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Hard Drive is Write Protected?

#1
I have Vista installed here and one of my regular internal ATA
drives has become write protected.

When I try to do anything that involves a write, Vista brings up a
message saying, "The media is write protected". This is normally
something you get when working with removable media. How can an
internal HDD be write protected?

I'm sure its *not* a permissions problem. I have Administrator
access and own the files. I try to even up the files up to Everyone
but get the write protected message. I can't even rename a file or
directory.

Can someone explain how to undo this? There is no checkbox anywhere
when viewing a drive that indicates "write protected" as far as I
can tell. Please help! Thanks!

--
 
#2
Hi DRT,

Do you get any errors during boot up ?

What are you exactly doing before the message appears ?

Have you ran a full disk check on the drive ?

Are there any errors in the event log indicating a disk problem ?


"DRT" <DRT@nospam.net> wrote in message
news:lvodi.20592$475.8609@fe76.usenetserver.com...
>I have Vista installed here and one of my regular internal ATA drives has
>become write protected.
>
> When I try to do anything that involves a write, Vista brings up a message
> saying, "The media is write protected". This is normally something you
> get when working with removable media. How can an internal HDD be write
> protected?
>
> I'm sure its *not* a permissions problem. I have Administrator access and
> own the files. I try to even up the files up to Everyone but get the
> write protected message. I can't even rename a file or directory.
>
> Can someone explain how to undo this? There is no checkbox anywhere when
> viewing a drive that indicates "write protected" as far as I can tell.
> Please help! Thanks!
>
> --
>
 
M

Michael Walraven

#3
Some motherboards permit write protecting a hard disk in the BIOS.


"DRT" <DRT@nospam.net> wrote in message
news:lvodi.20592$475.8609@fe76.usenetserver.com...
>I have Vista installed here and one of my regular internal ATA drives has
>become write protected.
>
> When I try to do anything that involves a write, Vista brings up a message
> saying, "The media is write protected". This is normally something you
> get when working with removable media. How can an internal HDD be write
> protected?
>
> I'm sure its *not* a permissions problem. I have Administrator access and
> own the files. I try to even up the files up to Everyone but get the
> write protected message. I can't even rename a file or directory.
>
> Can someone explain how to undo this? There is no checkbox anywhere when
> viewing a drive that indicates "write protected" as far as I can tell.
> Please help! Thanks!
>
> --
>
 
#4
I had a similar problem and just found how to check, and hopefully correct the problem. The program diskpart.exe is part of Vista and provides a means of checking to see if a disk is marked read only and to change the flag if it is. Full documentation is in Microsoft Help & Support at

Here's the procedure for checking the disk status.
  1. Open cmd window running as administrator
  2. Run diskpart.exe
  3. At the "DISKPART>" prompt enter the following commands. Text from // onwards is a descriptive comment
  4. >list volume //shows volumes and drive letters
  5. >select volume n //set focus on desired volume number n from list
  6. >detail volume //gives detailed attribute list for selected volume
Here's the listing I get for my D-drive. (Note that extra spaces have been removed by the forum display.)
DISKPART> detail volume

Disk ### Status Size Free Dyn Gpt
-------- ---------- ------- ------- --- ---
* Disk 0 Online 190 GB 5812 KB

Read-only : No
Hidden : No
No Default Drive Letter: No
Shadow Copy : No
Dismounted : No
BitLocker Encrypted : No

Volume Capacity : 95 GB
Volume Free Space : 72 GB


Hope this helps.

-- roy --​
 
#5
I know this is an older post, but it helped me today (1/7/09).

After upgrading my computer with a new mobo, cpu, and memory, I installed Vista Ultimate x64. Once I had everything installed back the way I wanted, I started to try and download some updated drivers and such. I kept getting errors, and finally tried to paste a file to my "d" drive and got the write protected error.

I followed the instructions in the posts above mine and opened a command prompt as "administrator" and then used the diskpart command. I viewed the volume and it wasn't marked read-only or anything like that. Just in case, I ran the command to remove the read-only attributes and received a "successful" message. I went to the drive and was immediately able to write to it afterwards. Very strange.

Thanks to the posters for steering me in the right direction.
Dave
 
#6
Thanks for a good post. I just ran into the same problem with a write protected disc on a Vista x64 Ultimate.
Diskpart fixed it with this command

To clear the read-only attribute for the selected disk, type:
ATTRIBUTES DISK CLEAR READONLY
 
#7
I wonder if this will work on my 2008 R2 x64 Server as well? The drive with my hyper-v machines and hard disks became write protected also. Funny thing is it's a partition behind the system disk. 500GB drive, 75gb to C: and ~400gb to H:

I went as far as to scrap my lab environment, remove the partition and create a new blank one. Didn't take but twenty minutes to send it back to a write protected mode. It did freeze right before it happened, I let it sit for 10 minutes then manually rebooted it. Partition was back to write protected on next reboot. Is this a preservation technique or a failsafe of some sort?

mac
 
#8
I had been getting a number of messages stating "The media is write protected" for a hard-drive that is connected to the GIGABYTE SATA2 controller on the GA-P35C-DS3R. The storage setup was as follows:

Controller 1: GIGABYTE SATA2 controller (BIOS set to IDE mode, GIGABYTE drivers)
C: 250GB WD SATA hdd (system)
D: PATA DVD
E: PATA DVD
F: 250GB WD SATA hdd <---- affected drive

Controller 2: Intel ICH9R (BIOS set to IDE mode, Microsoft generic IDE drivers)
G: 250GB Maxtor SATA hdd
H: 250GB Maxtor SATA hdd
I: 250GB Maxtor SATA hdd
J: 250GB Maxtor SATA hdd


The issue had been intermittent but appeared to occur quite often while attempting to do a backup using shadow copying while also reading and writing files to the same disk. Rebooting the machine always cured the issue, but it would later remanifest.

Some searching led me to the diskpart answer but Diskpart showed no "readonly" status. I also found the suggestion that folders had been marked as read-only, but while the folders on the drive did have the grey tick in the readonly box, this was not a black tick and so did not suggest that the folders themselves were readonly (besides, they are files no "media").



=============================
THE ANSWER:

In Device Manager, under Storage Controllers, I right-clicked, Update Driver Software, clicked on the Browse, the List option, and chose the "Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller".

=============================



So far, several reboots, backups and file operations later and the issue has not recurred.


Interestingly, this issue follows on from a total failure of the 4 disk RAID 0 array I had on the Intel ICH9R 6 port SATA controller in the same machine. This had been running fine for several months, and then resulted in the crippling of the machine. The computer posted fine, but got to the RAID BIOS screen and hung, and did so until 2 of the drives from the RAID array were removed. If the BIOS was re-entered and the RAID turned off in favour of "IDE mode" those 2 drives could be placed back into the machine and windows could boot, after which point the 2 drives could be reinitialised. However, although the RAID array could be rebuilt in BIOS, on the next reboot the enter machine was crippled again in the same way. Updating the BIOS to the latest version did not resolve this, but reinstalling windows completely fixed the issue - that is until a certain number of windows updates had been applied.

On this basis, I wonder if a recent windows update has created an issue for some storage controller drivers.


Are other people getting "media is write protected" messages have manufacturer specific storage controller drivers installed?
 
#9
I have gone so far as to submit a technical suport request to Micrsoft. They respond with the chkdisk, diskpart (volume's readonly is clear) experiments to which I have already attempted. Tried attrib as well. Every folder on every volume returns with the Read-only block filled in (not check boxed) in Windows Explorer. It is consistendly broke, regardless of disk installed, connected etc. Came about all at once and will not go away... It has rendered the computer somewhat unusable for programs which honor this in temp files, etc.

I have replaced the Intel ICH9 motherboard with a Nvida XFX, removed the RAID and installed a fresh copy of x64 on a single drive, removed everything except the ram and CPU and still the problem persists (I think the new BR-DRV was plugged in on the install both times.)

It did surface immedately after performing the following (wish now I had done these one at a time...)

1) Installed Pioneer BR-DVD
2) Installed Frunhauffer mp3 encoder patch for cubase
3) Ran windows update

Suspecting it may be some interaction with the video display (even so far as a virus in the video bios), I pulled that board and booted up with a USB video. Same thing. All volumes are readonly. Applying a non read only has no effect. Of course I have tried with the BR-DVD unplugged along with the other DVD.

Administrator account owns the files. Not set read only according to diskpart. Pretty much everything unplugged at one time or another. Re-installed windows. Reverted to an April (4 months ago) complete PC restore after re-formatting the RAID.

Nothing worked. Microsoft has no clue as to the problem, and says its a conflict with 3rd party drivers. Im really stumped, because if the full PC restore is done, all the drivers are reverted. To what I can tell, all of the hardware except the RAM and CPU and keyboard have been replaced.

Vista Ultimate used to be 32 bit but with all the install I decided to go x64.

Just adding to the random variables here. Id even blast windows 2008 on here but since its a parallel project with Vista suspect that wont help much. Really stumped on this one.

In case drivers are the issue:
Category Storage Controlelrs
1) FVDSCSI (2003) SCSI Host Adapter
2) Intel(R) RAID Controller SRCSAS144E
3) Microsoft iSCSI Initiator

Next step ... Im getting a Mac or going Linux or upgrading to Windows XP this is about it for Vista being usable. Many applications do not like their temp volume being stuck read-only. Microsoft really needs to add a command line utility to tell what decision point or rule has made a volume/folder read-only. I see quite a number of posts about the net regarding this problem.

Note: Windows live onecare is installed for antivirus. Did try other free scanners just in case...
 
Last edited:
#10
Hi Frank,

It seems that there are a number of potential read-only features. To name a few:

1. NTFS permission for the file only allows read access
2. Share permission only allows read access
3. File attribute is read-only
4. Volume attribute is read-only
5. Media is write protected

Read-only tickboxes for folders
Now, you say that you have installed Windows Vista x64 onto a single disk, and then started windows. I note that you specifically state that the "Read-only block [is] filled in (not check boxed)", and I have to admit that I am not entirely sure what you mean by that.

Do you mean that in Windows Explorer, for a folder, the Properties | General tab has a Read-only checkbox in the Attributes section and that checkbox has a grey tick in it? Although thinking about it, if you are using the default windows vista theme rather than the Windows Classic theme, I think this appears as a coloured square rather than a tick.
If so, it may be worth noting that these "read-only" check boxes on folders are often shown with a greyed out tick (or other indicator depending on the theme). As far as I can tell, such ticks indicate nothing except that the folder is not considered to have a read-only attribute.
If you set the read-only checkbox to a a black tick and click Apply this means all files will appear as read-only within the folder, while setting it to no tick and clicking Apply sets all the files to be not read-only. However, in either case, upon reopening the Properties | General of the folder, a grey tick (or whatever) will again be shown in the read-only field. I guess that the way to look at this is that the "read-only" referred to on the dialogue is a file attribute rather than a "folder" attribute (and we will ignore the fact that folders are files in a particular format).

Diskpart and Volumes
You refer to a read-only temp volume, but I suspect you are actually referring to the folder defined by the %TEMP% evironment variable, rather than to a seperate hard disk partition. Hard disk partitions, or logical volumes within an extended partition (assuming a Master Boot Record formatted hard drive) can also have a read-only attribute that can then be controlled by diskpart.
However, the fact that windows has actually allowed you to login and check attributes in windows explorer would suggest that writing to disk has been possible during the startup of windows, at least on the partition\volume that contains windows. If it wasn't possible to write to disk then my experience suggests a Blue Screen or halted system would usually result fairly swiftly.

Driver based RAID
That does not rule out the possibility that you have, or have had a driver based RIAD issue. I do note that XFX create motherboards using the Nvidia nForce chipset (v5, 6, 7), and these have a driver based RAID solution. I have no evidence either way but I could see the possibility that they may not be immune to "a conflict with 3rd party drivers" issue, in a similar way to what I suspect may have occured with the ICH9R chipset on my machine.
However, in that scenario, either the machine would not boot at all, or I received "Media is Write-Protected" messages. Are you recieving these?

Thanks

IrisedParhelion
 
#11
Re: Hard Drive is Write Protected? (by design!)

Hi Irised,

Nice of you to write again, thanks. It seems that it is intentional that the grey area in the "Read Only" box (according to MSFT, sometimes) means nothing at all. I found the following article interesting:

You cannot view or change the Read-only or the System attributes of folders in Windows Server 2003, in Windows XP, or in Windows Vista

Snip: "Unlike the Read-only attribute for a file, the Read-only attribute for a folder is typically ignored by Windows ... The Read-only and System attributes is only used by Windows Explorer to determine whether the folder is a special folder ... Note In some previous versions of Windows, you can change the Read-only attribute for folders by using the Properties dialog box for the folder"

Oh yes and of course:

"This behavior is by design."

In windows XP there is a registry hack to turn off this behavior. If anyone from MSFT stumbles across this, please consider updating with a language pack to change the string "Read Only" to "Means Nothing At All, We Hacked it For Another Feature"

So I guess what took me down this road in the first place must have been some interaction with the BR-DVD and the Intel SATA controller. I dont even remember.

Somehow, in running Vista for over a year now this is the first time I have noticed this hack. Did it alway do it? Gosh, from the date of these articles it seems so. Have to say its like entering a time machine and what used to be a simple check box is now so confusing that the companies own technical suport does not even understand it.

I really am dishing out the windows programs here in a few months and getting a Mac and putting Linux on everything else. Windows 7 seemed like something to look forward to, but my understanding is that they are taking out the classic menus and this sort of logic is bizzare and represents a complete meltdown of common sense.

Regards all, Frank
 
#12
I have been having this problem only on 64bit Vista and Windows 7.
I tried everything that has been mentioned on this posting and I found a quick and easy fix.
Right click the drive, properties. tools, error check, force dismount, finished.
Then do it again.

I have not had any reaccurance of the problem since.
Turns out I had dirty file entrys in the file index.
So every reboot the system would lock the drive.

Can other try this please and report back.
Thanks

Ray
 
#13
My problem was that the external HDD was plugged in with a SATA cable and kept me from doing changes. So, I plugged it on the optional USB port with a USB cable and then it allowed me to do all the changes needed like permissions and all properties settings. Then I replugged the SATA cable and voila no more restrictions and I was able to delete, write etc...
 
#14
I know this is an older post, but it helped me today (1/7/09).

After upgrading my computer with a new mobo, cpu, and memory, I installed Vista Ultimate x64. Once I had everything installed back the way I wanted, I started to try and download some updated drivers and such. I kept getting errors, and finally tried to paste a file to my "d" drive and got the write protected error.

I followed the instructions in the posts above mine and opened a command prompt as "administrator" and then used the diskpart command. I viewed the volume and it wasn't marked read-only or anything like that. Just in case, I ran the command to remove the read-only attributes and received a "successful" message. I went to the drive and was immediately able to write to it afterwards. Very strange.

Thanks to the posters for steering me in the right direction.
Dave
Same thing worked for me! (in bold letters)

Thank you, thank you, thank you! :D
 

RXL

New Member
#16
I worked for 12 hours on this issue involving a Western Digital 1TB MyBook, alternatively using both USB and eSATA connections during troubleshooting. Searched all over the Web for the answer, and tried everything suggested -- changing permission shares, changing attributes with diskpart, searching registry and creating dword entry, installing (and uninstalling) a (non-working) unlocking program, updating storage driver, digging through hundreds of posts responding to a clearly identified problem in the topic with horrible, so-called "solutions" ranging from "Do you have a virus?" to "Reformat your hard drive." Absolutely nothing worked.

Finally, rmerrick got it above, with an improbably simple solution:

"Right click the drive, properties. tools, error check, force dismount, finished.
Then do it again."

After all my trouble, this turned out to be THE [REAL] ANSWER, and worked beautifully. Unbelievable. (I would just substitute "force dismount" with "right-cick, safely remove.")

Thank you! Now I can finally go to bed.