I have a 32GB USB 3.0 Flash drive marked "Read Only". It is formatted FAT32. I don't know when it was formatted as such, and I need to reformat it.

I've attempted using Windows' Diskpart to mark it writeable, and removing the partition with Gparted, shred, and dosfsck.

The drive is roughly 2 years old and I've used it for a lot of Live USB boot disc creation, so it may be dying, although I thought flash drives were pretty resilient.

My next course of action will be to set up DBAN and try to nuke it.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Every attempt I've made ended in an error akin to "Cannot write to this partition".

EDIT: If I remember correctly, I was transferring files to it when it suddenly locked up. So it may very well be done-for.

  • Try checking the drive's SMART data for clues. Perhaps you've exceeded its write endurance? – user5071535 Aug 19 '15 at 20:02
  • That's very possible. I have no idea how many times I reformatted it, and formatting must take its toll. – Pheonix Aug 19 '15 at 20:33
  • One short search in and I found this thread, discussing USB mass storage failure and SMART systems. Apparently, there's no way to receive SMART data from flash drives. – Pheonix Aug 19 '15 at 20:48
  • I've come to the conclusion that the drive is dead and locked down as a safety measure. – Pheonix Aug 30 '15 at 4:45

At least a SanDisk USB flash device turns into persistent "Read only"-mode when it has detected internal trouble that might be a cause for imminent failure.

There is only one remedy:
Backup any data immediately and
Replace the flash memory as soon as possible to avoid trouble.

I have experienced this just recently, the very first flash device EVER to die for me; a SanDisk Ultra, USB 3.0.

  • Thanks for the wisdom. I've never had a USB flash device fail. Mine is a generic Microcenter drive. It's very possible that it's just dead. If I remember correctly, I was putting files on it when all of a sudden it locked up. – Pheonix Aug 19 '15 at 20:32

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