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  • Write protected memory stick.

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Write protected memory stick.

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      • #1911397 Reply


        Can anybody out there help me please ?

        I have a Sandisk 32 gig memory stick which has somehow become write protected. I am able to use it for what is already on it, but am unable to add or delete. I am unable to format it either, as the message “drive is write protected ” comes up.

        The drive does NOT have a switch for write protection

        Can anybody out there assist me in getting the write protection off of it ?

        Many thanks in advance.


      • #1911416 Reply

        Rarely windows can still do this to flash drives if you didn’t want it to happen, even if you followed the directions for proper use. Circumstances of causality will vary with similar results from this mild error, even data destruction.

        Here are directions to help you attempting a fix for your error:

      • #1911438 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        Over the years I’ve had a few micro-SDs set themselves to read-only.  In those cases, some kind of error/corruption caused the card’s microcode to set the card to read-only.  It’s presumably a safety feature so you don’t lose data.

        Anyway, my “fix” has always been:

        • copy the files off the card
        • pop the card into a digital camera and format it

        If the above works, I copy the files back to the card & I’m good.

        Sometimes even the camera format fails.  In that case I consider the card no longer reliable and time for replacement.

      • #1911465 Reply

        I have had a few USB drives do that to me.  I have yet to find out why they sometimes do that.  The solution I found is one of the few redeeming features of Linux.

        Put the drive in a Linux machine and select the USB Stick Formatter, it might be called something different depending on what distro you would be using.  It will unlock and format the drive.

        It also isn’t limited to the size of the drive that it can format.  I have formatted 250Gb SSD’s in Fat32 with no issues.

      • #1911494 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        Yeah, there’s a few different ways this can happen. And it’s really hard to find out why or fix it from Windows. Embedded / whatever (cameras, cash registers, networking infrastructure, …) will vary.

        Linux is a lot better at making sense of various kinds of broken media. If it’s just software breakage (filesystem or partition table corrupted), you can usually overwrite that in Linux even when Windows or the whatever device won’t do it. (Really helpful if it’s a rare type of media that some oddball device uses and getting spares would take weeks.)

        And if it’s actual hardware failure, well, you can get those errors too in Linux, with dmesg or the kernel log, and/or SMART tools. For some reason this too is unreasonably complicated to get in Windows…

        Also flash memory just isn’t as reliable as people seem to think, in hardware.

      • #1911496 Reply

        In general (but not always) this is caused by the USB storage devices firmware intentionally.

        It’s the last stage of it’s lifespan. So many spare memory cells have become unusable that the storage device goes to read-only mode to give you a last chance to safely extract your data.

        Be glad, transfer the contents to a new device ASAP, and destroy the old one.

        I say be glad, because some devices don’t do this when they should . . . and the first hint you sometimes get on them is when they just fail . . . before you transfer your data.

        This is also true for some brands/controllers on SSD drives.

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1912290 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        Hi all, many thanks for the replies. Unfortunately I forgot to mention that I use Windows 10, so a couple of replies cannot be actioned, but I thank those guys for their trouble. Another has replied regarding sd card, but my query was about a memory stick.

        I will give the first reply a go when I have a bit of time to do so.

        Thank you all once again.

        Alan Reynolds.

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