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Old 11-09-2012, 01:53 PM   #1
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Question External Hard Drive suddenly Read Only. Have tried various fixes but achieved nothing

Gents, this is insane. My 2 TB external drive (housed in a macally case, exFAT formatted) has suddenly become read only. I cannot delete any files. I cannot do anything with the drive. It had been fine for months on end.

Now, I spent yesterday combing the net for solutions and unfortunately, every solution I find does not work for me. One case in point is that when I get into the Properties of the drive, I have no SECURITY tab.

Why? I have no idea. But most soltuions involve that tab and I don't have it.

Other solutions involve getting into Disk management, but again, i am missing things that I see in the instructions.

I'm running Windows 7 Pro. To say that this is annoying is an understatement. I am crippled until I can fix this.

Registry editing is NOT my thing. I find it to be extremely difficult since I am dyslexic. There has got to be a solution here. Can anyone help me?

Clearly I need to find out why I have no Security Tab on my Properties when it comes up!

Last edited by Matt_Stevens; 11-09-2012 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:55 PM   #2
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Ive had cases like this, but not the whole drive (ie, usually limited to a few files/folders).

Plug the drive into another computer (eg, somebody's notebook) and see what happens.

One way that problems you describe can happen is a corrupted NTFS MTF and you might try a repair as a last resort only. Another possibility is that you dont have administrative privleges (eg, the files were created in an admin account and now you are trying to change/delete them from a limited account (eg, what happens when you try saving a file with the same name on top of the existing one - what is the OS's message?). What happens if you copy the file over to the desktop and then try to delete it? You need to do more analysis to determine the real issue IMO.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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I'm the admin. No other accounts on this PC. If I move files over to my PC, I can do what I want with them.

This drive is not FTSF. It's exFAT.

It worked fine until I hooked it up via a USB cable instead for firewire or esata. All I had at the moment was a USB cable and ever since it is read only for the drive.

I don't have any other PC's here.
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:32 PM   #4
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All I can think of is good old XTree, now ZTree/Windows. All drives and files can have attributes. Standard attributes are Read, Archive, System, and Hidden. They can be changed in Command prompt by + or - R, A, S, or H. Sounds like something imposed +R on that drive at the top level. I would use Ztree and issue a -R command to undo the Read attribute. Not sure how those things can be controlled, edited or changed in Windows.

A tedious work around would involve copying all the files to another drive, then do a full format on the external bad boy, and then copy back all the content.

This might help: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/w...6-ad489dec60f3
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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Well corkyg, that tedious workaround is exactly what I am doing. The other options are beyond my technical skills, so I am just doing what I did not want to do and it is a royal pain.

Thanks all for the help.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:20 PM   #6
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this maybe irrelivant now but...

Im not familiar with win7 sorry. but in XP to access the top Admin account, at logon screen you can just hit (ctrl + alt + [del 2 times]) and it brings up manual login were you type /Name=Administrator /Password=XXXXX ......If the drive was tampered with or watever reason, Any other account could have its security level changed, but the real "Administrator" account always has access from my limited knowledge. you should beable to change security settings from there.

Also kind funny question... but is there any physical 'switch' on the casing of your external drive maybe as a write protect security option you accidetnly switched
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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Have you run a diagnostic scan on the hard drive to ensure that there is nothing physically wrong with the drive? Also, are your files backed up?? If you have enough space, you can copy the contents of the drive back to your machine, then reformat the drive and copy the files back.

I do have another solution involving a batch command called ICACLS, but I hesitate to put it out there due to the possibility that it could nuke your files (i.e. due to not knowing what caused this problem, and also due to the fact I've never tried it on an exFAT formatted drive, so I don't know how well it will work).

If you want me to post it, though, let me know and I will. Maybe the gurus here could tell you the odds of it working. For some light reading, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/m...alltrades.aspx

EDIT: Per a PM request, I'm posting the ICACLS command. If you have a lot of files on the drive, it can take hours and hours to run, so you might want to try it on a single file to see if it works before committing the command to the whole drive.

From an escalated command prompt, run the following command and press enter:

icacls X:\* /T /C /grant everyone:(OI)(CI)F

(where X: is the dive letter of the external drive and \* the path to all files on the drive -- i.e. replace X:\* with the drive and path/name of a single file or folder to limit the command to that file/folder).

Note: Accidentally running this command on your boot drive will almost certainly frack up your windows install, so make sure you run it on the correct drive. It is also possible to easily change permissions on a file so that nobody can open it, so be careful with it. . . .

Last edited by Steltek; 11-09-2012 at 10:13 PM.
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