Posted on September 24, 2016 · Posted in Windows 10

Fix Disk Is Write Protected Error in Windows 10

In some cases, when trying to copy some files to a USB disk or flash drive, a user may see the notification “The disk is write protected“. This guide shows how to remove write protection of a USB disk/flash drive in Windows 10 (this methods are applicable for earlier Windows versions as well).

There are some reasons why a USB disk may be write protected: from system security settings to a drive damage. Here is what the problem looks like: when you try to write some files to a USB flash drive or an SD card, the following error appears:

The disk is write protected.
Remove the write-protection or use another disk

The disk is write protected

It turns out that you are not able to copy files or create new files/folders on it.

Let’s consider the most common ways how to remove write protection.

USB Flash Drive Lock Switch

Some USB flash drives and SD cards (old ones as a rule) have a special physical switch (button)  that allows to protect a device from writing. This switch allows a user to prevent writing something to a flash drive when using public computers, thus protecting it from malware. Check if there is the lock switch on your USB flash drive and move it to OFF position (Unlock).

USB Lock Switch

Disable Write Protection from the Registry

Another way  that allows to enable write protection on USB devices is managed from the registry. To disable write protection:

  • Start the Registry Editor: regedit.exe
  • Go to the following registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\RemovableStorageDevices\{53f5630d-b6bf-11d0-94f2-00a0c91efb8b}HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\RemovableStorageDevices
  • Find the parameter with the name Deny_Write (DWORD) and change the  value to 0Deny_Write
  • Then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
  • Also find WriteProtect parameter and change its value to 0

    Tip. If there is no such key or parameter, create it manually.

  • Restart your computer and check if you can write anything to your USB disk

Readonly Disk Attribute

If previous methods have not helped, check if readonly attribute is set for your USB disk. To do it:

  • Start the command prompt with the administrator privileges
  • Run this command: Diskpart
  • Display the list of the disks using this command: list disk
  • Find your USB disk in the list and remember its number. In our example, it is Disk 1
  • Select it with this command: select disk 1

    Note. If the error “DiskPart has encountered an error: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error. See the System Event Log for more information” appears, it is more likely that the USB drive is damaged and you won’t be able to do anything with it using software methods.

    diskpart

  • Check the current disk attributes: attributes disk In our case, the result of the command is:
    Current Read-only State : Yes
    Read-only : Yes
    Boot Disk : No
    Pagefile Disk : No
    Hibernation File Disk : No
    Crashdump Disk : No
    Clustered Disk : No
  • The entries Current Read-only State : Yes and Read-only : Yes indicates that read only attribute is set for the disk. Clear it: attributes disk clear readonly  attributes disk clear readonly
  • Exit Diskpart and make sure that the write protection error does not appear when writing files to the disk.

Write Protection through GPO

If your computer is a part of Active Directory domain, the ability to write to the USB devices may be disabled using GPO by your system administrator.

File System Corruption

The error “The disk is write protected” may point to the corruption of the file system on your USB device. In this case you can use special tools to recover the file system or just format the flash drive.

Tool for Transcend Flash Drives

If the problem of write protection has occurred on a Transcend flash drive try to use a special tool JetFlash Recovery that allows to check the status of the file system on a flash drive and fix all errors, including “The disk is write protected”.

Physically Damaged of the Flash Drive

If all previous methods have not helped, your USB flash drive or an SD card may be physically damaged or have some problems with the controller. In this case, visit a service center or buy a new USB flash drive.

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