28 April 2020

Read Only Drive FixThere you are, minding your own business…

Maybe you just installed a Windows 10 update. Maybe you just had to run a disk check that asked you to reboot. Maybe you didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary at all.

Whatever the case, things go kaflooey. All of a sudden, you can’t save or create new files on a certain drive – be it a hard drive, partition on a drive, external disk, USB stick, etc.

Instead of working, you get an error message that your, “drive is read-only“.

At this point, you begin to panic. But fear not: It’s super-easy to unlock your drive and remove its “Read-Only” mode!

What the heck is a “read-only” drive?

When something goes wonky, a drive can be marked as read-only.

As the name implies, it just means that Windows can only read files from the drive, but not write anything.

Therefore, you can’t edit or create any files on that drive.

Also, keep in mind that if the drive has multiple partitions (i.e. D:, E:, and F:) then all of those partitions will be read-only if the drive itself is marked as read-only.

How to fix it

The first thing you need to do is find the Disk # of the drive that is read only.

First, right-click the This PC icon on your desktop, and choose Manage:

Read Only Drive Fix - 1
After the Computer Management window pops up, click Disk Management in the left pane. Then, notice which drive says “Read Only”, like so:

Read Only Drive Fix - 2
Here we can see that Disk 1 is Online, so it’s okay. But Disk 0 is marked Read Only. So, now we know that we want to fix Disk 0.

You can close the Computer Management window now.

Next, click the Start button (windows logo on the task bar).

Type: cmd

Click the arrow next to Command Prompt (if necessary) and then click Run as administrator on the right side:

Read Only Drive Fix - 3
Next, in the Command Prompt, type: diskpart (and then press the enter key):

Read-Only Drive Fix - 5
Then, type: list disk

Read-Only Drive Fix - 5
Don’t worry about the “Status” column. Just remember the Disk # from Computer Management (Disk 0 in our example here). Then type: select disk 0  (or whatever your Disk # is instead of 0)

Read-Only Disk Fix - 6
Next, type: attributes disk

Read-Only Drive Fix - 7
Note that Current Read-Only State and Read-only are marked as Yes.

To unlock the drive, type: attributes disk clear readonly

Read-Only Drive Fix - 8
Once the process is done, you can type attributes disk again. You’ll see that the read-only state has changed to No as in the screenshot above.

That should be it. Your drive is now unlocked. Treat yourself to a refreshing beverage.

PS – You may want to reboot just in case!

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How to fix a Read-Only drive in Windows
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