How to remove write protection using software?

Write protection is a feature that prevents files, folders, or entire disks from being modified or deleted. It serves as a safety measure against accidentally overwriting or erasing important data. While write protection is useful for preventing unintentional changes, you may need to remove write protection in order to edit or update files. Fortunately, there are several software solutions that can help you remove write protection from drives and storage media.

What causes write protection?

There are a few common causes of write protection:

  • Physical write protection switch – Removable media like SD cards and USB flash drives often have a physical switch or tab that can be slid to enable or disable write protection.
  • Software write protection – Some operating systems allow you to apply write protection restrictions through software settings.
  • File and folder permissions – File and folder permissions can prevent users from modifying contents even if the disk itself isn’t write protected.
  • Damaged or corrupted media – If a disk has become damaged or corrupted, it may automatically go into a read-only write protected state to prevent further data loss.

So while write protection can be intentionally enabled as a safety measure, it can also occur unintentionally due to media damage or restrictive file permissions.

Should you remove write protection?

If you need to make changes to a write protected disk, removing write protection is necessary. Here are some instances where you may need to disable write protection:

  • Updating and saving files – Write protection prevents editing, saving, and updating existing files.
  • Installing software – Most software installations need to write data to the disk, which is prevented on write protected media.
  • Formatting – To reformat a drive, write protection needs to be disabled first.
  • Disk repair – Disk repair utilities may need write access to fix errors.

However, removing write protection also carries a risk of accidentally deleting or modifying important files. Keep this in mind before disabling write protection, and make sure to backup your data first.

Software solutions for removing write protection

If you need to remove write protection from a disk or storage device, these software tools can help:

1. Diskpart

Diskpart is a command line utility built into Windows for managing disks and volumes. To use Diskpart to remove write protection:

  1. Open the Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Type diskpart and press Enter.
  3. Type list disk to display available disks.
  4. Select the write protected disk by typing select disk X (replace X with disk number).
  5. Type attributes disk clear readonly to remove read-only attribute.
  6. Exit Diskpart by typing exit.

This will clear the read-only attribute and remove software write protection from the disk.

2. Disk Management

Disk Management is a built-in Windows utility for managing storage. To remove write protection using Disk Management:

  1. Open Disk Management (right-click Start menu and select “Disk Management”).
  2. Locate the write protected disk.
  3. Right click the disk and select Properties.
  4. Uncheck the Read-only checkbox.
  5. Click OK to save changes.

This will remove the read-only property from the disk.


The Windows Registry stores disk properties including write protection. You can edit the registry to remove write protection:

  1. Open REGEDIT.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
  3. Change the value of WriteProtect to 0.
  4. Restart computer for changes to take effect.

Warning: Editing the registry incorrectly can cause serious issues, so backup first.

4. Write Protection Management Tool

Some disk manufacturers like Samsung provide a dedicated write protection tool. For example, Samsung Portable SSD Software can toggle write protection on compatible Samsung drives.


For SD cards and other removable media, the official website provides an SD Card Formatter tool. This can remove write protection from compatible SD cards.

Removing write protection on Mac

Here are some ways to remove write protection on Mac OS:

  • Open Disk Utility, select the write protected disk, click Erase, and rename the volume. This will reformat the disk and overwrite previous protection.
  • Use the sudo diskutil eraseDisk FAT32 MBRFormat /dev/diskX terminal command (replace X with disk identifier) to reformat the disk.
  • Use third party software like iBoysoft NTFS for Mac to toggle write protection on NTFS drives.
  • Toggle the physical write protection switch on devices like SD cards and USB drives.

Preventing accidental data loss

While removing write protection gives you full access to modify a disk, it also poses a risk of data loss if not done carefully. Here are some tips to avoid accidentally deleting important data:

  • Backup your data – Make copies of important files before removing write protection.
  • Understand software controls – Use software write protection tools judiciously.
  • Beware of physical switches – Toggling physical write protection switches can instantly enable writes.
  • Use duplicates – Experiment on duplicate or non-essential volumes first.
  • Monitor changes – Use version history and backups to compare disk states.

Write protection provides an additional safeguard against data loss. When removing it, take precautions to prevent accidentally destroying valuable information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove write protection from an SD card?

Yes, you can remove write protection from an SD card in several ways:

  • Slide the physical lock switch on the side of the card to the unlocked position.
  • Use Diskpart attributes command in Windows Command Prompt.
  • Reformat the card using SD Card Formatter or Disk Utility.

Is it safe to remove write protection from a USB drive?

It is generally safe to remove write protection from a USB drive as long as you first backup any important data. Be careful to only remove write protection on the correct drive to avoid accidentally modifying other volumes.

Can I remove write protection from an external hard disk?

Yes, external hard disks can have their write protection removed by toggling software settings like the read-only attribute in Windows or Mac OS. This will allow modifying and writing data to the external drive.

What should I do if my SD card has accidental write protection?

If your SD card becomes accidentally write protected, first try sliding the physical lock switch back and forth a few times. If that does not work, you will likely need to use SD Card Formatter tools to fully reset and reformat the card to overwrite the write protection.

Is there any risk to removing write protection from a drive?

Yes, removing write protection gives full read/write access to a drive. This introduces a risk of accidental deletion or modification of files. Make sure to backup important data before removing write protection.


Write protection is an important security measure to prevent against data loss. However, when you need to make disk modifications, removing write protection becomes necessary. Tools like Diskpart, Disk Management, REGEDIT, and third party software provide ways to disable read-only attributes or reformat disks to overwrite protection. Just be sure to exercise caution and backup data to avoid accidental damage once protection is removed.