Don't panic when you see the disk is write-protected on your USB drive. You can fix this by either removing write protection or using another disk. This works for USB, SD cards, and internal and external hard drives.

How to Fix The Disk Is Write Protected in Windows 11/10/8/7

In this section, we'll walk you through the process of disabling write protection on a hard drive or a USB drive in Windows 11/10/8/7. We'll remove write protection from a USB drive in the following example.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Check Physical Lock Switch Locate and turn the physical switch ON to OFF on your USB or SD card. Connect the USB...Full steps
Fix 2. Run Diskpart Command Press Windows + R keys and type cmd in the box that opens. This will launch Command Prompt...Full steps
Fix 3. Run Write Protection Remover Download and install EaseUS CleanGenius (free) on your computer. Run EaseUS CleanGenius...Full steps
Fix 4. Edit Registry Connect your write-protected removable device to the PC. Open the Registry Editor by pressing...Full steps
Fix 5. Turn off BitLocker Partition Open File Explorer, right-click on your BitLocker partition or USB drive, and select Manage BitLocker...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, or computer HDD/SSD by yourself. If you know little about computers, don't worry. You can resort to the manual disk repair and data recovery services from EaseUS. Our professional technical team can help you solve system-related problems, including system failure, BSOD, unbootable devices, etc.

Consult with EaseUS data recovery experts for one-on-one manual recovery service. We could offer the following benefits after FREE diagnosis:

  • Fix Windows boot issues, including BSOD
  • Fix Windows error and configure Windows environment
  • Restore the system when it fails to boot
  • Optimize Windows computer to make it run quickly

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 drives, SD cards, and internal or external hard disks 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 by the disk is a write-protected error on USB.

The only way out is to remove write protection. Following the complete guide on this page will make your device viable for saving and transferring files again.

Method 1. Remove Write Protection with Physical Lock Switch

Sometimes, when the USB drive or the SD card physical switch is locked, the device becomes write-protected on all PCs and devices you connect. Let's see how to use the physical control to remove the protection from SD card/USB:

Step 1. Locate and turn the physical switch 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: If your USB doesn't have a switch or the system still warns your USB is write-protected, follow Method 2 below to remove the write protection.

Method 2. Remove Write Protection from USB via Diskpart Command

This option clears the read-only attribute of your drive to make it writable. This works for your internal drives, external drives, USB drives, and even SD cards.

Let's find out how you can use the Diskpart command to fix the issue:

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys and type cmd in the box that opens. This will launch Command Prompt.

Step 2. Type diskpart in the Command Prompt window and press Enter.

Step 3. Type list disk and press Enter to view the available disks.

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. Once you finish writing protection removal, type exit to quit Diskpart.

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. If you prefer a video tutorial, you can watch this video to fix the disk is write protected error.

  • 0:00 Start
  • 0:35 How to remove write protection using Registry Editor
  • 2:14 Remove write protection using CMD
  • 3:27 Run EaseUS Partition Master
3 Ways Remove Write Protection From USB Pendrive

Method 3. Use Third-Party Write Protection Removal Tool

If you don't consider yourself a pro-computer user and you're not familiar with command-lines, don't worry. There are graphical-based solutions to help you remove write-protection from your hard drives, USB drives, and even SD cards.

EaseUS CleanGenius is one of these tools that helps you fix aforementioned issues on your drives without knowing a thing about command-line.

Here's an easy-to-follow guide on how to use this tool to get your issues sorted:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD and install EaseUS CleanGenius (free) on your computer.

Step 2: Run EaseUS CleanGenius on your PC, select Optimization and choose the Write Protection mode.

disable write protection

Step 3: Select the device that is write-protected and click Disable to remove the protection.

Disable Write Protection from storage devices.

Method 4. Remove Disk Write Protection from Using Registry Editor

Registry Editor also works to fix USB, SD, or internal/external HDD/SSD write-protected errors. It is an advanced-level procedure, and if you aren't sure what you're doing, you should probably not use this method. A wrong tweak to your computer's registry can cause many issues.

Be cautious while using this method to remove write protection on your Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista computer:

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

Step 2. Open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows + R keys, typing regedit in the Run box, and pressing Enter.

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

Step 3. Click on HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and expand System.

Step 4. Click Current Control Set and then click on Control.

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

Step 5. Check Storage Device Policies and change the DWORD value to 0. Then, click OK.

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

Step 6. Exit the Registry Editor and reboot your PC.

Wait for the computer to restart. Then, check if your device is accessible.

Method 5. Turn Off BitLocker to Unlock Write Protected USB Drive

When BitLocker is enabled on your hard drive partition, it protects your files with its encryption feature. To make changes to a BitLocker partition, you must remove the protection first. Here are the detailed steps to disable Bitlocker encryption and unlock your disk:

Step 1. Open File Explorer, right-click on your BitLocker partition or USB drive, and 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.

Recover Data and Format USB after Write Protection Removal

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

However, if files were lost or the USB is still inaccessible, follow 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. This software is also suitable for hard drive recovery, SD card recovery, USB drive recovery, and more.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

Step 1. Choose the USB drive to scan

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and choose your USB drive where you lost important files. Click "Scan for lost data" to start.

select the USB drive

Step 2. Check and preview USB drive data

When the scanning is finished, you can quickly locate a specific type of file by using the Filter feature as well as the Search option.

Scan and find lost flash drive files

Step 3. Restore flash drive data

After checking and finding lost USB drive files, click "Recover" to restore them. You shall save the found files to a safe location on your PC rather than to your USB drive.

💡Tip: You can restore data on the local disks, external hard drives, and also the cloud storage.

Restore lost files from USB drive

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

To ensure your USB drive remains in good condition, format USB to NTFS or FAT32 file system.

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

Step 1. Open the Run box by pressing Windows + R, type diskmgmt.msc in Run, and hit Enter.

open disk management to format a storage drive

Step 2. Click Disk Management under Storage, right-click on your USB and choose Format.

Step 3. Select the format for 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


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 the Diskpart command to clear read-only
  3. 3. Using the USB write protection removal tool
  4. 4. Changing registry DWORD value to 0
  5. 5. Turning off BitLocker partition encryption

If you're wondering how to remove write protection from a USB drive on Windows 11/10/8/7, the guide above is all you need to remove the write protection.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

This Disk Is Write Protected FAQs

Below, we have listed some frequently asked questions and their 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, follow the quick guide below:

  1. 1. Run Command Prompt 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.

Follow How to Remove Write Protection and Format Write-Protected SD Card guides for a more detailed guide.

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 and 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 enable write protection on a USB flash drive:

  1. Use a USB write-protection switch.
  2. Use 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

Once you're done with this, if you find any files are missing on the disk, consider  using a reliable Seagate data recovery tool to recover your valuable files.  

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Updated by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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Approved by Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh is an experienced computer tech writer. He's been writing tech how-to guides for about 8 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to teach people how they can get the most out of their devices.

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