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USB External Hard Drives Become Write Protected In Windows 7


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#1 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 09:16 AM

Hello, and as always thank you to anyone willing to help. I've a dual boot configuration, XP Professional and Windows 7, where the 2 partitions/OS's are independent by use of a third-party (non-Windows) boot manager. My problem is that any external hard drive I use while booted into my Win 7 OS becomes write protected within a few minutes of installation; however, the same drive is fully usable--ie, not write protected--if used while booted into my XP Pro OS. I'm slowly losing my mind. I've checked the registry entry involving "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies" and it's as it should be. I've used the command prompt to check volume/disk attributes for the external drives and all of them are readonly clear. Honestly, as far as I know I've tried everything that over ten (10) hours of Googling could find me. Any ideas anyone? Literally, running Windows 7, within minutes of plugging in an otherwise not write protected USB external hard drive it becomes write protected. Every time. Thanks again for any help.

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#2 keyboardNinja

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 11:31 AM

I guess the question is this: What defines write-protection in Windows 7?

The first thing that comes to mind for me is BitLocker. However, this service should only turn on when you tell it to. It should not happen automatically.

It probably boils down to Permission issues...

Try this:

Inside My Computer, right-click your external hard drive and click Properties. Under the Security tab, look at the permissions. Click Advanced. Under the Owner tab, if your name is not the owner (it probably won't be), click Edit and make yourself the owner. "OK/Apply" out of all these windows, then open Properties again. Under Security again, click Edit. Give yourself Full Control. Apply, OK, etc...

Check now to see if have the same problem. I hope that it works.

Could you post the exact error message you get? I've never seen one, so I'm curious....
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#3 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 11:10 PM

keyboardNinja: thanks for your time; I appreciate it. I tried your suggestion, but I'm unable to take ownership. Attached are 2 screenshots. Any other ideas? I'll take the inability to take ownership issue and do some Googling. Ahhh, I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit Edition.

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Edited by LouieChuckyMerry, 05 March 2010 - 11:11 PM.


#4 keyboardNinja

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 11:23 PM

Well then....I am at a loss.

I'm assuming there is no physical switch or slider on the outside of the drive that toggles write protection like on an SD card?

Have you looked at this?

This looks promising, as well...

You may have already tried some of these procedures, but I don't really know where else to start. We'll see what we can figure out...

Edited by keyboardNinja, 05 March 2010 - 11:27 PM.

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#5 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 09:08 PM

keyboardNinja: I'd already tried the ideas at the links you provided, but I tried them again. Still no luck :huh: . In fact, when I check the attributes on all of my external drives--a 2GB Kingston Data Traveler, a 160GB Western Digital Passport, and a 1TB Western Digital Passport SE--they all show "no" under readonly but they're all still write protected. Also, I was finally able to edit the Properties/Security/Owner for each drive by uninstalling then reinstalling them all in Drive Management. My user name (yes, I'm an administrator; also, I'm the only user) now shows as the owner of each drive with full rights. And yet, they all still become write protected after a reboot, either straight away or within a short period of time (I can't see any pattern: sometimes one drive is write protected after reboot but the next reboot is writeable for a stretch; there are too many permutations for me to keep track of everything). When I first got my laptop some months ago, I attacked the bloatware (HP Pavilion dv4 2040us) with a vengence and attacked Windows 7 with BlackViper's SuperTweaks and Service Configurations, but this write protection issue only began a week or so (maybe a bit less), so I don't think that those months' old tweaks are the cause of my current problem. I leave tonight for a job so I probably won't have an internet connection for a couple of weeks; if I happen to then I'll keep checking, otherwise I'll be back for more in a few weeks. Thanks again.

#6 triksta

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 08:27 AM

I have also been having the same issue on a 500GB USB drive. I looked online to find the answer and someone posted that they were having the problem when they went through a USB hub and when they hooked up directly to the computer, they no longer had the problem. I realized soon after that that I was using USB extension cord to hook up my external drive. Sure enough, when I disconnected and went directly to the motherboard, the problem went away. I don't know if Windows 7 doesn't recognize hubs or extentions correctly, but I hope this helps.

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums...b9-5626adb74a4d

Edited by triksta, 13 June 2010 - 08:42 AM.


#7 coxchris

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 08:54 AM

LouieChuckyMerry

According to Technical specs Did you receive any software that encrypt or decrypt your files It might cause this .
Synchronized and Secure - WD Sync synchronization and encryption software lets you save your critical data, and take it with you.

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#8 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 01:32 AM

triksta: thank you for the thought, but I've never used a USB Hub.

coxchris: thank you as well for your idea. I did receive software for encryption, but I don't use it. After months, literally, of trying to figure out this problem I have it narrowed down to my computer. All security properties/ownership settings on the external drive are sorted to the extent that if I plug the drive into another computer running XP or Win 7 the drive is NOT write protected. However, ANY drive that I plug into my HP Pavilion dv4 2040us running Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit eventually becomes write protected--sometimes immediately, sometimes after so many minutes, sometimes after a reboot. I've written a simple batch file to run Diskpart on the first external volume plugged in (always volume 2, with the CD/ROM being volume 0 and the system volume being 1), but sometimes this fails and I need to actually uninstall the external drive and-or reboot in order to remove the write protection. To make matters more annoying if I have a single external drive connected that I've made sure isn't write protected, then I plug in a second external drive, not only is the second drive write protected but it actually causes the first external drive to become write protected, even if it's in the middle of transferring files! :huh: When I first purchased my laptop in December, I took the time to uninstall all the HP bloatware and tweak Win 7 to my liking, removing unused Windows components and what not, but I'm thinking that perhaps I accidentally did something that I shouldn't have. Of course, my memory is addled with age and I seem to know just enough about my computer to frequently screw it up, so I'm at a loss. Finally, I've had services.msc opened in both mine and a friend's computers (an HP Pavilion dv4 2045dx that's also running Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit and that does not write protect usb external hard drives whenever they're plugged in) to compare, and both laptops have the same services set to start, delayed start, manual, disabled. Not a single difference. I really don't want to do a clean install of Win 7 because other than this I'm quite pleased with how my laptop is running, but I have to admit that there are moments where I dream of breaking the thing over my knee. Any, and I mean ANY, reasonable suggestions, given all the above information, is very welcome. And thanks.

Edited by LouieChuckyMerry, 01 July 2010 - 01:41 AM.


#9 Eric ~ Computer Guy

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 07:16 AM

triksta: thank you for the thought, but I've never used a USB Hub.

coxchris: thank you as well for your idea. I did receive software for encryption, but I don't use it. After months, literally, of trying to figure out this problem I have it narrowed down to my computer. All security properties/ownership settings on the external drive are sorted to the extent that if I plug the drive into another computer running XP or Win 7 the drive is NOT write protected. However, ANY drive that I plug into my HP Pavilion dv4 2040us running Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit eventually becomes write protected--sometimes immediately, sometimes after so many minutes, sometimes after a reboot. I've written a simple batch file to run Diskpart on the first external volume plugged in (always volume 2, with the CD/ROM being volume 0 and the system volume being 1), but sometimes this fails and I need to actually uninstall the external drive and-or reboot in order to remove the write protection. To make matters more annoying if I have a single external drive connected that I've made sure isn't write protected, then I plug in a second external drive, not only is the second drive write protected but it actually causes the first external drive to become write protected, even if it's in the middle of transferring files! :huh: When I first purchased my laptop in December, I took the time to uninstall all the HP bloatware and tweak Win 7 to my liking, removing unused Windows components and what not, but I'm thinking that perhaps I accidentally did something that I shouldn't have. Of course, my memory is addled with age and I seem to know just enough about my computer to frequently screw it up, so I'm at a loss. Finally, I've had services.msc opened in both mine and a friend's computers (an HP Pavilion dv4 2045dx that's also running Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit and that does not write protect usb external hard drives whenever they're plugged in) to compare, and both laptops have the same services set to start, delayed start, manual, disabled. Not a single difference. I really don't want to do a clean install of Win 7 because other than this I'm quite pleased with how my laptop is running, but I have to admit that there are moments where I dream of breaking the thing over my knee. Any, and I mean ANY, reasonable suggestions, given all the above information, is very welcome. And thanks.



Honestly, at this point, your best bet may be to back everything up and run a restore.

But, then again, it could have something to do with your dual-booting, and your issue may have something to do with either Windows XP or the dual-boot software. I'm not sure why you would need dual boot software to begin with, as partitioning the drive properly would simply allow you to choose your OS during the boot sequence.

It's just a stab in the dark, but those are the variables you have in place. I would suggest a fresh install of just Windows 7 with no dual-booting, and see if that helps. You may just need to install a second physical internal HDD to allow you to boot to XP. Or, if you only use XP for certain programs, you could create a Virtual PC and setup XP on it.

I know it is kinda extreme, but all other measures have failed so far.

#10 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 01:19 AM

Eric Computer: (sorry I can't make the squiggly mark) thanks for the idea. I truly don't think that it has anything to do with my dual-boot setup, as my friend's HP that I used to compare services has the exact same dual-boot setup as my laptop and doesn't write protect drives in either XP or Win 7. I'm pretty sure that somewhere along the line of tweaking Win 7 to my liking I tweaked something that I shouldn't have, but I can't figure out what. Wish I had a better memory :huh: . Anyway, thanks again for the thought.

#11 thecheeto

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 11:28 PM

I know this post is a bit older but I think I found a solution to the issue you were having. I found this thread while searching for the exact same issue. All of a sudden, my external HD which had been used dozens of times on this PC, was being flagged as "Write Protected"

I first noticed the problem when I had no menu item for "New Folder" while browsing the drive. Anyway, since your forum post did not seem to offer a fix, I decided to try something. I went into Computer Management, and changed the drive letter of the external drive. As soon as I did this, it started behaving like its normal self again.

I know this does not help answer the question of what caused it, but it might work as a fix for you.

#12 Tango Delta

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 03:42 AM

I have the same problem, but haven't spent as much time characterising it yet. Have an external hard drive that I normally use on an old XP computer. After plugging the external hard drive into a Toshiba Satellite running Windows 7 64 bit, when later returning to the XP machine I find that the drive has mysteriously become write protected. I have to switch to administrator and change the permissions back.

#13 Georgi Stoyanov

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 03:48 AM

Hi,

I just found your topic and a word in this thread helped me to find a solution. Hope it would be helpful to other guys with the same problem on Windows 7 too.
First to mention that this problem occurred to me after I installed anti-virus software. Before that all was working well. Then I lost my write access to my external USB drive.

The solution:

type "edit group policy" in start menu input field and start the program that was found with that exact name. In the left hand tree go to Computer Configuration -> Administrative templates -> All settings. If you add a filter "drives" in View->Filter Options (Enable keyboard filters) that would help you a lot in finding following two items.
Find and explicitly Disable policy "Deny write access to removable drives not protected by BitLocker" and "Removable disks: Deny write access" (should be "Not Configured", set both to "Disabled").

Have fun!

Georgi.

#14 PeterSt

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 06:09 AM

Just liked to add my contribution to this.

It can happen outside USB or external disks just the same. Probably is dual boot related. The case here is about Bootcamp and the W7 Ultimate (SP1) which has been put on the same disk as where OSX is. BUT, on the part of the disk outside OSX two partitions have been created for Windows. One normal "Bootcamp" partition where the OS (W7) is in, and one later added partition from left space on the OSX partition. This is trickery within itself and that partition had to be exFat32 formatted (normally an additional partition can not be created from the OSX part for Windows). It is this additionally crated partition where suddenly (?) write privileges can be lost.

It happend two times to me that this "disk" suddenly lost the write privileges. The first time seemed to be without reason (and otherwise I forgot what happened) and the second time (just today) after a power failure in the house.
The first time I could solve it by making a library of that "disk" and a reboot. I figured it could change some state, and it did.
This second time today I couldn't let that work again, probably because the library was still there from the first time.
What did the trick today was the hunch in this thread to change drive letters.

I can additionally note that after changing the drive letter, at the "remount" of the "disk" it offered a scan of the disk because something looked wrong (by the OS). The scan did not find any errors but still this is an indication that something like a simple chkdsk/f from the command prompt could have solved things just as well. I will try that next time. :whistle:

I added this post here because the previous time I couldn't find a thing (Google) because I too much focused on the relation with Bootcamp and too many unrelated posts are about that but then within OSX itself. So I found nothing. This time I searched for "suddenly lost write privileges" in general (without quotes) and this thread appeared on the first page. And now I hope that Google will provide better findings for those with this completely annoying problem which seems unsolvable for even me, knowing guite a tad of the Windows OS (nothing about OSX). From what happened today *and* from reading into this thread, I am fairly sure that this is what happened :

- I reverted to a Restore Point I had available and this did not help. This tells it's not a Registry thing. Taking ownership or Policies and such therefore won't help either (in this situation);

- Since this today this happened after a power failure, it would be logical that not all pending data for the "disk" was flushed to it.

- Windows knows about such a situation, and will normally put out a "disk is dirty" (this means that it knows about pending memory to write to the disk, but it did/could not do that).

- USB is prone to this (pull out your USB disk/pen without officially unmounting it and it will happen).

- The by the OS provided scan when remounting the disk, tells me that this "disk is dirty" situation was in order.

- It needs an explicit remount of the disk to let the OS notice the situation;

- The change of the Drive Letter implies this remount.

- My answering Yes to the question for the rescan will have solved the situation (never mind it found no errors).

- DO NOTICE that a disk which is "dirty" can not be written to.

Lastly, the fact that this is a Bootcamp situation and the most rare case of the exFat32 formatted partition which was tweaked to exist in the first place, can be related to this happening in the first place. But if so it still may help others who applied the same trickery.

Peter

#15 PeterSt

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:29 AM

The scan did not find any errors but still this is an indication that something like a simple chkdsk/f from the command prompt could have solved things just as well. I will try that next time. :whistle:



Which was today. So, chkdsk/f works like a charm. Notice it needs a reboot when chkdsk is finished.

Edited by PeterSt, 29 December 2012 - 09:31 AM.





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