Is your USB drive throwing up a disk write protection error? In this article, we explain what that is & how you can fix it.

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You've finished work for the day. The only thing left to vì is stick the files onto a USB flash drive. Then you get this message: "The disk is write protected. Remove the write protection or use another disk." You immediately pull your hair out. This is your USB stick; you should be able to read, write, và do whatever you want with it!

Okay, you didn't pull your hair out. You stayed nice & calm. But you definitely need to get your USB drive fixed. Luckily, there are a few simple steps to fix write protection on a USB drive. It's just technology. You can fix it.

1. Kiểm tra the USB Stick for Viruses

Every time you plug a USB drive into your computer, you should automatically scan it for viruses, especially if you have used it on a computer you don't own or a public computer.

Viruses often fill your USB drive with nonsense files, which can make your USB drive respond with the Write Protected error.

Depending on your antivirus software, you may be able to configure it to lớn scan a USB drive when first plugged in automatically. If not, you can navigate khổng lồ the USB drive in Windows Explorer, right-click, & force a manual antivirus scan.


If you do find a virus, eliminate it using your antivirus software. At this point, I would advise performing a full system scan after updating your virut definitions. If one virus lurks on your USB drive, you never know what might be propagating on your main system.

2. Check the USB Drive Body

Normally I'd make something this simple the first step. However, I'd rather see you protected from a vi khuẩn instead of starting with the simpler fixes. Some USB sticks have a mechanical switch on them that puts them into Write Protect mode. This can be a very small slider switch that may have caught on something in your pocket or computer case.


Image Credit: Netac/Amazon
If this is the situation, simply move the switch khổng lồ the unlocked position & copy files again.

Luckily, there aren't a lot of newly manufactured USB sticks with these locks on them anymore.

3. Kiểm tra to Make Sure the USB Stick Isn't Full

You may see the Write Protected error message if your USB stick is full.

Open Windows Explorer, và browse to This PC. This gives you an overview of all drives connected lớn your system. Right-click your USB drive and select Properties. You'll be presented with a delightful donut chart (what was wrong with the venerable pie chart, Microsoft?) displaying your current drive capacity.


As you can see, I've got room lớn spare. But if your USB drive is completely full, it can return a Write Protection error message.

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4. Remove Individual Files With Write Protection

Sometimes a single tệp tin can upset the balance. Perhaps one file is marked "read-only" and refuses to be deleted from the drive. This causes an entirely different error message, but it can be off-putting, nonetheless.

Browse to lớn your USB drive, & locate the offending file. Right-click & select Properties. At the bottom of the panel, under Attributes, ensure Read-only is unchecked.


Sometimes single filenames become corrupted. In addition, long filenames are an inherited Windows feature ingrained in the MS-DOS architecture. The long & short of it is that if a filename exceeds 255 characters, you're going to lớn have a bad time.

Here we explain exactly how to delete files with long filenames. Check it out, save yourself some bother, và fix your USB flash drive.

5. DiskPart Command Prompt Utility

Are you familiar with the Command Prompt? If you're using Windows 10 or 11, you might also have encountered its close cousins, the PowerShell or Windows Terminal. You can use the following commands in either of these tools, but we'll go with the Windows Terminal today. Don't worry; it really isn't scary, and is the next logical step in our effort lớn fix your USB stick.


Hit Windows Key + X, & select Windows Terminal (Admin) from the menu. Type diskpart, và press Enter (1 in the above image). Next, type list disk, & press Enter. You should see a danh sách of currently mounted disks, like so (2 in the above image). Make sure you can see your USB drive. Mine is Disk 4. Make a cảnh báo of your disk number. Now enter the following command: select disk Once selected, enter the following command: attributes disk clear readonly

You've cleared any remaining read-only file attributes from the USB drive.

6. Clear Write Protection Error in Windows Registry

If none of the previous steps have solved your Write Protection error, don't worry. We've still got a few more tricks in the book. Next, we're going khổng lồ edit the Windows Registry. If you're not comfortable editing the registry, I understand. You can skip lớn the next section on how khổng lồ format your write-protected USB drive. If that step is a little too drastic, however, I'd advise giving this option a try.

Press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialogue. Type regedit và press Enter. Now, navigate to lớn the following registry location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlStorageDevicePoliciesLook for a key named WriteProtect.

If it exists, double-click it. This will xuất hiện the Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value box. You can now set one of two values: 0 or 1. 1 means "Yes, write protect my USB storage devices." Conversely, 0 means "No, don't write protect my USB storage devices." set the value khổng lồ 0, & then press OK.

But There's Nothing There?

In some cases, there is no "WriteProtection" registry entry. In this instance, we can create a registry key of our own. Check out the short đoạn clip on how to add a WriteProtection registry value below. Note that if something goes wrong, you can reset the Windows registry to default.

7. Format the USB Drive

Warning: Make sure that you back up all the files and information from your USB drive lớn your computer. All data will be lost once you format the USB drive.

Formatting the USB stick is a last resort. However, it should make your USB drive able to be read và written to. Prior to lớn formatting the USB drive, determine what kind of tệp tin system it already has—NTFS or FAT32. Normally the existing tệp tin system is the tệp tin system that is best suited for the drive.

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Open Windows Explorer, & browse to This PC. This gives you an overview of all drives connected to lớn your system. Right-click your USB drive và select Properties.