If your pen drive is write-protected, you may not have the ability to modify files or format your drive due to restrictions associated with permissions and sharing. You can format a write-protected pen drive in Windows using either the Registry Editor or Command Prompt, or by using Disk Utility in Mac OS X.
Using the Registry Editor (Windows)
1. Click on “Start” and search for a program called “Regedit.exe.” This program is installed on all Windows computers with Windows XP and later.
2. Double-click on the program to launch Registry Editor in Windows.
3. Navigate to the following location in Registry Editor: Computer \ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \
4. Navigate to the following location in the SYSTEM folder: CurrentControlSet \ Control \ StorageDevicePolicies
- If there is no folder called “StorageDevicePolicies,” right-click anywhere in the right pane of Registry Editor, point to “New,” and click on “Key.”
- Type a name for the key, double-click on the folder, then right-click anywhere in the right pane of Registry Editor.
- Point to “New” and select “DWORD Value,” then proceed with step #5.
5. Double-click on the value to the right of “WriteProtect” under the “Data” column.
6. Change “1” to “0” in the “Value data” field, then click on “OK.”
7. Close the Registry Editor window, and restart your computer.
8. Insert the write-protected pen drive into an open USB slot on your computer.
9. Open a new session of Windows Explorer, and right-click on your pen drive in the left sidebar.
10. Click on “Format,” and select your formatting preferences, such as allocation size and format type.
11. Click on “Start.” Windows will format your pen drive and remove the write-protection.
Using Diskpart in Command Prompt (Windows)
1. Insert your write-protected pen drive into an open USB slot on your Windows computer.
2. Click on “Start” and type “cmd.exe” into the search field.
3. Double-click on Command Prompt to launch the program.
4. Type “diskpart,” then press Enter on your keyboard.
5. Type “list disk,” then press Enter.
6. Type “select disk x” — with x being the number of your pen drive as listed in Command Prompt — then press Enter. If unsure which number is associated with your pen drive, refer to the disk size listed. For example, if your pen drive is 2 GB, select the disk number next to the drive with 2 GB specified as the disk size.
7. Type “attributes disk clear readonly,” then press Enter.
8. Type “clean,” then press Enter.
9. Type “create partition primary,” then press Enter.
10. Type “format fs=fat32,” then press Enter. Alternately, you can replace “fat32” with “ntfs” if you plan on only using your pen drive with Windows devices.
11. Type “exit,” then press Enter. Your pen drive will now be formatted, and will no longer be write-protected.
Using Disk Utility (Mac OS X)
1. Insert the write-protected pen drive into an open USB slot on your Mac computer.
2. Open the Applications folder and click on “Utilities.”
3. Double-click on “Disk Utility.” The application will open and display on-screen.
4. Click on your pen drive in the left pane of Disk Utility.
5. Click on the “Erase” tab, then specify the format type. If you want your pen drive made compatible with both Windows and Mac computers, select either “MS-DOS File System“ or “exFAT” as the format type.