Does the maker of this ssd have a tool box you can download?
So, firstly, after a day of trying to solve this issue, it was just simpler to get a new drive in order to get back to work. I've got deadlines. So this isn't an emergency to try and solve... just a mystery that I'd like to solve at some point to potentially regain the use of this NVMe M.2 drive. If you think you'd enjoy solving this puzzle, read on!
Rebooted my Windows 10 Pro video editing station this morning, and... BSoD. Really generic error to the effect of "REGISTRY ERROR" with no specific code. After numerous attempts at rebooting, no change. BSoD immediately after MSI boot screen. Windows Recovery console won't boot, even though I know the partition is there. Created a USB Windows Recovery disk, none of the less painful recovery options will even start. Fine. Reinstall Windowwwwhat?! Can't reinstall Windows because it says there isn't enough room in the primary drive.
Started Recovery CMD, ran DISKPART. LIST DISK. Cool, there it is... But 0 B free? SELECT DISK 0, LIST PART. Okay, there's the recovery partition, the main OS partition, some other EFI partition, etc. SELECT PART 0 (recovery partition). DELETE PART. Nope. DELETE PART OVERRIDE. Noooope. Says it can't be deleted without... doing what I just did. CLEAN. Nope. FORMAT. Nope. ATTRIBUTES. Well THERE'S my problem! "Current Read Only State: Yes.". No prob. ATTRIBUTES CLEAR READONLY. Success! ...wait, no it still says "Current Read Only State: Yes."
Fast forward 6 hours of googling and variations on the above, including on different machines with the NVMe as a secondary drive, using Disk Management, changing registry, etc. Disk is on LOCKDOWN. Time for the big guns:. Called up my Linux wiz buddy, and take my whole rig over to him. GPARTED... can't touch it. We try another tool I'm unfamiliar with. Lockdown. We try console commands. Lockdown. We switch to a more "hacker" friendly Linux distro... Lockdown. 2 hours of brute force attempts from a guy who brute forces in Linux for a living. Can't do anything more than see the partitions. He switches back to Windows Recovery CMD and tries everything listed above that I already tried, plus other random commands to see if ANYTHING would work. We only managed to reassign a drive letter on one of the partitions.
My conclusion was that there was some sort of hardware failure on the NVMe that switched some bits from 1's to 0's or something, and whatever it was is the equivalent of switching the "LOCK" tab on a memory card. Had to get my machine running again so I bought a new NVMe and reinstalled Windows 10 with no problem.
What do you think? Is there some way you know if that we didn't think of to force format a drive like that when it is stubbornly stuck as "read only," or should I give up on it and send it to "a nice render farm upstate?"