Clearing the readonly attribute on write protected media in Windows

This content is 14 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Years ago, when floppy discs were the norm, I was used to having to flip the write protect switch (or cover over the notch on older discs) but I was a little surprised today when I couldn’t write to my USB removable hard drive because Windows 7 told me that the media was write protected. I tried adjusting the properties on folders but the actual disk was showing as write protected – very strange.

I still don’t know why this occurred but this was the disk that I use to keep personal items separate from work on my company-supplied notebook, which runs BeCrypt DiskProtect – and I suspect DiskProtect may be part of the issue. Nevertheless, I did find an apparant solution, courtesy of a post at Windows Seven Forums that refers to a post on the T3chworks site.

Using diskpart.exe to clear read-only attributes from a volumeBy running diskpart.exe from an elevated command prompt (cmd.exe), I was able to issue a few commands to remove the readonly attribute on the media and write files to it again:

list volume
select volume volumenumber
attributes disk clear readonly

Only time will tell if this is a permanent fix (the post also talks of modifying a registry entry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies\WriteProtect but that’s not present on my system) but I’ve never seen this before, and it seems to have done the trick for the time being.

2 thoughts on “Clearing the readonly attribute on write protected media in Windows

  1. This can be extremely useful to set the read only flag on for thumb drives that I carry around. I almost always assume that plugging into an unknown computer will infect it with a virus.

  2. can you possibly convert this up in a video?? please? i am a lay person but i always encounter read only files..please help me understand the fixing solutions.

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