Write protected pen drive: best ways to remove or format it


This article will teach you how to remove & format a write-protected pen drive/Sd card/memory card/flash drive/hard disk, etc. with or without write protection removal software.


format a write protected pen drive


Howtechwork has listed a few practical ways to remove write protection from your pen drive or memory card below. If you have a write-protected pen drive, you may not be able to move or manipulate files or format the particular pen drive.

This tutorial will educate you on how you can remove write protection from your (UNIVERSAL SERIAL BUS) pen drive on either Microsoft Windows or macOS computer.

Hey, wait, before you even think of following the below instructions, check the body of the USB drive or pen drive. If it has some physical write-protection switch on its body, try toggle the switch up and down.

Because the switch might be on the wrong side, and it might be the reason why you are getting a write-protected flash drive error.


Format write-protected pen drive with Windows Registry

A write-protected pen drive can be formatted using the windows registry tools, using the Regedit command on your Windows system.

You don’t have to be a computer professional to remove the write-protected error from your memory card. You can do it with a few keyboard strokes.

  • Hold the  ⊞ Windows key + R on your keyboard, to open the windows run windows.
  • Now type “Regedit” without quotes into the search field and click enter.


windows run dialogue


  • Click yes if the user account control alert pops up. The Windows Registry Editor will open below.


remove write protection from hard disk


Now do the following to format your write-protected flash drive using the registry editor

  • Double click on the folder named HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
    Now another set of folders will be displayed under it.
  • Again double click on the folder named SYSTEM.
    Another list of folders will be displayed, now look for a folder with the name CurrentControlSet and double click on it. Another set of the folder will show, search for the folder with the name Control and double click on it.
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format write protected flash drive in regedit


Some sets of the folder will open under the windows registry control folder.

  • Now look for the folder with the name StorageDevicePolicies.

    If you see this folder in the left panel (under the “Control” folder), double-click it to display its contents in the right panel. But if you don’t see this folder, and you still want to format the write-protected pen drive, do the following to create the folder yourself.

Step by step process to create the StorageDevicePolicies folder.

  • Open the context menu by right-clicking on an empty area of the right panel.
  • Select New, on the menu that appears select Key.
  • On the left-hand side you will see an edited folder, now type StorageDevicePolicies and then click the blank area to save the new key.
    Here is where you will be able to format your write-protected pen drive.
  • Now click on the StorageDevicePolicies you just created in the left panel to open it.
  • You can now Right-click a blank area in the right-hand side panel and select New and then DWORD.
  • You can now type WriteProtect and then click any blank area to save the DWORD.


remove write protected memory card


  • Now double click on the WriteProtect key you just created in the right column.
    A dialogue window will appear.
  • Type  “0” without quotes as the “Value Data” then click OK.


format a write protected SD card


  • To make sure all the changes you make in the Registry Editor take effect, you will have to close the Windows Registry Editor and restart your PC.
  • Now that your Computer/PC has restarted, you will now connect the write-protected pen drive to the PC via any available USB port.
  • Hold the Windows + E key on your keyboard to open the File Explorer.
    Or better still double click the “My Computer” icon or “This PC” icon on your desktop.
  • The file explorer should list all the devices connected to your computer or PC, including the write protected sd card or memory card.
  • To remove write protection from hard disk or a pen drive, right-click on the particularly affected pen drive among the list of drives that are listed.
  • After you right-click, a context menu will appear, just select format.
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format write protected hard disk


  • Option windows for erasing and reformatting the pen drive will appear.
  • Among the list of displayed options, Select your formatting preferences and click the Start button.


format hard disk context menu
Error warning may appear telling you that you are about to erase the content of this drive, Click ok and continue.

  • The content of the write-protected pen drive should be deleted, and the flash drive or memory card should now be ready for use.


Remove write protection using windows Diskpart

  • Insert the write-protected flash drive into any available USB slot on your computer.
  • Now hold window + R key on your keyboard to open the windows run app. Inside the run app search field type cmd and hit enter.


windows run dialogue


  • The windows command prompt should now open, Type disk part and press the Enter key on your keyboard.
    If a user account confirmation appears just hit enter or click ok.

    A new command prompt windows should appear that begins with the “DISKPART” command.


windows Diskpart command prompt


  • Now type list disk and hit the Enter key.
    All the drives attached to the computer or PC will be listed, including your write-protected flash drive.

Each drive will be labeled “Disk (number)”,  for example
First on the list is “Disk (0)”. The second is “Disk (1)”. The third is “Disk (2)” fourth is “Disk (3)”. Etc.


diskpart partitioning hard drive


  • Now Type select disk number and hit enter.
    You will have to Replace number with the number of your write-protected pen drive.

For example, if your write protected sd card is listed as no three on the list above, you will type select disk 2.

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using diskpart to remove write protection from hard disk


If you are not sure which number is associated with your write protected sd card, please refer to the disk size listed on the command prompt above.

For example, if your write protected memory card or pen drive is 5 GB, then you will have to select the disk number next to the drive with 5 GB specified as the disk size. Now to remove the write protection, follow the below guide.

  • Now Type attributes disk clear Readonly and hit the Enter key.
    Doing this should remove write-protection from the hard disk.
  • The next step is to type clean and press the enter key.
    The clean command will format the write-protected memory card / hard disk, and it will be ready for use.




  • It is time to create a partition in our hard disk or pen drive, type create partition primary and hit the Enter key.




  • Now type format fs=fat32 and hit the enter key.
    Doing this will makes the pen drive/sd card/flash drive /memory card / hard disk usable on other operating systems and devices.

    NB: If the memory card or drive is bigger than 32GB, please replace fat32 with NTFS.




We have successfully removed the write protection from the hard disk.
Type exit and hit the enter key.

Doing this will returns you to the Windows standard command prompt.
The flash drive should now be ready for data storage and other uses.



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