How do you remove the Write Protection on a Disk

Sometimes you may receive a message saying that the Disk is write-protected when dealing with external storage devices. This may mean the registry entry is corrupt, your system administrator has placed limitations or the device itself is corrupt. It may also mean the storage device is actually write-protected. This post will show you how to remove the remove the Write Protection on a Disk in Windows 10/8/7.

Remove the Write Protection on a Disk

remove the Write Protection

The following tutorial aims to help you remove the Write Protection on a Disk in Windows 10/8/7. The exact message would be:

The disk is write-protected. Remove the write-protection or use another disk

Is There A Hardware Lock

Some external devices such as pen drives carry a hardware lock in the form of switch. You need to see if the device has a switch and if it is pushed to protect the device from accidental writing. Remove the device from computer and if the switch is in on state, push it back to disable write protection.

If the device switch is off and you still get the message or if there is no hardware lock on the device, confirm with your system administrator to see if he has blocked USB ports. If the USB port is not blocked by the admin, let us check the Windows registry to see if it has been changed to lock the USB ports.

Editing The Registry

To check if the registry key is modified by some reason,

  1. Press Windows Key + R
  2. In the Run dialog box that appears, type regedit. Press Enter
  3. You can now see Registry Editor. Expand the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
  4. Expand System Folder in the left pane under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
  5. Look for CurrentControlSet and expand it to locate Services
  6. When you expand Services, click on USBSTOR
  7. In the right pane, double click on Start. In the box that appears, enter 3.
  8. Close Registry Editor.

After changing the registry value, try to save anything to the external drive that is giving you the problem. If you are still receiving the message, the problem may be with the device. Try attaching another external storage device and see if it works.  The next section explains how to troubleshoot the message: Disk Is Write Protected – assuming the problem lies with the device

Boot into Safe Mode and Format the Device

You will not be able to format the device if you try to do it after booting into Windows normally. You will receive the same message saying a device is write-protected. To counter this:

  1. Reboot Windows.
  2. As soon as the computer turns on again, press F8.
  3. You will see a menu with Boot Into Safe Mode as an option.
  4. Select that option using arrow keys and press Enter.
  5. When Windows boots and finally gives you the desktop, open Run dialog (Win Key + R)
  6. Type CMD in the Run dialog to get a black DOS Window
  7. In the black window, type format followed by the drive letter of the removable storage. For example, if the problem drive is F, type format f:
  8. Be aware that typing format will remove the contents of the storage device. Make sure you are using this option at the point where all you want is to be able to use the device again. Also, make sure you know the drive letter as entering a wrong drive letter will totally erase the data of the related drive.

After the format, try to save anything to the disk. If you are able to save, the problem is fixed. If not, and if you wish, you can proceed with the next troubleshooting step at your own risk.

Destructive Write Testing

Destructive write tests often solve the problem when the file tables of external storage devices are corrupt. Though you will be able to access the device in most cases, the chances that you will find old data on those devices are slim. Almost all destructive write tests destroy the file allocation table completely and create a new one. You may also need to format the disk before you can store any data on it – after the testing.

There are some good third party software that help you achieve this. I would recommend HD Tune. The free version is enough to get you your disk back working. However, do not expect to recover old data. You may try data recovery tools after the destructive write testing, but as said earlier, chances would be slim.

You might want also to read, The Disk Is Write-Protected for Removable Disks. This post talks about modifying another registry key and how to use the command prompt to remove the Write Protection.

This explains how to remove the message saying Disk is write-protected. If you need further guidance, please leave a comment mentioning the type of disk and operating system you are using.

Check this post if you need to Write protect USB flash drives in Windows.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN

19 Comments

  1. Nintendo freak

    I tried all of these ways on my sd card but it keeps telling me it’s write protected, although the lock switch isn’t there and i put the tape on it like many websites said . it isn’t write protected on my camera but it’s still write protected in the pc
    Help ? and fast please

  2. Keannu Bernasol

    Try placing a usb extender something whatever you call that and plug it in the thing. Worked for me. Maybe it’s something wrong with Windows..

  3. hamad khan

    it worked for me but when i making it bootable usb its again saying write protected thsi this is also not working

  4. J.Borah

    I have completed all methods but still write protected,

  5. sam

    how can i do this with my mp3 player plz?!!

  6. shubashgfj

    nothing works

  7. I tried to copy a zip-file, but no matter what I did or which USB-disk I tried to copy it to I always got the “write protected” error for the destination. Finally I realized that the file was to big for Windows 7 to handle (>4GB)… But why can’t Windows give me a meaningful error message?!?!?!

  8. Hgean Kid Nebula

    I love how in order to remove write protection by formatting, you must not have write protection. Makes total sense.

  9. Dhanvir

    I tried all those ways on pen drive but it keeps telling me write protected.
    what can I do to solve this problem
    please help me

  10. Jesse Cole

    I am trying to remove write-protect from a cd rom. I have followed the instructions for the “command’ process. I get to the “attributes disk clear readonly” entry and keep getting “There is no disk selected. Please select a disk and try again.” I have entered “select volume 1” and gotten the “volume 1 is the selected volume” response. What am I missing? I’m running Win7 and the disk Fs is UDF, the type is DVD-ROM and the status is “Healthy”. Help!

  11. warriorblood bloodz

    if your files are still on the pen drive you may try and go to properties of each file and uncheck the read only and delete them seperately then try an format

  12. warriorblood bloodz

    it just depends what was smoked to relize with windows only can write up to 4gb on a fat32 pendrive..just a akward “error message“ or write protected thing they made for the mesage cause it was ti`a stick they was smoking when made the error message was thought up enit???rlnofl,n
    .. so just format usb to ntfs and write more than 4gb…enit????

  13. Hestia

    Seems like this thread is a bit dead, CDs are not frequently used anymore.

  14. Alexander Wabomba Wafula

    have tried to select separate files in the disk but still refusing.could you be having any other way of going about it?

  15. Raphael Thomas

    One of my clients brings an hp laptop, Model Hp 250 G3 for repair with the problem of not displaying on the screen. When the system is powered, it shows there is mild display of brightness of the screen with one or two keyboard lights but with nothing like the cursor blinking on the screen.
    I removed the Sata hard drive from the system and put it into an external case in order to check for errors on the drive. I was able to access the content of the drive but decide to scan the drive with the window 8 scan tool which says I don’t need to scan the drive. I opted for the SCAN THIS DRIVE option which reported some errors on the drive. I then changed to cmd command by typing chkdsk /r. It reported cannot write to the disk because the drive is write protected. Does it mean that I have to format the drive to remove the write-protection? Please I need someone’s help to overcome this problem.

  16. Bala Ganesh

    Hi. I’ve tried all the methods above. But none got succeeded. Please help.

  17. Fey

    Do u also know how to fix write-protected micro sd cards? I cannot delete the files. Whenever i do it just come back. I’ve tried methods like using cmd, regedit and a third party software to format the sd card but nothing happens. Can you help me? I’d really appreciate it

  18. Anshul Khandelwal

    I’ve tried everything except formatting the drive. The problem lies with only one pen drive, I’m able to edit the entries in others easily.

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