How to Change External Drive from Read-Only or Write-Protect to Read Write Mode?

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Read-only, also known as write-protected, is a file system permission that only allows a user to read or copy stored data but not write new information or edit the existing data. You can set the read-only to the entire disk to prevent accidental formatting.

Enable or Disable System Protection...
Enable or Disable System Protection for a Drive in Windows 11

In this gearupwindows post, we will show the different ways to fix the read-only to a disk. This happens to HDDs a lot, and it’s also commonly seen on removable disks like SD memory cards and USB flash drives. These troubleshooting methods effectively change a hard drive, USB flash drive, pen drive, or SD card from ready only to read-write.

If you have an external HDD or USB drive which is write-protected or read-only, you can use one of the following methods to change it to read-write:-

  1. Change read-only permission in Properties
  2. Remove read-only with the Diskpart tool
  3. Fix disk read-only using Registry Editor
  4. Remove read-only with a software

Change the Read-only Permission in Windows 11/10/8/7 using the Properties dialog.

The chances are that your device permission has changed to read-only after doing a Windows upgrade or update. To resolve this kind of obstacle, you need to access the disk properties to get both the read & write permission.

Step 1. Open Windows / File Explorer and right-click on the disk or drive that is currently read-only. Then, select Propertiesoption.

Step 2. Navigate to the Security tab, and click the Edit button.

Step 3. Select a User Account, and make sure Read and Write options are checked. If not, check both of them and click Apply, and then OK.

Once you complete the above steps, you should edit data or format the selected drive or disk.

Remove read-only with the Diskpart tool

To remove read-only or write protect from the disk or volume, refer to the following:-

Fix disk read-only using Registry Editor

This method is beneficial to fix disk read-only or write protect in a USB flash drive or SD Card. In this procedure, we will take the help of the Registry Editor; hence, we recommend taking a full backup of the Registry and creating a system restore point.

Step 1. Connect the USB flash drive or SD Card to the PC.

Step 2. Press Windows logo + R keys to bring up the Run box.

Step 3. In the Run box, type regedit and hit Enter or click the OK button.

If User Account Control (UAC) dialog prompts, click Yes to continue.

Step 4. In the Registry Editor window that opens, navigate to the following key:-


Step 5. On the right side of the StorageDevicePolicies key, look for DWORD (32-bit) Value WriteProtect. If it is not available, right-click on the right-side pane, select New, and then DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename it to WriteProtect.

Step 6. Double-click on WriteProtect and set its Value data to 0.

Step 7. Click OK to save the changes.

Step 8. Reboot your computer or laptop.

Once you complete the above steps, read-only or write protection should be removed from the external drive. If you want to enable read-only or write protection, in the registry editor window, navigate to the following:-


And on the right side of this, double-click on WriteProtect and change its Value data to 1.

Remove read-only or write protect with a software

EaseUS Tools M is a freeware and tiny (less than 9MB in size) application that removes the read-only or write protection from external devices.

Step 1. Download EaseUS Tools M.

Step 2. Install it on your computer or notebook and then launch it.

Step 3. Click on the Write Protection button.

Step 4. Select the USB drive or SD card which is connected to your PC.

Step 5. Finally, click on the Disable button.

Once you complete the above steps, write-protection or read-only will be immediately disabled on the selected USB drive or SD card.

Download EaseUS Tools M

You can grab EaseUS Tools M here.

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