By Bryce / Last Updated June 22, 2021

WD external hard drive becomes read only in Windows 7

“I want to copy some files from Windows 7 based Dell desktop to my WD external hard drive. But I can’t copy files to it and get an error message saying – The disk is write-protected. Remove the write protection or use another disk. How can I change the WD external hard drive from read only to normal status? Is there any suggestion? Thanks!”

How to disable read only for external hard drive?

External hard drive write-protected (read only) issue can occur out of various elements like virus infection, corrupted file system and etc. To settle out this issue effectively, you can refer to the following methods.

Way 1. Disable read only from Diskpart
Way 2. Modify WriteProtect Key via Registry Editor
Way 3. Check and fix errors using Check Disk Tool
Way 4. Fix external hard drive read only by formatting

Way 1. Disable read only from Diskpart

If external hard drive gets write-protected as it has been added read only attributes in Diskpart, you can use Diskpart to disable read only attributes as follows:

1. Run Diskpart as administrator

2. Input commands given below and every command should be followed by hitting Enter key.

  • list disk

  • select disk

  • attributes disk clear read only

Diskpart Clear Read only

3. After a while, a message – Diskpart attributes cleared successfully will appear. You can type exit and press Enter to close this program.

Way 2. Modify WriteProtect Key via Registry Editor

If external hard drive shows as read only status as Registry key is set to enable write protection on it, you can adjust WriteProtect Key from Register Editor. Here are detailed steps.

1. Open Windows Registry Editor (Press Windows+R at the same time, input regedit and hit Enter).

2. Go to the following path:


3. Double click WriteProtect and set the Value Data to 0.

Value Data

Way 3. Check and fix errors using Check Disk Tool

If your external hard drive is still being read only in Windows 7, you can try Check Disk Tool to check and fix error for it.

1. Double click computer to open File Explorer, locate the drive on read-only external hard drive and right click it.

2. In the pop-up menu, choose Properties and click Check Now.

3. Check automatically fix file system errors and click Start.


Way 4. Fix external hard drive read only by formatting

If all the solutions aforementioned are not working, you can try to fix read only issue via formatting external hard drive with a partition tool – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Free download it and have a closer look at how it works:

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

Warning: This operation will erase all data on the external hard drive partition; you’d better backup important files at first.

1. Install and open it. In the main user interface, click the partition on the external hard drive and choose Format Partition.

Format Partition 64GB

2. In this screen, choose a wanted file system for the partition and click OK.

Select File System 64GB

3. You’ll return to the main interface and you can preview the operation result. Click Apply and Proceed to commit it.

Apply Proceed 64GB



It is a very simple task to fix external hard drive being read only in Windows 7/8/10 issue. Apart from what covered above, you can run anti-virus to check whether external hard drive is infected; and make sure that there is enough space on external hard drive for you to save files.