In Microsoft Windows 10, you may receive an error that says “The disk is write protected. Remove the write-protection or use another disk” when attempting to copy a file to a removable flash drive.
This message may appear for several reasons.
Reason 1 – Read Only Switch
The drive has a physical switch on it somewhere that sets it to “Read Only”, and makes the drive not writable. Look on the drive and see if there is a switch to toggle this setting to allow writing of files.
Reason 2 – Disk is Full
Right-click on the disk, then choose “Properties” and ensure there is plenty of free space available on the drive.
Reason 3 – Overwriting a “Read Only” File
If you are copying and replacing a file on the drive, and the file that exists on the drive is set to “Read Only”, you will receive an error message. Navigate to the file on the removable disk, right-click the file, then select “Properties“. Ensure the “Read-only” check box is deselected.
Reason 4 – Security Setting
If you are receiving “The disk is write protected…” errors on a computer that is owned by your company or a computer that is used by the public, the administrator of the machine may have set a security setting on the computer to prevent the ability to write files to a removable disk. You may want to talk to the administrator of the machine to gain proper access.
In some cases, you may be able to remove the setting using these steps.
- Hold the Windows Key while pressing “R” to bring up the “Run” dialog box.
- Type “regedit“, then press “Enter“.
- The Registry Editor opens. Navigate to the following location:
- Look for a value named “WriteProtect“. If it exists, delete it. If it does not exist, follow the same steps as above, but replace “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE” with “HKEY_CURRENT_USER“.
If the “WriteProtect” value does not exist in either location, this security setting may not be your issue.
Reason 5 – Drive is Corrupted
Your removable disk drive may be in a state where the file system is corrupted. You may need to format the drive to get it to work properly again. A format will erase all date off the drive. If you wish to format a disk, right-click the disk and select “Format…“. Certain manufacturers of removable drives may provide a utility to format the disk. Check with the manufacturer of your device to see if a utility exists.
Reason 6 – It’s Broken
If you have tried all the above options, it is likely the removable disk is broken. If the removable disk is old, it could have just reached it’s natural end of life. Many removable disks have a limit on the amount of reads and writes it can perform in it’s lifetime. Seek help from the manufacturer for more information.