How to remove the write protection on USB sticks

It can happen, due to wear or damage, that it is no longer possible to write on a USB stick, either memory or a simple key.

It may already have happened to you, especially on older USB drives, to try to copy a file on it and get an error message regarding the only possibility to read data (and not to copy it over). Not only that- sometimes the error also concerns reading.

Write protection on USB sticks- how to eliminate the problem

Under these conditions, support is completely useless. However, this does not mean that it is not possible to save the situation anyway. The ways to follow are different and, it must be said, in some cases, they can cost all the data present on the support.

some of which are easy and painless, others more definitive, which erase the contents of the memory, formatting the protected USB key.

First, check the block switch

If you have problems with a card or USB stick, the first thing you need to do is to check that the lock switch is in the correct position (some USB drives have the lock activated to protect the memory from the loss of important data). If this is available on the media in question, it may have been moved only accidentally.


In any version of Windows, from XP onwards, run Regedit. Click on Start, in the search box, type regedit and start the program. The window that opens up in front of you will closely resemble a File Explorer. Then follow this path: Computer \ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ StorageDevicePolicies.

Then click on the WriteProtect value in the box on the right and edit the value data from 1 to 0. Then click OK to save the change. Close Regedit and restart your computer before connecting the USB drive again- with a little luck it should go back to work.

Now you can continue using the unit, but it’s worth copying the files you want to keep and then formatting the media before using it again.

StorageDevicePolicies missing? Here’s what to do

If you can not find Storage Device Policies, you can create the entry by right-clicking on the white space in the Control folder and choosing New – Key and enter the name StorageDevicePolicies.

Now double-click on the new key (it will be displayed graphically as a folder) and right-click the white space again and choose New – DWORD. Call WriteProtect and set the value to 0. Click OK, exit Regedit and restart your computer.


The methods shown up to now have not led to results regarding the removal of the write protection on USB sticks? There is still an attempt you can make before you notice the physical damage of the support. With the USB drive or memory card connected to the computer, start the command prompt (from the Start menu, look for cmd.exe or command prompt).

Note- it may be necessary to run cmd.exe with administrator privileges if a message about access denied is displayed. To do this, right-click Command Prompt in the Start menu and select Run as Administrator from the menu that appears.

Now, at the prompt, type the following and press enter after each command executed:

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk x (replace X with the letter assigned to USB support)
  • attributes disk clear readonly
  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • format fs = fat32   (you can exchange FAT32 for NTFS if you only use support on Windows devices)
  • exit

In doing so, in addition to formatting the media, the USB stick should (or any other type of media) should be back in full form.

Physical damages?

This is the worst hypothesis, but it should be taken into consideration. In this case, there is very little to do, if not replace the damaged device. If the problem is only writing, you should save the data present as soon as possible.

If the problem is also reading, you can try some methods to save the file.

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About Author

Samuel Afolabi is a lazy tech-savvy that loves writing almost all tech-related kinds of stuff. He is the Editor-in-Chief of TechVaz. You can connect with him socially :)

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