How to Format Write Protected USB Disk Drive and SD Card

The main intention to append the write protection switches in USB flash drives and SD cards is to prevent accidental file deletion and to avoid suspicious files such as malware/trojan etc. from un-authorized sources delivering/storing into the USB disk.

If the USB disk is in read only mode, any attempts to create (or) edit file into the USB disk will be denied, But when you really want to make changes in the USB disk to add some more information (or) to edit the information that is already present in it, the restriction that you added on your computer initially will now prevent you from making changes such as adding new files or deleting existing files from any USB disk drive plugged into it. However, you can still read the files available in it, but you'll not be allowed to make changes and format the disk.
The disk is write protected -  You cannot format
Having a flash drive/ SD card which is not completely accessible even by the owner of that device, is like having a lock without the appropriate key, although you're the proprietor of the house.

Read Also: How to use USB drive as RAM to increase computer Speed in Windows

How to Remove Write Protection to Format USB Flash Drives and Memory Card
Initially, these kind of logic's was applied to protect your valuable information on USB disk's from someone who can handle your device but cannot access it. He may abduct your device but cannot make changes to make you believe it was you the one who edited the files on the disk. For instance: In Business environment, an anonymous who is trying to modify the quotation amount quoted for a project in intent to uproot a company from the competition among several other companies who were trying to acquire the project.

But in USB disk drives and SD cards these logic's are used to block un-authorized contents from storing and making changes in the contents present in it, by making it in read-only mode. Hence, any USB disk or SD card connected to your computer is now write protected, so even if your computer is affected by harmful viruses such as trojan, malware etc. will never affect the USB drives connected to it.

There are several ways to format a write protected USB flash drive and SD card, and here in this article we would like to share a few more that works on most of the available devices, in an efficient and simple way.
  1. By Using DiskPart - A Command Prompt Utility
  2. By Using Registry - RegEdit.exe
1. Disable Pendrive Write Protection Using Command Prompt Utility - DiskPart
This is an another simple method to disable the write protection from USB disk drives such as pendrive and memory card by using window's command prompt utility called DiskPart.


Note: To disable write protection by using this method you should run the command prompt window as an Administrator, else the access will be denied.

Warning: During this process, the selected USB drive will be hidden after the clean process initiated. And the USB disk should be formatted for re-use after removing the write protection of the device, hence we urge you to create Back Up's of file in USB disk, before proceeding with the below steps.
  1. Plug in USB drive into computer and Run command prompt as an Administrator (To open command prompt type cmd.exe in windows start menu search and right click then select run as administrator)
    Run as Administrator - To remove write protection through CMD
  2.  In the command prompt window, type the following commands and press enter after each command.
    1. diskpart [Press Enter]
    2. list disk [Press Enter]
  3. All disk including external and internal disk drives will be listed, look for USB drive with the storage capacity it holds, usually USB drives are smaller in capacity, so it will in MB size.
    List of Disk Attached - List Disk
  4. To select a disk from the list type the command "select disk 1" and press enter you'll get a message "Disk 1 is the selected disk".
  5. Now type "attributes disk clear readonly" and press enter, immediately after the inputted command a message prompt's the "disk attributes are cleared successfully".
  6. Now all the attributes that are appended in the disk such as read/write protection's are removed completely.
  7. Hence you can either stop and close command prompt form here and format the USB disk manually in the windows Explorer (or) continue to format directly in command prompt through the following command and specify the format type. 
  8. Note: Formatting via command prompt is a slow process, since the write protection is removed, hence we recommend you to stop here and close the command prompt and open the windows explorer and try to format the USB disk manually in My computer(Windows Explorer) by Right click->Format.
  9. To format the USB disk directly in command prompt, following the above steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 then continue to type the below commands.
    1. clean and [Press Enter]
    2. create partition primary and [Press Enter]
    3. format fs=ntfs (If your USB drive capacity is lesser than 4 GB, we recommend you to replace ntfs with either FAT or FAT32 )
  10. And EXIT you're done, now your device is free from write protection and ready to go.
  11. For more information on the above process, refer below image for detail on CMD utility command order.
    DiskPart - Write Protection Removal and Format Procedure
Note: After formatting through Command Prompt utility, if the USB disk is not visible in My computer Just change the drive letter in disk management for the USB disk plugged in. Know how to make your detected USB disk visible in MyComputer(Windows Explorer)..


2. Remove Write Protection From USB drive using Registry Service - RegEdit.exe
We list the way's in the order of highly recommended methods without using any other third party tools to remove write protection from your USB disk drives. So here you go, follow the below steps to do so by using the highly recommended process.
  1. Goto Run and type Regedit to RUN regedit.exe Editor utility
  2. Once the Regedit Editor is opened, Navigate to the following. 
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE->SYSTEM->CURRENTCONTROLSET->CONTROL->STORAGEDEVICEPOLICIES
  3. Now look for writeprotected value at the right hand side of the window, then double click on it and change the value data from 1 to 0. 
    Note: If you don't find something like STORAGEDEVICEPOLICIES in the above navigation, 
    1. Create a new one by right click on control->New->Key and name the key as StorageDevicePolicies.
      Creating Storage Device Policies Folder
    2. Now right click on the created folder StorageDevicePolicies->New->DWORD (32 bit) value then name it as "WriteProtect" and set it's value to 0. Click OK and Save Changes.
      Create DWORD(32-Bit) Value in Storage Device Policies Folder 
      Enable Write Protection Change the Value to 1 and to Disable Change the Value to 0
  4. Changing the DWORD(32 bit) value from 0 to 1 will enable write protection on the plugged in USB disk, and changing the value from 1 to 0 will disable the write protection and allow's you to make changes on the disk.
  5. Then close the regedit.exe editor and restart your computer.
  6. And you're done, now your USB disk drive password is disabled, hence you can format USB flash drive without any hassle.
Are you struck anywhere in the above steps ? Feel free to comment in the comment section below for instant answer for your query and proper guidance. And don't forget to do share this trick with your friends, families and the world. 

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