An encrypted USB flash drive is the safest way to carry sensitive files. But sometimes, it can prevent you from using your pen drive normally. Here’s how to remove write protection from a USB flash drive.
Write protection is one of the most frustrating issues to deal with when you’re trying to copy files to a flash drive, which is read-only. You can still view files that are already stored on the drive, but you can not delete them. Here’s how to remove write protection from a USB flash drive and re-use it normally to save files and delete them as well.
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Some pen drives may have a switched latch, which protects the storage from being writable. If yours has this lock, try simply passing it to the other side and see if the pen drive unlocks.
If this option is new to you, when the lock is in the ‘locked’ position, you will not be able to copy any new files to the pen drive, and will also prevent you from accidentally formatting it. Sometimes the switch is moved to the locked position when you insert it into a USB port, so make sure this is not happening.
Sometimes it even happens that you delete a file, press OK, but the next time you check, the deleted file is there again. But if that’s not the problem, you can still solve the problem and continue to use your pen drive – we’ll explain how.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the device may be corrupted or physically broken, and no trick or software will make it work again. The only solution, in this case, is to buy a new unit.
What is write protection on USB?
Write protection (also called read-only mode) can be physical or virtual. A thumb drive is enabled with write protection, which allows you to prevent new files from being written, or old files to be changed.
Usually, this means that you can only read data that is already stored on the pen drive, but you can not delete or modify them. By using write protection, you can ensure that data is not accidentally overwritten or deleted.
How to Remove Write Protection on a USB Pendrive
Here we will examine two ways to remove the write protection on the pen drive, and thus, you can modify the existing files there.
On any version of Windows from XP, run Regedit.exe. If you are not sure how to find it, searching for ‘regedit’ in the Start menu will usually show the program at the top of the list.
It’s similar to Windows’s file explorer, so use the left pane to navigate to the following key:
Note: If you do not find StorageDevicePolicies, see the next step.
Double-click the WriteProtect value in the right pane. You can now change the value data from 1 to 0. Then click OK to save the change.
Close Regedit and restart your computer. Connect your USB drive to the option you want and it should no longer be write-protected.
You can now continue to use the drive, but it is worth copying the files you want to keep and formatting it by right-clicking the drive list in File Manager and choosing Format.
If you can not find StorageDevicePolicies, you can create the folder by right-clicking on the blank space in the ‘Control’ folder, and choosing New -> Key and typing the name StorageDevicePolicies.
Now double-click the new key (it will be shown as a folder) and right-click the blank space again and choose New> DWORD. Name this WriteProtect and set its value to 0. Click OK, exit Regedit, and then restart your computer.
If this method does not work, go to the next step.
With the pen drive attached to your computer, start a command prompt. You can do this by searching for ‘cmdo’ or ‘Command Prompt’ from the Start menu.
Note: Run cmd.exe with administrator
privileges To do this, right-click Command Prompt on the Start menu and choose “Run as administrator” from the menu that appears.
If you have Windows 10, just right-click the Start button (lower-left corner of the screen) and choose Command Prompt (admin).
At the prompt, type the following and press Enter after each command:
diskpart> list disk> disk x (where x is the number of your pen drive – check the ability to find out which one is)> Attributes disk clear readonly> clean> create the
primary partition format fs = fat32 (you can change fat32 for NTFS if you only need to use the drive with Windows computers)> quit.
How to format a pen drive
With the pen drive connected to the USB port, right-click on the Start menu, and choose the “File Explorer” option. When the file explorer opens, browse to your pen drive (usually disk: D), right-click and choose “Format”.