Monday, July 13, 2015
How to Disable the Write Protection on Dell Windows 8 USB Recovery Sticks - ROUND 3
Dell has been including the option to receive recovery media on a read-only 8GB USB flash drive for several months now. Many of us have a bunch of these drives and have been searching for ways to disable the write protection on these drives so they can be used for something else. Here's the solution for the drives currently shipping with Dell PCs.
UPDATE 2016/10/07: If you have Dell Windows 10 USB sticks, please see How to Disable the Write Protection on Dell Windows 10 USB Recovery Sticks.
There's been a few different versions of the drive, each requiring a different utility to low-level format them. As of this post, the drive currently shipping with Dell PCs is designated eD2.16k. Drive versions can be identified by using UPTool_Ver2092. Below is a screen shot of UPTool showing a eD2.16k drive.
If your drive shows up as eD3.8k, use the "Round 2" process to low-level format the drive. I've not been able to get this newer utility to work for the eD3.8k drives.
The credit for figuring out this drive goes to Steve Cole. All your thanks should do to him. Thanks Steve.
The process for the eD2.16k drives is much easier than the previous drives. After you've identified your drive with UPtool, close it if it's still open and download Formatter_SiliconPower.exe.
Plug in your eD2.16k flash drive and run Formatter_SiliconPower.exe.
Heed the warning and click Format.
If you're sure you really want to do this, click Yes.
The utility works its magic.
The low-level format is complete. Click OK to exit the utility. Some of the flash drives require you to unplug them and plug them back in before use. Other's work just fine after the utility finishes.
That's it. We've a got reliable way to disable the write protection on the current generation of Dell Windows 8 Recovery drives. If the past is any indicator, it won't be too long before something changes. Maybe it's the arrival of Windows 10 or maybe it's another change from Dell's USB drive supplier, but something will change and we'll be scrambling for a solution that works for the next generation.