[5 Ways] How to Remove Write Protection from USB in Windows

When you get the 'disk is write protected' error on USB or other devices, you can't make changes on your drive. Here is how to remove write protection from USB, HDD in Windows 10/8/7: [1] Remove write protection in 5 ways; [2] Let EaseUS file recovery software restore all your files.

Table of Contents

Don't worry when you get "The disk is write protected. Remove the write-protection or use another disk" error message and you can't make changes to files on USB flash drives, SD card, internal or external HDD/SSD.

Follow this complete guide, you'll learn how to remove write protection from USB, SD card, or internal HDD/SSD on your own.

Part 1. How to Remove Write Protection from USB in Windows 10/8/7

How do I 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 removing write protection in 5 practical ways.

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

Note: The fixes are listed from easy to complex. Follow them one by one to remove write protection from your USB flash drive, memory card, computer HDD/SSD.

Method 1. Remove Write Protection from USB with Physical Lock Switch

Sometimes, when the USB drive or SD card physical switch is locked, the device will become write-protected on all PC or devices. Let's see how to use the physical switch to remove the protection on your USB now:

Step 1. Locate and turn the physical switch from ON to OFF on your USB or SD card.

Step 2. Connect the unlocked USB or SD card to your computer, check if the write-protected state disappears.

Image 1 - USB flash drive switch

Remove write protection on USB.

Image 2 - SD card lock switch

Remove USB or SD write protection.

 

Note that if your USB doesn't have a switch or the system still warns your USB is write-protected, follow Method 2 to remove write protection.

Method 2. Remove Write Protection from USB via Diskpart Command

This option applies to clear read only (namely write-protection) state 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 the Diskpart command line and fix this issue now:

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

Step 2. Type diskpart and hit Enter. Click "Yes" to open Diskpart.

Step 3. Type list disk and hit Enter.

Step 4. Type select disk 2 and hit Enter. (Replace 0 with the write-protected device number.)

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

Step 6. Type exit to close the diskpart once the write protection removing process completes.

Clear readonly write protection from USB

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. Use Third-Party USB Write Protection Removal Tool

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. Clear Write Protection from USB Devices Using Registry Editor

Registry Editor also works to fix USB, SD, or internal/external HDD/SSD write-protected error. Note that if you're not professionals, this method doesn't fit. Any false operation with Registry may affect the system performance.

Be really careful while removing 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 to Unlock Write Protected USB in Windows 10/8/7

Mostly, when you enable BitLocker on your hard drive partition, it will protect your files with its encryption feature. To make changes to the BitLocker partition, you'll need to remove the protection from it.

Here are the detailed steps of unlocking write-protected BitLocker USB or partitions on your PC:

Step 1. Open File Explorer, right-click on your BitLocker partition or USB, 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, with BitLocker off, you can manage data on your USB partition and save new files to it again.

Part 2. Recover Data and Format USB after Write Protection Removal

After removing write protection from your storage devices, you can access files and make changes to your USB flash drive or external USB drive again.

However, if files were lost or the USB is still inaccessible, follow through the two tips below:

#1. Recover Data First If File Lost After Removing USB Write Protection

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

Step 1. Run USB data recovery software.

Connect the USB flash drive to your computer and launch EaseUS USB data recovery software on your PC. Select your USB drive which marks as a removable disk, and click "Scan" to start finding your lost files.

Select USB to scan and find lost files

Step 2. Scan all lost files from USB.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive and find all your lost data on it. After the scanning process,  use the Filter feature to filter a specific file type. You can check and preview found USB files in this program.

Scan USB drive to find lost files

Step 3. Restore all lost files from USB.

A double-click will allow you to preview the file results. Choose the target files and click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices.

Restore lost USB data

#2. How to Format USB Drive to NTFS or FAT32:

To guarantee a secure circumstance on your USB, remember to format your USB, SD card, internal or external HDD/SSD to NTFS or FAT32.

To format the USB, connect it to your computer and format it in Disk Management with steps below:

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

open disk management to format a storage drive

Step 2. Find the Disk Management, right-click on the USB and choose "Format...".

Step 3. Select the format of your USB drive as FAT32 or NTFS and click "OK" to confirm. 

(FAT32 for 32GB or smaller capacity; NTFS for 64GB or bigger capacity.)

reset the drive to ntfs or fat32 for reuse

What Caused Write Protection on USB

Sometimes, people add write protection to files on a storage device from being modified or erased. However, storage devices like USB flash drive, SD card, internal or external hard disk may become write-protected due to the following reasons:

  • The physical switch of the USB is on the Lockside.
  • USB is set as Read-Only by mistake.
  • BitLocker protection partition is turned on USB volume.
  • Third-party encryption software or virus caused the disk is write-protected error on USB.

What does it mean when a USB is write protected?

related articles

What Is "The Disk Is Write Protected" Error?

Once your USB flash disk, SD card, internal or external hard drive is write-protected, it means that your device is unavailable for making any changes, such as add files, remove saved data, or format the drive. 

The disk is write protected error.

The only way out is to remove write protection. By following the complete guide on this page, you'll make your device viable for saving and transferring files again.

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. Use USB write protection removal tool
  4. 4. Changing Registry DWORD value to 0
  5. 5. Turn off BitLocker partition

If you are having a question like "How do I remove write protection on a USB drive?", "How can I remove write protection from a USB drive in Windows 10/7?", just follow the article to unlock your write-protected device right here now.

People Also Ask

In below, we have listed some frequently asked questions and answers to help you remove write protection from your storage devices.

1. How to remove write protection from the Micro SD card?

To remove write protection from your SD card, you may follow the quick guide for help:

  1. 1. Run CMD as administrator.
  2. 2. Type diskpart.exe.
  3. 3. Type list disk.
  4. 4. Type select disk + number.
  5. 5. Type attributes disk clear readonly.

For a more detailed guide, follow How to Remove Write Protection and Format Write-Protected SD Card for help.

2. How can I remove the write protection from a single file?

If your file or folder is locked with a read-only state, you can unlock it from the write protection state with the following tips:

  • Right-click on the folder, select "Properties".
  • On the General tab, uncheck "Read-only" next to the Attributes section.
  • Click "OK".

Remove write protection from a single file

3. How do you add write protection to a flash drive?

There are three ways to can enable write protection on a USB flash drive:

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

4. How do I remove write protection from Seagate external hard drive?

Connect your Seagate external hard drive to your PC and remember its disk number. Open Command Prompt, 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 Seagate external hard drive.)
  • attributes disk clear readonly

After this, if you find files lost on the disk, use reliable USB data recovery software to scan and bring your lost valuable data back with ease.  

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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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