Flash drives all mounting read only and I can't change it

My laptop is currently running Fedora 35, as I haven’t had time to upgrade. For the last week or so, any flash drive I mount is read only, and I can’t change that, even as root. I’m not sure if the change started here, or on my desktop which is way out of date and I need my flash drives to back it up and install F 37. Any ideas?

All in the same USB port? Or, if different ports, the same hub internally?

If you boot from a LiveUSB, can you mount other drives r/w in other ports?

Also: anything in the logs?

Further experiments tell me that it must have happened on my desktop, as using a drive that hasn’t been used on the desktop for a long time works just fine. As I’m planning to reinstall F 37 on my desktop, right now I’m mostly concerned with getting back the ability to write to the affected drives without reformatting them. Any suggestions?

So it seems the desktop system is corrupting them?

Are the drives read-only, or just the filesystems on them? (Can you repartition / reformat one?)

For that matter, what filesystems?

Another question I would have would be:
Has windows been involved in any manner with the devices that are not writable?

One of them has a standard VFAT filesystem and the other is a LiveUSB. That one shows up twice, but I can only mount one of them. And no, it’s impossible for Windows to be involved as I run a Linux Only Household.

The live USB (I assume it is fedora) would be an ISO9660 file system and would not be writable. It seems not corrupted, merely not writable since the iso used to create it was not writable. It has been the case for a long time that a fedora live image written to a USB is not writable.

The VFAT on the other hand is a different issue.
Most digital media such as flash drives, sd cards, etc usually fail in a mode where they are readable but no longer writable. That may be the issue with that device depending upon its age and usage.

I think that the VFAT drive became read only in the middle of copying an .iso file to it, but I’m not sure. If I try to mount the other one, it shows up twice on the desktop but you can only mount one of them. The other one can’t be mounted, even if the other one isn’t. As I need to back up /home on my desktop before upgrading to Fedora 37, it’s beginning to sound like it’s safe to back up to USB.

The ISO 9660 filesystem is read-only by design. So if you did, e.g., dd if=my.iso of=/dev/sdc, then it is expected that the device would become read-only. (When you use dd to transfer the contents of a .iso image to a drive or partition, it effectively re-formats the drive/partition. It is no longer VFAT.)

I never create LiveUSB drives using dd; I use the Fedora Media Writer because I consider it to be much safer. I’ve checked that drive with GParted, which shows no partition table and the appropriate filesystem, but just to be safe, I’m going to run Media Writer again to make sure it’s properly formatted and written. And, before I forget, thanx for that info on that filetype being read only. In all the decades I’ve been working and playing with computers, I’d never run across that before.

ISO9660 is the file system type that is used on CD and DVD disks and most ISO images, and IME has always been read-only.

Using dd, media writer, rufus, and others to write an iso image to a USB device almost all do the same. The image is transferred as-is to the device. The end result is exactly the same as if you burned the image to a DVD disk, though the USB device can be erased and restored to its original size with a partition manager while the optical disk can not be modified after burning.

Yes, I know what ISO9600 is, I just didn’t know that it was Read Only, and I’ve probably known longer than you have. Hint: the first computer I learned to program used punched cards and a typewriter with fanfold paper.

That was the case when I was in college. :nerd_face: