How to remove protection from a flash drive or memory card


When a USB flash drive or memory card is write protected, you can only view and copy files from the media. Write data or delete it from the disk, as well as format it, will not work.

            How to remove protection from a flash drive or memory card

You can fix this error by disabling write lock in one of the following ways.


1. Check the physical switch

            How to remove protection from a flash drive or memory

There may be a switch on the body of the SD cards and some USB drives that activates physical write protection. Even knowing its purpose, users sometimes forget about this detail, which is why they experience difficulties.

If your flash drive has such a switch, disconnect it from the system and slide the lever so that it is not in the Lock position. After that, try recording again.


2. Make sure there is free space on the disk

            How to remove protection from a flash drive or memory card

If the flash drive does not have enough space to copy files, the system usually reports this in plain text. But sometimes, instead of a standard message, the computer writes that the flash drive is write-protected.

Just in case, look at the free volume of the drive and, if it is not enough to write new data or just too little, delete unnecessary files from the flash drive. After that, try to write down the necessary information on it again.

3. Scan the USB flash drive using antivirus

            How to remove protection from a flash drive or memory card

Write protection errors can be the result of malware. Check the drive – or better, the entire computer – with an antivirus. Perhaps this will solve the problem with the flash drive.

4. Disable write protection in the registry (Windows)

If protection is enabled as a result of a software failure or a change in Windows settings, the registry editor can help you. To open it, press Win + R, enter regedit in the field and click OK.

Using the sidebar, navigate to the directory: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control StorageDevicePolicies. When you see the WriteProtect parameter, open it by double-clicking and make sure that its value is zero. If necessary, change it and click OK.

            How to remove protection from a flash drive or memory card

If the system does not have the StorageDevicePolicies directory, create it yourself: right-click on the Control section, select "Create" → "Section" and name it StorageDevicePolicies.

If the WriteProtect parameter is missing, you can add it as well. Right-click on the StorageDevicePolicies section and select “Create” → “DWORD Parameter (32 bits)” and name it WriteProtect. Then open it and make sure that the parameter value is zero.

5. Disable write protection on the command line (Windows)

Protection can also be deactivated using the command line. To open it, type in the search system cmd, right-click on the found item and select "Run as administrator".

In the window that appears, type diskpart and press Enter.
Then type list disk and Enter again.
When the disk table opens, determine by the size which one is your flash drive and remember its number.
Enter the sele disk command (your flash drive number) (the number is indicated without square brackets) and press Enter.
Then attributes disk clear readonly and Enter again.

After that, write protection should be removed and the flash drive will work as it should.

6. Check the flash drive in Disk Utility (macOS)

            How to remove protection from a flash drive or memory card

Mac write protection message may be caused by a software flash failure. In this case, it is worth checking the drive using the “Disk Utility”. Open it in the Finder → “Programs” → “Utilities” section.

In the sidebar, select the problem flash drive. Then click “First Aid” in the top menu and click “Run”. If the system finds errors on the drive, then it will try to repair it.

7. Format the drive

            How to remove protection from a flash drive or memory card

If none of the above steps helps, try formatting the flash drive using the built-in tools or third-party utilities. This will erase all the contents from it, but you can first copy important data from the drive to the computer.

If you cannot format the disk, you may have to restore the USB flash drive using special utilities from manufacturers.

Read also

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                            Why the computer does not see a USB flash drive or external hard drive and what to do about it
                            How to recover a hard drive


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