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How do I un-write-protect this USB thumb drive?


I have a Kingston 8 GB thumb drive. How can I remove the write protect on
this drive? I’ve tried to format it, but nothing works.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #51
, I look at write-protect switches on USB drives and what it
means if the switch doesn’t work.

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Look for the switch

Ultimately, if the drive does not have a physical switch on it… ( and you
haven’t indicated specifically what format it is – if it’s just a USB drive,
there should be an obvious switch on it, if it is something that you
can control.)

If there’s a write-protect switch on the device, you would physically switch
it. To be write protected, you’d simply switch it the other way.

Hardware breaks

Now, that being said, a lot of people are encountering the situation where
they have a thumb drive that does not have a switch and it suddenly shows up as
being write protected.

In that case, I believe the only option you really have is to replace the
thumb drive. If the device doesn’t have a write-protect switch, there’s no way
to un-write protect it. There’s something wrong in the device.

Either it’s worn out or something has broken internal to it. The fact that
you’re trying to format the device tells me that it’s obviously not something
like a file system permissions issue. Formatting should just work.

Try a different computer

Now, before you throw away all hope, I would of course suggest you take
this thumb drive to a different machine and see if you can format it on that
other machine

But I’m guessing you won’t.

  • I’m guessing this is a hardware problem.

  • I’m guessing that you do not have a physical switch on the device that would
    allow you to set or clear that write-protect.

In which case, you really are out of luck and it’s probably time to just get
a new one.

Do this

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1 thought on “How do I un-write-protect this USB thumb drive?”

  1. Not necessarily a hardware problem. There is a way to set up a flash drive so it can’t be reformatted or a portion of it can’t be written on. The name of the product that does that escapes me but this is done on a lot of flash drives given out with vendor info on them.

    There are some utilities from APACER and HP that will overwrite that protection. A google search on “can’t format usb flash drive” will give you pointers to the software.


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