By Dervish / Last Updated May 19, 2022

User case: Cannot format USB drive write protected



When I was about to format my USB drive in Disk Management today, I got a prompt: "The disk is write protected". I've tried several times and still can't format that USB, I don't know why. Can someone tell me what to do? Thanks in advance!

Many users may encounter the problem of USB write protection when formatting a USB drive. After many attempts, it is still unable to remove write protection from USB drive. You are lucky, this article aims to demonstrate how to fix cannot format USB drive write protected in Windows 10, 11 with free ways.

What is write protection?

Write protection on SD cards or USB drives is a useful function aiming to prevent accidental data loss (such as file deletion) and block suspicious files like virus. When a USB drive is write protected, it turns into read-only. All attempts related to writing action will be prevented, such as add or create new file, edit data, delete files, format USB drive, etc. Besides, USB write protection ensures that data is not accidentally overwritten or deleted.

Three ways to format write-protected USB in Windows 11/10/8/7

Cannot format the USB drive write protected? Try the solutions below to format the write-protected USB.

Solution 1. Check the physical switch

Take out your write-protected USB drive to check whether there is a lock switch or not, if there is a physical lock switch on the side, you should slide the switch to the unlock area. Thus, you can format the USB drive normally in Disk Management.

Solution 2. Format write-protected USB drive via Diskpart

If there is no physical switch on the write-protected USB drive, you can use Diskpart to clear all write-protection file attributions from the USB and reformat it again. Let’s see how to do it.

✎ Before you do:

Cause the formatting operation via CMD will lead to data loss, you’d better backup important data in advance.

1. Press "Windows + R", type “diskpart”  and hit Enter to open the Diskpart command prompt. 

2. After that, input the following commands and hit “Enter” after each command.

● list disk
● select disk n (here “n” refers to the number of the write-protected USB drive.)
● attributes disk clear readonly

3. Once done, reformat the USB to see if that works.

Solutions 3. Format write protected USB drive with USB format tool

If you have tried the above two solutions and still can't remove the write protection of the USB drive. Then, what you should do? How do you format a write-protected USB?

Here AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is highly recommended, this is a totally free write protection removal tool. You can easily format the write protected USB drive without data loss in Windows 11/10/8/7, Windows XP, as well as Windows Vista. The following example will show you the specific steps of how to solve the problem about cannot format USB drive write protected.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

More advanced features: recover lost partitions, allocate free space from one partition to another, move programs and folders, convert MBR to GPT for Windows 11, please upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click the write-protected USB to choose “Format Partition”.

Format FAT32 to exFAT 30GB

Step 2. In the pop-up window, select the file system you need and click “OK”.

Select exFAT File System 30GB

Step 3. After that, it will be back to the main interface, preview the changes and click “Apply” > “Proceed” to complete these operations.

Apply Proceed 30GB

As you can see, it’s not hard to solve cannot format USB drive write protected via AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. If you want to format USB drive write protected in Windows Server, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is suitable for you.