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How to Format A Write Protected Pendrive (2020)

Write protection is a mechanism by which the users prevent the data from modification or erasure. Sometimes the user may tend purposely lock the USB drive to avoid the data loss that might occur due to formatting or regular deletion.

But the message ‘This disk is write-protected’ might also come due to virus, logical error, or due to encryption by the third party. In such cases, you may not be able to format the pen drive and get an error message.

Although the message reads that formatting is impossible; there are ways for the users to format the locked pen drive. But the user needs to understand whether the drive is really write-protected or corrupted.

  • In some cases, the PC’s USB port may be completely blown up. In such cases, one must lookout for methods to correct the damaged USB port.
  • Sometimes the USB drive is perfectly alright, but the flash drive is corrupt. When the drive is corrupt, there might be problems using the USB storage drive or any other flash drive.

Switching Lock

Some pen drives are provided with a physical lock, enabling the user to switch on the write protection manually. In such cases, the lock might have been switched due to technical glitch. In such a case, the user must look for the manual lock of the pen drive and switch it OFF. By doing so, it becomes possible again to access the pen-drive by connecting it to the PC again.

Virus

Viruses in the system might sometimes be the cause for write-protecting a USB drive. The best method to deal with such cases is to use anti-virus software, thus making the drives accessible again.

Best Antivirus

Some useful anti-virus softwares are:

  • Avast
  • Norton
  • McAfee
  • AVG

Just get one program, connect the write-protected device, and run the software to scan the system. Once the virus is removed, the write protection will be eradicated.

Remove the write-protection using CMD command window:

  1. 1
    In the search bar enter cmd and run the ‘Command Prompt’ as administrator.
  2. 2
    Enter the command lines given below:

diskpart
list disk
select disk #
attributes disk clear readonly

Your storage drive number must replace the symbol # in the commands. The command box will run the program and remove the write protection.

  1. 3
    Type exit once the process is complete.

Alternative to CMD

In case you are not a professional and are unfamiliar with the command lines, there is a way out. The team of EaseUS has developed a unique tool kit dedicated to resolving the issues on the computer.

EaseUS Tool M is an easy-going tool and serves as the ideal replacement to the method mentioned before.

  1. 1
    Download the EaseUS Tool M from the internet for free and install it on the system.
  2. 2
    Run the installed software and choose the mode intended for write protection.
  3. 3
    Select the corresponding storage drive and select the disable option.
  4. 4That would remove the write protection from the pen drive, enabling you to re-access the same.

Removal of write-protection by Regedit:

One can use the Regedit to change the key from 1 and change it to 0 thus unlocking the drive.

  1. 1
    Open the editor by entering Regedit in the search box.
  2. 2
    Access Computer>HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE>SYSTEM>CurrentControlSet>Control>StorageDevicePolicies
  3. 3
    Access the Write Protect value in the right-hand pane of Regedit.exe
  4. 4
    Change Value from 1 to 0 and to save click OK.
  5. 5
    Restart your system.

Once you connect your USB drive to PC again after the system reboots, the disk would be accessible, and you may be able to re-access the pen drive.

Read-Only status of the Pendrive

At moments it is possible that the pen drive automatically becomes inaccessible if it is set at read-only mode. Follow the steps to disable the read-only status of the pen drive.

  1. 1
    Connect the pen drive to the computer system.
  2. 2
    Go to the File Explorer. Right-click on the write-protected drive and select ‘Property.’
  3. 3
    Go to the ‘General’ tab and uncheck ‘Read only’ status. Apply and finish the operation.

Once the write protection is removed from the storage device, it becomes possible for the user to access the pen drive. If there are still any error messages, the user should format the drive once to get away with all the errors.

Storage

Sometimes due to insufficient storage, the system shows the write-protection error. When the storage space is less, it prohibits uploading new data on the drive. If your drive is full, try removing some files from the USB drive.

If storage isn’t the concern, a message will pop up saying that you cannot delete files due to write protection. In that case, the error is undoubtedly due to some other reason. 

Free Tools to remove the write protection:

If due to some reasons, all the ways mentioned above somehow fail to remove the write protection, some free tools could aid in removing the write protection from the storage drives.

1. SD Formatter

A tool from SD Association, SD Formatter, is one of the most efficient tools which helps to remove the write-protection. The tool is compatible with both the flash drives and USB storage devices. It is freely available on the internet. Once installed, simply connect the device and select the drive and a formatting option. Click Format. Once the process is complete, the write protection from the drive will be removed effortlessly.

Pros

  • It can help when Windows tool management is unable to format the write-protected drive.
  • It has an additional disk error check feature, which helps the users to carry out the operation without incurring any data loss.
  • It has no limitation on using the SD drive system that users may encounter while using the in-built card formatters.

2. Kingston Format Utility

A tool from Kingston it is specially meant for the USB storage drives. The installation method is slightly old. Once you download the software, you will have to run the .exe file and browse to select the location. Click Unzip, then browse to the new location, and double-click Kingston Format Utility.exe.

Once the software runs, you will simply have to select the Device and File system from the drop-down menu. Click on the Format option and then wait. Once the action is complete, the write protection would have been removed.

Pros

  • It has cross-platform compatibility.
  • Optimum and fast performance.
  • Easy and intuitive user interface.

3. IM-Magic Partition Resizer

A tool from Kingston it is specially meant for the USB storage drives. The installation method is slightly old. Once you download the software, you will have to run the .exe file and browse to select the location. Click Unzip, then browse to the new location, and double-click Kingston Format Utility.exe.

USB Format Problem Kingston Format Utility

Once the software runs, you will simply have to select the Device and File system from the drop-down menu. Click on the Format option and then wait. Once the action is complete, the write protection would have been removed.

  1. 1
    Install the software on your PC and run the software.
  2. 2
    Open the software and then after it loads all your data, right-click and go to the ‘Format partition’ option.
  3. 3
    Select the drive which you intend to format and click ‘Apply Changes.’
  4. 4
    Once the process is complete, the drive will be empty.

Piyush

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About the Author

Piyush Kashyap is a Ph.D student at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur. He is a budding editor/ writer and has been working as a part-time reviewer for online content. He loves to read tech-based articles and has a knack for reviewing such articles He likes to stay updated about the latest trends in technology. He has also been working as a reviewer for many scientific journals. He also writes articles based on science. Know More About Piyush


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