HomeENGLISH ARTICLEHow to Format a Write Protected Pen Drive

How to Format a Write Protected Pen Drive

In the digital age, pen drives (or USB flash drives) have become indispensable tools for data storage and transfer. However, encountering a write-protected pen drive can be frustrating, as it prevents you from making any changes to the drive’s content. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the concept of a write-protected pen drive, understand why it occurs, and learn four effective methods about how to format a Write Protected Pen Drive.

What is a Write-Protected Pen Drive?

A write-protected pen drive is a storage device that is configured to prevent any new data from being written, modified, or deleted from it. This is done to protect the contents of the drive from accidental changes. Write protection can be applied at the hardware level or through software settings.

Why is my Pen Drive Write-Protected?

Write protection on a pen drive occurs due to several reasons:

  1. Physical Write-Protection Switch: Some pen drives have a physical switch that, when activated, prevents any data from being written or modified on the drive. Ensure the switch is in the correct position.
  2. File System Restrictions: File systems like NTFS or exFAT may restrict write access due to issues such as corruption or improper ejection. Reformatting the drive can resolve this.
  3. Malware or Virus Infections: Malicious software can enable write protection to prevent changes or data loss. Scanning the drive for malware and removing any threats can help.
  4. Registry Key Changes: In Windows, registry keys can be altered, causing write protection. Editing the registry or using a specific tool may resolve this issue.
  5. Damaged or Corrupted Drive: Physical damage or file system corruption can lead to write protection. Repairing the drive or using data recovery tools may be necessary.
  6. Read-Only Mode: Some USB drives have a read-only mode, which can be toggled on or off. Check and disable read-only mode if present.
  7. Third-Party Software: Occasionally, third-party software may enable write protection. Uninstalling or configuring such software may help.

Understanding why write protection occurs is crucial to troubleshooting and resolving the issue effectively. Depending on the cause, you can employ various methods to remove write protection and regain full access to your pen drive.

Also Read : How to Retrieve Deleted Files from Your Laptop

How to Format a Write Protected Pen Drive?

There are several methods available for formatting a write-protected pen drive, with the best approaches outlined below:

Method 1: Using Windows Explorer

Formatting a write-protected pen drive through Windows Explorer is a straightforward process. It involves the following steps:

  1. Insert the write-protected pen drive into your computer.
  2. Open ‘File Explorer’ and locate the drive.
  3. Right-click on the drive and select ‘Format.’
  4. Choose the desired file system (usually FAT32 or NTFS) and click ‘Start.’
  5. Confirm the formatting operation.

Method 2: Using Diskpart

Diskpart is a powerful command-line utility in Windows that can be used to remove write protection. Here’s how:

  1. Press ‘Win + X’ and select ‘Command Prompt (Admin)’.
  2. Type ‘diskpart’ and press Enter.
  3. Enter the following commands one by one:
  • list disk
  • select disk X (Replace X with the pen drive’s disk number)
  • attributes disk clear readonly
  1. Close Command Prompt.

Method 3: Using Third-Party Software (EaseUS)

Third-party tools like EaseUS Partition Master can also help format a write-protected pen drive.  To format a write-protected pen drive using third-party software like EaseUS, follow these steps:

  1. Download and Install EaseUS Partition Master: Begin by downloading and installing EaseUS Partition Master from the official website. Make sure you choose the correct version compatible with your operating system.
  2. Launch EaseUS Partition Master: After installation, launch the software. You’ll see a list of all the drives and partitions on your computer.
  3. Locate Your Write-Protected Pen Drive: Find your write-protected pen drive in the list of drives and partitions displayed within EaseUS Partition Master.
  4. Select the Pen Drive: Click on your pen drive to select it. Make sure you’ve selected the correct drive, as formatting will erase all data on it.
  5. Choose “Format” Option: In the toolbar at the top, you’ll find the “Format” option. Click on it to open the format settings.
  6. Configure Format Settings: In the format settings, you can choose the file system (usually NTFS or FAT32), assign a new label to the drive, and adjust cluster size if necessary. Ensure the “Quick Format” option is checked to speed up the process.
  7. Apply Changes: Once you’ve configured the settings, click the “OK” button to apply the changes.
  8. Confirm Format: A warning message will appear, notifying you that all data on the pen drive will be erased. Confirm your choice by clicking “OK.”
  9. Format Execution: EaseUS Partition Master will start formatting your write-protected pen drive. The process may take a few moments.
  10. Completion: Once the formatting is complete, you’ll receive a confirmation message. Click “Finish” to exit the software.

Method 4: Command Prompt (CMD)

Using Command Prompt to format the pen drive is another viable option. To format a write-protected pen drive using Command Prompt (CMD), follow these steps:

  1. Insert the Write-Protected Pen Drive: Plug the write-protected pen drive into an available USB port on your computer.
  2. Open Command Prompt as Administrator: To do this, search for “Command Prompt” or “CMD” in the Windows search bar, right-click on “Command Prompt,” and select “Run as administrator.” This step is crucial because you need administrative privileges to format a drive.
  3. Identify the Drive Letter: In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter:


  1. List the Drives:

Type the following command and press Enter to list all the drives on your computer:

list disk

This command will display a list of disks, including your pen drive. Note the disk number assigned to your pen drive. Be very careful at this step to avoid formatting the wrong drive.

  1. Select the Pen Drive: Use the following command to select your pen drive (replace <disk_number> with the actual disk number of your pen drive):

      select disk <disk_number>

For example, if your pen drive is disk 1, you would type: ‘select disk 1’.

  1. Remove Write Protection: To remove write protection, run the following command:

attributes disk clear readonly

This command clears the write protection attribute on the selected disk.

  1. Format the Pen Drive: Now, format the pen drive using the following command:


This command erases all partitions and data on the pen drive.

  1. Create a New Partition: To create a new partition on the pen drive, use the following command:

create partition primary

  1. Format the New Partition: Format the newly created partition with the desired file system (e.g., NTFS) using the following command:

format fs=ntfs quick

If you prefer FAT32, you can replace ntfs with fat32.

  1. Assign a Drive Letter: Assign a drive letter to the new partition:

assign letter=<drive_letter>

Replace <drive_letter> with your preferred drive letter (e.g., “F”).

  1. Exit DiskPart: Type exit and press Enter to exit the DiskPart utility.
  2. Close Command Prompt: Close the Command Prompt window.

Also Read : How to Recover Deleted Photos from Recycle Bin: A Step-by-Step Guide

Common Issues and Troubleshooting  

During the formatting process, you might encounter issues such as:

  • Access Denied: Ensure that you have the necessary permissions.
  • Disk is Write-Protected: Double-check the write protection switch on the drive.
  • Corrupted File System: Try using CHKDSK to repair file system errors.

Importance of Data Backup and Safety Precautions

Before formatting a write-protected pen drive, it’s crucial to back up any important data. Formatting erases all data on the drive permanently. Additionally, handle the process with care to avoid accidental data loss.

Also Read : How to Recover Deleted Files from Pen Drive for Free


Formatting a write-protected pen drive is a common task that can be easily accomplished using the methods outlined in this guide. Whether through Windows Explorer, Diskpart, third-party software, or Command Prompt, you now have the knowledge to tackle this issue effectively. Remember to back up your data and exercise caution to prevent any data loss.


  1. Can I format a write-protected pen drive without losing data?

    No, formatting a write-protected pen drive will erase all data. Ensure you have a backup.

  2. What causes a pen drive to become write-protected?

    Write protection can be due to hardware switches, software settings, or a corrupted file system.

  3. Is there a way to remove write protection permanently?

    Hardware write protection is permanent, but software-based write protection can be removed temporarily.

  4. What should I do if I encounter errors during formatting?

    Check permissions, the write protection switch, and consider using CHKDSK for file system repairs.

  5. Are there alternatives to Windows methods for formatting?

    Yes, third-party software like EaseUS Partition Master offers an alternative approach.

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