How do you remove write protection from USB on Windows 10 or 11? Worry no more! With this simple guide, you can remove write protection from USB on a PC running the latest Windows 10 or 11. But before that, let's give you a quick run-down of what it means to have write protection on USB and how to remove write protection from USB in Windows 10 or 11.
Any USB storage devices, such as pen drives, external hard discs, or flash drives, will have what's known as a write protection feature. The write protection feature of a USB is used to prevent accidental data loss or destruction of important data stored on the device. No changes can be made to the files when a USB drive is considered write-protected. If you try to edit or delete a write-protected file, you will get the message: "This device cannot be used because it is write protected, or it simply displays "The disk is write protected."
Write protection on a USB prevents you from modifying or writing any content. This can be not when you want to save a new file or update an existing file on a USB drive. And if you have a password-protected USB, then it will be impossible to remove write protection from it without knowing the password. In this situation, you should get in touch with the device's owner or change your password as soon as possible.
There are various reasons why external drives and flash drives might have write protection features. Here are the most common reasons:
You may have a USB drive that came pre-formatted with the drive in a format that doesn't allow writing by default. In this situation, you must reformat the USB drive before removing write protection.
As mentioned earlier, the most common reasons you would want to remove write protection from a USB drive are because of viruses on the USB Flash Drive. This is an issue that isn't going to go away anytime soon. Even if the drive isn't encrypted, viruses can still do their damage.
The problem with passwords on USBs is that they're usually encrypted; therefore, it is way too difficult to decrypt them with software or hardware-based keys. Also, a lot of people forget their passwords.
If you've tried to delete or modify a file or folder on a USB drive, but you see the message "This device cannot be used because it is write-protected," it means that you have deleted the correct entry in the registry. Still, something has gone wrong and caused a write protection error message.
Third-party software can cause write protection errors on a USB drive. There is a lot of third-party software that allows you to encrypt your data. However, there is no guarantee that these third-party applications will write their encrypted content even or adequately encrypt the data.
It is possible that a user account formatted the USB drive in an administrator group, and those users have limited access to editing data on the device. If this is the case, you will need to change your permissions for that user.
The write protection option will not be enabled if a USB flash drive is locked or password-protected. You can unlock the campaign to remove write protection.
All Windows 10 and Windows 11 users can remove write protection from a USB drive using the following steps:
Some Flash/USB drives have a physical lock switch that you can use to disable the write-protect button. This method can remove write protection if your drive has control.
Step 1: Remove the drive from the computer.
Step 2: Find the physical lock switch and unlock it by flipping it up or down.
Step 3: Insert the USB drive back into the system and press the power button for a few seconds until it indicates that the USB is in charge of data transfer.
Not all USB drives have a physical lock switch. Try the methods below if your USB drive doesn't have a physical lock switch.
In Windows 10 and Windows 11, you can use the Diskpart command to delete any drives that will be removed.
To remove write protection from a USB drive in Windows 10/11, follow these steps:
Step 1: Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
Step 2: In the Command Prompt window, type "diskpart" and press Enter.
Step 3: The DiskPart tool loads in the Command Prompt. In the DiskPart window, type "list disk" before pressing "Enter" on your keyboard.
Step 4: In the DiskPart window, press "Enter" on your keyboard. You'll see a list of available disks and volumes. Look for your USB drive and note the number next to it.
Step 5: Once you've found your USB drive, type "select disk n," where n is the letter representing your USB drive, and press "Enter."
Step 6: After selecting your disk, type "attributes disk clear readonly" and press "Enter."
Step 7: Type "exit" and press "Enter" to close Diskpart and return to the Command Prompt.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to open a run dialog. Type "Regedit" and press "Enter."
Step 2: Navigate to the control folder, choose "NEW," and select the key StorageDevicePolicies.
Step 3: Right-click on the empty area and select "New" and then "DWORD (32-bit) Value"
Step 4: Create a new DWORD named WriteProtect and set the value to "0"
Step 5: Close the Registry Editor and restart the computer
Bitlocker is a good encryption program created by Microsoft to encrypt files and folders to protect them from unauthorized access. However, this encryption technology has been known to cause some sound issues. Sometimes, Bitlocker will produce an error message saying that the USB drive is write-restricted.
Suppose you get a warning message in the Disk Management tool and Windows explorer when plugging a USB stick into your computer. In that case, you'll need to disable Bitlocker before removing write protection.
To disable Bitlocker on a USB drive, follow these steps:
Step 1: Open Control Panel from the start menu.
Step 2: Click on BitLocker Drive Encryption.
Step 3: Choose to Turn off BitLocker.
Step 4: Enter the password and click on Turn off BitLocker.
There are other third-party tools that you can download to remove write protection from USB drives running the latest version of Windows 10 or Windows 11. The steps for removing write protection from any USB drive with these tools are different and depend on the features included in any of them.
Third-party tools are user-friendly, and you can remove write protection from USB drives with them within minutes. They can also be used to perform other variety of tasks on a USB drive, including formatting and converting. However, you must remember that most of these third-party tools come with a cost.
If you have tried all of the above methods and cannot remove write protection from a USB drive, formatting is always another method to consider.
To format a drive in Windows 10 or Windows 11, follow these steps:
Step 1: Connect the USB flash drive to the computer.
Step 2: Click on the Start menu and open My Computer or Windows Explorer.
Step 3: Right-click on the USB drive and select "Format" from the dropdown menu.
Step 4: Select your system's default file system and click "OK" to proceed.
Step 5: After formatting your drive, securely remove it from the computer, then connect it to another system.
You do not lose data if you remove write protection from a USB flash drive. Removing write protection from a USB drive is safe and won't change or delete any data. However, you can lose your data if you format the drive.
Most USB flash drives have a physical switch to disable write-protect. Suppose the drive doesn't have a physical switch. In that case, you can determine whether it is currently write-protected by connecting it to your computer and checking for an error message in Disk Management or Windows Explorer. If you get an error message when plugging the drive into your computer, the drive is write-protected.
You can restore the data by purchasing data recovery software if you have lost data due to write protection on a USB flash drive. This software can help you retrieve data from a write-protected USB drive. Data recovery software can recover data from lost, damaged, or formatted USB devices.
Removing write protection from USB drives is important, especially if you need to recover data from a locked drive. You can use many methods to remove write protection from USB drives running on Windows 10 and 11. If you need to remove the write protection from your USB drives, any of the above methods should be effective.