How to Disable Write Protection on a Hard Drive

By Quinten Plummer

Open access to your write-protected hard drive.
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While write protection helps to ensure that a hard drive's archived content remain intact and unaltered, the security measure can provide just as much as a hassle to the drive's owner as it does to guest users. Microsoft's BitLocker software aims to function as unobtrusively as reasonably possible, but it can be easy to forget that the encryption feature is in place until you attempt to alter the contents of a secured hard drive. Disable your external or internal hard drive's write protection using your BitLocker key.

Connect your external hard drive to your computer via its USB or FireWire cable if the write-protected drive is external. Close the "Removable Storage" dialog.

Click on the "Libraries" shortcut on your taskbar or launch any other folder on your computer and then click on the "Computer" heading in the folder's sidebar.

Double-click on the write-protected drive and type your password in to the BitLocker dialog box. Click on the dialog box's "Unlock" button to remove the drive's write protection.


Set the external hard drive to automatically unlock when plugged into your primary desktop by selecting "More Options" in the BitLocker dialog, clicking on the "Automatically Unlock on this PC" option and then entering your BitLocker password.

If you've forgotten your BitLocker password and have established recovery options, such as smart card pin generated from a digital certificate, click on "More Options" in the BitLocker dialog box and enter your pin.


The data stored on a Bitlocker-protected hard drive is all but lost If you've forgotten your password and you haven't established recovery options or entrusted another administrator with either. You can salvage the hard drive by erasing its encrypted contents through re-formatting (see Resources).