How to Remove Write Protection from a USB Drive

by Joe Murray

Write protection, when applied to a USB drive, prevents unauthorized users from adding to, changing or deleting anything contained on the drive. Using write protection, you can circulate the drive among several users with the assurance that each user will see the same message. You can also prevent inadvertent deletion of the drive’s data. To permanently remove write protection from your USB drive, you need to format the drive. Before doing so, copy any files you want to save to another storage unit.

Permanently Remove Write Protection

Insert the USB flash drive into a USB 2.0 port and turn on your computer. Click the "Start" button and then select "Computer." Note the drive letter of the USB drive, which is labeled as "Removable Disk."

Click “Start | All Programs | Accessories | Command Prompt” to open a Command Prompt window.

Type the drive letter assigned to the USB drive followed by a colon; for example, type "E:" (without quotation marks). Press “Enter.”

Type “format” and the drive letter followed by a colon; for example, type "format E:" (without quotation marks). Press "Enter."

Close the Command Prompt window when the operation is complete. Write protection has been removed from the USB drive.

Temporarily Remove Write Protection through the Drive Letter

Click the "Start" button and then select "Computer." Right-click the icon for the USB drive (labeled as "Removable Disk") and select “Properties.”

Click the “Sharing” tab and click the “Advanced Sharing” button.

Click the “Permissions” button to access the list of permissions. Select the “Full Control” check box under Allow for full read, write and change permissions. Click "OK" twice and click "Close."

Temporarily Remove Write Protection through the Registry

Click the “Start” button, type “regedit” (without the quotation marks) in the Search Programs and Files box and press "Enter" to open the Registry Editor.

Navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies.” Right-click "WriteProtect" and select "Modify." Change the Value Data to “0” and click "OK."

Add “StorageDevicePolicies” if it does not exist. Select the "Control" folder in the left navigation pane. On the “Edit” menu, point to “New” and click “Key.” Type “StorageDevicePolicies” (without quotation marks) and press "Enter." Right-click in the right pane, point to "New" and select "DWORD (32-Bit) Value." Type “WriteProtect” (without quotation marks) and press "Enter." Close the Registry Editor.


  • If the USB flash drive does not appear on the Computer page, refresh the screen or reboot the computer until it does. If the USB flash drive does not eventually appear, it may be defective. Try opening it on another computer before discarding it. Make sure the USB drive is not open and no other programs are using it.


  • Remember to back up the registry before completing the steps. The “Format” command permanently deletes all data from the drive. Save what you want before formatting the drive.

About the Author

Joe Murray began writing professionally in 1980. As a technical writer, he authored white papers and articles for Hewlett Packard and Intel. Since retiring, Murray has written several home-exchange travel articles for and CHECtravel,com among other outlets. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Santa Clara University.

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