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

Tracy King updated on Feb 18, 2020 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 write-protected hard drive, USB or SD card, etc. in Windows 10/8/7 without losing any data now.

Part 1. Remove Write Protection from USB/SD/Internal/External Hard Drive in Windows 10/8/7
Method 1. Unlock and remove write protection
Method 2. Apply Diskpart command to disable write protection
Method 3. Use Registry to remove and clear write protection
Method 4. Turn off BitLocker partition
Part 2. Restore Lost Data Due to Write Protection Removal
Part 3. Format USB/SD/Internal/External Hard Drive (to NTFS/FAT32)

How to Remove Write Protection from USB/SD/Internal/External Hard Drive

According to Wikipedia and other tech forums, write protection is defined as a physical mechanism that prevents modification or erasure of valuable data saved on a storage device such as a USB, SD card, internal or external hard drive. Once a device becomes write-protected, you may come across the following cases: 

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?

From the above cases, it's clear that when a storage device gets locked by write protection, users won't be able to access the device, writing nor reading data on it.

If your external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD or Windows hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 suddenly become write protected, don't worry. In the following two parts, you will uncover the best method to remove write protection from your device and safely bring all data back.

Part 1. Remove Write Protection from USB/SD/Internal/External Hard Drive in Windows 10/8/7

Here in this part, you'll find 4 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.

You may pick up one and follow-on to get rid of this problem on your device now:

Method 1. Remove Write Protection on USB/SD with Physical 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. And 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. Remove the physical switch from ON to OFF and unlock the device.

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

Remove write protection on USB.

  • Unlock SD card with the physical 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 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.

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.

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.

Method 3. 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. 
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.

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.

  1. 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 4. 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. 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 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.

Part 2. Restore Lost Data Due to Write Protection Removal

After removing write protection from USB, SD or internal/external hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 PC, some of you may discover that the saved data are missing.

Don't worry. Powerful data recovery software from EaseUS can help you restore lost data due to write protection removal from these storage devices.

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

Note: Don't save the recovered data into the previously write-protected device before making sure the storage device is safe.

Part 3. Format USB/SD/Internal/External Hard Drive (to NTFS/FAT32)

After restoring data and 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.

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


This page answers the question of how to remove write protection from USB, SD card, internal or external hard drive in Windows 10/8/7. It also offered 4 practical methods to help all of you getting rid of this issue by using: 1. Swapping USB or SD card physical switch off; 2. Using Diskpart command; 3. Changing Registry DWORD value; 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?", revert to Part 1 and pick up one method 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. What Is Write Protection?

Write protection can be regarded as a data protection mechanism that disallows your storage device with saved data to be modified or erased. Once your USB, 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.

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 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's so, reliable file recovery software can 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

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"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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