How to Remove Write Protection on a USB Drive in Windows

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The write protection feature is meant to protect the files it contains, but sometimes that protection can become a burden when you need to move files around. You try to find another USB you can write to, but of course, it’s the only USB drive you can find.

The good news is that there are some methods you can try to see if you can finally get rid of it. Some of the tips you can try are so easy you won’t believe it.

Before you get into anything that involves your computer’s settings, let’s go over some basic tips. There are some USB flash drives that feature a small switch and lever that allow you to make the USB write-only or both read and write. Go ahead and look carefully and see if you can find that switch. Be careful that you don’t push too hard since it requires almost no effort at all.

If you didn’t find a switch, you can try to see if the regedit method works. Click on the search icon and type regedit, and the option will appear in the search results automatically.

When the Registry Editor appears, look for the “ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlStorageDevicePolicies” option. Go ahead and double-click on the “WriteProtect” value. It should be located in the right pane.

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In the Value data box, you’ll need to change the one to a zero, and don’t forget to click OK to save your changes. Go ahead and close everything and reboot your computer.

If your Windows computer is missing this option, not to worry since it’s easy to create it. In the Control Folder right-click on the white space. Select “New -> Key” and name your new creation “StorageDevicePolicies.”

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Once the key is visible, double-click on it, and you should be able to see a folder. Just like you did before, right-click in the white space, but this time pick “New -> DWORD.” This time, name it WriteProtect and change the value to zero. Select zero and click OK. Once you’ve left the registry, you’ll need to reboot your computer.

If the first method didn’t work, hopefully the one with the command prompt will remove that write protection. You’ll need to run the cmd.exe, but if you’re unable to, then you’re going to need to use the command prompt as an administrator.

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To do that, right-click on the Start menu and choose the “Run as administrator” option. When the command prompt is open, enter these commands, but make sure you press Enter after each one of them.

Do note that you need to replace the “X” in the select disk x command, where “x” is the number of your non-working drive. Also, you can swap “fat32” for “ntfs” if you only need to use the drive with Windows computers.

Write protect is obviously meant to do what the name states, but there are times when you wish it wouldn’t do that. These methods should help you finally be able to transfer those much-needed files. Do you have a technique that I missed? Share it with us in the comments.

This article was first published in December 2009 and was updated in April 2018.

19 comments

  1. hey thanks ,
    it helped ,,
    i used the jetflash online recovery for my transcend usb tho
    it's found on the same page as the mFormat utility

  2. my pen drive was write protected ..tried many formate utitilities and other soln too
    but ..ur soln of mformate is really usefull ..and now I can use my pen drive
    thanks lot for ur kind suggestion
    Nakaskar G.N. Ahmednagar

  3. Dear Sir/Madam, plz help me. my usb (kingston) is writeprotected. i already try this ways. bt the usb not detected to Apacer Formatting Utility plz tell me. how can i fix this problem?

  4. “ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlStorageDevicePolicies” – I can’t decipher where this key is located. Need in between (ex HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSet, etc)

    • Keeping the backslashes in the key path would help a ton. Navigate to this key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControl

      If you don’t see the StorageDevicePolicies key in the left pane, add it per the instructions in the article.

  5. I gave my flash drive to someone and it came back write protected,I’ve tried everything including all ur methods and it’s still write protected….when I tried the cod method after typing clean it said”Diskpart has encountered an error: the request could not be performed because of an 1/0 device error.”
    I also tried the Regedit,still didn’t work…please what can I do??

  6. To remove write protection from sd card,just slide the button up on the card reader, once you do that, you can now format your memory card,delete files on it or even copy to the sd card without getting “this sdcard is write protected” error. ;from corey_IG-iam_c0rey

  7. Fabio Buckell can you right click on the “WriteProtect” DWORD>click “modify Binary Data”>then send a screen shot of the value data?
    I had to create a new StorageDevicePolicies key and it needs the binary code to operate correctly. Otherwise,it’s purity much just an empty shell without that code.
    Thanks!

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