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Unable to format USB Flash Drive, “device media write protected”

May 3, 2014

One of my favorite USB Flash Drive formatting utilities is the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool.  It is also bundled as part of the firmware download for HP computers, located in a folder named ROMpaq USB Key.  The executable file is HPQUSB.EXE.  Although rare, there have been a few occasions when this utility was unable to format my USB Flash Drive.  I recently had a SanDisk Cruzer 8GB USB Flash Drive that reported the error “device media write protected” when I attempted to use the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool.  I attempted to use Diskpart to delete the existing partitions from the Sandisk USB Flash Drive but was also unsuccessful.  Here is the fix that ended up working for me.

Macbook Pro Disk Utility to the rescue!  I used my Macbook Pro Disk Utility to erase the media.  After successfully deleting the partition I noticed that the format was FAT.  I plugged the USB Flash Drive into my Windows 7 computer and then opened Disk Manager.  Next I assigned a drive letter to the partition, and then I was able to successfully format it with FAT32.

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