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The first thing you will run across when you search for a read-only external hard drive on a Mac is the suggestion to reformat it.


  • Case 1: The read-only external hard drive is NTFS formatted.
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You can check by either trying to copy a file to it or right clicking on it in your Finder , selecting Get Info , and making sure the permissions have changed to read and write. But most of the time, this will solve the problem and allow you to use your external hard drive freely between your Mac and PC.

How to Fix a Read Only External Hard Drive on a Mac

One way to prevent this issue from happening with your Seagate or other external hard drive is to set up your external hard drive as specified in the directions that come with the product. While almost every piece of hardware is now plug-n-play, some do need those extra configurations and software to get the best performance. You can try searching on Google for others who have solved this problem, although many will simply suggest that you reformat the drive or get a second backup and then reformat your hard drive.

The issue with a write-protected hard drive is that you may be able to access the data in it if the drive is not corrupt but definitely cannot write or paste new files and folders, which makes the drive literally unusable.

Case 2: Disk permissions are changed as read-only

To make it usable, you must remove write protection from hard drive. Before proceeding with any fix, we need to figure out whether write-protection on the hard drive is due to corruption. Follow these steps to determine the health status of a hard drive:.


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  • Unable to write on the external hard drive with NTFS file system!
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In case errors are found but Windows is not able to fix them, proceed to data recovery immediately as files cannot be read or written on the affected hard drive. It is recommended to use a sophisticated data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery- Standard for Windows for restoring your crucial data from such corrupt hard drives.


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In case the hard drive is found to have no errors, proceed with the following methods to remove write protection from the hard drive. Registry can be altered to control various features on the system and behavior of externally connected USB peripheral devices including hard drives. For example, you can alter a registry to block or disable USB ports. Therefore, sometimes due to malware or virus infections, the value in Storage Device Policies registry files— which controls your connected storage drives— becomes write-protected.

Write protected External Hard drive - Apple Community

You can fix this by altering the value in registry file by following these steps:. Encrypted hard drive cannot be accessed and is therefore write protected. You can try to remove the encryption using a software or tool used for encrypting the drive such as BitLocker commonly used. Decrypting hard drive or turning off the encryption software will remove the write protection, and then you should be able to access and transfer files between your system and the connected hard drive.

How to Encrypt and Password Protect an External Hard Drive using Mac OS High Sierra

However, when it comes to a hard drive, things change as you do not have a physical switch to toggle write-protection in hard drives. Therefore when a hard drive becomes write-protected, it most likely indicates a severe virus or malware infection and corruption. Therefore, you must immediately use a reliable data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery- Standard for Windows, which is capable of retrieving deleted, corrupt, and formatted files from all kind of storage media, even if they are inaccessible due to write-protection! Additionally, we have described a few methods to remove write protection from the hard drive if the drive is not corrupt.

Aruna is a technology blogger and Windows expert.

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She loves to troubleshoot Windows issue and write technical tips and tutorials. View More. The ability to pause and resume the scan is a huge time saver with using Stellar windows data recovery software.

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My nephew accidentally deletes an important file from my Windows 10 PC? Please suggest how to recover. With Stellar Data Recovery, all your worries will be vanished. Simply download and install the official software. From the main software, interface screen select what to recover, then scan, preview and save the desired file.

How to solve external hard drive read-only without formatting on Mac?

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