16GB USB Drive – “disk is write protected” – Cannot Format or Wipe or Delete

The USB Pen Drive (16GB no-brand – cheap buy) got stuck on Read Only and I couldn’t format it. The error “Disk is write protected” kept appearing when trying to format the Usb drive in “Computer” on Windows 7.

I tried pretty much everything out there and was nearly ready to pack it in. Most websites (especially the sandisk forums) just said to return the USB Drive and get a refund – that this was a known issue and that if/when the USB Drive encounters an error, it puts the USB Drive into Read Only to allow for disaster recovery. It was possible to read and see the files on the USB Drive, but it wasn’t possible to delete or format the USB Key. You may want to copy everything you can off the USB Key first as the following fix wipes and re-flashes the USB Key.

These didn’t work:

  • URescue_v1.3.0.71
  • MDPT (Multi-Device Production Tool)
  • Registry settings
  • HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool
  • ChkFlsh.exe (in whatever destructive write mode I could find)
  • Running Virus scans etc.
  • Format (via the cli or gui)
  • Repair_Neo2.9.exe

The following worked! :-) ->

  • AlcorMP

While researching this USB Read-Only bug/issue/problem I encountered the program “ChipGenius” (local mirror) which provides detailed information on the memory chip and manufacturer of the USB Pen Drive. This revealed the keyword “Alcor”, however searching for this only revealed foreign language websites and no help.

ChipGenius did however provide the VID and PID numbers I needed for the final solution.

Onto the Solution. As on the superuser.com website, you need the following program: “AlcorMP_5T2F_6T2F_2011-11-10.02“. Google for it (or use this local mirror).

  1. Run the ChipGenius Program and locate the VID and PID Numbers (see image)
  2. Extract the AlcorMP_…rar File (mirror above) and run LoadDriver.exe Enter the VID and PID and click Install, which only takes a second to run. (see image)
  3. Unplug and Re-Plug in the USB Key
  4. Run the AlcorMP.exe utility. To the left of the Device listed, click the Gray button and click “Start”. (see image)

It took about 2.5 hours to complete, most of which was scanning for bad blocks.

As for what caused the USB Key to go into a Read-Only state, it may have been the fact of unplugging it while in use or some other reason. (This USB key was actually been used on a saorview box to record and pause tv, so it may have caused this problem again in combination with unplugging the tv box instead of powering it off.)

What I was most surprised about was the difficulty in discovering this solution on the Internet. There was so much junk suggested which didn’t work. Hopefully this article will help other people in a similiar situation.

References:

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Error (0xc0000225) installing Windows 7 on VirtualBox

What I thought would be very quick and easy, to install Windows 7 on Virtual Box, led me having to do some googling after getting the error:

Windows Boot Manager
Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
To fix the problem......

Status: 0xc0000225
Info: An unexpected error has occurred.


When creating the VM in VirtualBox it asked me for the guest OS which I choose “Windows 7”, thinking that by doing this, it would all work!

To resolve this error, thankfully its a simple fix:

  • Power Down the Virtual Machine
  • Go to the Settings of the Virtual Machine
  • Under “System” tick on “Enable IO APIC”

(Reference)

 

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Carving and Merging Multiple PDF Documents – Pdftk

I had a few hundred PDF documents and I wanted to take the first page of each PDF and put them into 1 single PDF document.

Enter: Pdftk – The PDF Toolkit

Downloading the Zip file, and in the bin folder was pdftk.exe and libiconv2.dll. Running the pdftk.exe via the command line fired it up into action.

pdftk A=one.pdf B=two.pdf cat A1 B1 output combined.pdf

I done some command line trickery with dir > outputlist to get a single pdftk command with all the documents.
Other Examples of pdftk can be found at: http://www.pdflabs.com/docs/pdftk-cli-examples/

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Windows chkdsk Log

The Windows chkdsk log takes quite a long time to run. You’ll probably want to run it overnight. After the chkdsk runs, a summary screen appears for a while and then disappears as Windows boots up.

To find out the results and to see if chkdsk found any errors, look in the “Event Log” and under Applications -> “Wininit” you will see the chkdsk results :-)

 To create a chkdsk, in “Computer”, right-click on the Disk Drive, Properties, Tools, Check.
To find the “Event Viewer”, inside the Control Panel is Administrative Tools -> Event Viewer
Running a chkdsk can solve many problems such as when a file/folder cannot be removed, or if a program can/can’t be (un)installed. In my case it prevented Vista SP2 from being installed.

Ref: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/2172-63-win7-chkdsk-file-location
( event viewer, applications, under “wininit )

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Notes: windirstat & wireless repeater

To find the files and folders taking up the most space on your computer, google for the following and download. It does require a quick install, but when installed, works very well.

  • windirstat

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If you have an old Eircom Netopia Router, you should be able to set it up as a Wireless Extender. See the how-to at:

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