Read-Only Flash Drive? How to Remove Write Protection from Pen Drive

The Disk is Write-protected on USB Flash Drive? Reading on, you can get to know the 4 Windows solutions and 2 Mac solutions about how to remove write protection from USB flash drive.

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Apr 10, 2023 • Filed to: USB Recovery • Proven solutions

Hello all, I got a message reading "The disk is write-protected" whenever I inserted my SanDisk pen drive to my computer. I was unable to disable the write protection on my flash drive. Can anyone help me? Thanks.

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What Is a Read-Only Flash Drive?

Once you get similar messages like the following ones when using the SanDisk flash drive, it means the pen drive becomes read-only and write-protected. You're unable to edit data, delete files, or save information on this drive, unless you find the fixes.

the disk is write protected usb

Why Is My USB Drive Read Only?

Formating the file system of the flash drive can cause the write protection. Usually, a pen drive uses the NTFS file system on a Windows computer. You can keep writing and reading data stored inside it. However, sometimes you might want to use it on a Mac computer. So you format the flash memory stick to make it compatible with the Mac computer. The file system is indeed readable and the stored data is accessible on a Mac computer due to the Mac feature. However, writing data is not available. The write protection is added on the USB flash drive by default.

How do I disable write protection on a flash drive? Here, we offer both Windows and Mac solutions to help you fix write-protected flash drives easily and quickly.

How to Remove Write Protection from USB Flash Drive on Windows?

How do I remove write protection from a USB drive in Windows 10?

If your USB disk gets this error on Windows computer, you may think the USB drive is broken and unable to use. The flash drive becomes a read-only situation, and you cannot manage data on it, like copying, deleting or writing the files on the disk. How to remove the write protection from a read-only flash drive? On the next guide, we will show you how to disable write protection from flash drive, SD card or pen drive in Windows 10/8/7.

Video tutorial: How to Remove Write Protection from Pen Drive/USB in Windows?

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Solution 1: Diskpart Command

  • Step 1. Connect your flash drive to the computer, and launch a command prompt by searching for cmd.exe or "Command Prompt" in the Start menu.
  • Step 2. Type the following and press Enter after each command: diskpart, list disk, select disk #(# means the name of your write-protected disk), attributes disk clear readonly, clean, create partition primary, format fs=ntfs.

fix write-protected flash drive

  • Step 3. Exit the Command Prompt.

After this, your USB flash drive should now work well. If it doesn't work, you can also follow the next steps to fix write-protected USB drive with Regedit.exe.

Solution 2: Regedit.exe

  • Step 1. Press key of Windows Key + R and type regedit in Run dislog box and Enter.
  • Step 2. On the pop-up window Registry Editor, go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies.

remove write protection from flash drive with regedit.exe

  • Step 3. Double click the WriteProtect value in the right pane.
  • Step 4. You can change the value data from 1 to 0, then click OK to save the change, and close the Regedit window.
  • Step 5. Restart your computer and connect the USB drive to it. Check if the drive is working well and no longer write-protected. If it isn't read-only now, you can continue using the USB flash drive.

Solution 3: Open Windows Explorer

  • Step 1. Plug in the write-protected disk.
  • Step 2. Press "Windows+E" and right-click on the drive.
  • Step 3. By right-clicking on the disk, you can choose "Properties", and then select "Security".

remove write protection from read only flash drive via disk security

  • Step 4. To Edit the permissions, you should now select "Everyone" from "Group or user names".
  • Step 5. Select "Edit" and go to "Permissions"
  • Step 6. Check all the boxes labeled as "Allow"

remove write protection from read only usb flash drive by checking the permissions

  • Step 7. Click "Apply" and exit. Your disk's write protection has now been removed.

Solution 4. Check and Unlock USB Flash Drive

  • Check the switch on the drive: some external USB flash drives and pen drives have a mechanical switch which is used to lock or unlock the drive. If your drive gets the switch, check whether the switch is locked or not. If yes, move it.
  • You also can check the USB flash drive if it got the virus-infected and attacked. You need to download anti-virus software and scan your flash drive. Once the virus is found, and kill it at once to remove write protection from a read-only flash drive.

How to Remove Write Protection from USB Pen Drive on Mac?

If you're working on a Mac computer, you also will receive the "Read Only" error on the external drive. On the following steps, we will show you how to disable write protection disk on Mac.

Solution 1: Format Write-Protected Pen Drive on Mac

To disable the write-protected disk on Mac, you can follow the next steps to format the drive on macOS:

  • Step 1. Open the Disk Utility, and the application window will open.
  • Step 2. Click on your USB flash drive on the left pane of Disk Utility.
  • Step 3. Click on the Erase tab, then select the format type. Select either "MS-DOS File System" or "exFAT" both working well on Windows and Mac.
  • Step 4. Then click on the "Erase" option to start formatting the USB flash drive.

format write-protected pen drive

Solution 2: Fix and Repair Permissions

Check if the drive's permissions are corrupted or not. You can fix the error using Disk Utility. Follow the steps below to remove write protection from Read-only USB drive on Mac.

  • Step 1. Go to the Disk Utility in the Utilities folder.
  • Step 2. Select the device which is ready-only need to remove write protection.
  • Step 3. Click on the First Aid and the OS will start to scan your drive.

remove write protection permissions


We hope those solutions could help you fix and remove write protection from USB drive on Windows and Mac. If it still fails to fix out the problem, you should buy a new USB flash drive. Also, if you need to get all USB data back, you can download Recoverit Data Recovery, powerful USB data recovery software, to help you out. Follow the guide to recover files from USB drive easily.

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