This way you can erase a secured USB drive

Some USB drives or SD cards are protected and then it is difficult to format or empty them. How can you unprotect?

Some SD cards or USB drives contain a switch that you can convert so that the content cannot be deleted. This is useful, because you don’t just accidentally lose your files, but it can happen that Windows the drive or card continues to be recognized as protected even if you have flipped the switch again to remove protection. It is also possible that your SD card or USB drive does not have a switch at all and is still marked as protected. Here we show you what you can do about it. Also read: In 3 steps: How to secure a USB stick.

If an SD card or USB drive is write-protected, you can read and copy its contents, but it is not possible to delete, add, or format the drive. You may also seem to be able to throw the files away, but the next time you plug the drive into your computer, they will be there again.

Using registry editor

You can use Windows 10’s Registry Editor tool to stop Windows from considering the drive as secure. To do this you need to go to Regedit search and open the program. Navigate to:

Computer HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control StorageDevicePolicies

In the right pane, double-click the value WriteProtect and change the value under Value from 1 to 0. click on OK to save the new value.

If you put the drive back into the computer, Windows will consider it unsecured. You can then use it as always.

If you get the registry key StorageDevicePolicies can’t find one, you can create one.

To do this you have to right click in the folder

Computer HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control Click in the empty space in the right pane and New> Key Selecting. Enter the name StorageDevicePolicies exactly like this, with the capital letters in the right place.

Double-click on the newly created key, right-click again in the empty space and choose New> DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the value WriteProtect and choose as value 0. click on OK to save the changes. Exit the Registry Editor and restart the computer.

Using command prompt

If the solution above doesn’t work, you can use Command Prompt to remove protection from the drive and erase all its contents.

Make sure you Command Prompt opens as administrator. You can do this by right clicking on the program and Run as administrator to choose.

Type the command diskpart and press Enter. Then type list disk and press again Enter. Type select disk X (at which X your drive number) and press Enter. Type now attributes disk clear readonly and press Enter.

Type clean and press Enter. Then type create partition primary and press Enter. Type create partition primary and press Enter. Type now format fs = fat32 (you can also use format fs = ntfs if you will only use the drive on Windows computers) and press Enter. Type exit and press Enter, and Command Prompt will close.

Your drive is now formatted and Windows will recognize it as unprotected from now on.

Do you later decide that you want to secure the USB drive or HD card again? Then you can do that in several ways, the easiest of which is probably to encrypt and password protect the contents of your card or drive. With Rohos Mini Drive for example, you can easily create a hidden partition on your USB stick. Then the files are stored there encrypted.


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