How to Erase or Format Write Protected USB Stick or SD Card


Maybe most of us encounter write protection error when we try to format or erase the data on our USB stick or SD card. Some USB sticks and SD card have a protection switch that can easily turn on or off. This is a safety feature added by some manufacturers to prevent accidentally formatting the device.

But sometimes, even the USB or SD card doesn’t have a write protect switch or the write protect already turn off, still you cannot write or erase anything on the device.

Although you can still read the content stored inside, but you can’t delete it. To fix this, here are some ways you can try to remove the write protection on the USB stick or SD Card. Please take note that there is no guarantee that this solution will work due to some circumstances like your USB Stick or SD card are corrupted, already broken, etc. If this is the case you may consider replacing your device with the new one.

Disable Write Protected USB Stick or SD Card using the Registry Editor

To disable the write protection of your USB stick and SD Card, you can try this step and hope that will work. Using Windows XP or later version search for regedit, I am using Windows 10 in this this tutorial.

  1. Search regedit on Windows Start search bar, and click or enter to open Registry Editor.Disable write protect step 1
  2. When the confirmation popup appears, click “Yes”Disable Write Protect step 2
  3. Navigate this in the registry editor  Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ Control\StorageDevicePolicies scroll down to see StorageDevicePolicies, if you can’t find it go to step 6 to create.Disable write protect step 3
  4. Inside StorageDevicePolicies double click on WriteProtect then change the value from 1 to 0, then click OK to save.Disable write protect USB step 4
  5. Close the Registry Editor, then restart your computer. Insert your USB drive again and you will find it no longer write protected, you can now delete or format the USB Drive.
  6. (Optional) If StorageDevicePolicies is not available in step 3, you can try to create it. Inside the Control folder, right-click, select New > KeyDisable write Protect sd card step 6
  7. Rename the New Key #1 to StorageDevicePolicies then press enter to rename.
  8. Select the newly created StorageDevicePolicies folder, then create a new DWORD file inside by performing right-click New > DWORD.Disable write protect USB step 8
  9. Rename the New Value #1 DWORD file to WriteProtect then make sure the value is 0.Disable write protect SD card step 9

If changing the WriteProtect value doesn’t work you can try using Diskpart. Follow the steps below.

Disable Write Protected USB Stick or SD Card using Diskpart

To disable write protect using diskpart, insert your USB Drive, then run the command prompt by simple searching cmd on windows search bar. You may need to run it as administrator.Disable Write Protect using Diskpart 1

When a command prompt is ready type the following;

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk x (where x is the number of your USB drive, use the capacity to determine which one your USB)
  • attributes disk clear readonly
  • clean
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=fat32  (change fat32 for ntfs if you only use the drive in Windows computers)
  • exit (when completed)Disable Write protect using diskpart 2

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