Access A Write-Protected Drive

DURING A BIT of housecleaning the other day, I uncovered an old USB hard drive that I hadn’t used in a couple years. I decided to plug it in, check the contents, and see whether it contained anything I still needed. The drive turned out to be filled with a bunch of old, unnecessary files. “Great,” I thought, “I’ll just delete them and put the drive back into use for other things.”

Just one problem: When I tried to erase the unwanted files, Windows popped up an error message declaring that the drive was write-protected. Uh, okay. I wasn’t sure why that would be the case, but whatever. I figured that I would just go ahead and format the drive; that was sure to clear everything out.

Whoops! Same error. Oh, Windows, you baffling, unpredictable, endlessly annoying operating system, you. (By the way, I’m running Windows 7 64-bit on my current PC. The drive was most likely formatted in a 32-bit version of Windows XP. Maybe that had something to do with the problem.)

I spent some time investigating fixes for this issue, which can affect any kind of drive, and landed on the following procedure:

1 Open a Command prompt by clicking Start, typing command in the field, and clicking Command Prompt.

2 Type diskpart and press <Enter>.

3 Type list volume and press <Enter>.

4 Type select volume x, where x is the number of the drive that’s giving you the ‘write-protected’ error. In my case, I ended up typing ‘select volume 3’.

5 Type attributes disk clear readonly and press <Enter>.

6 Type exit and press <Enter>.

That’s it! At this point you should have full write access to the problematic drive. This series of steps definitely worked for me.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat