Pen drives or USB flash drives are quite popular due to ease of carrying them and amout of data they can carry. But some USB flash drives use write protection button which prevents any data being moved to or from the pen drive. However if you turn off that switch you can write any data on your USB flash drives. But sometimes even normal pen drive’s become write protected due to umpteen reasons. It might be due to some virus sitting in it, it may be full already or may be the file itself is write protected. What ever the reason don’t loose hope you can again start using your favorite USB flash drive with the help of some of the simple methods we have listed below. To check if your pen drive is infected with some virus simply plug it in you PC and scan it with your anti virus software. You can change setting of your anti virus software to automatically scan any flash drive once it is plugged into your PC.
Apart from this you can always scan it manually by right clicking on your USB flash drive icon in My Computer. You should also check if your flash drive if full with data. To do that open Windows Explorer and right click on your USB drive icon. After this select properties and you will see a nice pie chart display of the Used and Free space available on your USB Stick.
Removing/Disabling write-protection in the Registry using Regedit.exe
Regedit is a Microsoft registry editor program and is basically used to see and edit registry files. In Windows XP or 7 simply go to Run and search for “Regedit” and it will come up on the top of the search results usually. In case of Windows 8 you can use search functionality in the start menu. Be careful while using Regedit.exe as any wrong change in windows registry can cripple your system completely. Once you open up regedit then go to the key given below.
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePoliciesAs you can see in the image above you need to click on the write protect icon in the right hand pane, change to value from 1 to 0 and save it. Now you need to restart your computer and plug in your USB flash drive again. Hopefully now you can write data on your flash drive without any problem as it is no longer write protected. Now you may format your USB flash drive as per your will!
If you cannot find StorageDevicePolicies key (folder), you may try creating a new key by right-clicking in the empty white space in the Control folder and choosing New -> Key and carefully entering the name.
Now double-click on the new key (folder) as shown in the pic above and right-click once again and choose New -> DWORD. Name it WriteProtect and set its value to 0. Click OK, exit Regedit and reboot your computer. Apart from this method you can use Diskpart command utility to remove write protection from your USB flash drive or memory card.
Disable/Remove write protection Diskpart command prompt:
Diskpart is a command prompt functionality which allows to to manage all the disk drives attached to your computer. You simply need to open the command prompt by running cmd.exe in the Windows XP and 7. While in case of Windows 8 just type cmd in search bar in the start menu. Keep in mind that you need to have administrator rights to use this. To do that, right-click on the shortcut and choose Run as administrator.
Now you need to type following commands and hit enter each time in the order given below:
- list disk
- select disk x (x is the number given to flash drive, figure out with the help of your flash drive’s capacity)
- attributes disk clear readonly
- create partition primary
- format fs=fat32 (you can swap fat32 for ntfs if you only need to use the drive with Windows computers)