Removing Protection From a USB Flash Drive

By: Derek Rogers

The use of USB flash drive has given everyone the choice between bulky stacks of CDs and a compact travel data storage device. By having the ability to take a lot of files this memory stick, flash memory, flash drive or pen drive is by far the most convenient option to carrying files wherever you go. It basically serves as an electronic filing cabinet, but just like in any product of advanced computer technology, one of the concerns in using USB flash drives is security. That is why some USB's come protected, which works very similar to write protected disks.

However, to some, USB-protect features become a problem in data storage and retrieval. Many of the USB users are seeking ways on how to remove the Write Protected error; a USB-protect setting that is actuated through storage or download errors.

Here are some of the probable causes of Write Protect errors and their possible solutions:

o The use of certain computer software:
Sometimes, when saving work from software applications, saving options may cause the automatic actuation of write protection. There's no need to worry because most of the computer software have update versions or troubleshoot settings that can help fix USB problems.

o Drive letter conflicts with network or subset drive:
In the context of "system", USB problems may be rooting from driver problems. Check your computer's mount manager and try fixing the drive letter assignments; especially those concerning USB flash drive mounts. When this happens in a computer using Windows XP, the computer immediately recognises the problem. When configuring for write protect errors, make sure that you know what you are doing. It would be wise to ask a technician to face this kind of problem if you are lacking skills in handling this.

o The new external drive is not partitioned:
New external drives usually come unformatted and un-partitioned. You can fix this problem by clicking on the Windows Disk Management.

o The use of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise and DataCentre Edition: This program usually does not assign letters to new fixed drives, which means USB and Firewire are usually "fixed". Check the Storage Area Network or Administrator for the drives may have been mounted accidentally, leading to USB-protect errors.

o Drive Encrypted:
Some USB flash drives and other external hard drives readily have encryption software. This software usually has options to divide the data storage into two parts, the encrypted part and the unencrypted part. The unencrypted part appears on all computers and is readily accessible or can be accessed by using the password required by the encryption software.

o Incorrect installation of computer tools:
Sometimes, this results to the computer's inability to assign letters to the new drives. If this happens, it is suggested that you uninstall the software.

o Filter driver problems:
This manipulates the communication between the software and hardware; this is a possible cause of USB-protect problems.

o Other third party software:
Anti-virus, anti-spyware, personal firewalls, CD/DVD writing software and other protective software usually controls the drivers, causing strange effects to USB flash drives.

Simple troubleshooting tips for write-protect errors:

o Try to locate the switch located at the body of the USB, if there is one, then turn the switch to the other side to turn the protection off.

o The problem may be caused by virus activity, get it scanned by an updated anti-virus.

If none of the above mentioned tips work, perhaps your USB may have gone corrupted. Ask a technician about your problem. If your USB flash drive goes beyond salvage, then it may be the right time to buy a new one.