Windows Data Recovery - Standard

How to Remove Write Protection from Hard Drive


Table of Content

    Summary: In this post, we have discussed a few troubleshooting steps to remove write protection from hard disk or internal hard drive volume. Here you will get a five-step answer on how to remove write protection on USB drive, hard drive, or external storage drive in Windows.

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    Write-protection on SD card and some thumb drives can be turned ON or OFF by using an attached physical switch. However, unlike SD cards, there is no such switch to enable or disable write-protection in a hard drive. Numerous queries on Google on how to remove write protection from hard drive explain that situation can be creepy.

    Thus, if an external hard drive or internal drive volume becomes write protected, you need to rely on Windows troubleshooting steps to remove the write protection. But before you head to solutions, here are a few common reasons that enable write protection on a hard drive:

    • Hard drive corruption
    • Alteration in registry or permissions by user or malware/virus
    • Encrypted hard drive
    • Bad sectors
    • Read-only attributes

    A write-protected hard drive allows you to access the data in it (if the drive is not corrupt), but you cannot write or paste new files and folders, which makes the drive literally unusable. To make it usable, you must remove write protection from the hard drive.

    How to Remove Write Protection from USB Drive or Hard Drive in Windows

    Following these steps to remove write protection from your hard disk or USB drive in Windows.

    NOTE: If the drive is corrupt or inaccessible, skip to Step 5 and immediately use a data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery to get back data from the RAW drive and safeguard it from further damage.

    Step 1: Check and Fix Hard Disk Error

    Before proceeding with any fix, we need to figure out if the affected hard drive is corrupt. Follow these steps to determine and fix the hard drive error:

    1. Open File Explorer and then right-click on the write-protected drive
    2. Select ‘Properties’ and then click the ‘Tools’ tab
    3. Under the ‘Error Checking’ option, click the ‘Check’ button. A pop up appears
    Fix Hard Disk | How to Remove Write Protection from Disk
    1. Click ‘Scan’ and let the system scan and fix your affected drive

    In case errors are found, but Windows is not able to fix them, proceed to the next step to remove write protection on hard drive or USB drive.

    Step 2: Remove Encryption

    Check if the drive is encrypted by using Bit locker or other third-party tools. Decrypt the hard drive and remove write-protection by using the same tool that was used for encryption.

    Decrypting hard drive or turning off encryption may remove write protection, and then you may be able to access and transfer files between your system and the connected hard drive.

    Step 3: Remove or Clean Attributes

    To remove disk attributes that enable write-protection on a hard drive, use DIKSPART utility. On your Windows PC, connect the write protected hard drive and open CMD Windows. Then,

    • Type diskpart and hit ‘Enter.
    Diskpart CMD
    • Grant admin access when prompted
    • Type ‘list volume’ and press ‘Enter’ to list all volumes
    • Note the write-protected volume disk number and type
      select volume X
      where letter ‘X is the volume number of affected hard disk
    • Press ‘Enter’ to select the volume in the DiskPart tool
    • Type following command and press ‘Enter’ to remove the read-only attribute from the drive
      attributes volume clear read-only
    Disk Clean
    • Finally, type ‘Exit’ to close the DISKPART utility

    Disconnect your hard drive and connect it again to check if write-protection is disabled. If not, follow the next step.

    Step 4: Edit Registry

    • Connect the write-protected hard disk to your Windows PC
    • Press ‘Windows + R’, type regedit and hit ‘Enter’ to open ‘Registry.’
    • Open Registry to fix write protected error on USB, SD or internal/external hard drive
    • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE >System>Current Control Set>Control and click ‘StorageDevicePolicies
    Registry Editor | How to Remove Write Protection from Disk

    Double-click on WiteProtect and change the value in the DWORD field to ‘0’

    DWORD
    • Click ‘OK’ to save the changes
      • If WriteProtect is not visible, right-click on the white space and choose New>DWORD (32-bit) Value 
      • Name it WriteProtect and set its value to 0
    DWORD 32Bit Value
    • Close the Registry Editor window and reboot PC to apply all changes. If you are wondering how to remove write protection from USB drive in Windows 10, then step 4 of this tutorial may cone in handy.

    Step 5: Recover Data and Format the Disk

    In case the drive is corrupt and inaccessible, use a data recovery software immediately as files cannot be read or written on the affected hard drive. Follow these steps to remove write protection from USB drive, hard drive, or external disk in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7.

    Free Download for windows
    1. Connect the affected drive to a Windows PC
    2. Download, install and run the Stellar Data Recovery- Standard for Windows software. You can use it to remove write protection on your hard drive, USB drive, or external hard disk.
    3. Choose ‘All Data’ and press ‘Next.
    Select what to recover

    4. Under ‘Connected Drives’, choose the affected drive/volume

    Recover the data from

    5. Turn on the ’Deep Scan’ toggle switch at the bottom-left

    6. Click ‘Scan’ and wait for the scan to finish

    7. After the scan, results are displayed in the left tree-view pane

    Turn on the preview

    8. Select all data that you need to recover and press the ‘Recover’ button. You can also use ‘Search Bar’ to locate files quickly

    9. Click ‘Browse’ and choose a location on a drive with enough space

    10. Finally, click ‘Start Saving’ and wait for the software to finish saving your recovered data from a corrupt write-protected hard drive

    Recover your lost data

    After data is recovered, use DiskPart or Disk Management tool to format the disk. You may also use a third-party tool such as HDD LLF to low-level format the drive.

    How to Remove Write Protection from Hard Drive: The Conclusion

    It’s a good practice to use write-protection switch on SD cards, and it does have a purpose. It helps protect the card from malware or virus infection and data loss. However, when it comes to a hard drive, things change, as there is no physical switch to toggle write-protection in hard drives.

    Thus, when a hard drive becomes write-protected, it most likely indicates a severe virus or malware infection and corruption. In such cases, you must immediately use a reliable data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Standard for Windows to safeguard data before heading to fixes.

    The software can retrieve deleted, corrupt, and formatted files from all kind of storage media, even if they have turned inaccessible due to write-protection! But if the drive is accessible, back up the data and follow the troubleshooting steps to remove write-protection from the hard drive.

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    About The Author

    Aruna Attri linkdin

    Aruna Attri is a Senior Data Recovery Expert at Stellar®. She is a technology blogger and Windows expert. She has experience in Windows data recovery domain. She loves to troubleshoot Windows issue and write technical tips and tutorials.

    11 comments

    1. Hi Aruna,
      Thanks for sharing such a nice article. Yes, there is no physical switch to toggle write protection in hard drives when it comes to a hard drive.

    2. Hi Aruna, This blog was really helpful. In hard drives, there is no such switch to enable or disable the write protection. I came to know what to do if I am faced with a similar situation in the future. Thanks, Aruna.

    3. Try my method based on my experience I found out by myself. I have 2TB Write Protected hard drive Seageate and I don’t want to format it.

      1.)First, go to the Drive Folder and RIGHT CLICK on it – Click PROPERTIES – open SECURITY tab – click EDIT – Click on ‘Users (*YourPcName*\Users)’ – Tick the FULL CONTROL Allow box. Wait the WINDOWS SECURITY to complete for a second or minute. If you get any error that stopping it continue to load, just click Next / Cancel / Ignore or anything that can make it continue to loads.

      If it still not working, try this method before or after the previous method(top).

      2.) Right Click on the DRIVE FOLDER, click PROPERTIES, Open SHARING TAB, click ADVANCE SHARING…, Tick on ‘SHARE THIS FOLDER’ , click PERMISSIONS, then Tick the FULL CONTROL to Allow and click APPLY.
      ****If you can’t tick on it because you don’t have any Groups or Usernames selected,,, click ADD…, WRITE *Everyone (without stars) on the Writing Box and click OK(Or you can press the Check Names to confirm before click OK).

      Now you can see Everyone in the Usernames Box. Move to the FULL CONTROL and TICK on ALLOW box to allow the Drive. APPLY it then click OK. Same on the Advanced Sharing box, Click APPLY and OK then Close.

      *Try Restart the PC first if it still occured.

      This should work….
      Hope this is helping 🙂

      1. Hi Eron, Thanks for sharing your method. We will be really happy if your method also helps to resolve users’ this issues.

    4. Hi Team,

      I downloaded the software. However, the issue is external disk is not showing up. And it is unallocated in disk manager. Please suggest, I am not able to use the software to scan my hard drive.

      Thanks,
      Amit

      1. Hi Amit,
        First, you need to right-click on the unallocated partition in the Disk Management tool and choose ‘New Simple Volume’
        This opens a wizard where you need to keep the default options selected except that you do not select a format option in the wizard. Choose the ‘Do Not Format’ option. This will create a RAW drive. You may get a prompt to Format the Disk. Do not click ‘Format’.
        At this stage, you can launch Stellar Data Recovery software and select the RAW drive and Deep Scan option. Scan the drive and recover your data. Use an External drive or different volume to save recovered data. Post recovery, format the drive, and restore your data.

        In case you need more help, respond to this comment thread.

    5. The ability to pause and resume the scan is a huge time saver with using Stellar windows data recovery software.

      1. Hello Florence,

        Sorry to hear about the problem.

        With Stellar Data Recovery, all your worries will be vanished. Simply download and install the official software. From the main software, interface screen select what to recover, then scan, preview and save the desired file.

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