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Software & More => Computer Problems, Questions and Solutions! => Topic started by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 10:27:26 AM

Title: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 10:27:26 AM
I have here with me a memory stick which suddenly turned into protected mode (read only) and whatever I tried didn't fix it. It's a Kingston memory stick, 64GB, and it seems that the items in it are all accessible. But I cannot format rename it or format it. I tried several methods found online, but none of them worked. I tried a registry fix concerning Storage policies, I run a third party software (easius) and tried to remove disk's attributes via command prompt (diskpart). Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 10:35:13 AM
I just tried again to access the stick, but now it's not recognized at all. I can hear the sound when insert it in the usb port, but I can't see it anywhere. I didn't save the items in it. How stupid!
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 10:57:33 AM
And this is the message I get from Device Manager -> usb stick's properties:

Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware because a previous instance of the device driver is still in memory. (Code 38)

The driver could not be loaded because a previous version of the driver is still in memory.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Corrine on January 25, 2018, 12:09:48 PM
Hi, Panos.  See if the suggestions in this thread solve the problem:  Windows 10 Error: Code 38 - Microsoft Community (https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-hardware/windows-10-error-code-38/d1f205e0-b990-4834-a50e-83fdd637407d)
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Digerati on January 25, 2018, 12:16:05 PM
I was just about to post the same link, but Corrine beat me to it.

Also note that some memory sticks have a write protect switch on them. If yours does, make sure you did not accidentally flip it.

You might also trying doing a "cold" reboot with the device removed. By "cold" I mean to shut down the computer and unplug it from the wall for about 15 seconds, then plug it back in and boot. Unplugging ensure the ATX required +5Vsb standby voltage is removed too and may clear your driver still in memory error.

If a notebook, you will need to pull the battery as well as unplug.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 12:21:48 PM
Thanks, Corrine and Digerati.

Uninstalling the stick from device manager and restarting the computer solved the recognition problem. I started copying my files on the computer.

But the stick remains write protected- read only. No switch for protecting mode available.

Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Digerati on January 25, 2018, 01:45:05 PM
If you can access the drive, see if there is a utility on it for the disk to change the attributes. If not you may have to format it using the Kingston Format Utility (https://www.kingston.com/us/support/technical/downloads/111247). Just understand any files you want to keep will be lost.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Corrine on January 25, 2018, 01:48:31 PM
I was just about to post the same link, but Corrine beat me to it.
Just one more example of "great minds think alike".  :)
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Digerati on January 25, 2018, 01:55:47 PM
But how come yours is always quicker?  :-\ :-*
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Corrine on January 25, 2018, 01:58:44 PM
With age comes wisdom.  ;)
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: plodr on January 25, 2018, 02:01:19 PM
Note that the Kingston Utility has this
Quote
Supported Operating Systems:
Windows 7 (SP1), Vista (SP1, SP2) and Windows XP (SP2, SP3)

So it might be best to try it on a computer not running Windows 8.1 or 10 to be safe.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 03:07:45 PM
I tried Kingsoft utility (on a Windows 10 computer, as I have no access to a computer with an older OS), but it says Format failed. :(
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: hayc59 on January 25, 2018, 03:29:15 PM
Just me 2 cents because this happened to me several years ago
I had a Kingston thumb drive and a very tiny tiny little switch on it that after several attempts a
good fellow at BBR forum told me to look very closely and sure enough, the tiniest switch was there.
try that

Another option :)

Quote
Connect SD card or USB drive with PC, click Start.
Type "regedit" in the search bar and click it.
Select "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" and click "System".
Find "Current Control Set" and click "Control"
Check whether there is a key named "Storage Device Policies" to change the digit in the "DWORD value" box into "0" and press "OK" to save the change.

Note: if you cannot find the key named "Storage Device Policies", you are supposed to create a one: right click "Control" to create a new key and name it as "Storage Device Policies" > right click this new key to open "DWORD Value" and name it as "write protect" > Double click it to change number.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 03:32:57 PM
Thanks, hay59.

I already tried this. Also no switch on the little usb stick. The fact that the items in there are accessible, makes me think that the stick is not dead, and there must be a way to remove the protection and format it.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: hayc59 on January 25, 2018, 03:35:50 PM
Well then one more option!!
1- Place tiny usb stick between your left boot and asphalt and stomp away... :)
2- Hit best buy or freddies and buy a new one.. lol good luck
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Aaron Hulett on January 25, 2018, 05:33:52 PM
What exactly did you try using diskpart?

Online search suggests this isn't an isolated thing. Two solutions stand out - the first is to tell the OS to switch off optimization for removal and instead switch it to performance. Mixed bag on that one. The second is to use a utility to wipe the stick, but diskpart should be able to do this, hence I'm curious what you tried.

Going off memory, it'd go something like this:
diskpart
list disk
select disk #  (where # is whatever number goes with the USB stick)
clean
create partition primary
select partition 1
format fs=fat32 quick
exit

Clean is the key - this should clear everything off of it. Be sure you select the correct disk - if you clean the wrong one, well, bad times.

And yes, it's possible the stick went bad. Had it for long? Do lots of writing to it? They'll only take writes for so long, but unless it's under a heavy load (like a dashcam that's constantly writing gigabytes 24 hours a day) it should last for quite a while.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 05:51:41 PM
What I tried with DISKPART:

diskpart
list disk
select disk 1
attributes disk (current status read only: YES, all the other options: NO)
attributes disk clear readonly

After these I get the message that the disk's attributes changed. But actually the current status is still read only.

I also tried the command clean.

BUT:  DiskPart has encountered an error: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error.
See the System Event Log for more information.

P.S. The stick is two months old. Not very often used.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Aaron Hulett on January 25, 2018, 06:28:40 PM
Hmm, I'd think the error from clean would be something about write protection, not an I/O error.

Here are the two other things I saw:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/279356-32-remove-write-protection-kingston-64gb-flash-drive
Quote
i had the same problem. Lots of research and trouble with my kingston flash drive,but finally I've managed it.
Go to the properties of the device -> HardwareTab -> select the device -> properties->Policies.
I've had here 2 options:optimize the quick removal and Optimize Performance. For me,the quick removal was selected, so I selected the other,the performance option. Remove device from the PC. Restick it,and it works, for me,at least. I've formatted it,and everything is well working. Good luck
Mitch from Hungary

And where I saw about the tool:

https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/352278-kingston-usb-drive-write-protected/
Quote
Thank you! I used RMPrepUSB and got it to wipe the drive, then formatted it back to NTFS and I can now write to it, thanks heaps for that!!

That tool's suggestion is from this page: https://www.raymond.cc/blog/how-to-check-and-test-usb-flash-drive/

The tool's website at http://www.rmprepusb.com/documents/release-2-0 is horrid, so here's a direct link to a ZIP that has the tool in it: http://www.rmprepusb.com/documents/release-2-0/RMPrepUSB_Portable_v2.1.740.zip?attredirects=0&d=1

From what I saw, after opening it, run the quick size test is what wipes it and runs a check. Beyond that, I'm not familiar at all with out it works.

Maybe try that first thing first, and if no go, the tool?
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 06:35:07 PM
I already tried the first suggestion, with no result. :(

Now, I'm going to try that tool.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 06:42:31 PM
No luck.

The tool test ends with write errors.

So the stick (64gb) is dead? So simple?
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 25, 2018, 07:10:36 PM
I tried some ''experiments'' in Linux, without knowing much about was I was doing.

Unmount the disk, then enter disk and colored the folders. Nothing happened. Then unmount again, enter the disk and the folders were colored.

Anyway. I would like to fix this usb stick, but it seems there is no way. It's not my year at all! :)

Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: plodr on January 25, 2018, 09:19:52 PM
There is a warranty on USB sticks. I save the cardboard sleeve that they come in.
If you still have that and the sales receipt, I think the place where you bought it might give you a new stick and send the broken one back to Kingston.

It is worth asking.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: techie on January 25, 2018, 10:12:36 PM
I have used HDD GURU low level format tool to repair USB sticks, that weren't performing or working correctly.

http://hddguru.com/software/HDD-LLF-Low-Level-Format-Tool/

Make sure you select the correct drive, because it will be wiped with the format.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Aaron Hulett on January 25, 2018, 10:21:31 PM
There is a warranty on USB sticks. I save the cardboard sleeve that they come in.
If you still have that and the sales receipt, I think the place where you bought it might give you a new stick and send the broken one back to Kingston.

It is worth asking.
I think that's the way forward, especially if what techie posted doesn't work out.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 26, 2018, 12:03:22 PM
No luck with techie's tool.

The fact that all the files are accessible isn't strange? Or it's something normal? Just ask for learning.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Pete! on January 26, 2018, 12:57:50 PM
No luck with techie's tool.

The fact that all the files are accessible isn't strange? Or it's something normal? Just ask for learning.
No, not strange. The purpose of write protection is to keep something from being deleted or changed, not to hide it.

For example...
I once got a "free" thumb drive from Columbia College.
It had two partitions, one was empty, the other had Columbia advertising.
I was free to use the empty one as I saw fit.
The one with the advertising was write protected, to protect the content. Having their advertising around was the price of the "free" drive.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: Digerati on January 26, 2018, 02:05:00 PM
As far as returning the stick to Kingston, the risk there is if there are any sensitive files or personal information on the disk you would not want others to see. Kingston, for sure, is a reputable company but they cannot ensure each of their employees are every day.

It is possible (if not likely) Kingston would just toss the stick in the recycle or trash bin and not spend any resources ($$$) trying to fix it. On the other hand, if they are seeing a pattern of returned sticks, they may analyze it thoroughly to see if there is a design flaw, widespread manufacturing defect, or just a one-off problem.

IMO, it should be treated like any other mass storage device leaving your hands. If you cannot "wipe" all data from it, the device needs to be physically destroyed.
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: plodr on January 26, 2018, 02:05:24 PM
I have one very old tool I resort to. (I never format any sticks using Windows built in format option).
It is from HP. I'm almost positive because it is so old, it won't work on a Windows 10 computer. I use it on XP and 7.

Get a friend running an older version of Windows to  to grab the tool, take the stick to his/her computer.
https://filehippo.com/download_hp_usb_disk_storage_format_tool/

If I have trouble with a stick, I first use the Quick format in this tool. Then I am able to do the long format and the stick is usable again. It only does FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. If your stick is formatted differently it will revert to one of those 3. (Don't use FAT - it is too old to be useful).
Title: Re: Memory stick write protected (read only)
Post by: DR M on January 26, 2018, 02:42:24 PM
Quote
If I have trouble with a stick, I first use the Quick format in this tool. Then I am able to do the long format and the stick is usable again. It only does FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. If your stick is formatted differently it will revert to one of those 3. (Don't use FAT - it is too old to be useful).

No. Message: The disk is write protected.

Quote
IMO, it should be treated like any other mass storage device leaving your hands. If you cannot "wipe" all data from it, the device needs to be physically destroyed.

Exactly. Especially when all the files are accessible. 30 euros for a two months stick.

Quote
No, not strange. The purpose of write protection is to keep something from being deleted or changed, not to hide it.

Thanks. Is it possible this write protected stubborn thing is caused by a virus?