How To Remove Write Protection On Hard Drive

Hard drives are normally write protected for read-only and archiving purposes. But if it is an active disk, this functionality effectively renders the drive worthless by not allowing users to write or modify data in them.

It can be purposefully set by the user or accidentally set off by a system error. Other reasons that may cause write protection to be enabled are due to mismanaged settings, registry modifications, or hardware issues.

Methods to Remove Write Protection on Hard Drive

Write protection cannot be removed from the system. Instead, users can only disable it. Some solutions require the user to make changes in the hardware while others require making changes through the software. 

Here, we’ll explore the ways on how you can disable the write protection feature in your system’s hard drive.

Disable the Hardware Lock

Some hard disks have a hardware switch that disables the ability to write new information. To fix this issue, users will have to disable or unlock the security switch on their hard drive. 

Write Protection Switch
Write Protection Switch

To disable this, simply toggle the write protection switch to unlocked or 🔓 and check to see if any data can be written or modified in the hard drive. The switch may be located on the hard drive or in the case of an external hard drive, the protective cover of the disk. 

Change Disk Permissions

Another reason that may be causing the hard drive to display the error can be because of disk permission issues. If the administrator of the system has restricted users from writing or modifying data in the disk, the write protect feature can trigger. To disable this

  1. Log-in to the system using an administrator account
  2. Press the Windows key + E to open File explorer
  3. Right-click on the protected drive and select Properties
    volume properties
  4. In the new window, click on the Security tab 
    security tab
  5. Now, from the Group/ User list, select the user you want to grant write access
  6. To change the permissions, click on the Edit button 
    edit volume properties
  7. From the Permissions list, check mark on Allow for Modify and Write permissions
    volume permission
  8. Click on Apply and OK to save the settings

Disable Using Disk part Tool

Another reason that may be causing the hard drive to display the write protect message may be because of the read only flag. Clearing the disk attribute from the command prompt will help solve the issue. To do this:

  1. Press the Windows key + R to open Run
  2. Type cmd and press Ctrl +Shift + Enter keys together to open Command prompt with elevated access
  3. Now, in the console type diskpart and press Enter
  4. In the disk partition, type list disk and press Enter to show the list of disks connected to your device
    list disk command
  5. Type select disk <disk number> [eg: select disk 0] and press Enter. Make sure that you enter the number of the disk that needs the write protection to be disabled
    clear read only attribute
  6. Now, type attributes disk clear readonly and press Enter to disable the write protection
  7. Close the command prompt and check if the issue has been solved

Change Registry Entries

Sometimes, due to misconfigured policies, the write protection can be triggered in the hard drive making the drive unusable. You can change a registry value to fix the error.  

  1. Open Run and type regedit to open the Registry editor
    regedit run
  2. If prompted by the UAC(User Account Control), click on Yes
  3. In the address bar copy and paste the following
  4. Inside the directory, search for a folder labelled Storage Device Policies. If the folder is not present, create a new one by right-clicking on the empty space and selecting Key
  5. Name the folder StorageDevicePolicies and inside the folder right-click on an empty space again
    registry storage policy
  6. Click on New and select DWORD-32bit Value
  7. Open the binary data file and in the Value name, type WriteProtect
    storage policy dword
  8. In the Value data section, write 0 and set the Base value to Hexadecimal
  9. Restart your device after closing the Registry editor

Disable Drive Encryption

Note: This fix does not apply to devices that do not have Windows BitLocker activated or devices having Windows 11 home edition.

Encryption is a feature in Windows operating systems that provides an extra layer of security to the data stored in a volume of the hard drive. If enabled, it can prevent the user from modifying or writing data on the encrypted drive.

Disabling the encryption services can help solve the issue. For Windows devices, drive encryption is done through Windows Bitlocker. To disable this

  1. Log in to the device using an administrator account
  2. Open Run and type control to open Control Panel
    control panel run
  3. Click on System and Security
    system and security
  4. Select BitLocker Drive Encryption
    bitlocker control panel
  5. Inside, expand the drive that has BitLocker enabled and select Turn off BitLocker
    turn off bitlocker
  6. On the confirmation window, select Turn off BitLocker
    disable bitlocker confirm
  7. Let the process finish and restart your device to complete the process

Check Drive for Errors

Another fix for this error is to check the drive for errors. Sometimes the header data of a storage drive can get corrupted or miss entirely from the system causing the write protection error to appear.

Fixing this issue from the disk repair tool can help solve the issue.

  1. Press the Windows key + E to open File explorer and right-click on the drive
    disk properties
  2. Click on Properties and in the new window, click on the Tools tab
    disk properties tools
  3. In the Error checking section, click on the Check button to begin a scan
  4. On the confirmation window, select Scan drive to begin the scan
    scan drive
  5. Let the process complete and restart your device to complete the process

Alternatively, you can use command prompt to scan the drive for errors. The chkdsk tool can help scan and repair the drive for logical errors.

Format the Drive

The final solution for this problem would be to format the drive entirely. This process wipes the data from the drive and resets any changes made to the drive. This process will make the drive usable again. To format the drive, 

  1. Press the Windows key + E to open File explorer and right-click on the drive
  2. Select Format from the menu
    format volume
  3. Click on Start to begin the process
    format disk window
  4. Click on OK to proceed
    format confirm
  5. Wait until the process completes
  6. Access the drive and check if any data can be written in it again

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