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

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.

Table of Contents

Check two practical methods 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?

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 softwareto 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. 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

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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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