I have a 4gig flash drive, which I can read from but not write on, erase, nor format in any computer (tried in 7 different computers including xp, vista, and win7).

I want to erase all the data inside because it is useless. Once I erase something, it erases it and gives me an error that it can't find the file. Once I refresh the folder, the file comes back. I tried holding Shift + Del. I also tried to use the command to format it in safe mode, but it says "access denied". I don't have a write protection button or whatever it is on my flash drive. It's just a simple small 4 gig one.

  • 3
    Storage media often become read-only when their firmware detects errors while writing. Older flash drives have a relatively short lifetime... Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 0:12
  • Is there anything i can do about it? i opened up the flash drive. is there anything i can do with the chips there or something that can fix it? btw, I can view the files in the flash drive and use them copy them etc. but i can't erase them or format it. i used the cmd too and few commands that i found online and it didn't work. please help me!
    – Baruch
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 1:57
  • There's nothing you can do to the chips, and certainly not using home tools...(it'd be like fixing a watch using only an axe and sledgehammer.) Although you could try to low-level format the drive - I did that in a situation just like yours and the tool marked 15% of the blocks as bad - but there's no guarantee that the rest won't fail as well. Just buy a new drive while this one is still readable. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 4:22
  • On a related note, saying "I tried a few commands I found online" is not useful at all. Remember that help sites cannot read your mind. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 4:26
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    Copy off the data, smash the chip, and toss it. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 13:50

3 Answers 3


I want to erase all the data inside because it is useless.

If the data might be useful to a criminal, break open the casing until you can see the memory chips. Use a hammer to drive a nail through the chips.

It's just a simple small 4 gig one

You can probably replace it for $5-$10. Don't spend too long trying to get it working.


The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool is about the best at this kind of thing - if it can't work on the drive then it's possibly beyond help.



Try this :

1) Right click 'My computer' -> Manage or Management -> Disk management

2) select your USB drive -> Right click ->"change drive letter and paths"

3) Then Rename it to a different letter

Check whether it starts working or not !!

If it doesn't.. then options left are: 1) using diskpart 2) using registry 3) Low level formatting

Steps are lengthy and precise (must be done with accurcy) it is better to do it from here:


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