How to fix read only USB pen drive in Ubuntu

How to fix read only USB pen drive in Ubuntu

While copying some large file I mistakenly taken out USB pen drive before the copy get completed.Later I again attached the USB pen drive in Ubuntu system but found that the USB pen drive showing read only filesystem message. I was not able to copy,create and delete any file.To solve this issue I followed some steps which I am sharing with this post.

To fix USB pen drive read only in Ubuntu,follow the given below steps

Step 1: Attach USB pen drive in system’s USB port. Automatically the Ubuntu will mount the USB pen drive and show icon on Desktop or Menu bar.

Open the terminal and become super user by running below given command

sudo su -

Step 2: First we have to find out in which directory the USB pen drive has been automatically mounted.For this run the df -Th command.
In given below output you can see,in my system the USB pen drive is mounted in /media/linux/C38C-099C ,partition is /dev/sdd1 and filesystem is vfat.

Note: When you run df -Th command in your system,the USB pen drive may mount in different directory and the partition might also be different.Hence the output value which you will get, use the same values in further steps.

root@tuxworld:~# df -Th
Filesystem     Type      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5      ext4       28G   25G  1.3G  96% /
udev           devtmpfs  2.0G  4.0K  2.0G   1% /dev
tmpfs          tmpfs     796M  1.1M  795M   1% /run
none           tmpfs     5.0M  8.0K  5.0M   1% /run/lock
none           tmpfs     2.0G  528K  2.0G   1% /run/shm
none           tmpfs     100M  104K  100M   1% /run/user
cgroup         tmpfs     2.0G     0  2.0G   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/sda7      ext4      9.2G  8.2G  539M  94% /partition7
/dev/sda8      ext3       46G   38G  6.2G  86% /partition8
/dev/sda9      ext3       74G   67G  3.1G  96% /partition9
/dev/sda21     ext4       14G  4.9G  8.3G  37% /partition10
/dev/sdd1      vfat       15G   12G  3.6G  77% /media/linux/C38C-099C 

Step 2: Now unmount the directory in which the USB pen drive is automatically mounted . (As you can see mounted directory path in above ‘Step 1’)

Note: Replace the/media/linux/C38C-099C with the mounted USB pen drive directory path which is showing output in your system after running df -Th command.

umount /media/linux/C38C-099C

Step 3: As we know the USB pen drive got /dev/sdd1 partition
and filesystem is vfat(see in Step 1). Now we will run dosfsck command to check and repair the filesystem

Note: The dosfsck command check and repair MS-DOS filesystems.Because the filesystem of USB pen drive is vfat hence we are using this command

dosfsck -a /dev/sdd1

Step 4: After the dosfsck command get completed.Remove the USB pen drive from system and then re-attach back to system.Now your USB pen drive should working and it should not have read only filesystem.

Note** After mounting the USB pen drive you may see a new file with extension .REC which was created because of dosfsck command.

Step 5 Reboot the system after completing all the steps. (This step we have added after receiving lots of suggestion in comments section from our readers around the world. Thank you for providing feedback and sure it will help many people.)





207 responses to “How to fix read only USB pen drive in Ubuntu”

  1. Terry Avatar

    Does this erase the contents?

  2. Will Avatar

    This solution didn’t work for me, after running dosfsck – a… On my unmounted USB drive this resulted:
    “fsck.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24)
    open: Read-only file system”

  3. João Avatar

    root@Joao:~# dosfsck -a /dev/sdg1
    fsck.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24)
    open: Read-only file system

  4. Ryan Brown Avatar
    Ryan Brown

    I get this error on step 3.

    dosfsck -a /dev/sdb
    fsck.fat 4.2 (2021-01-31)
    Currently, only 1 or 2 FATs are supported, not 0.

  5. James Avatar

    I’ve had USB “read only” problems twice. No one had a solution. I used this fix and it worked great.

    1. Sharad Chhetri Avatar

      Thank you James! I am glad many of our readers are able to overcome from this problem.

  6. sagar Avatar

    when I run dosfsck -a /dev/sdd1
    this is giving as permission denied

    1. Sharad Chhetri Avatar

      use as sudo dosfsck -a /dev/sdd1

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