How do I fix a Write Protect error? (Advanced version)

1.       Backup your data.

  • If the drive is not accessible, you may attempt to recover your data with software.  (Generally, if the drive is not accessible, the type of recovery software best suited for the task is partition recovery software.)

2.       Next, you can do one of the two options shown below:

a.       Use command line by opening cmd.exe console.

 i.      In command console type “diskpart” and wait until you are in diskpart.

 ii.      Type “list disk” to list attached drives.

 iii.      Identify the correct drive number.

 iv.      Type “select disk #” to select the target drive.

 v.      Type “attribute disk clear readonly” to remove write protection.

 vi.      Type “exit” to exit diskpart.

 vii.      Close console.

b.      Use regedit by opening Register Editor console.  Before proceeding, be sure to back up the registry.  See "How to back up and restore the registry in Windows".

  i.      In the editor under Computer select “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” directory

  ii.      Then select “SYSTEM” directory

  iii.      Then select “CurrentContrlSet” directory

  iv.      Then select “Control” directory

  v.      Then select StorageDevicePolicies” directory

  vi.      Then select and click on the “writeprotect” register to open and edit register value.

  vii.       If you observe the value set to “1” (indicating read only), change it to value “0”.

  viii.      Click okay and exit the editor.

3.       Eject the USB drive and reload it again. (It may also be good to restart the system)

4.       Try and see if the drive is writable now.



Another potential solution is to perform a low level format of the flash drive. To put it plainly, this will level out the memory chip inside and return it to its original state. Please keep in mind, while you may restore function to the drive it will permanently erase any data you may have had stored on the drive in the first place. You can attempt to recover your data by using a data recovery utility before using the Low Level Format utility.

Instructions on reformatting drive:

  1. Download and install one of the following: the Low Level Format Tool (LLF) or Active@ KillDisk (
  2. Insert your USB Flash Drive into your computer and run the program you downloaded.
  3. You will see your USB flash drive is shown inside the program window. Click on your USB flash drive and then click ‘Continue’. (Be sure to click the correct drive – you DO NOT want to format the wrong drive.)
  4. Click on "Low-Level Format" in Tab. Click the ‘FORMAT THIS DEVICE’ button to begin the format.
  5. Once the Low Level Format is complete, you may need to conduct a high level format of the drive. You will only require this if the drive is not able to store files after you have completed the low level format.
    • Go to ‘My Computer’ (or ‘Computer’ in Windows Vista or Windows 7)
    • Double-click the drive letter for the USB Flash drive.
    • Windows will prompt you to format the drive. Proceed with the format – make sure the “Quick Format” option is unchecked – other default options should be OK.