How to Erase a Write-Protected USB Drive or SD Card​

write-protected USBA write protection error is one of the most common errors faced by users while using a USB drive or SD card. When a drive is write protected, you can access the photos in it, but you cannot modify it. In basic terms, your USB drive or SD card behaves like a non-rewritable CD.

The first thing to do is to check if the drive is indeed write protected. To do that, follow the steps below-

  • Go to the Start menu, type Run and enter
  • In the Run dialogue box, type regedit and press enter
  • A registry editor window will open. You need to go to this path:


  • Now, in the left pane, right click on the Control key and select a new key. Rename the new subkey.
  • Navigate to the right-hand side pane of the subkey, right-click on it, go to the New option and select DWORD Values
  • In some cases, you might also notice that this DWORD had automatically been created when you created the subkey.
  • Double-click on the DWORD. Set the Value Data as 1 and click OK
  • Eject and plug in the USB again to see if the problem has been resolved. If not, proceed further with the other solutions

Check Drive for viruses

Every time you connect your USB drive to your system, you should scan it for viruses, especially if you regularly connect your drive to other computers. Viruses dump a lot of unnecessary files to the drive which could lead to Write protected error.

Install a reliable anti-virus system and scan your USB drive through it.

Physically check the USB

There are some USBs that have switches on them made especially to turn them into write protected drives. Check if its turned on. A very simple thing to do but we often forget to do it.

Check storage space on the drive

If the USB drive is almost full, then you might face the write protect error. To check, go to My Computer, right-click on your drive and select Properties. You will be able to see the used space and the free space.

A single file may be write protected

When a single file is write protected, you get a similar error but it’s not exactly the same. You will face this error only when you are trying to move or modify that specific file. To change it, right-click on the file and select properties. At the bottom, you will find a checkbox near the Read-Only option. Uncheck it and click on OK.

Use Command Prompt

To use Command Prompt, Click on the Start Menu, type cmd and press enter. Basically, through command prompt, you can modify your USB drive settings.

Diskpart is a command which will come handy here. Through this disk partitioning tool, users can modify the values associated with the USB drive or the SD card.

Type Diskpart and press enter. Then type list disk and press enter. You will see a list of disks associated with your system. If you do not see your disk, then that is because the computer cannot recognize it and Diskpart cannot help you in such a case.

If you do see your drive on the list, note the number it is indicated by. Now type the command

Select disk [disk number]

Press enter and then type the command below.

attributes disk clear readonly


In most of the case, write protected error can be easily resolved. If it doesn’t, we would recommend downloading and installing recovery software like Stellar Phoenix Photo recovery to erase personal multimedia files and then format the disk.

Sumona is a technical blogger and writer. She has over 2 year experience in Photo Recovery technology. On her free time she writes about technical tips and tutorials.

1 Comment(s)

  1. write protected error can be easily resolved thanks admin for this post

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