Remove Write Protection on USB, SD, Internal and External Hard Drive in Windows 10/8/7

Tracy King updated on Jun 28, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

Summary

Does your SD card become write protected? Do you know how to remove write protection from your USB or internal/external hard drive and get all data back? Follow this article to unlock your write-protected hard drive, USB or SD card, etc. in Windows 10/8/7 without losing any data now.

How to Remove/Disable USB Write Protection - Quick CMD Steps:

Step 1. Run CMD as administrator

Step 2. Type diskpart.exe

Step 3. Type list disk

Step 4. Type select disk + number

Step 5. Type attributes disk clear readonly

Video source: Tech NV on YouTube

What Is Write Protection?

Write protection is regarded as a data protection mechanism that disallows your storage device with saved data to be modified or erased. Once your USB flash disk, SD card, internal or external hard drive is write-protected, you can neither access the saved data nor do any changes to the device.

In a word, you cannot add files in or remove any saved data in your device with write protection enabled.

How to Remove Write Protection

When you try to format a disk or manage data on it but receive the error message "The disk is write protected", it means that you can no longer use the current device until remove the write protection from the bottom to the top. To remove write protection from a USB flash drive, memory card, computer HDD or SSD, you can do it using manual methods as well as automatic write protection remover software. Here's a quick view of all the effective solutions to write protection removal.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Check Physical Lock Switch Find the lock switch on either side of the USB...Full steps
Fix 2. Run Diskpart Command Open Command Prompt > Type diskpart...Full steps
Fix 3. Run Write Protection Remover Download EaseUS Tools M on your PC > Run...Full steps
Fix 4. Edit Registry Open Run in Windows 10/8/7 > Type Regedit...Full steps
Fix 5. Turn off BitLocker Partition Open Windows File Explorer > Right-click...Full steps

All Five Ways to Remove Write Protection from USB, SD Card, Internal or External Hard Drive

Here in this part, you'll find five methods to remove and disable write protection on a hard drive, USB or SD card, etc in Windows 10/8/7 computers. We will take USB as an example to show you the whole process of clearing device write protection.

Follow on to get rid of this problem on your device now:

Method 1. Remove Write Protection from USB/SD with Lock Switch

In order to protect data security on USB or SD card, some manufacturers would add a switch on the device. Once the USB drive or SD card is locked (with switch locked), the device will become write-protected on all PC or devices.

Note: The option only works for you to unlock USB or SD card so to remove the write protection. You won't lose any data on your SD or USB flash drive.

To remove the protection, all you need is to use the physical switch and unlock it:

Step 1. Find the physical switch on your USB or SD card.

Step 2. Turn the physical switch from ON to OFF and unlock the device.

Image 1 - USB flash drive, flash disk or pen drive write protection switch:

Remove write protection on USB.

Image 2 - SD card lock switch:

Remove USB or SD write protection.

Step 3. Insert the USB or SD card to your computer and you can access the saved data by then.

Method 2. Apply Diskpart Command to Disable Write Protection

This option applies to disable and clear read only (namely write protection) on an internal or external hard drive, and it also works on a USB flash drive or SD card.

Let's see how to use Diskpart command line fix this issue now:

Step 1. Press "Win + R", type cmd to open "Command Prompt".

Step 2. Type diskpart and hit Enter.

Run DiskPart cmd command to remove write protection.

Step 3. Type list disk and hit Enter.

List disk to select remove write protection on disk.

Step 4. Type select disk 0 (Replace 0 with the write-protected device number) and hit Enter.

Step 5. Type attributes disk clear readonly and hit Enter.

Step 6. Type exit to close the diskpart window once the write protection removing process is finished.

After this, restart your PC and check if you can access and use the saved data on your USB or hard drive again.

Method 3. Run Third-party Write Protection Removal Software

If you are not professional in computing management and not familiar with command lines, don't worry. EaseUS R&D team has promoted a fresh kit for helping you resolve the write-protection issue on your hard drive, external hard drive, USB or SD card, etc., devices.

EaseUS Tools M is a practical computer fixing tool that is safe and light-weighted. It's a perfect alternative to the command line. 

Use this one-click tool to solve the write-protection issues on your own:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD and install EaseUS Tools M for free.

Step 2: Run EaseUS Tools M on your PC, choose the "Write Protection" mode.

Step 3: Select the device which is now "Write-Protected" and click "Disable" to remove the protection.

Remove Write Protection from storage devices.

Method 4. Use Registry to Clear Write Protection on All Devices

Using Registry to fix USB, SD or internal/external hard drive write-protected error is effective. However, false operation with Registry may affect the system performance. If you're not professionals with solid computer background, this method doesn't fit. For experienced users, follow the below steps to remove write protection in the Registry editor in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista.

Step 1. Connect your write-protected removable device to PC.

Step 2. Open Registry by clicking "Start" > Type regedit in the Run dialog > Click "OK".

Open Registry to fix write protected error on USB, SD or internal/external hard drive.

Step 3. Click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Expand "System".

Step 4. Click "Current Control Set" in System list > Click on "Control".

Remove write protection on USB/SD/hard drive in Windows with Registry.

Step 5. Check "Storage Device Policies" > Change DWORD value data to "0" > Click "OK".

Remove write protection from internal/external hard drive, USB or SD card.

Step 6. Exit Registry and reboot PC.

Wait for the computer to restart, then you can check if your device is accessible.

Method 5. Turn Off BitLocker Partition in Windows 10/8/7

Mostly, when you enable BitLocker on your hard drive partition, it will protect your files with its encryption feature. So, you won't be able to do any changes to the BitLocker partition unless you remove or unlock the protection from it.

Here are the detailed steps for unlocking write-protected BitLockertai folders or partitions on your PC:

Step 1. Open File Explorer, right-click on your BitLocker partition or storage devices, select "Manage BitLocker".

Remove BitLocker protection.

Step 2. Select the locked device and click Turn off BitLocker.

Unlock BitLocker partition.

Step 3. Wait for BitLocker to decrypt on its own. 

Remove write protection from BitLocker partition.

After this, you'll be able to see your partition or hard drive showing BitLocker off. Without BitLocker write protection, you can manage data on your partition and save new files to it again.

Unlock BitLocker partition and reuse it again.

Remember to Format Your Write-Protected USB Drive

After removing write protection from your storage devices, remember to format and reset your USB, SD card, internal or external hard drive file system to NTFS or FAT32. This will guarantee you a usable and secure circumstance on your storage device for saving data again.

NOTE:

#1. Download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover any lost data during the write protection removal.

#2. Back up important data on your USB drive before formatting it. 

How to format your USB drive to NTFS or FAT32:

Step 1. Open the Run box and type diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter.

open disk management to format a storage drive

Step 2. In Disk Management, locate and right-click on the USB, SD card or other target devices, choose "Format..."

Step 3. Reset the file system of your USB or other devices to FAT32 or NTFS and click "OK" to confirm.

reset the drive to ntfs or fat32 for reuse

Conclusion

This page offers five methods to help you get rid of USB, SD or internal/external hard drive write protection issues, including:

  1. 1. Swapping USB or SD card physical switch to the "Off" state
  2. 2. Using Diskpart command to clear read only
  3. 3. Changing Registry DWORD value to 0
  4. 4. Turn off BitLocker partition

If you are having a similar question like "How do I remove write protection on a USB drive?", "How can I remove write protection fro a USB drive in Windows 10?", and "How can I remove write protection from my USB in Windows 7?", just follow the article to unlock your write-protected device with ease.

People Also Ask

Besides removing write protection from devices, we also find that some people are not quite clear about what is write protection and how their devices get locked. In the below, we have listed some frequented asked questions and answers to help you better understand write protection.

1. How to recover data from a write-protected USB flash drive?

First of all, follow any of the five methods to unlock your USB flash drive. Then, download and install the powerful data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to scan and recover disappeared or erased files, such as photos, videos, and documents with three steps.

Step 1. Select a location to scan.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, hover on the partition, external hard drive, USB, or memory card where you lost data, and then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Select files to recover.

Wait until the scanning completes. Afterward, choose the files you want to recover. To locate the data faster, use the search bar or filter to search for specific files. To check a file, double-click the item to preview its content.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover lost data.

Click "Recover" and choose a location on another drive to save the files.

Recover lost data

2. What does it mean when a USB is write protected?

When you try to open a USB flash drive on your computer but receive the error message "the disk is write-protected", it means that your USB is physically locked, the operating system limits you from visiting the device, the registry entry or the device itself is damaged.

Consequently, you cannot visit or do any changes to your USB flash drive. The only way to resolve this issue is to remove its write protection.

3. How do you add write protection a flash drive or how a USB gets write-protected?

There are three ways to can enable write protection on a USB flash drive. If you tend to protect some confidential files or folder on your device, it's worth to try: 

  1. 1). Use USB write-protection switch;
  2. 2). Using diskpart to change read-only settings;
  3. 3). Change security permission in USB properties.

4. How do I remove USB write protection using the command prompt?

Open Command Prompt as Administrator on your computer, connect your USB to your PC and remember its disk number. Then type the following command one by one and hit Enter each time:

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk n (Replace n with the disk number of your write-protected USB drive.)
  • attributes disk clear readonly

Note that this operation may remove both the write-protection and data on your saved data from your USB flash drive. If it happens to you, use the reliable USB data recovery software to scan and bring your lost valuable USB data back with ease.  

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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