How to Remove Write Protection on DVD-RW

by Joe Murray
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A standard recordable and rewritable digital video disc (DVD-RW) holds up to 4.7GB of data. DVD-RWs can contain data, text, images, movies and all manner of digital content. A write protection option can be added to the DVD-RW after data has been recorded in order to avoid accidental overwriting or inadvertent or illegal copying of that data. Optical media emulation software such as Nero, Backup4all and Imgburn can, among other features, be used to add or remove write protection from most locked DVD-RWs. A few disc distributors use strong write protection for copyrighted materials that can be very difficult to break and is not legal, in any case. Nero and Backup4all have free trial versions and Imgburn is free. Optical media emulation software can also enhance data manipulation on DVD-RWs by allowing users to move, sort and create files and folders.

Step 1

Download and install optical media emulation software; it is available in both freeware and pay versions. If you plan to do sizable amounts of work with write-protected data, it may be cost effective and time-saving to invest in one of the low or medium cost programs. If you require only a single use, one of the free versions is generally adequate for most tasks.

Step 2

Load the write-protected DVD-RW disc into the DVD player-recorder device installed in your computer. If your computer does not have a DVD player-recorder, an outboard USB driven device is available at your local RadioShack.

Step 3

Open the optical media emulation program and select the optical drive with the write-protected DVD-RW already loaded. Open the DVD-RW menu and select the write-protected file or folder from which you want to remove write protection.

Right-click your mouse to launch a drop-down menu. At this point, the dialog may vary depending on the software program you selected. Look for a line that reads, “Remove write protection.” When you select this option, you are able to write to the disc.


  • Make sure to re-enable write protection to prevent inadvertent overwriting of important data. Bear in mind that downloading, copying or disseminating copyrighted material such as software, movies or music is against the law.


  • Removing write protection allows you to overwrite unwanted portions of the DVD-RW. It also allows you to add more data to a disc that was totally write-protected. Before purchasing or downloading free software, attempt to remove write protection by using native Windows operating system software. Place your cursor on the DVD-RW icon in the open optical drive, usually the “D” drive; right click the mouse and look for a dialog entry like “remove write protection.” If the DVD-RW is closed or finalized in the Session-at-once (SAO) mode, files can be added using any post-XP operating system. If the DVD-RW is finalized using the Disc-at-once (DAO) method, optical media emulation software is generally required to unlock the disc.


Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About the Author

Joe Murray began writing professionally in 1980. As a technical writer, he authored white papers and articles for Hewlett Packard and Intel. Since retiring, Murray has written several home-exchange travel articles for and CHECtravel,com among other outlets. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Santa Clara University.

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