Write Protected Flash Drive

By boxfox ·
I've read a lot of forums about this topic, and none of them have an answer.

I have a 32GB 3.0 flash drive from Micro Center (local store). It has been write protected, though not on purpose. It was just suddently protected one day.
There is no manual WP switch on the drive
Formated FAT32
Safetly removed, restarted, plugged back in -- no fix.
added storagedevicepolicies in the registry with a value of "0" and also deleted it -- no fix.
there are no other "storage device" entries in registry -- no fix.
there is no write protection in BIOS -- no fix.
used several pieces of software (HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool, and another one similar for a different flash drive company) There is no software for this specific flash drive -- no fix.
Microcenter does not support it's products in the manner of fixing stuff like this...they'd just replace it, which would be great except there is extremely sensitive work data on the drive -- no fix.
Obviously you cannot reformat it, as it is write protected -- no fix.
I've used ATTRIB and FORMAT in command line (in safe mode, as well) -- no fix.
I've used appropriate utilities (steps above, disk utility, etc.) on 3 Windows 7 machines, 1 XP machine, and an Apple -- no fix.
It DOES show up in Disk Management: Healthy (Primary Partition).
Whenever it is plugged in, the "Do you want to scan and fix Removable Disk (G:)?" window pops up. I can actually run the scan, as long as I uncheck both boxes (it can't fix things because it's write protected) -- no fix.
I've done so called "100% Works" things found on youtube and elsewhere that involve using things like low level formatting tools -- no fix.

I really need to get write protection off of this drive.
Thanks for your time.

-edit- booted into linux and ran chmod fix.

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All Answers

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Face facts

by OH Smeg In reply to Write Protected Flash Dri ...

The unit has failed and some internal component most likely has stopped working.

When that happens it's far more common to not to be able to get to your data to save it and the cost of having a professional recovery done is quite high so if there is Sensitive Data on the unit copy it all and then destroy the Thumb Drive.


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Reponse To Answer

by boxfox In reply to Face facts

Giving up seems like the easy way out and, subsequently, bad advice.

Right now it appears that it's just the first block of the drive that is hosing things up...anyone know a way to **** up a targeted part of a flash drive?

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Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg In reply to Face facts

So lets see if I understand you here.

A internal component of a throw away device has failed and you want to attempt a repair is that what you are saying here?

Weller has a Surface Mount Soldering Station which was only 45K the last time I looked about 10 years ago + Disposables. You'll need to carefully place the stripped Flash Drive onto the Ultraviolet Soldering Pad and then when the circuit board is heated enough to melt the solder paste and glue holding the component in place but not hot enough to damage anything else you can use the Suction Pickup and lift off the failed component and then source a replacement and program the soldering station to place the component back in place accurately.

You'll need to apply glue and not too much as well as Soldering Paste again not too little or too much and solder the component back onto the circuit board. If the component is not accurately placed it will short circuit and probably take several other components along with it to Silicon Heaven. And there is no mention of too much Solder Paste being used causing Short Circuits or Glue which prevents the components legs actually making contact with the Circuit Board or worse still covering the Solder Pads and preventing contact.

That is of course assuming that the component that has failed is not the Power Regulator and is now allowing unregulated power through to the remainder of the circuit board degrading the remaining components which will die sooner rather than latter in a Puff of Magic Smoke.

So overall you are wanting to spend $50,000.00 + your time to repair a device that cost under $10.00 to make. Is that what you are asking here?

personally unless you own the business in Question I doubt that the Bean Counters employed there will approve the expenditure of that amount of money and even if you do own the business you'll have some very difficult questions to answer to the Tax Man when you file your next Tax Return.

The idea of attempting a repair on something like this is simply not economical for someone who needs to repair hundred of thousands of these things and totally out of the question for a one off repair.

Personally I would be submitting a argument for tools like the Weller Soldering Station to repair M'Boards where it could prove useful but for something like a Expensive Flash Drive which I very much doubt that this particular device actually is I think you'll find that you have no hope.

After all I very much doubt that this device is of similar specification as a 128 GB USB3 Corsair Flash Drive which itself retails for only $199.00. You need to understand that these are Throw Away things and are not supposed to be used for Permanent Storage. They are at best Useful Storage though most times any business that I do work for would immediately terminate any Employee or Contractor for transferring their Important Data onto a device like this. It's hard enough to take a Flash Drive in with Portable Utilities and be able to use it let alone trusting something as inherently unreliable to store Sensitive Data on. Besides Flash Drives being unreliable they are small and easily lost which is a bigger problem for them than anything else.


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Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg In reply to Face facts

OH I forgot to mention you'll also need a Good Digital Storage CRO to trace the circuit, Tektronix make a really nice one but it makes the Weller Surface Mount Soldering Station look cheap.

You'll need a High End CRO because of the speed of the Circuitry involved here as a slow one will simply not pick up the changes which you need to see.

Then after spending in excess of $100,000.00 in tools you

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Protect the sensitive data with a hammer

by Robert.Thomson In reply to Write Protected Flash Dri ...

Unfortunately, the long winded reply from the Col is correct. You have already spent more time than it is worth. Buy two new ones. Copy the sensitive data to both of them, and then take a hammer to the old one. If the data is sensitive enough that you would rather lose it than have it exposed, get a FIPS 140 approved encrypting drive with a combination key to unlock it. See

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