automatically be scanning for viruses – especially if you have used it on computers that do not have or have public computers. Viruses usually act in a way that will fill your USB drive with meaningless files and this can cause your USB drive to respond with the protected write-against error.
Depending on the anti-virus software you have, you may be able to configure it to automatically scan USB drives when they are plugged in. If it is not, you can usually access the USB drive in Windows Explorer, do; And have your antivirus software scan manually.
If it finds a virus, then it would be best to remove it using antivirus software. I would also recommend performing a scan with at least one other virus detector, as not all antiviruses are 100% complete in their antivirus definitions. Most likely where there is a virus, there are two or more.
Step 2 – Check The USB Body Drive
Normally I would like to do something so simple, step one. However, I prefer to see you protected against viruses and then I can check the simple thing factor. Some USB flash drives have a mechanical switch in which puts them in write-protect mode. This can be a very small slider switch that may have trapped in something in your pocket or computer case.
If this is the situation, then just move the switch to the unlock position and try to copy the files again. You must work now.
On the positive side there is not a lot of USB memory with these locks on them ever again. So there is a good chance that is not the problem for you. On the downside, if this is not the issue the following fixes are a bit more complicated.
Step 3 – Check to make sure the flash drive is not complete
If the USB device is full, you may also receive the write-protect error message. So, just pop in Windows Explorer, look for the USB drive, right; Click on it and select Properties. This will give you the good graphical display of sectors of the Used and Free space available in USB memory.
( Fun fact: The scientific reason why pie charts are so popular is that people like cake). It seems my car is hardly used at all!
Step 4 – Is it just that file?
Make sure it is not just that the file is write-protected. Yes, you get a different error message, but maybe jumped to conclusions and thought it was all USB flash drive. Happens. If I can freak out like that, as much as I could.
law; Click the file you are trying to write, and then click Properties. You will now see some options at the bottom of this window and one of them is Read Only . Make sure this box is not checked and click the Apply button. You should now be able to write to this file.
Step 5 – Diskpart Command Line Utility
Have you ever worked on the command line in Windows? So you’re about to. It is not as difficult as you might think, and as such, is the next logical step before entering the Windows registry.
Click the Start menu and type
cmdinto the Search programs and files field. Now you will get to your Enter key. You will see a window that looks like the following:
Type in the command
diskpartand press Enter. Diskpart is a disk partitioning tool that is integrated into Windows and is accessible through the command line utility. With it, we can change the values associated with the USB drive.
A new command line window will open. Type
list diskand then press Enter. You will now see a list of available discs in Windows. If your USB drive is not here, this will not help anyone. You can see from the example below that all you are showing are the two partitions on my computer’s hard drive. My USB drive is not listed here for any reason.
If you are here, make a note of the number next to it. Make sure this is indeed USB hard! Now type the command
Select disk3, assuming your USB drive is number 3, and hit Enter. Type Read-only disk attributes clear then press Enter. You have now cleared any read-only attributes that could be on that USB drive.
departureand press Enter to exit the Diskpart utility. Test your USB drive again. Still get the write protection error?
Step 6 – on the We Go record
If none of the above steps helped you out, then we have to do something a bit dangerous – we’ll go into the registry. If you do not feel comfortable entering the registry, I understand. You may want to jump to step 7, but that means you will format the USB drive. Or, you may have a friend who is a computer technician check the registry for you. Or you can try to do it on your own. This is a fairly simple registry change, so hang on it. I think you can do it.
Click the Start menu and type
regeditinto the Search programs and files field. You will see something like the image below.
Hit your Enter key. The Registry Editor window will now open. When you click the arrows next to the menu items, go to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control StorageDevicePolicies
And search for a key called Write Protection .
If that key exists, to the right; Click it and click Modify.
Now, you will probably find that the value of this is set to 1 . 1 means ” Yes, write protection from my USB storage device. ” So you can guess that 0 means ” No, do not write protect the USB storage device.” Now change it to 0 and click on the AGREEMENT button.
Close the Registry Editor, remove the USB device, and then reconnect it. You should now be able to write to your USB device.
If not, it is time format disk.
Step 7 – format the USB drive
WARNING: Make sure you back up 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, you should make your USB drive capable of being read and written. Before formatting the USB drive, determine what type of file system you already have – NTFS or FAT32. Typically, the file system you already have will be the file system that is most suitable for the drive.
We remember how we get into Windows Explorer, do; Click on the USB drive and select properties again in step 3? Let’s do that again.
There it is – File system: FAT32 . If you would like more information on file systems and USB flash drives format, Horla has a solid article on that, called ” How to Format a USB Drive Why You Would Need “.
Close the Properties window and right; They click on your USB drive in Windows Explorer again. Click Format.
In the format window, you have a few options. We have already determined that we will use the FAT32 File System for this particular drive. By Allocation Unit Size, select the maximum amount you can if you have a USB drive with a capacity of more than 1 GB, go smaller if your USB drive is smaller. I do not know of many people with a 1GB USB flash drive at least 64 kilobytes should be fine.
You can make the volume label something that is meaningful to you. I’m just leaving as KINGSTON for now. Because it may be a USB drive with hardware problems, I suggest disabling the Quick Format Box. This will force the format to do more than just delete files. If there is a bad sector on this USB drive, a full format will fail. If that is the case, then you may want to check out my article, ” How to Make USB Corrupt Jump Units Work Again “.
The format should not take too long. Of course, the larger the volume, the longer the format will take. Assuming there is no physical problem with the drive, the USB drive will be formatted, cleaned and read-ready.
The Take Away
Sometimes the problem is simple and can be treated simply. Try these methods first, as they are more often the correct ones. If the problem is deep and requires drastic measures, make sure that is really the case. You have a lot more troubleshooting tools in your arsenal and should now be able to get your USB drives to work again, which can save you a considerable 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 advice, we would like to read the same… Did this work for you?