By Emily / Last Updated August 21, 2020

“My USB stick is read only!”

“My USB Flash Drive (32gb Corsaire Voyager) is suddenly read-only, and I'm not sure why. There is no "read-only" switch on the drive. All data is still there. But I cannot write anything to it anymore. It wasn't this way yesterday. What could cause the USB drive read only, and how can I get it back to read/write mode like it ought to be? Thanks!”

Read Only Disk

5 Methods to fix USB drive read only issue in Windows PC

Typically, when your USB drive is stuck read-only error, also called write-protected, you will be unable to make any modification on the USB drive, which could protect your data from being changed by someone else. But what if you want to make some changes? You can try the following methods to fix USB drive read only issue in Windows 10/8/7.

Method 1. Check write protection tab

In some cases, USB drive comes with a physical write-protection switch on the side or bottom. This switch is used to keep the contents on your drive safe from malware or modification by others. If your USB has this switch, move it to the "unlock" position, which will turn off the USB drive's write protection and enable you to store files and data on the USB drive again.

Write Protection Tab

Method 2. Clear read-only attribute on USB drive via Diskpart

If your USB drives do not have a lock switch, you can use Diskpart to clear its read only attribute in the following steps.

Step 1. Press “Win+R” button and type in “cmd”, press Enter. And in the cmd window, type “diskpart” and press Enter.

Step 2. Input “list disk” and press Enter: to get a list of all disks on your Windows computer.

Step 3. Input “select disk #” and press Enter: “#” is your USB drive number. Here we select disk 2.

Step 4. Input “attributes disk clear readonly” and press Enter: to remove the write protection on the USB drive.

Attributes Disk Clear Readonly

Note: if you want to make USB drive read-only, you can type “attributes disk set readonly” instead.

Method 3. Remove write protection in Registry Editor

Apart from clearing read only attribute in Diskpart, you can edit the Registry key to disable the write protection.

Step 1. Press “Win+R” button to open “Run” dialogue and type “regedit”.

Step 2. Go to the following path:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies

Step 3. Double click the “WriteProtect” and change the value from 1 to 0.

Change Value Data Registry Editor

Step 4. Close Regedit and restart your computer. Connect your USB drive again and you should find it is no longer read only.

Method 4. Run CHKDSK command to fix disk errors

If your USB becomes read only mode because of disk errors, you can make use of CHKDSK.exe tool to check and fix found errors on the USB drive.

Step 1. Press “Win+R” to open run dialogue, type “cmd” in the search box and press “Enter”, right click the Command Prompt icon and select “Run as administrator”.

Step 2. In the pop-out command prompt window, type “chkdsk g: /f /r / x” to both check and fix errors if found.

CHKDSK Check Error

Method 5. Fix USB drive read only by reformatting it

If the given fixes above do fix USB read only in Windows 10/8/7, you might consider whether it is the corrupted file system that causes the issue, if that’s the case, you can reformat it completely to make it back into read/write mode.

Here we would like to recommend a free disk formatting utility-AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. With it, you can reformat the read-only USB drive to NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, or Ext2/3/4 in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista free. Moreover, it provides you with effective ways to format as well as repair RAW USB drives.

Warning: Formatting disk will delete all data on it, so back up important files on the read-only disk before proceeding.

Step 1. Download the freeware. Install and double click to open it. In the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant, right-click the USB drive and choose “Format Partition”.

Format Partition

Step 2. Choose a compatible file system from the given options, here we choose NTFS and click “OK” to continue.

Select NTFS

Step 3. Hit on “Apply” and then “Proceed” to commit the pending operation.

Apply

The bottom line

Here, 5 different methods are introduced to help you solve “USB drive read only” issue in Windows 10/8/7. I sincerely hope you can get it fixed. Worth to mention that AOMEI Partition Assistant can help you deal with many disk partition issues such as USB showing 0 byte, hard drive only showing half capacity, SSD reporting wrong size, etc.

If you upgrade it to Professional edition, you can enjoy more amazing functions including recovering lost partitions, converting dynamic disk to basic without data loss, convert boot disk between MBR and GPT without deleting partitions and so on. If you want to enjoy such amazing functions on Windows Server 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008 or 2003, please try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.