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External Hard Drive is Write Protected

Posted on 2010-11-29
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have an external Hardrive  that works perfectly for Windows Server 2008.
Read-Write without problems
.
I connect the same HDD to an XP-professional sp3 workstation and the Drive is Readable but not Writeable :  THE MEDIA IS WRITE PROTECTED

I log into the XP workstation as the Domain Admin with the same problem
I disconnected the USB HDD and reconnected with the same No-Write problem

I try to change the Security Permissions with the XP box but cannot due to the media being write protected.

Reconnected Drive to Server and changed permissions on the entire dirve to :  administrators (Full) , System (Full) , Everyone (Full)

I reconnected to XP box :  Read is good , but Media is Write protected :  Checked security tab and ONLY Administrators (Full) + System (Full) are listed

External HDD :  Hitachi USB XL2000  2.0TB

What is the problem ?
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Question by:PAGANED
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Expert Comment

by:coalnine
ID: 34232710
There are a couple of things that you can try here.

First, go to Start-->Run, type cmd (hit <enter>)

From the command prompt:
diskpart (hit <enter>)
select disk 'disk #' (hit <enter>) (the disk # can be found in disk management if you right click My Computer and click Manage.)
Attributes volume clear readonly (hit <enter>)
type exit (hit <enter>)

Give that a try, see if it helps.

Kenny
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Author Comment

by:PAGANED
ID: 34234214
Cannot Get the "ATTRIBUTES VOLUME CLEAR READONLY" to work
Also cannot get the " ATTRIBUTES DISK CLEAR READONLY" to work
.
I run cmd prompt ..
I run diskpart
I get a list of the volumes :  LIST VOLUME
select correct dirve :  SELECT VOLUME 2

then I type in the ATTRIBUTES VOLUME CLEAR READONLY __ and all that happens is I get a List of commands displayed
.
.
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Author Comment

by:PAGANED
ID: 34234253
Here is a picture of my Command Prompt
DISKPART_CMDPrompt
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Assisted Solution

by:coalnine
coalnine earned 150 total points
ID: 34234704
Oops, connect the drive to your 2008 machine and run the same command.

That command in DISKPART is not available in XP, only in Vista and up.
Apologies, should have specified.
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Expert Comment

by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 34234748
See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/840781
You likely have to try these commands while connected to Server 2003/2008 where the new command is possible, not on the Windows XP with the older version of diskpart.

If that's not it, there are also some backup software that, when they use a drive as backup media also mark either the partition or the folders Security permissions to only the built-in backup account group or Administrator, similar to tape backups.
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Assisted Solution

by:CalvinKwok
CalvinKwok earned 150 total points
ID: 34236149
I remember this behavior can be reproduced by a GPO setting. Have you try to write on another USB devices?
In addition, I have experience that the ext. USB drive was locked by the bundled backup software for a long period.
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Expert Comment

by:caballo_oscuro
ID: 34256080
the answer from calvinkwok is nearly there, the problem is the usb port, why putting it into a different usb port affects the reading ability is a mystery but it does affect it. for some reason the usb on the rear of the machine have a different bus and this affects the reading, therfore plug it into a different port on the rear. hope this helps
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by:PAGANED
ID: 34258991
... damn this is strange ...

1.  confirmed editabliity of the external drive on win2008 server

2.  plugged ext.drive into BACK usb port of winXP machine _  failed due to write protect
     plugged ext.drive into a different USB port of DIFFERENT winXP machine _ failed due to write protect

3.  plugged ext.drive back into win2008 server .. re-confirmed drive editability by creating a folder and then deleting it.

4.  ran DiskPart  _  Volume Attributes Cleared Successfully

5.  plugged ext.drive back into winXP machine _ failed due to write protect
.
.
What could I include for you guys to see visually?

I am including two snap shots of the security tab for the Root extDrive
A.  while connected to the win2008 server
B.  while connected to the winXP machine
.
I know this sound stupid but it doesnt make sense to me
.
winXP-extDrive-SecurityTab.jpg
win2008-extDrive-SecurityTab.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 34260655
Okay, you're getting close.

First, perhaps LOOK at whether the readonly attribute is getting set when using diskpart.  If it is, clearing it is of course required, if it's not getting set you can clear it sucesfully 'til the cows come home it's not going to matter right?

Next, you're looking at the security attributes of the drive's root folder, and you're absolutely correct it appears the Everyone catch-all has "full control".   IF we could be guaranteed that priviledge is propogating to all children objects then it should be right, BUT what if folders beneath have their own security permissions set?  So... you'll need to check the folders themselves to see.

Once you're checking the objects underneath, with the Advanced button to see the advanced security settings, you'll be able to see whether "inherit" permissions from parent is set (in which case you'd expect full permission and no writing problem), OR if certain subfolder trees have their own different permissions which could explain the inability to manipulate the contents.

Go with a specific file you have the problem with for example.

As for the USB front versus back thing, that only relates to drives that try to get their power from the usb port.  Drives fail to work properly if underpowered, an engineering mistake many make. I am guessing your drive uses it's own separate power so not an problem yes?

A small possibility is usb port(s) on the machine are "burned out" (which sometimes happens especially if trying to power 3.5" drives off it) so a very slim chance it can read but can't write however such behaviour should seem more like hardware problems not simply security priviledge errors.  If you get the same consistent problem on multiple XP machines not part of the FEDEFdomain it is unlikely multiple machines all have broken usb ports the same.

IF we are talking about a flash card reader slot (like the memory sticks that go in Sony cameras) those DO have a physical read/write protect tab, and YES often times some card reader slots contact switch that is supposed to detect the position of the plastic switch get stuck in one position or other.  Again from your initial description I am supposing we're not talking about that here right?
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Accepted Solution

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ocanada_techguy earned 200 total points
ID: 34260955
Lastly, I suppose we cannot rule out, as CalvinKwok suggested. that some local/group policy (GPO) edit  has acted on the XP machine in question to limit the priviledges on USB disk devices?
I guess it's not outside the realm of possibility a rogue or malware app could've done so.
Check HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies\WriteProtect
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Author Comment

by:PAGANED
ID: 34263192
I am attempting to write to the Root drive by creating a new folder in it. I am not playing with the sub directories
.
The External HDD :  Hitachi USB XL2000  2.0TB _ has it's own power adapter , and it is also a single full HDD drive in an external case.  It is not a flash drive.
.
This is really leaving me with GPO security , third party USB security , or malware ...

So I can see the RSoP and there is nothing there being applied by GPO

this makes me think that someone's been messing with the write capabilities in the Registry.
and wouldn't you knwo that the Reg Key was DWOD =1  (Write Protect = true)

I changed the value back to 0 , and rebooted.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies]
"WriteProtect"=dword:00000000

The drive can now be Written to
.
.
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Author Closing Comment

by:PAGANED
ID: 34263219
Next time When it isn't apparent that the Problem is a security permissions , You should jump right into the registry ans see who's been messing with the write protect ....!
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Expert Comment

by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 34264036
Well of course go with the most likely problems first, and it was more likely that a volume used for archiving on server would be secured to prevent accidental deletion or unauthorized access.
Plus, two DIFFERENT non domain XP machines have the same UNusual change to priviledges problem, what's up with that eh?  Sounds like a horse, check horse before zebra.
Glad that solved it.
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