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We have lots of questions about USB flash drives becoming write-protected and most of them aren't closed. The closest I can find to a canonical question is this, whose answers are rather lacking as they fail to explain why this might happen. Most of the questions are quite old or are written such that they are specific to the user or drive in question so editing one of them to make it canonical might be problematic.

In response to this, I'm preparing a new canonical question intended to consolidate all these questions and answers into a single post. I intend to close most of these questions as duplicates of this new question.

Your thoughts on this?


Okay, I've gone ahead and posted the question and answer. Please post any feedback here.

  • This is closely related to superuser.com/questions/871850/…. Would it be better to keep them separate or merge the new Q&A into the old one to create a master "my flash drive turned to crap" thread? I'm good either way (and the new one is up to your usual exemplary standards). For brain-challenged users, a single thread might be easier to keep track of. :-) – fixer1234 Sep 17 '16 at 4:49
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    Well, they're different failure modes: one involves an actual inability to access data due to a specific condition (no media in drive, NAND not readable) while the other is simply an inability to write to the drive (controller blocks writes to the NAND, which is otherwise working). We generally want separate questions to be in separate posts, and combining the two might actually confuse readers. – bwDraco Sep 17 '16 at 4:52
  • Mixed thoughts. On one hand, I agree. On the other, we've got a canonical malware thread intended to cover every imaginable type of malware. It does get lengthy for a user to find their specific problem and sort through all of the advice. OTOH, it sure is convenient on our end. But I'm good either way. and BTW, thanks for contributing this. – fixer1234 Sep 17 '16 at 4:58
  • If you are intending this to be the canonical question, of and for the community to enhance, would it be worth making it community wiki? That could encourage community editing to make a single more authoritative question and answer. – Mokubai Sep 17 '16 at 16:53
  • @Mokubai: Considering that most of the answer content is based on other answers, I've gone ahead and made the answer CW. – bwDraco Sep 17 '16 at 17:07
  • unix.stackexchange.com has similar quetions, too, so I posted a meta question. Could you have a look? Thanks for your effort. – teika kazura Mar 3 '17 at 1:55
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Since I've actually posted the question and answer, I'd like to encourage users with sufficient reputation:

Please vote to close (or flag) the duplicates, most of which are in this list.

Be sure to double-check the question before you vote to close; some are linked to this question for a different reason and are not duplicates.

Also, please do not close the canonical question itself as a duplicate. I'm seeing three close votes on it as of this writing.

  • I've started through the questions in the linked list, and it's a head scratcher. The ones I've looked at so far that aren't already closed are ones I previously voted to close as a duplicate and all duple votes have been cleared. It is still within the voting window, which means a lot of people looked at these questions and actively voted to keep them open. The problem is described slightly different in some, but the answer is the same. Others are identical questions. I don't understand why people would vote to not make these dupes. – fixer1234 Sep 27 '16 at 19:00
  • Most (all?) of these are older. Maybe people are under the mistaken impression that the older question is always the reference question, regardless of answer quality. – fixer1234 Sep 27 '16 at 19:06

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