How to Format Read-only USB Drive Successfully?

February 1, 2019

This article tells you how to do when you need to format read only USB drive in Windows. Read it and apply corresponding methods according to specific situation.

Failed to format read only USB drive

“I have a 32GB USB flash drive bought recently. I need to copy my video file from my computer to it and I know that it isn’t available to store individual file over 4GB on it. Therefore, I decided to format my flash drive to NTFS file system in Windows 7.

But when I formatted it, the error message – The disk is write-protected appeared. I don’t know how to deal with this problem. What should I do to format read only USB drive in Windows 7 successfully? Any advice will be appreciated!”

Unable to Format Read-only USB

Quick solutions to disable read only for USB drive

It is common that users encountered with the disk being read only (write-protected) problem during formatting. Normally, if your USB drive is write-protected, it is in read-only status and you’ll not be allowed to delete or modify file on the USB drive, which can protect the data on your USB. If you need to format read only (write-protected) USB drive, you can remove write protection from it using the following tricks at first.

Check write protection tab

Some USB flash drive or SD card is with a physical lock slide tab. If your USB drive is with such tab, check the position of the lock tab and make sure it is on unlock position. Then, you can format the USB drive. If your USB drive is without such tab, skip this method.

Clear read only on USB drive via Diskpart

To fix disk is write-protected issue, you can check the properties of the USB drive via Diskpart at first. The steps are listed as follows:

1. Open Run box by pressing Windows + R simultaneously.

2. Input “diskpart” and hit Enter key.

3. Type the following command and hit Enter after each command.

  • list disk

  • select disk n

  • attributes disk

Attributes Disk Diskpart

If you see “ Current Read-only State: Yes,” type “attributes disk clear readonly” command and hit “Enter” to clear read only on USB drive. Then, you are able to format the USB drive successfully.

Disable write protection in Registry Editor

If you see “Current Read-only State: Yes” and “Read-only: No”, it is time to consider whether the value of Windows Registry key is right. If not, you can edit the Windows Registry key to disable write protection. Here are detailed steps

1. Open Run box, type “regedit” and press “Enter” key.

2. Go to the path given below:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies.

PS.: If there is no StorageDevicePolicies under Control, right click “Control”, choose “Key” and name it StorageDevicePlicies; Then right click the StorageDevicePolices folder, go to “New ”>“DWORD (32bit) Value” and name it WriteProtect.

3. Right click the WriteProtect and change the value from 1 to 0. Then, click “OK” to disable read only for your USB drive.

WriteProtect

After editing the value of Windows Registry key, try to format your USB drive in File Explorer again. If this way is invalid, try another one.

Remove write protection via CHKDSK

To fix read only on USB drive caused by corruption, you can run CHKDSK utility to solve this problem. Let’s see how it works:

1. Open Run box, input “cmd” and hit Enter.

2. Input “chkdsk e: /f”, where “e” is letter of partition on your USB.

PS.: If you are prompted by the message – The operation could not be completed because the volume is dirty, you can try the following command: chkdsk e: /f/r/x to remove dirty bit and write protection on the USB drive.

After that, you can input “exit” to close this window and format your USB drive.

3rd party format tool to format write-protected USB drive

All described methods are helpful in removing write protection on USB drive. In many cases, you are able to format the USB drive without receiving error message – The disk is write-protected. But it is possible that you are still unable to format it using File Explorer or Disk Management. In such case, it is recommended to try this comprehensive and powerful 3rd party format tool – AOMEI Partition Assistant.

It can format USB drive to FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, Ext2, or Ext4 to enable USB drive compatible with different operating systems or electronic device. And you can experience more features, such as converting dynamic disk into basic, if you upgrade it to Professional version. Here is step-by-step-guide to format USB drive using AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Step 1. Free download this format tool – AOMEI Partition Assistant. Install and fire up it.

Step 2. In the main interface, find out the USB drive, right click the partition on it and choose “Format Partition”.

Format Partition

Step 3. Set the file system of the partition and click “OK”.

Partition Label

Step 4. Check the pending operation and click “Apply” to execute it.

Apply

PS.: AOMEI Partition Assistant is able to work with Windows 10/8/7, XP and Vista.

Verdict

If you need to format read only USB drive, it is necessary to remore write protection from it in advance. It is unnecessary to try every method aforementioned to remove write protection on your USB drive. You can choose one or more ways based on your own specific situation.