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

Tracy King updated on Jul 10, 2019 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


When your USB flash drive or pen drive is locked, it's officially said to be write protected, read only or encrypted. To unlock the USB drive, there are two ways to go: ask for permission to receive the password and edit StorageDevicePolicies. Any behavior that causes data loss in the midst of write protection removal, use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to get data back.

How Is Your USB Flash Drive Locked?

Being unable to add, write, copy, or transfer files on a USB drive because it is locked? You need to determine the real causes so as to find the corresponding troubleshooting solutions.

  • Re-connect the flash drive in different USB ports on the same computer, or on the other 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 are always with a lock switch, it's easy to change the Lock to Unlock position. See how to unlock a memory card.

How to Unlock USB Drive

After excluding the two facts that would lock a storage device, you can now focus on the write protection removal solutions in the coming part. Most of the case is 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 is suitable for users who have administrator passwords for unlocking the encrypted USB drive, partition or even write-protected files. Follow the next 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" and then "Security".
  • Step 3: Click "Edit" and enter your administrator password.
  • Step 4: Next, select your username in "Group and Usernames", 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" and choose "OK".

Then you'll be able to access the encrypted USB drive and use those important files again. 

Solution 2. Make changes in 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? Follow the path to locate StorageDevicePolicies in all versions of Windows, and change the WriteProtect value as instructed.

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

This time check your USB drive status. Are you now able to access data and use the drive again?

How to Recover Lost Data from Unlocking USB Drive

After this, if you find data in your USB are not accessible, you may need to use professional data recovery software to securely restore them. 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. 

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

Step 1. Connect USB to your PC and run USB data recovery software.

  • Connect the USB flash drive on which your files to your computer and launch EaseUS USB data recovery software - Data Recovery Wizard on your PC.
  • Select your USB drive under External Devices and click Scan to start finding your lost files.
Select USB to scan and find lost files.

Step 2. Scan to find all lost files from USB.

  • EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard will thoroughly scan your USB flash drive and find all your lost data on it.
Scan USB drive to find lost files.

Step 3. Restore all lost files from USB.

  • After the scanning process, you can check and preview found USB files in this program.
  • "Deleted Files" is for you to find deleted files. And "Lost Partition Files" is quick access to find formatted data.
  • Double-click the files to preview and choose available ones, click "Recover" to save them to a secure location on your PC or other external storage devices
Restore lost USB data.

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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

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"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.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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