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

Tracy King updated on Aug 04, 2019 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


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 storage devices and repair write-protected hard drive, USB or SD card etc on Windows 10/8/7 without losing any data now.

How to remove write protection on internal/external hard drive/USB/SD card

Case 1: My SD card shows up as write protected on my laptop, cannot access any data on the card. How to fix it?

Case 2. Do you know how to disable write protection from USB or external hard drive? Desperate to find the solution. Help, thanks.

Case 3. It's incredible that my computer hard drive becomes write protected for no reason. Do you know how to disable write protection on Windows 10?

Are you having this trouble that your removable storage devices such as external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card or Windows hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 suddenly become write protected? Does the data on your hard drive become inaccessible with a write protection error? So how to repair write-protected disk or removable devices without losing any data? Don't worry if you are having this issue. Follow below, you'll get your problem fixed now.

Part 1. Remove write protection from internal/external hard drive/USB/SD in Windows 10/8/7

Here you'll find 4 options to remove and disable write protection on a hard drive, USB or SD card, etc in Windows 10/8/7 computers.

You may selectively follow-on to get your problem fixed now:

Option 1. Unlock and remove write protection
Option 2. Apply Diskpart command to disable write protection
Option 3. Use Registry to remove and clear write protection
Option 4. Turn off BitLocker partition

Option 1. Unlock and remove write protection on SD/USB with physical switch

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

  • Unlock SD card with the physical switch:

Remove USB or SD write protection.

  • Remove write protection on USB by moving the physical switch:

Remove write protection on USB.

The option only works for you to unlock USB or SD card so to remove the write protection. And you'll not lose any data on your SD or USB flash drive.

Option 2. Apply Diskpart command to disable write protection on internal/external hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 

This option applies to disable and clear write protection on an internal or external hard drive, and it also works on SD or USB flash drive. Let's see how to use Diskpart command line fix this issue now:

  1. 1. Press "Win + R" > Type: cmd and hit Enter to open "Command Prompt".
  2. 2. Type: diskpart and hit Enter to open diskpart.

Run DiskPart cmd command to remove write protection.

  1. 3. Type: list disk and hit Enter.
  2. Remember the disk number of your write protected USB, SD or hard drive in Windows PC.

List disk to select remove write protection on disk.

  1. 4. Type: select disk 0 (0 is the number of your write protected USB/SD/hard drive) and hit Enter.
  2. 5. Type: attributes disk clear readonly and hit Enter to disable write protection on the storage device.
  3. 6. Close the diskpart window once the write protection removing process is finished.

This method might clean up all data saved on your USB, SD or hard drive. Then you'll need a powerful data recovery software for help. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard shall help and you may download it, follow the guidelines in Part 2 to get all lost data back.

Option 3. Use Registry to clear write protection on all devices in Windows 10/8/7

Using  Registry to fix USB, SD or internal/external hard drive write-protected error is effective. False operation with Registry may remove and even delete your files on your PC, hard drive, USB or SD card. Therefore, we highly suggest you follow the tutorial tips below very carefully.
  1. 1. Connect removable device which is write protected with Windows PC.
  2. 2. Click "Start" to open Run dialog > Type: regedit and hit Enter to open "Registry".

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

  1. 3. Click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Expand "System".
  2. 4. Click "Current Control Set" in System list > Click on "Control".

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

  1. 5. Check "Storage Device Policies" > Change the digit in the DWORD value box into "0" > Click "OK" to save the change;

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

  1. 6. Exit Regedit and reboot PC to keep all changes.

Option 4. Turn off BitLocker partition in Windows 

Mostly, when you enable BitLocker on your hard drive partition, it will protect your files with its encryption feature. And 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 detail tips for unlocking and removing encryption (write protection) from BitLocker folders or partitions on your PC:

1. Open this PC and right-click on your BitLocker partition or storage devices, select "Manage BitLocker".

Remove BitLocker protection.

2. Select the right partition which is write-protected by BitLocker, and click Turn off BitLocker.

Unlock BitLocker partition.

3. Wait and BitLocker will decrypt on its own. 

Remove write protection from BitLocker partition.

Then you'll be able to see your partition or hard drive showing BitLocker off. And you can manage data on your partition without BitLocker write protection and save new files to it again now.

Unlock BitLocker partition and reuse it again.

Part 2. Restore data from hard drive/USB/SD after removing Write Protection error

In order to avoid unnecessary data loss trouble after removing or disable write protection on USB, SD or internal/external hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 PC, it's highly recommended for you to restore and extract data from these storage devices. Powerful data recovery software from EaseUS can help you do the job.

It allows you to restore and extract all data on write-protected devices within 3 simple steps:

Step 1. Connect your device to PC.

If you lost data on an external hard drive, USB or SD card, connect the device to your PC firstly.

Step 2. Run the data recovery software and scan lost data.

1. Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your PC.
2. Select the device where you lost data under "Hard Disk Drives", "External Devices" or "Specify a location".
3. Click "Scan" to start scanning the lost data now.

Run data recovery software.

Step 3. Preview and restore data.

1. After the scanning, you can double-click each file to preview them from below tabs:

  • Delete Files: All your deleted files are listed here.
  • Drive (with your device name): It loads found files here.
  • Lost Partition Files: Check first if your hard drive is formatted or partition gets deleted.
  • Extra Files: All files that lost names or paths on your drive can be found here.
Preview lost data.

After this, you can even use "Filter" or "Search" to quickly find all your lost data.

2. Finally, you can choose those lost data and specify a safe location on your PC to complete the data recovery process by clicking "Recover" now.

Restore lost data.

Note: Don't save data into the devices which were write-protected again.

Part 3. Format USB/SD/internal/external hard drive to NTFS/FAT32

After restoring data from your storage devices with write-protected error, to format and reset your USB, SD card, internal or external hard drive file system to NTFS or FAT32 will guarantee you a usable and secure circumstance for saving data again.

A straightforward way for doing so is to format your device to NTFS/FAT32:

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

open disk management to format a storage drive

3. In Disk Management, locate and right-click on the SD card or other devices that you want to format, choose "Format..."

4. Reset the file system of your SD card into NTFS/FAT32 and click "OK" to confirm.

reset the drive to ntfs or fat32 for reuse


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Frequently Asked Qusetions

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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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