I just had an issue with a 4 gig flash drive suddenly going bad. I couldn’t format it, saying it was write protected. I thought it was a lost cause, but after digging around, I found the answer, which I’ll share here. I know this will happen again, so it’s here so I can find it again.
Plug the thumb drive into the computer. If it says it must be formatted before use, and asks you to format, say no thank you. Then follow these steps EXACTLY as below.
1. Go to START, then in the search box, open command prompt by typing (cmd.exe) of course, without the parentheses.
2. type “diskpart” without the quotation marks.
3. type “list disk” without the quotation marks.
4. identify which one is your USB disk.
5. type “SELECT DISK n”, where n is the number of your USB disk.
(Disk 0 is Always going to be your operating system)
*** BE CAREFUL AT THIS PART. Selecting the wrong disk might delete your hard drives ****
6. type “clean” without the quotation marks. (you may need to repeat twice or thrice). If it doesn’t work, don’t proceed with the next instruction :-(
7. type “create partition primary” without the quotation marks.
8. type “select partition” without the quotation marks.
9. type “active” without the quotation marks.
10. type “format fs=ntfs” without the quotation marks.
It’ll do a Slow Boat To China format, but chances are, when it’s finished, you’re golden.