My flash disk encountered an error saying that it has been write protected, so of course I can't even copy files or even format my flash drive.

What happened to my flash drive to cause this?

And is there a way I can I fix this?

  • i'm curious to see a screenshot of this error. If the device has been made read-only as a protection mechanism, it is either the operating system, or the device itself, that is doing this. It must have a way to be undone.
    – Ian Boyd
    Feb 22, 2011 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


USB flash disks are easily got corrupted in time and this seems to be the case for you. The first thing you should do is to recover your files on the flash disk. There are several programs to do that. Then you can discard the disk and buy a new one. Never trust USB disks and always remember to back up your data.

  • What happens if the drive has a write protect switch? ... Especially as he can read from it (I think). I know I said corruption as well, but I think this is an important point. Jun 29, 2010 at 12:20
  • @Wil: If the drive had a switch on it, I thought he would have easily seen it. Hence I proposed him to buy a new one after trying to recover his files. That does not mean that your answer has no point, of course. Jun 29, 2010 at 12:25
  • if its in warranty get it replaced/repaired instead of throwing it out.
    – rzlines
    Sep 4, 2010 at 21:12
  • 2
    seriously? discard and buy a new one? and this lame answer is accepted by the owner? how to fix the existing hardware is the implicit question and thats the expectation with which many people come here. I dont have enought reputation to mark this down, otherwise I would. I bought a brand new 16 gb usb cruizer which became write protected after the first use. i have no clue why, and I have tried every low level format utility and disk editor available to no avail. .
    – Shankar
    Apr 1, 2012 at 23:59
  • Definitively do not throw your flash drive away, if you need it anyways, there's plenty of things to try first, diskpart, regedit and so on, it's first results when googling. For me it did not help, however this did, superuser.com/a/669352 . Also this looks like promising for others, superuser.com/a/1125283. What it basically is, you download you chip vendors software to flash the drive and then restore your drive. It litterally took a couple of minutes, and now it's again working perfectly. However not every chip vendor makes software available, so other millage may vary.
    – Simas.B
    Apr 11, 2020 at 9:19

Check that your flash drive doesn't have a switch on it somewhere that turns on write protected mode.

If you can't find a switch (and you bought this / e.g. not a promotional stick that is designed for write once) then it may be corrupt or otherwise damaged.


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