The USB drive read only issue must be one of the most annoying things that could happen to you when trying to edit the data on the drive. How can you get it back to read/write mode like it ought to be on Windows 10/11? Follow this guide on MiniTool Website , and you will fix it easily.

Why is Your USB Drive Read Only?

A USB drive, also known as a USB stick, pen drive, thumb drive, or pen drive, is a portable data storage device that uses flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus interface.

Sometimes, your USB flash drive becomes read-only and you cannot make any changes on the contents of the drive. Even if all the data is still there, you are not allowed to edit data, delete files, or save information on this drive.

USB flash drives are different from U disks, don’t confuse them. To get more information about their differences, please go to this guide - What Is U Disk & the Main Differences with USB Flash Drive .

Why is your USB drive read only with the USB current read-only state yes error? Here are the potential reasons:

  • The physical switch has not been slid to the unlocked area.
  • Your device is write-protected.
  • The registry key is set to be a write-protection number.
  • There are some disk errors in your USB drive.
  • Your USB drive is infected by viruses or malware.
  • The file system is corrupted.

This USB drive read only mode could keep your data from being changed by others. However, what if you feel like making some changes on this drive? How to change read-only USB drive to write? In the following part, we have sorted out some solutions for you.

How to Change Your Read-Only USB Drive to Writable on Windows 10/11?

Fix 1: Check the Physical Switch

Some USB drives have a physical write protection switch on the side or button. If yours has this switch, you can try to turn it off.

USB drive with write protect switch

Step 1. Check if your USB drive has a lock switch. If there is one, slide the switch to the unlock side.

Step 2. Reconnect your USB drive to your computer and check if you can edit the data on it.

Fix 2: Change the Registry Key

If you find no switch on the USB flash disk, you can unlock your device via Registry Editor. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Connect your read-only USB drive to the computer.

Step 2. Press Win + S to launch the search box .

Step 3. Type registry editor and then hit Enter .

Step 4. Navigate to the following path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies

Step 5. Double-click on the write Protection key to change its value to 0 and hit OK to save the changes.

Some of you may find that the StorageDevicePolicies doesn’t exist in Step 4. Don’t worry! If so, follow the steps below:

Step 1. Right-click on the Control key > select New > hit Key > rename this new key as StorageDevicePolicies .

create a new key

Step 2. Right-click on the StorageDevicePolicies > select New > hit D WORD (32-bit) Value > rename it as write Protection .

Step 3. Double-click on write Protection to change its value to 0 .

Fix 3: Run DiskPart Command

Another method to clear the read-only attribute on your USB drive is using the Windows DiskPart command. Follow the guidelines below:

Step 1. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.

Step 2. Type diskpart and hit OK . If prompted by User Account Control , click on Yes to give permissions for your action.

Step 3. In the DiskPart command window, type list disk and hit Enter to show a list of all the disks on your computer. You can determine which one is your target USB flash drive according to the size of the disk. For example, we know that Disk 1 is our USB drive because its size is listed as 29 GB.

run list disk

Step 4. Type select disk 1 and hit Enter . Remember to replace 1 with the disk number of your problematic drive.

Step 5. Type attributes disk clear readonly and hit Enter to disable the read-only mode on your USB drive.

Step 5. After the process is complete, quit this command window to check if the data on your target drive is able to modify.

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Fix 4: Change Security Permissions

If you cannot clear the read-only attribute of your flash drive, the security permissions may need changing. Here’s how to do it:

Move 1: Check the File System of USB Drive

Step 1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer .

Step 2. Go to This PC and right-click on your USB flash drive under Devices and drives to choose Properties .

Step 3. In the General tab, check the File system entry to see how the flash drive is formatted.

check the File System entry

Move 2: Change the Security Permissions

For FAT file system:

Step 1. In the Properties window, go to the Sharing tab.

Step 2. In Sharing , hit Advanced Sharing > tick Share this folder > hit Permissions .

Step 3. Hit Everyone if it is not selected. Under Permissions for Everyone , make sure the Change entry is allowed.

tick Allow beside Change

Step 4. Click on OK to save all the changes.

If your USB drive is still read only, repeat all the steps and tick the Allow box beside Full Control .