Nowadays, many office workers are accustomed to carrying a USB with them for data transfer, storage or to create a Windows To Go workspace on the computer. But sometimes, when you need to format the USB or write data on the USB, you will get the error message: The disk is write protected. What is write protection? Please watch the following part.
What is write protected on USB?
Write protection (also called read-only) can be physical or virtual. Write-protected USB can prevent writing new data or changing old data. Usually, this means you can only read the data which are already stored on the USB, but you can't delete or modify them. By using write protection, you can make ensure data is not accidentally overwritten or erased.
So is there any way to remove write protection from USB in Windows 10 or 11? Don't worry, this article aims to provide you with some free ways to remove write protection from USB.
How to remove write protection from USB drive effectively
If you are unable to remove write protection from USB drive, please read this article patiently. The following will introduce you 5 safe and effective methods to remove write protection from USB stick in Windows 11,10, 8 and 7, including a professional third-party write protected USB format tool.
Some USB flash drives have a physical switch which allows you to lock or unlock write protection. The location of a switch on a USB flash drive will be different. Make sure the lock switch is slid up to unlock position. You will not be able to transfer files to the USB drive if it is locked.
If the write protection switch on your USB drive is off, and you still get the error message or there is no physical switch on your USB drive, please skip to Method 2.
▶ Method 2. Clear read-only attributes with DiskPart utility
Diskpart is a command-line tool built into Windows that you can use to remove write protection from USB. Please refer to the following steps:
Step 1. Press "Windows + R". In the pop-up Run dialog box, type "diskpart" and hit Enter to open the DiskPart Command Prompt.
Step 2. Type the following commands one by one and hit Enter after each:
● list disk - all of the disks connected to the computer will be displayed, including internal hard drives.
● select disk n - where n is the number of USB flash drive. You can use the Size column to identify which one it is.
● attributes disk clear readonly - change your USB's properties so that it is no longer read-only.
Step 3. Close DiskPart Command Prompt and re-plug your USB flash drive to check if the write protection error is resolved. If not, please try the next step.
▶ Method 3. Disable write protection through editing the registry
Step 1. Press "Windows + R" on your keyboard. In the pop-up Run dialog box, type "regedit" and hit Enter to open the Registry Editor.
Step 2. Expand the entries on the left-hand pane to navigate to the following path:
Step 3. Right-click the Control (folder) key, select New, and click on Key. Name the new key StorageDevicePolicies.
Step 4. Select the newly created key, and right-click on the white space at the right-hand pane. Select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new DWORD WriteProtect.
Step 5. Double-click the newly created DWORD and change its value from 1 to 0. Click “OK” to apply the change.
Tips: 1 means “Yes, write protect my USB storage devices.” Conversely, 0 means “No, don’t write protect my USB storage devices.”
Step 6. Close Registry Editor and restart your computer.
▶ Method 4. Turn off BitLocker to remove write protection from USB
If your USB has BitLocker enabled, it uses its encryption to protect your files. To turn off BitLocker on a USB stick, you must have a password or recovery key. If you don't have any options, you must reformat the drive.
Here are the detailed steps to unlock a write-protected BitLocker USB on PC:
Step 1. Open “File Explorer” and look for the storage device you have in mind. If the icon has a padlock, BitLocker was enabled for the device.
Step 2. Right-click on the icon and go to “Manage BitLocker.” This step takes you to the BitLocker Drive Encryption window, where a list of all storage units and their encryption status display.
Step 3. All you need to do now is click on the protected USB drive and select “Turn off BitLocker.” Enter the password or select other options and choose to enter the recovery key. The status shows that the device is getting decrypted and, upon completion, the BitLocker is turned off.
After you’ve disabled BitLocker, try to copy something on the USB stick again and see if the problem got resolved.
▶Method 5. Format write-protected USB with free write protection removal tool
If you've tried all steps above and still can't remove write protection from USB drive, the reason might be corrupted file system. To settle out it, you can try to format the USB drive. The problem is how to format a write-protection USB?
AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a free partition manager software and disk management tool for computers running 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, Vista and XP. It supports all types of disk, including mechanical hard drive, SSD, HDD, external hard drive, USB flash drive, SD card, etc. It enables you to format write-protection USB easily and quickly.
Note:Formatting a USB will delete all data on it. Therefore, make sure that you backup all the data from USB drive to your computer.
Step 1. Free download, install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Right-click on the USB partition and select "Format Partition".
Step 2. In the pop-up window, you can name the USB drive by editing "Partition Label" and change file system. By default, a USB drive is formatted as FAT32, which ensures cross-platform compatibility. However, FAT32 limits a single file size up to 4 GB. If you would like to store larger files on your USB flash drive, you should format it to NTFS. And then, click "OK" to continue.
Step 3. Your USB has not been formatted yet. To save the change, you need to click "Apply".
The formatting progress shouldn't take too much time. Of course, the more data on the USB, the more time the formatting will take. If there is no physical damage or bad sectors with the USB drive, it will be formatted, cleaned and writable.
Since the reasons for write protection in USB are different, some step may fail to remove write protection from USB drive. If so, please skip the step to try the next step.
This is the whole process of removing write protection from USB. Here, 5 different ways are provided for you to fix this trouble. If you want to remove write protection from USB with AOMEI Partition Assistant on Windows Server, please upgrade to Server Edition.