How to Remove Write Protection From USB Drives and Memory Cards

Write protection is one of the more frustrating issues to deal with when you’re trying to copy files to a drive or memory card that claims to be read-only. This document describes how to solve this problem using Diskpart command line tool.

If you’re having trouble with an SD card, check you’ve got the ‘lock’ switch in the correct position. Even some USB drives have lock switched which write-protect the storage.

Step 1: With your USB drive or memory card attached to your computer, launch a command prompt. You can do this by searching for cmd.exe or ‘Command Prompt’ in the Start menu.
Note: you may need to run cmd.exe with administrator privileges if you see an “access is denied” message. If you have Windows 10, simply right-click on the Start button (bottom left of the screen) and choose Command Prompt (admin).

Step 2: At the prompt, type the following commands and press Enter after each command:

list disk
select disk x (where x is the number of your non-working drive – use the capacity to work out which one it is)
attributes disk clear readonly
create partition primary
format fs=fat32  (you can swap fat32 for ntfs if you only need to use the drive with Windows computers)

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