Unlock USB Drive | Decrypt Write Protected USB Drive and Restore Data

When your USB flash drive or pen drive is locked, it has basically become write protected, read only, or encrypted. To unlock the USB drive, there are two ways you can use: ask for permission to receive the password or edit StorageDevicePolicies. If there's any action that causes data loss in the midst of write protection removal, use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to get the data back.

Table of Contents

Check out two practical methods below to unlock the USB drive. The table below gives an outline. Read the content for details.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Ask for the permission If you have administrator passwords, take these steps to unlock the encrypted USB drive, partition or even write-protected files. Connect the USB drive to your PC and go to Computer/This PC...Full steps
Fix 2. Make changes in Regedit If you have forgotten the password of an encrypted USB drive or files, you can change the WriteProtect value: Press Windows + R keys to bring up the Run dialogue, type regedit in the search box and hit Hit...Full steps

How Is Your USB Flash Drive Locked?

Are you unable to add, write, copy, or transfer files on a USB drive because it is locked? You need to first determine the real cause of the issue to find the appropriate troubleshooting solutions.

  • Reconnect the flash drive to different USB ports on the same computer, or on another one. Make sure that it's not the USB port problem that locks the storage drive.
  • Check if there is a lock switch on the portable USB drive. SD cards always come with a lock switch. It's actually easy to change the Lock to Unlock position. See how to unlock a memory card.

How to Unlock USB Drive

After learning about two possible items that would lock a storage device, you can now focus on the write protection removal solutions in the coming part of this guide. Most of these cases are caused by the disk is write protected in Windows 10/8/1/8/7.

Solution 1. Ask for the Permission with a Password

This solution works for users who have administrator passwords for unlocking encrypted USB drives, partitions, or even write-protected files. Follow the following steps to unlock the USB drive with a password.

  • Step 1: Connect the USB drive to your PC and go to Computer/This PC.
  • Step 2: Right-click the USB drive and choose "Properties" followed by "Security".
  • Step 3: Click "Edit"and enter your administrator password.
  • Step 4: Next, select your username in "Group and Usernames" and click the "Allow" radio button alongside the "Full" and "Write" settings in the "Permissions for Authenticated Users" section.
  • ask for permission to unlock usb drive
  • Step 5: Click "Apply" followed by "OK".

You'll now be able to access the encrypted USB drive and use those important files on it again.

Solution 2. Make Changes to the Windows Registry (Regedit)

If you have forgotten the password of an encrypted USB drive or files, what can you do to decrypt the write-protected USB drive? Well, follow the path to locate StorageDevicePolicies on any versions of Windows and change the WriteProtect value as instructed below.

  • Step 1: Press Windows + R keys to bring up the Run dialogue, type regedit in the search box, and hit Enter.
  • Step 2: In the Registry editor, navigate to the following key:
  • Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
  • Step 3: Double-click on the WriteProtect value on the right-hand pane of Registry Editor. Change the Value data from 1 to 0 and click OK to save the changes.
  • edit registry to unlock the usb drive
  • Step 4: Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer.

Check your USB drive's status and see if you can access data stored on it.

How to Recover Lost Data After Unlocking USB Drive

After following the above methods, if you still find data in your USB to be inaccessible, you may need to use professional data recovery software to securely restore the data. Here you can try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard which is fully compatible with all Windows systems, enabling users to restore data from an encrypted USB drive or storage devices after unlocking them.

Download this USB recovery tool and follow the following steps to recover data from an encrypted/write-protected USB drive after removing the encryption.

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 the USB drive which is labeled as a removable disk, and click "Scan" to start looking for your lost files.

Select USB to scan and find lost files

Step 2. Scan and Search Lost Files on a USB Drive

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive and find all your lost data on it. When the scan process completes, use the Filter feature to filter by a specific file type. This program allows you to check and preview files found on your USB.

Scan USB drive to find lost files

Step 3. Restore All Lost Files from USB

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

Restore lost USB data

Video Tutorial to Recover Lost Data after Unlocking USB Drive

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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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Approved by Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh is an experienced comuter 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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