3 Simple Ways to Fix the Error Disk is Write Protected

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If your USB or SD card cannot be accessed and displaying the error Disk is write protected, here are the simple and best troubleshooting methods to remove write protection on USB/SD card without any hassle.

Table of Contents

What is the reason that the disk is write-protected?
How to Remove Write Protection from USB drive?
How to Recover files from USB drive displaying Write-protected?
Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Disk Write Protected?

You may have encountered USB drives or SD card displaying Disk is write protected error when you are trying to access the files stored on it or while trying to transfer files from storage drive to computer. Although the drive is not manually set to disk protection, there are other probabilities where your disk can show write-protected and stop you from accessing the drive (access is denied).

    1.   A physical switch on SD card might be set to Read Only
    2.   If the disk is full, it automatically displays write protection error
    3.   If you try over-writing on a read only file, you are likely to receive disk is write protected message on the storage drive
    4.  There are some administrator security settings that probably stops you accessing the drive used by the public and displays the error if the drive is write protected.
    5.  Lastly broken or corrupt USB drive can lead to the error if the disk is write protected.

How to Remove Write Protection from USB Drives on Windows?

Below mentioned are the 7 easy methods to fix Disk is write protected error in USB drives. With the help of these methods you will be able to remove write protection from USB/ SD card drives without any hassle.

    1.   Unlock Physical switch on USB Flash Drive
    2.   Run Antivirus to scan for viruses
    3.   Verify USB Flash Drive/SD Card is not full
    4.   Change Read-only Status on drive
    5.   Run Diskpart to Clear Write Protection
    6.   Edit the Registry
    7.   Format the Drive (USB/SD card)

Method 1: Unlock Physical switch on USB Flash Drive

Most external drives including USBs, SD cards have a physical switch on the storage devices to lock or unlock the device that prevents you from writing anything on the drive.

However, you can easily unlock the device by moving the switch to the opposite direction. Once the device is unlocked, you can try transferring or copying files again on to the USB drive.

Method 2: Run Antivirus to Scan for Viruses

USB drives or any other storage devices are prone to viruses in various ways. The files in this storage device could also be infected with viruses that can cause damage to the file system and lead to the Shortcut files error and disk is write-protected error.

You can connect your USB or SD card to your computer and run anti-virus software on your computer to scan for viruses and remove them from drives.

Method 3: Verify USB Flash Drive/SD Card is not full

It is very likely to receive the write protection error when files are being accessed on a USB drive or SD card that says full . To check if your drive is full, all you must do is, right click on the Properties, you can view the size of the used space and free space of the USB or any storage device.

If you have enough space on the drive to copy the file and still you encounter the error, this might be due to the problem in the file you are trying to transfer or copy to the drive. Delete unnecessary files or folders from USB drives. Verify if the disk is write-protected error appears or not.

Method 4: Change the Read-only Status on the Drive

On multiple scenarios to avoid any damage to the file, the file will be set to read only status. Therefore, whenever you try to edit or access the file other than read only, the error Disk is write-protected appears and prevents you from editing it.

To change the Read Only status and to fix write-protection on files in USB drives, SD cards, pen drives follow the steps given below:

    1.   Click on the drive, Right click on the file you want change the access, Select Properties
    2.   Three options on the bottom of the screen are visible. Now, please ensure that the Read-only option is unchecked.
    3.   Finally, click on Apply and see if the change is effective or not by editing or writing on the file.

Method 5: Use Diskpart to Clear Write Protection

Command prompt is one of the inbuilt utilities in Windows that can help you fix any file system logical errors using command line interpreters. Here, a command Diskpart that is a built-in disk partition tool in windows computer is used to fix the disk that is write protected.

To run Diskpart and fix write-protected disk, follow the steps given below:

    1.       Press Win + R keys together and to open Run and type CMD to open command prompt. Or type command prompt in the search box. Run as Administrator
    2.   Type diskpart command >> Enter to run diskpart.
    3.   Type the below commands

list disk (the command lists all available disks on your computer)

select disk n (n is the number of disk representing your USB flash drive or SD card)

attributes disk clear readonly (this command helps you disable write protection)                       

After performing these commands, try transferring or copying files again to the USB drives.

Method 6: Edit the Registry on USB

If the problem still exists after trying all the above-mentioned methods, you try fixing it by enabling the USB write.reg file.

    1.   Click Win+R >> type regedit to open Registry Editor.
    2.   Then navigate to the following location to find a key named WriteProtect


    1.   When the key is found, right click and select Modify to change the value from 1 to 0.

If you still encounter the disk with a write-protected message, it is suggested to format the USB drive that is write protected.

Method 7: Format the Drive Displaying Disk is Write protected

Formatting the drive can fix any corruption or damage in the file system. Therefore, Formatting the drive helps fixing any error caused by corruption write protection on disk. Sometimes, Windows fails to format the USB drive using regular methods, therefore, it is the best choice to format the USB drive using Diskpart.

Note: However, formatting helps you fix the error but also erases all the data from the drive. If you the drive has any important file and documents it is recommended to recover your data from USB drives before heading to format the drive.

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

Format the Drive using Diskpart command

    1.   Type cmd to the search box >> right-click it to choose Run as administrator to open Command Prompt.
    2.   In the new window,

type diskpart >> press Enter

Type list volume >> press Enter (the command helps to display all volumes available on drive)

Type select volume n (n represents the volume number of your SD card, USB flash drive or other devices)

Type format fs=ntfs label=”new volume” quick (this command helps to format your file system format to NTFS file system)


As mentioned above this method erases all the data from the drive. However, you can still recover data from the formatted USB drive using the best trusted USB recovery tool.

How to Recover Files from USB Drive Displaying Write Protected?

SFWare USB recovery tool is the most recommended tool to recover data from corrupt or formatted USB drives/ SD cards. However, you can make use of the tool after you remove write-protection from the USB drive. After removing write protection, the software with its fast and quick scanning algorithm retries lost data without from the USB drive any hassle. Download the software now for free and try it yourself..

Free Download for WindowsFree Download for Mac

Steps to recover data from formatted drive

    1.   Connect your USB drives/ SD cards to the computer and launch the SFWare USB recovery application. From the main screen select Recover Drive/Partition, from next screen choose Drive/Partition Recovery. Now the software starts to display all the drives and partitions available on the computerSFWare Data Recovery software main page
    1.   In the next window, select the USB drive that was write protected and formatted.
      Select USB drive
    1.   The software initiates to scan the drive. The software scans each and every sector in the USB drive to search for the files that can be recovered. Once the scanning process completes, all the recoverable files are displayed in the list.
      List of recoverable files
    1.   Form the list select the files you need to recover from the formatted USB drive and click on Next

Lastly, select the location to save all the recovered files from the USB. Make sure you save the files in a different location to avoid the overwriting of the files on the same drive.


The USB error Disk is write-protected is the most common error that can be encountered when you have important files saved on the drive. However, it becomes chaotic when you need to access the data from the drive. With all the above-mentioned methods explained in the article, you will be able to fix the error easily and access files, edit/modify it without any problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my USB say write-protected when I format it?

Your USB displays USB is write protected in various scenarios. However, write-protection will not enable you to format the drive or allow any modification of the drive until write-protection is removed.

How do you fix the disk is write-protected USB error?

You can fix the write-protection error using several methods explained here.

    1.   Unlock Physical switch on USB Flash Drive
    2.   Run Antivirus to scan for viruses
    3.   Verify USB Flash Drive/SD Card is not full
    4.   Change Read-only Status on drive
    5.   Run Diskpart to Clear Write Protection
    6.   Edit the Registry
    7.   Format the Drive (USB/SD card)

How do I unlock a USB drive?

If you are wondering how to unlock the USB drive switch, all you must do is find the physical switch on the USB drive and need to toggle it to the opposite direction to unlock your USB Drive. If you do not have any physical switch on the storage devices, you might be encountering a write protection error due to other possible reasons like virus, corruption, etc.

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