How to remove write protection from an MP3 player

Updated March 23, 2017

MP3 players come in different shapes, styles and with varying features. Some MP3 players, like iPods, use hard disks to store digital music files like MP3s. Others use internal flash memory. Flash memory-based MP3 players can be locked in Write Protect mode, which prevents you or someone else from accidentally deleting or copying over your music files.

Look for a switch or button on the side of your MP3 player. It might have a lock/unlock symbol on it, or read "HOLD." This switch effectively disables the player so it doesn't turn on in your pocket when you don't want it to.

Move the switch to the "Unlocked" or "NO HOLD" position to remove write protection. This position may also be labelled "R/W" for "read/write." If you have no switch, continue to Step 3.

Check with your manufacturer documentation and support. Some players have options to securely lock them so data is not transferred or overwritten without permission.

Format the MP3 player. This step should only be taken as a last resort because it will delete all files form your MP3 player. To format, select "Control Panel," "Administrative Tools" and "Disk Management." Select the MP3 player and click "Delete." Right-click on empty drive and select "New Partition." Follow the on-screen instructions to format.


Try the MP3 player on other computers and operating systems do see if you can access it. If so, there may be a setting on your computer that is stopping you from using your MP3 player.


Use the "Safely Remove Hardware" feature when disconnecting your MP3 player to prevent data corruption or errors. Right-click on the "Remove Hardware" icon in the taskbar and select your MP3 player to remove.

Things You'll Need

  • USB cable
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About the Author

Jason Gordon is a professional writer and editor. In addition to online work, he has written for "Texas Highways," "AAA Southwest," "Glimpse," the "University of Washington Daily" and the "Dallas Morning News." Gordon's passions include animals, reading and finding the perfect pairings of pastry and espresso.