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How to remove write protection of USB mass storage with no visible lock/unlock

By pinke1979 ยท 34 replies
Feb 8, 2012
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  1. I am seeking help either immediate help or as soon as someone gets a chance... please.

    I bought a usb flash drive (my laptop recognizes it as a generic usb mass storage device) from the library... cheap I know... anyways I was using it prepairing to restore my pc... I removed it without clicking on the safely remove button and now it says cant remove files because its write protected... and it wasnt before... did I mess it up if not then how do I remove a write protection if I have no lock/unlock switch deal? I scaned it for viruses/malware etc... I can view all the files but cant delete them and I wanted to clear them off so I can use it for another purpose... can anyone help please...
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,559   +1,441

    insert the USB device, then

    control panel->Admin Tools->Disk Management

    Your boot drive will show as C:\ and under
    Layout will be Partition
    File System will show NTFS

    How does your USB show up?
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +185

    One more thing to check:
    > Click Start->Run, enter: regedit
    > Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control
    > Does sub-key StorageDevicePolicies exist? If yes, right click to delete this sub-key
  4. pinke1979

    pinke1979 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    an answer for both of you....jobeard and lookinaround

    well....the usb mass storage device in question shows up as drive F D or E depending on which usb whole thing...im soooooo aggrivated over this whole ...no pun in intended was just a typo....thing isnt good....anyway um...im gonna try both of the suggestions...and ill let you both know what happenes tomorrow...thank you for responding....

    also i got anitvirus issues i didnt even know about until earilier today.....argh
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,559   +1,441

    hmm; how does the Disk Mgr show the layout (not the drive letters)?
    If it doesn't show Partition, then we need to reformat the device.
  6. electroken

    electroken TS Rookie

    I have this same problem and the usb stick is an emtec 32gb. It has no switch and I have looked all over the registry to see if I could find that entry Storage Device Policies and it is not there anywhere that I can see. I cannot format the drive as it is write protected and it will not allow me to delete or change the partition either. I am at a loss as to what to do. Is this a one-way event which has now made my usb drive useless?
  7. carlo

    carlo TS Rookie

    The same problem about write protection issue.. and it messing me up.. I don't store any file on my USB. it always lead to write-protected thing..I can't reformat also because of that write protextion.. can you help me take this issue thank you
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,559   +1,441

    I found this; how to make it R/O
    So if you go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
    look for StorageDevicePolicies -- if found, open it and look for WriteProtect - - delete the key
  9. Kael Andalahao

    Kael Andalahao TS Rookie

    if storage device policies doesnt exist? what do I do now. im having the same problem. thank you in advance
  10. girish

    girish TS Rookie

    Ripudaman likes this.
  11. Vugar

    Vugar TS Rookie

    I do everything like shown below: But again when I want format USB drive 8 gb show me message write protected.

    To setup read only USB storage device operation, follow these steps below:

    Click on the Start Button and type in Regedit and hit Enter.
    Navigate through HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control.
    Right click on Control and select New and then Key. Call the new key StorageDevicePolicies.
    Right click on StorageDevicePolicies and select New and then Dword. Call the new dword WriteProtect.
    Right click on WriteProtect and select Properties. Set the value to 1 and hit OK.

    The computer is now configured to disable writing to USB storage devices
  12. thewiz453

    thewiz453 TS Rookie

    Run regedit
    click on edit/permissions
    make sure read and full control are checked for permissions for all that are listed
    unplug USB replug it in
    write protect should be removed
  13. David Howard

    David Howard TS Rookie

    If you are 100% sure it is not software, and your EMTEC or other inexpensive flash drive is stuck in write-protect mode, without a physical switch, you need to do a USB FLASH RECOVERY, using the PNY software UFIX2:


    I know someone already mentions this, and he is correct, this is what is needed, if you are sure it is not a registry entry or a software setting.

    Ripudaman, Thabiso and Rupesh kr like this.
  14. NowClicks

    NowClicks TS Rookie

    This video shows you what to do, I just did it right now and it worked:
  15. Gmikey

    Gmikey TS Rookie

    Depending on the type of usb stick it could be a mechanical issue..I have a stick that I could not format due to a write protected error...I popped open the housing of the stick only to find a capacitor looking device shorting against the contacts of the memory chip..I moved the device away from the contacts ,plugged it back in to the PC and was able to preform a format...so if you have dropped or tapped your stick ,this could be a fix ,it was for me
  16. Roy Khoury

    Roy Khoury TS Rookie

    There's a ' Lock/Unlock' switch on ur USB.
  17. snowmonkey

    snowmonkey TS Rookie

    There seems to be no help in this forum. You must begin as if people have no idea of what they are doing.
    I have the problem of not being able to write on a flash drive. I sell flash drives and used one I sell. I downloaded 4 movies on the flash drive and suddenly I got the message that it is write-protected and I can not write on it. I did use expressfile to download them but expressfile messed up the internet connection. I would not recommend that to any.
    None of the above solutions work. I wonder how the write-protected got on to the flash drive after downloading so many things. It was not write protected but suddenly became write protected.
  18. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 8,671   +567

    Be patient, you'll find better help here than other forums.
  19. David Howard

    David Howard TS Rookie

    I have the one and only answer. But 1st, let's dispatch some myths: #1 - This is not a Windows or software problem. #2 - There is no registry fix, and this is not malware related. So, I have had this problem over time, with many different makers USB flash drives. I can assure you that the problem is with the physical drive and not the PC. So, what needs to be done is reset the physical USB device, and to do this you need a utility to do this. Formatting the device will not work, you essentially need to reset the controller on the device with a utility that specifically does this. I can almost 100% guarantee all data will be lost on the device, so make a backup before doing a reset. Start off with the HO format utility, but when that does not work you will have to Google for the reset utility, it was from a known flash drive maker, maybe Sandisk or Crucial? It is simple to run, it reset the controller onboard the flash device, then you are free to format it and use it like normal. Sorry I could not find a copy of the file, not sure where I put it. David
  20. David Howard

    David Howard TS Rookie

  21. Gen_Gustav

    Gen_Gustav TS Rookie

    SOLVED My Friend

    Thanks a lot, it was very helpfull, I just signed at this site to can give you all the thanks.

    Keep on Howard
    [​IMG] Greetings from Puebla, Mex
  22. Rupesh kr

    Rupesh kr TS Rookie

    Thanks finally
    USB Flash Driver Format Tool Ufix-II by PNY
    worked for me
  23. snowmonkey

    snowmonkey TS Rookie

    I downloaded it and it did not recognize the flash drive. I had 2 flash drives plugged in and it did not see one flash drive.
  24. David Howard

    David Howard TS Rookie


    Is the port you are using USB2 or USB3? I have found the best results are using an older USB2 port, as the USB3 chipsets vary more than USB2 chipsets and the tool was written for USB2 as USB3 was not available when the tool was designed (at least not in wide production). You can tell by looking at the USB port, is the plastic part of the USB port blue or black plastic? Most, but not all, USB3 ports have blue plastic. You can also look in Windows Device Manager.
  25. Vartra

    Vartra TS Rookie

    Ok, so I start off with a 64GB usb flash drive that has gotten itself stuck in write protect mode, still accessible, can still view the files on it.
    First I do the regedit and delete the storage policy, no change.
    Then I check discmanager, it shows up as a healthy exFAT formatted partition in disc manager.
    Then I try format, unable to format.
    Then I download this Driver Format Tool UFIX-II, now my before I run that my computer says I have to format the drive before I can use it and it doesn't show up in the drop down of UFIX-II.
    There is no physical switch on the device for anything, it slides in and out of the cover but that's it.
    I stripped it down to just the actual stick that does the work, saw nothing that looked like any capacitor or anysuch I've ever worked with before, just circuits on the board, an LED and the contact strips, saw no sign I recognized as anything shorting out, put it back together and it still says must be formatted before it can be used but when I try to format it, it says "Windows was unable to complete the format" followed by a second window that says
    "Windows can't format G"
    "Check to see that the disk and drive are connected properly, make sure the disk is not read-only, and then try again. For more information search Help for read-only files and how to change them."

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