How to remove media write protection in external hard drive

Hello, I would like to ask how can I re-access or retrieve my files from my western digital external HD 500gb.

I can initialize the disk because it says, "The Media is write protected"

Please help me.
I attached a screen shot of my problem.

http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/6683/huhuf.png
26 answers Last reply
More about remove media write protection external hard drive
  1. A utility called "Thumbscrew" may fix the write protection: http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=security/thumbscrew-software-usb-write-blocker
  2. NanaJo-55 said:
    You could remove the write protection like this:
    http://www.itrelated.info/remove-write-protection-from-a-drive-memory-card/


    hello Sir, I already tried this process.. but sadly I dont have a folder called "Storage Device Policies".

    Its weird because I've been using my external HD for a long time, and then suddenly it becomes unreadable.

    Any other options I can do? I have super important files related to work thats why I need to recover my files :(
  3. phil22 said:
    A utility called "Thumbscrew" may fix the write protection: http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=security/thumbscrew-software-usb-write-blocker


    http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/5648/huhu1.png

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    I tried it but it still says "The Media is write-protect" :(
  4. solegrin said:
    NanaJo-55 said:
    You could remove the write protection like this:
    http://www.itrelated.info/remove-write-protection-from-a-drive-memory-card/


    hello Sir, I already tried this process.. but sadly I dont have a folder called "Storage Device Policies".

    Its weird because I've been using my external HD for a long time, and then suddenly it becomes unreadable.

    Any other options I can do? I have super important files related to work thats why I need to recover my files :(


    Tom's Hardware deserves a better answer than this.

    The link Nanajo provided is correct, albeit the directions are a bit screwy and missing a critical step.

    Try this (for anyone out there at present who stumbles on this):

    1. Go to your registry. Click “Start” on the taskbar to open “Run” and type in “regedit”.

    3. Drill down to Storage Device Policies"
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > StorageDevicePolicies

    4. Highlight "StorageDevicePolicies" and in the right hand view window you will see a "WriteProtect" DWORD key.

    5. Double click on WriteProtect and in the dialog box that pops up replace the Value Data 1 with a 0 (zero)

    6. Close out of the registry: File > Exit

    7. Reboot your computer. This is the critical step. When you change the registry, most times you need to either reboot, logout and login or do nothing. Considering you want to edit an external drive that is write protected, a reboot is necessary.

    Good luck to all.

    If the key named “Storage Device Policies” is missing, right click in an empty area of the right hand panel and click "New" > DWORD Value

    Name or double click on New Value #1 and name it WriteProtect" and leave the assigned value at 0 (zero).

    Exit the same way and reboot.

    You should now be able to engage with your external device.

    I would also check the properties > security > advanced >owner and make sure you are the owner of the device and not some crazy number like S-1-5-21-73586283-1767777339-839522115-500, which means you had this owned by another account but that account got deleted and this is Windows way of showing a dead SID. Replace that with your account id.

    In the Advanced Security Settings for (You device ID) Highlight your account in the "Change Owner to" view window.

    Select the "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects" and hit "Apply"

    You may get an error window that says:

    Security
    ---------------------------
    You do not have permission to read the contents of directory \Device\HarddiskVolume3\RECYCLER\S-1-5-21-1202660629-1425521274-839522115-1003\Df17. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control?
    All permissions will be replaced if you press Yes.
    ---------------------------
    Yes No

    Select Yes.

    You now own the device.

    NOTE: A nifty way to copy down the text of Windows pop up error messages etc is to click on the popup box (to select it from all other open windows) and hit Control + C

    Then open up Notepad and in the text area click Control + V and the message will be displayed for copying and pasting as you desire.

    Good luck
  5. progresslanguage said:
    solegrin said:
    NanaJo-55 said:
    You could remove the write protection like this:
    http://www.itrelated.info/remove-write-protection-from-a-drive-memory-card/


    hello Sir, I already tried this process.. but sadly I dont have a folder called "Storage Device Policies".

    Its weird because I've been using my external HD for a long time, and then suddenly it becomes unreadable.

    Any other options I can do? I have super important files related to work thats why I need to recover my files :(


    Tom's Hardware deserves a better answer than this.

    The link Nanajo provided is correct, albeit the directions are a bit screwy and missing a critical step.

    Try this (for anyone out there at present who stumbles on this):

    1. Go to your registry. Click “Start” on the taskbar to open “Run” and type in “regedit”.

    3. Drill down to Storage Device Policies"
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > StorageDevicePolicies

    4. Highlight "StorageDevicePolicies" and in the right hand view window you will see a "WriteProtect" DWORD key.

    5. Double click on WriteProtect and in the dialog box that pops up replace the Value Data 1 with a 0 (zero)

    6. Close out of the registry: File > Exit

    7. Reboot your computer. This is the critical step. When you change the registry, most times you need to either reboot, logout and login or do nothing. Considering you want to edit an external drive that is write protected, a reboot is necessary.

    Good luck to all.

    If the key named “Storage Device Policies” is missing, right click in an empty area of the right hand panel and click "New" > DWORD Value

    Name or double click on New Value #1 and name it WriteProtect" and leave the assigned value at 0 (zero).

    Exit the same way and reboot.

    You should now be able to engage with your external device.

    I would also check the properties > security > advanced >owner and make sure you are the owner of the device and not some crazy number like S-1-5-21-73586283-1767777339-839522115-500, which means you had this owned by another account but that account got deleted and this is Windows way of showing a dead SID. Replace that with your account id.

    In the Advanced Security Settings for (You device ID) Highlight your account in the "Change Owner to" view window.

    Select the "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects" and hit "Apply"

    You may get an error window that says:

    Security
    ---------------------------
    You do not have permission to read the contents of directory \Device\HarddiskVolume3\RECYCLER\S-1-5-21-1202660629-1425521274-839522115-1003\Df17. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control?
    All permissions will be replaced if you press Yes.
    ---------------------------
    Yes No

    Select Yes.

    You now own the device.

    NOTE: A nifty way to copy down the text of Windows pop up error messages etc is to click on the popup box (to select it from all other open windows) and hit Control + C

    Then open up Notepad and in the text area click Control + V and the message will be displayed for copying and pasting as you desire.

    Good luck


    hai sir,.,i tried your step.,.,still i cant solve the same main problem as solegrin.,.,
    how can i initialized my unallocated disk when it said media write is protected .,.,?
    after i reboot the computer.,.,then.,.,what should i do?
    i tried another method with click on new simple volume to make my disk can be used.,.,however its unclickable.,.,what truly i need to do?can u help me?
    did solegrin already solve the problem?
    this my email meri.mute@gmail.com
  6. I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.
  7. pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.


    This worked perfect, Thanks!
  8. The solution worked just perfect for my 1TB external hard drive (Fantom Drives GreenDrive) on Windows 7.
    Thank you so much.

    pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.
  9. pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.


    ---i really want to try this but how to access as admin...it automatically enters to desktop as user...
  10. angela21 said:
    pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.


    ---i really want to try this but how to access as admin...it automatically enters to desktop as user...

    Once you enter the cmd.exe in the search field of the start, right click it in the search results and select "Run as Administrator", now you can do the procedure above.
  11. Piratesrevenge said:
    angela21 said:
    pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.


    ---i really want to try this but how to access as admin...it automatically enters to desktop as user...

    Once you enter the cmd.exe in the search field of the start, right click it in the search results and select "Run as Administrator", now you can do the procedure above.



    Thank you for the quick response. I was able to try it. But still it cannot. Is there any chance that my files be retrieve? Your help is very much appreciated.
  12. pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.


    what if the drive contains file? do they delete by this procedure?
  13. pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.


    Thanks pszalapski - This solution worked for me.
  14. pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.



    but i still cannot open my disk,, can you help me. please.
    i just find like this. :(

    http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i282/Suprex_Manchunian/disk_zps1c5b2ab0.jpg?t=1397792830
  15. The diskpart via commandprompt worked for me. Thanks pszalapski
  16. If the previous solutions don't work for you, do this also:

    in cmd..

    Type in "DiskPart" in command line.
    Type in "list disk" in command line to show all disks in this machine.
    Use "select" to set the focus to the specified partition.
    For example "select disk 1".
    Use "clean" command to remove GPT disk from the current in-focus disk by zeroing sectors.
    Go back to Disk Management, you can see GPT disk is "Not Initialized" now.
    Within Disk Management, right click on disk info, choose "Initialize Disk", You can see GPT disk is "Unallocated" now.
    Right click on disk info, choose "New Partition…", follow Partition Wizard and format it. Now you are able to use the disk in Windows XP.

    worked for me!
  17. I have had a Write-Protected problem with my external hard drive for some time now. I've tried Registry Fixes, Thumbscrew program, Using the Command prompt and clearing the attributes disk clear readonly. I've reformatted and changed the Hard Drive letter and Drive name, nothing worked. You know, I keep my computer clean, I unplug everything, open the case, clean the insides with compressed air, change out Video Cards, etc. What worked for me was plugging the USB cable back into the original USB Port. If that doesn't work for you then you'll have to open My Computer, right click on the drive and select properties / Tools / Error Checking / Check Now / check both boxes, and check the disk for errors, when finished, hurry up and send something to that drive. If you are able to send something there, then you are good till you start up your computer again, It's a pain in the butt, but it also works, but try switching USB Ports and restarting your computer. Hope this helps!
  18. Hey Guys, I think I have a solution for this issue. I've been having the same issue for 2 days, what i did was uninstall the driver for the HDD from Device manager and re-install it and everything started working again.
  19. pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.


    A big, big, big THANK YOU to progresslanguage and pszalapski who gave me the perfect suggestions to solve my problem: I bought last June a 3 TB External WD MyBook, but never was able to load it, because my PC failed first installation and, since then, only viewed it as "Write protected"...
    I tried and tried and tried hundreds of solutions but solved nothing, so that I was resigned to return the disk to WD.
    Then I found this thread, and you guys turned my light on! You can imagine how relieved I feel now...!

    So, this is my personal THANK YOU to you both!

    Just one more piece of advice, if you can... Although the disk now works perfectly, there is still a little problem: When Windows starts, system loads all the External disks I have, except this one. I easily solve this issue by unplugging the USB, and then replugging a few seconds after: immediate Plug & Play and go...

    Is there a way to let the system load also it from the beginning?

    Thank you from Italy

    Alessandro
  20. THANK YOU VERY much to progresslanguage and pszalapski.
    I had 1TB Transcend Hard Disk and it somehow became Write Protected.
    I was able to read the files from it , But could not write or delete anything from it.
    I tried many methods but it didnt work. I also checked the registry value at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > StorageDevicePolicies. The Value was 0.

    But I tried your other step of Taking Ownership Of Drive. When I Checked in properties > security > advanced >owner, i was surprised to see that the disk was owned by some crazy number S-1-5-21-73586283-1767777339-839522115-500(i don't remember the exact number).

    As soon as I took the ownership, Viola!!!!! My problem was Solved.
    I could now write and Delete things from my HD
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH
  21. solegrin said:
    NanaJo-55 said:
    You could remove the write protection like this:
    http://www.itrelated.info/remove-write-protection-from-a-drive-memory-card/


    hello Sir, I already tried this process.. but sadly I dont have a folder called "Storage Device Policies".

    Its weird because I've been using my external HD for a long time, and then suddenly it becomes unreadable.

    Any other options I can do? I have super important files related to work thats why I need to recover my files :(
  22. Hi,
    Can you tell me the attribute to use. I can see my externl hdd online but your further instructions are not clear. Please help. This is Rahul

    Desiredfx said:
    pszalapski said:
    I tried this and it worked, in Windows 7. Start Cmd.exe as administrator, then:

    C:\> Diskpart

    DISKPART> list disk
    DISKPART> select disk (id)
    DISKPART> online disk (if the disk is not online)
    DISKPART> attributes disk clear readonly

    Then I was able to manipulate the volume in Disk Management control panel.


    This worked perfect, Thanks!
  23. attributes disk clear readonly - works for me WD my passport 1Tb Black. Thanks a lot.
  24. ladog said:
    Hey Guys, I think I have a solution for this issue. I've been having the same issue for 2 days, what i did was uninstall the driver for the HDD from Device manager and re-install it and everything started working again.


    This is the first thing to work for me after trying all the other suggestions.

    I do have three mystery owners of this drive and cannot get them removed.
  25. Scott Freeman said:

    Type in "DiskPart" in command line.
    Type in "list disk" in command line to show all disks in this machine.
    Use "select" to set the focus to the specified partition.
    For example "select disk 1".
    Use "clean" command to remove GPT disk from the current in-focus disk by zeroing sectors.
    Go back to Disk Management, you can see GPT disk is "Not Initialized" now.
    Within Disk Management, right click on disk info, choose "Initialize Disk", You can see GPT disk is "Unallocated" now.
    Right click on disk info, choose "New Partition…", follow Partition Wizard and format it. Now you are able to use the disk in Windows XP.
    !


    just saying thanks, none of the idea suggestions work for my issue, but this fixed it. Windows 7 with a nexstar raid external.
  26. This how to remove "write protection" from Mediamax USB hard drive. Download the free Windows app "MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition 9.1".
    Right click on the target drive. Select "wipe disk". There are multiple choices. Select "slow" write 0 and 1. Then click the "apply" button at the top left corner. This will take several hours. It will write 0 on every sector, then will start from the beginning and write 1 on every sector.
    When it's done, right click on the target drive. Select "format", click apply.
    Windows Explorer will now see this drive. It's now ready for normal use.

    https://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html
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