Write protection is a security system against data erasure that dates back to the days of floppy disks. It consisted of a protection in charge of a physical switch in charge of preventing the writing or deletion of data, being warned by Windows with a message on the screen.
This system was also implemented in the first generations of USB sticks and memory cards, but it became obsolete at the cost of other much more effective software tools, and also because it was very easy to flip the switch to disable the protection.
That is why modern pen drives and external hard drives no longer have any physical protection, however, the same Windows message warning that the disk is write-protected continues to appear when we connect a removable disk, and for no apparent reason. One of the reasons could be a bug due to some flaw in the file structure of the removable drives, although a malware issue cannot be ruled out either.
In any case, the solution to remove this write protection is no longer to manually turn off the protection switch, since it does not exist. What does exist is a set of Windows 11 command-line tools capable of deep-cleaning removable drives with problems, deleting all existing partitions and reformatting drives back to factory defaults.
We show you how to use these Windows 11 tools.
To get started, open the Windows 11 command prompt with elevated privileges. For this, click on the magnifying glass located on the taskbar and when the text input box appears, type CMD.
Head over to the Command Prompt app and click Run as administrator.
In the Windows 11 command line interface, type the diskpart command and hit the Enter key. Next, type the command list disk and press the Enter key. The function of this command is to show the storage units connected to your PC.
Next, identify your storage unit in trouble. Here it may be helpful to associate its storage capacity.
As the next step, type the command select disk X and press Enter. In this case, X represents the letter assigned by the Diskpart tool to the storage unit in question.
Verify on screen that the unit has been selected. Then, type the clean command and hit the Enter key. The function of this command is to delete all partitions.
Now, type the command create partition primary and hit the Enter key. This means creating a new partition on the newly cleaned storage drive.
Type the command select partition 1 and hit the Enter key. This command selects that partition and prepares it for the final step of formatting the drive.
As the last step, type the command format FS=NTFS and press the Enter key. Once this process is finished, you will be able to access the storage unit.
Please note that the formatting time depends on the size of the drive. On a standard size USB stick it can take 15-20 minutes. While an external hard drive can exceed the time.