How to Fix: External Hard Drive Read Only in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11

External hard drive becomes read only in Windows 7/8/10? Refer to this paper to get solutions to solve external hard drive read only issue, so that you can make write operation to it.


By Bryce / Updated on October 27, 2023

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My Seagate external hard drive becomes read only in Windows PC

“I want to copy some files from Windows 7-based Dell desktop to my Seagate 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 external hard drive from read-only to normal status? Is there any suggestion? Thanks!”

Copy Failure Due to Write Protection

Why is an external hard drive in the read-only status?

A hard drive is read-only (write-protected) means that you can only read or copy data on it and you are not permitted write to it or modify the data on it. Usually, your external or internal disk are set to read only for keep the data intact on it. And the disk becomes write-protected can be caused by many events and common ones are listed below:

1.  The USB external drive is with physical write protection switch and it is locked. If that's the case, you can just move the switch to the unlocked position.
2. The file sytem of the external or internal drive is corrupted.
3. The hard drive is attacked by virus.  To exclude the element, you can run anti-virus software to scan your hard drive.
4. The drive has been set as read-only manually.

4 top ways to disable read only for external hard drive

Supposed that read-only hard drive is not related to virus intefction or write protection switch, you can take the following four fixes to disable read only for the disk.

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).xternal hard drive write protected

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

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is compatible with Windows 11/10/8.1/8/ XP and Vista.
It owns various other functions like copying external hard drive, making external hard drive bootable and so on.
For more demands, such as recovering lost files on an external drive, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.


It is a very simple task to fix external hard drive being read only in Windows 7/8/10/11 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.

Bryce · Staff Editor
Bryce is an editor of AOMEI Technology, he covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He would like to spend all time on reaserching computer problems. He is a very cute boy.